SF Sketchfest Tribute to The Monkees: A Conversation with Michael Nesmith & Micky Dolenz

Showings

Marines' Memorial Theatre Sun, Jan 12, 2020 4:00 PM

Description

SF Sketchfest is delighted to pay tribute to groundbreaking rock and roll band and television icons The Monkees, with an in-depth conversation with Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz.

The Monkees saga began in 1965 when four young men were cast in a television show about a struggling rock band that was inspired by the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. Few could have predicted the impact the Monkees would have on music and pop culture at large, one that still reverberates more than 50 years later.

Formed in Los Angeles for the eponymous television series, the quartet of Dolenz, Nesmith, the late Peter Tork and Davy Jones brought a singular mix of pop, rock, psychedelia, Broadway and country to their music. The Monkees’ first single, “Last Train To Clarksville,” was released in 1966 and quickly headed for the top spot of the Billboard charts as a part of the band's self-titled debut album, where it would ultimately sit for 13 of the 78 weeks it remained in the Top 200. (Two decades later, in the midst of a new burst of Monkee-mania, The Monkees popped back onto the charts, bringing the total number of weeks to 102.)

By the time the series aired its final new episode on March 25, 1968, the Monkees had seen three further albums top the charts — More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. All were released in 1967, staggeringly enough, racking up several more hit singles, with “I’m A Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “The Girl I Knew Somewhere,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Words,” “Daydream Believer,” “Valleri,” and “Tapioca Tundra” all finding their way into the Billboard Top 40. The final tally: 16 million albums and 7.5 million singles sold in a mere 2 1/2 years.

After the series’ two-season run, the group went on to star in the cult feature film Head (co-written by Jack Nicholson) and a TV special (33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee) while also continuing to record new material. But as the ’60s gave way to the ’70s, the members of the Monkees eventually gave in to their individual musical interests and went their separate ways . . . for awhile.

In February 1986, after MTV broadcast a marathon of The Monkees, Dolenz, Jones, and Tork reunited for a 20th anniversary tour, with Nesmith joining them onstage for the Los Angeles date of the tour. In 1996, all four members of the group reunited for a new album (Justus) and TV special (Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees).

In the wake of Jones’s death on February 12, 2012, the surviving members of the Monkees reunited and performed a series of concerts. The shows were received so triumphantly that Dolenz, Nesmith, and Tork returned the following summer for a tour dubbed, “A Midsummer’s Night With the Monkees.”

To celebrate the Monkees’ 50th anniversary in 2016, the surviving members of the band recorded the critically acclaimed album Good Times. Much like the Monkees’ early albums, it featured tracks written for the band by a group of gifted songwriters, including Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Andy Partridge (XTC) and more. To support the album, Dolenz and Tork launched a successful worldwide tour that featured Nesmith on four of the shows.

On April 3rd, Nesmith and Dolenz celebrate the release of their first live album from Rhino and launch a companion tour of the United States.<