It took 31 years, but an original Monkee and members of the New Monkees finally shared a stage. And all it took was a worthy charitable cause — and Catherine Bach, a.k.a. Daisy Duke — to bring them together.
As part of a karaoke fundraiser held Saturday, Aug. 18 at the San Fernando Valley’s Winnetka Bowl in honor of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Monkees’ Micky Dolenz joined the New Monkees’ Dino Kovas and Marty Ross for their first-ever cross-generational performance. And the truce-establishing, peace-keeping second song they performed was, fittingly, the Beatles’ “Let It Be.”
A little background here: Back in 1987, Columbia Pictures Television and Straybert Productions attempted to capitalize on the nostalgia sparked by MTV’s Monkees marathon the previous year (which had inspired original band members Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork to reunite for a hugely successful tour), by controversially creating a new Monkees for the modern age. The result was, of course, The New Monkees, and the original Monkees seemed less than thrilled at the time; the public perception, at least, was that the two groups were in a feud for years. (For a full, fascinating oral history of the ill-advised, ill-fated New Monkees series, click here.)
However, Dolenz insisted to Yahoo Entertainment this week that while he “never saw an episode” of The New Monkees because he “was just too busy being extremely successful as the Monkees,” any resentment he harbored was directed at the TV reboot’s producers (the same producers behind the original Monkees program of the 1960s), not at the New Monkees band members themselves. “I think even one day I bumped into one of the producers and I said, ‘Boy, that was really dumb!’” he chuckled.
Dolenz, who enjoyed a side career directing TV shows in the 1980s, recalled, “[The producers] asked me to direct the [New Monkees] pilot. I read the script, and it was terrible; I’m sure the guys that were cast will tell you the same thing. And basically, what the producers said was, ‘We want you to hand the torch over to these new young guys.’ [The original Monkees] were out playing 15,000-seaters, arenas and baseball stadiums, at the time. So, sorry for my French, but I was like, ‘Screw you!’
“But this had nothing to do with the kids that were cast in the show,” Dolenz continued. “The producers just made a terrible, terrible error in judgment. I never had anything unpleasant or think about [the New Monkees]. They got a raw deal, and were thrown into a brutal situation. I just felt sorry for them. So, I have no problem with them showing up and we sing a couple of songs. I think it’s a cute idea.”
And so, it was a very pleasant Valley Saturday at the Winnetka Bowl, and everyone was too busy singing to put anybody down. Dolenz’s sister/bandmate Coco was a neutral presence onstage during “Let It Be,” while Bach lent her vocals to “Twist and Shout.” Ross also belted “House of the Rising Sun” and the Harry Nilsson version of “Without You” with Dolenz, while Kovas closed out the show solo with Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves.”
A post shared by Lyndsey Parker (@lyndseyparker) on Aug 19, 2018 at 3:08am PDT
Marty and Dino rocked it tonight! That is all! Update tomorrow! All of those at the Winnetka show tonight, could you please post on here and Facebook? Pictures, video, whatever. Yup, that is Catherine Bach and Micky Dolenz too! So proud of our guys! #teamnewmonkees pic.twitter.com/9FNPy7rhN9
— New Monkees (@thenewmonkees) August 19, 2018
While this was the first joint performance between Dolenz and the New Monkees, it wasn’t his first karaoke fundraiser. When his friend Jodi Ritzen first suggested he do these events, he admittedly balked: “I’d been asked to sing karaoke before at places, and I’d be like, ‘No way! My whole life has been a karaoke, so sorry!’” But Ritzen convinced him, and together they’ve since hosted fan karaoke parties to benefit both the LAPD and, primarily, the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “And I’ll be darned, I really had a good time,” Dolenz said with a smile.
Details on future “Sing With Micky” karaoke events — which may or may not include members of the New Monkees — can be found here.
I’m at a bowling alley bar in Winnetka watching Micky Dolenz sing karaoke. No, I did not make this up. #truth #saturday #weekend #deep #valley #instapic #instalike #instagood #bowling #kareoke #wow #california #repost #lol
A post shared by Lee Brownstein (@leebrownstein) on Aug 19, 2018 at 12:31am PDT
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