September 7, 2020


Greetings, Spy Vibers! It's been hot hot hot here in the Bay Area this weekend (My pad was 105F inside yesterday). But still plugging away. I've been spending the afternoons writing the Spy Vive book in my car with the A/C. I hope you all are doing well and staying safe. If you haven't checked out the Hermes Press 25% off sale, don't forget to check my last post for links and sale code. A friend and I were just connecting on-line about The Monkees, especially about the role Micky Dolenz played as main vocalist and the grounding, anchorman vibe he brought to the TV series, the movie, and the music. Micky once said that there were two Monkees bands: a fictional band within a TV show that struggled to make it in the biz and a band of performers who evolved into a recording/touring group. As this real group asserted more control of their creative efforts, they embraced their garage-band vibe and began to experiment and innovate in some interesting ways. The Monkees brought Jimi Hendrix with them on tour (I think he left after 7 shows- not his crowd) and they hung out with The Beatles. As essential as each member was, I always find myself watching Micky Dolenz as the charismatic center of the group. He was always so present and super engaged. My friend on-line today reminded me that Micky was also one of the first Moog synthesizer owners. Sure enough, a look at Moog's Twitter confirmed it: "Sept 15, 1967, the first Moog Synthesizer IIIp was shipped to Micky Dolenz." The new instrument would come in handy during their album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (released Nov. '67) and a track called Daily Nightly. The AV Club had this to say about it: “Daily Nightly” is widely considered the first use of the Moog on a rock recording, or at least the first one that most people heard, because it was broadcast on a national TV show. The Moog soon found its way onto albums like The Beatles’ Abbey Road, The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds, and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends. For The Monkees, the experimental track helped move them from their Pre-fab Four status into the latter, trippy part of the decade on an album that showed that they offered more musical resonance than reruns." The LA Music Blog ran into Dolenz in 2009, who offered a few comments: “Ahh, my little Moog synthesizer. It was actually a pretty difficult thing to use. I threw a party for John Lennon one night, and he sat there at the Moog for four hours making flying saucer sounds. It was great for flying saucer sounds. I sold it to Bobby Sherman. I think he still has it." The Monkees had already been involved in interesting deconstructions of genre and form through their series, but they really pushed the envelope in 1968 with their feature film, Head, in collaboration with their (very hip) producers and Jack Nicholson. The film was released in the States by The Criterion Collection. Micky and Mike are the surviving members of The Monkees at this point and the two have been doing some fun projects together. Current tours are postponed, of course, but they recently released an album called The Mike and Micky Show Live. Collectors take note: You can still order the Super Deluxe 3CD Rhino Handmade edition of More of The Monkees on the band's website. Now, here's Micky and his Moog. Enjoy! 

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