"The funny thing was our band was beer drinkers. It was very weird that the bands with all the bad reputations were beer drinkers, and then the Mamas and the Papas, Jackson Browne, everybody else was doing heroin. It was just the opposite of what you thought it would be. The Monkees were always on acid. We drank Budweiser." [Laughs]
"I totally got what the Sex Pistols were doing. The Sex Pistols were as close to The Monkees as anything else. They auditioned to be in that band, the way Monkees did. And Johnny got that. He says, 'Hey, we're put together. We're not just a band that got together in an alley somewhere. Malcolm [McLaren] put us together as the new Monkees, only we're the punk Monkees.' I got that. Then when I heard their album, I said, 'Great album.' And The Monkees did good albums, too."
Party time in Hollywood, 1974: John Lennon, Anne Murray, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, and Micky
I am about to do a Movies of the Mind tour that starts with the Stagecoach Festival in Palm Springs on Sunday, April 27th then goes up along the west coast through an archipelago of small clubs.
I decided to do “meet and greets” after each show, and this time I am going to give an item or two to each meetee/greetee. The first is a nice 8X10 glossy that I will sign right there with you, as you want it signed-and now I am trying to think of something else to include.
My first choice, if it is ready in time, is to give away a free download of the Movies of the Mind CD from videoranch.com.
If not, then I’m not sure what to.
I learned a lot at the Monkees Con. Not what I expected, but all good.
I have never been to anything like that – never been a fan of anything – as it were, and on balance it seemed as if most fans and attendees were happy and came away satisfied.
One dealer came with 70 albums for me to sign. He had about six or seven Headquarters LP's there with everyone's signature but mine. As I was signing them I asked him what a Headquarters LP would be worth with all four signatures and he said about two thousand dollars.
I asked what the highest valued album was and he said it was a vinyl record of the first Beatles LP with all four signatures that sold for around sixty thousand dollars at auction. I have no idea whether he was right or wrong but he seemed to know.
Before that I had put my signature on someone’s leg – I think her leg was probably worth a lot more to her than my signature. She was going to have it tattooed on there.
My mother was a fan and a collector. She loved Star Trek. She also loved fine art and collected it. I think she might have collected a lot of paintings and sculptures had she lived longer.
After she died the Foundation she started, and of which I was now the Trustee, ended up with all the art she bought.
I decided I would sell some of that collection and buy even more works, but only by American women artists. I bought famous pieces, and odd ball pieces, and I tried to learn about what was good, and what was valuable in that world, but I didn't have her knack. She could spot fine art “across a crowded room.”
It was still a pretty good collection even after I bought all the new works -- Grandma Moses, and Louise Nevelson, Mary Cassatt -- pretty things I think my mother would have liked. There was a piece by Helen Frankenthaler I particularly loved.
At that point I didn't quite know what to do with the collection so I started sending it around the country to be displayed in shopping malls in small towns. I figured people who might not ordinarily see these works could get a look at them.
We called it "Works by Women."
After a while, the person I hired to help me preserve the works said I couldn't let them travel anymore. She said the paint was falling off the canvas and, "if the pictures keep being moved around there will finally be nothing left of them." So I took them off the road and put them up for sale at auction.
A lot of collectors bought them and I imagine they have ended up in good hands --like the Monkees collectables and souvenirs.
The buyers at Monkees Con were collectors and dealers and fans of all types, each with their very own sense of what was valuable. I could tell the items I was signing there were important for different reasons to different people. Most said they would keep the items as personal treasure and keep them in a special place.
What I want to do in the meet/greets is provide something of a collectable for those who want it, now that I understand a little something of how important and valuable that is to people who want them.
I think the autographed picture and free download of the Movies of the Mind CD is the right thing.
Here's a radio station survey from WKLO in Louisville, Kentucky for the week ending May 30, 1970. It shows the last original Monkees single, "Oh My My," coming in at #10 on their countdown for the week. You'll also see that singer/songwriter Paul Williams is on the chart with his own version of "Someday Man," which was a single for The Monkees in 1969.
In the United States, "Oh My My" peaked at a lowly #98 on the Billboard singles chart on June 13, 1970.
A big thanks to Gilbert Matthews for sending this piece to the Live Almanac. Be sure to check out his internet radio station!
The one confirmed live appearance by The Monkees in 1970 occurred at a festival-like event sponsored by WFIL Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show was held in May of that year. Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval, in an email to me in 2012, said that this show did indeed take place, and now we apparently have photographic proof! A big thanks to Sean Schafron for tracking down these pictures!!
Micky and Davy in the recording studio with Bill Chadwick (Photo by Henry Diltz)
Bill Chadwick is familiar to Monkees fans as a songwriter, TV show extra, studio musician, and confidant of the group throughout its initial run in the 1960s.
Bill was a regular along with Michael Nesmith and John London at the famous Ledbetter's club in Los Angeles and the Troubadour in Hollywood during the pre-Monkees era. The three were soon part of a folk group called The Survivors that was assembled by Randy Sparks, who also founded The New Christy Minstrels. Bill auditioned for The Monkees in 1965, making it past the initial round of interviews and being one of the few to participate in an actual screen test with Bob Rafelson. Despite not being chosen, Bill contributed to the Monkees project through multiple avenues. His song, "Of You," was recorded at one of the earliest Monkees recording sessions in the summer of 1966. His other songwriting credits for the group include "If I Knew," "French Song," "Time and Time Again," "If You Have the Time," "You and I," "Smile," "How Can I Tell You," and "Zor and Zam." Bill also contributed backing vocals and instrumentation on many Monkees tracks. He went on to become a lighting director and tour manager for The Monkees, and photographed the group extensively throughout the late 1960s.
In 1969, Bill released a single on Dot Records, "Talking to the Wall"/"If You Have the Time." Both tracks were produced by Michael Nesmith, and Nez later recorded his own version of "Talking to the Wall" for the 1972 album Tantamount To Treason Volume 1. Michael also produced a few unreleased sessions for Chadwick in the early 1970s.
To accompany today's blog post about Bill Chadwick and his relationship with The Monkees, here's an insightful and revealing interview with Bill from the Headquarters radio program conducted by host Paris Stachtiaris in the summer of 1988. Bill covers a lot of ground, including his recollections of Jimi Hendrix opening for The Monkees at Forest Hills in New York in 1967.