The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: Davy Jones On Fronting the Monkees
Davy Jones was the cheeky-chappie pretty boy from England that all female Monkees fans fell for. His untimely death at the age of 66 is a desperately sad loss for anyone who loved the wacky antics (and often wonderful music) of TV's "Prefab Four." Here is a delightful encounter with the Manchester lad, as written up by NME's Keith Altham in February 1967——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
Davy Jones — the little Monkee with a big heart — arrived via Nassau last week wearing a battered black top hat, purchased from a hotel doorman, and accompanied by his friend Stephen Pearl, who was once a journalist and is now a karate expert "for the use of!"
Davy is the Monkees' front-man, diplomat, humorist and honorary press relations officer for the group — a kind of mini-McCartney to Nesmith's long-legged Lennon.
He prefaced most of his remarks like, "They tell me I should be a millionaire by Christmas" with "and here's something else you can't print" when I found him besieged by 300 screaming girls outside the Grosvenor House hotel last week and surrounded by BBC camera crews, pirate radio people, publicists and photographers inside.
Davy was reading a national newspaper report where he was alleged to have said: "Dad used to call me a cheeky monkey and now I am one." He looked pained!
"I'm sure I never said that!" he said, shaking his head. But he now accepts the fact that the Monkees have reached that unenviable position where quotes can be invented for them, and commercial enterprises present them with gifts.
"Like the Honda motorbike I've got. I've just had it modified to the tune of $1,000 and now they want it back," said Davy ruefully. Then he smiled: "Which is cool with me because Triumph want to give me one anyway!"
Monkee Jones is a good-hearted character. He gets his biggest kicks being able to look after his father financially and help those friends who knew him before his success.
He took the younger members of the Monkees studio staff up to San Francisco recently to see the Monkee concert and maintains that there are a lot of other people he wants to take care of when the big money begins to come rolling in.
"So far we haven't really seen a penny of it," admitted Davy.
"A great deal of money has to be deferred over several years because of taxes, and things like record royalties just take time. The only one of us who has really had any big money is Micky, who got a fat cheque when he was twenty-one for Circus Boy, under that child-actors law which holds so much money in trust until you are of age."
Gradually the day's Press were melting away and Davy left the room to locate Micky — "he's got about 500 girls in his room!" and added consolingly: "I'll be about three hours!"
In fact he made the return trip in under twenty minutes, to find we were down to a small nucleus in the lounge. This comprised Monkee-men Hugh Alexander from International Artistes, and music publisher Cyril Black, from the ever-present, ever-watchful Screen Gems; Marion Rainsford, the Monkees' lady publicist via RCA-Victor (who is much too nice to have to be nasty to all those fake Paul McCartneys ringing up for Davy), and an affable American photographer with a shiny head and the splendid name of Bob Custer. Not exactly intimate, perhaps, but Davy is a far-from-inhibited conversationalist. He answered my questions with much zest.