Monkees personal lives continue to be a source of interest to fans who
love both the show and their music. Questions about their personal
lives have followed the Monkees from their first success to the present;
and while Micky and Davy have written biographies to help answer these
questions, Peter and Mike continue to lead private lives, giving
occasional interviews, but not speaking extensively on their time in the
Monkees. These brief biographies are included to help fans know the
Monkees a little better.
David Jones, although perhaps best
remembered as "Davy", one of THE MONKEES, was wowing the critics on
Broadway and in the West End long before television made him an
international idol. Since those heady days of the sixties, he has
never strayed far from the public eye, consolidating his many
talents as an entertainer.
David is a Manchester boy
"born and bred". It was in the BBC Radio Studios in Manchester,
England, that David's career began at the age of 11. He became a
firm favorite with the listeners as a regular reader of The Morning
Story and of several radio plays. His cheerful voice and popularity
won him the role of Edna Sharples' granson in the day-time drama
"Coronation Street" along with various roles in many other
At 14, David left home to
become an apprentice jockey at the world famous Newmarket racing
stasbles, and there he might have stayed had fate not intervened. A
visiting theatrical agent had seen him in "Coronation Street", and
when they met, he was impressed by David's natural exuberance and
extroverted personality. With some gentle persuasion from him and
David's father, the young David Jones found himself at The Royal
Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon playing Michael Darling
in "Peter Pan".
More television and stage
work followed, but it was playing the role of The Artful Dodger in
David Merrick's West End production of the smash hit "Oliver!" that
really sealed David's fate. At Mr. Merrick's insistence, he went on
to play the part on Broadway - to much critical acclaim (including a
Tony Award nomination). Following that came the role of Sam Weller
opposite Sir Harry Secombe in another Merrick production,
It was on the strength
of David's success and popularity on the American stage that he was
offered a contract with Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems Television.
Having signed him to their "stable" of talent, they had the idea of
creating a new television series around this "young British kid"
with a proposed story line about four young musicians who were
trying to make it in the pop world. The rest is history. The Monkees
was a phenomenal success, rating millions of viewers throughout the
world and selling millions of records. Even as recently as 1986, The
Monkees had ten albums in the Billboard charts.
The scope of his
performances is wide and varied, but it is the theatre that remains
David's first love. In the late 1970's, he successfully recreated
his role as The Artful Dodger in "Oliver!" in the United States,
playing along side Ron Moody. He was on tour following that in a
major production of "The Boyfriend", and in 1978, he played the lead
role of Oblio in the stage version of the musical "The Point" at
London's Mermaid Theatre. The mid-eighties found David playing all
the major theatres in Great Britain and Ireland to sell-out
audiences as Jesus in "Godspell". The incredible box office success
of the tour earmarked it for a West End run into the beginning of
1986 where audiences laughed, cried, and cheered at his much praised
performance as Jesus.
Voted "Cutest Guy" by
Nickelodeon for 1986 and 1987, David also appeared in the most
highly acclaimed episodes of the American television series "My Two
Dads". In 1993, fans found him once again guest starring as himself
in an episode of the popular "Herman's Head."
Everything, they say, turns
full circle and, in 1988, David was asked to play Fagin in "Oliver!"
at Kansas City's Starlight Theatre. He played every night to
capacity houses and received much critical acclaim for his
performance. He has since played Fagin in Florida and Seattle, and
in the summer of 1993, he enjoyed another successful run in Kansas
City and St. Louis.
Never one to stay put for
long, David has been touring with his band all over the United
States, Australia, and Canada. He was received with standing
ovations when he played himself on stage in "The Real Live Brady
Bunch" in New York, Los Angeles, Pontica, Michigan, and Chicago,
Illinois. The success of David's "Brady" episode launched a national
tour with the show with appearances at nearly 30 different colleges
He has recently completed a
new book, "Mutant Monkees Meet the Masters of the Multimedia
Manipulation Machine," about the early days of The Monkees, a follow
up to the successful publication of and booksigning tour for "They
Made A Monkee Out of Me."
David is a very keen and
able horseman and holds an amateur jockey licence. He has a serious
ambition to win The Grand National. He is also a regular on the
charity sports circuit riding race horses and playing football,
tennis, and golf. His proudest effort for charity was successfully
completing the London Marathon in a credible 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Most recently, a Multiple Sclerosis research fund has been
established in David's name.
While most Americans would know him
best as an actor/singer, there is another side to Micky Dolenz...and
it's been on the other side of the cameras and the other side of the
In addition to his
well-known success as a performer in American
television/film/recordings and on the British stage, Dolenz has
spent the last 12 years as a prominent director/producer in the U.K.
"I've had the best of both worlds," he says. "The opportunity to
work in two very different forms of the same medium and fuse the
best of each into something unique...a new style...a new way of
Micky Dolenz was born in
Los Angeles and literally grew up on American television, starring
in his first series, "Circus Boy," when he was 10. The show ran on
NBC-TV for three years. In 1966, Micky was chosen from over 400
applicants for a sought-after role in the NBC-TV series, "The
Monkees". "I was hired as an actor to play the role of a drummer,"
says Micky. By the age of 19, he had become an international
phenomenon, selling over 60 million records as lead singer of THE
The success of "THE
MONKEES" enabled Micky to extend his career credits -- directing an
episode of the show, as well as several commercials. A series of
spots he directed for NASA featured such notables as Charlton
Heston, Jessie Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Whoopi Goldberg and Willie
Nelson explaining the benefits medicine has derived from the space
program. Micky also appeared in the cult film, "HEAD" (written by
Jack Nicholson) with fellow-Monkees Davy Jones, Peter Tork and
In 1976, Dolenz moved to
the U.K. to star in Harry Nilsson's west end musical, "The Point."
He made his British directorial debut with the BBC drama, "Story
Without a Hero". "I had a wonderful time at the BBC...it launched my
career as a director," Micky says. "Commercial consideration was not
the driving force. Innovation was the name of the game and it made
for a refreshing and stimulating atmosphere."
Micky co-created, produced
and directed London Weekend Television's award-winning series,
"Metal Micky." Continuing to focus on situation
comedy/family-oriented programming, Micky served as producer,
director and/or creator of a series of projects, including the LWT
sitcom "No Problem!" and Central TV's "Luna" ("a fantasy series
about a little girl living in the future...kind of 'The Jetsons'
meets 'Happy Days'"). Micky also acquired the re-make rights of
"Fernwood Tonight," starring Martin Mull and went on to produce and
direct an original English version for Channel 4. "I had planned on
staying in the U.K. for three months," he says. "Twelve years later
I was still there!"
Continuing to maintain a
strong U.K. profile, Micky has brought back to the States the
experience he has gained in the widely-diverse American and British
marketplaces and has made Los Angeles his base. He has recently
completed directing "Aladdin" (starring Barry Bostwick), a pilot for
The Disney Channel. Micky has also acquired the re-make rights to
"The Comedian," originally a Playhouse '90 special starring Mickey
Rooney and directed by John Frankenheimer. Dolenz plans to develop
the project as a theatrical release and will star in the title
The recent MONKEES' reunion
tours proved to be highly successful and provided Micky with a
welcome return to music and recording. He is currently at work on
his first solo album which will be released later this
Dolenz is instilled with an
energy and creative motivation that has provided him with a unique
advantage in the U.S. marketplace. "It's important to me that my
work has an unusual and istinctive look," he says. "I enjoy
developing a concept and then seeing it through to completion. It's
reminiscent of the old-fashioned filrm industry...one man, one
vision...even though it's a collaborative effort in the
From acting to recording,
from producing and directing to writing, Dolenz' enthusiasm for his
business exhibits an intensity that has only grown over the years.
"I used to be known as the singing drummer...then I was known as the
singing director," he laughs. "I don't know what I would be doing if
it wasn't for this business. It's what I've done all my life and yet
it's always a learning experience...and I'm looking forward to
experiencing a lot more."
Michael Nesmith was born December 30, 1942 in Dallas, Texas. He
began his career as a musician. He moved from his native Texas to
California; intent on breaking into the movie business. Spotting an
ad calling for four musicians to act in a TV series, he landed a
leading role with The Monkees. They quickly became a pop culture
phenomenon, which catapulted the young Nesmith to stardom. While a
member of The Monkees, Nesmith continued to write and sing his own
songs. He received critical and commercial acclaim for his song
"Different Drum", a 1967 US Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt.
Nesmith left The Monkees in 1970 to form The First National Band.
Pioneer of the genre later to be dubbed country rock, he released a
series of albums for RCA. Magnetic South, the 1970 debut LP included
the Top 30 single "Joanne", followed by Loose Salute and 1971?
When The First National Band
dissolved that same year, Nesmith formed The Second National Band
with steel guitarist Red Rhodes. Although they released only one
album, 1972? Tantamount To Treason Volume One, they continued to
refine the country/rock sound that was to influence a new breed of
artists such as Gram Parsons, The Byrds, Poco, The Flying Burrito
Bros. and New Riders of The Purple Sage.Other Michael Nesmith albums
were quick to follow: And The Hits Just Keep On Comin· and Pretty
Much Your Standard Ranch Stash were released on Nesmith? own
Countryside label founded with Jac Holzman (founder of Elektra
Records), and distributed by RCA.
When Countryside dissolved, Nesmith left RCA to launch his own
communications company, Pacific Arts Corporation.
The Prison, an ambitious multi-media book/record combination, was
the corporation? first release in 1975. This was followed in 1976 by
the LP From A Radio Engine To A Photon Wing and featured the hit
single "Rio". On the heels of "Rio?" chart success, Nesmith produced
its filmed accompaniment, and in the process, helped set a precedent
for modern day music videos.
went on tour performing behind the single "Rio". While appearing in
Australia, he noted an interest in Top 40 television shows that
played video clips of performing artists. Back in the states,
Nesmith put together a half-hour prototype Top 40 show called
"Popclips". Ultimately, Nesmith sold both the show and the concept
to Warner Amex, and "Popclips" was reborn as MTV. Michael Nesmith
was the creator of the idea that eventually became MTV.
In 1979, Nesmith recorded Infinite Rider On The Big Dogma, which
would prove to be his last release for nearly a decade. Turning his
talents and attention to the motion picture industry, he made 56
half-hour "Popclips" for Warner and produced short films for
"Saturday Night Live" and "Fridays".
In 1981, Nesmith created a
video record entitled "Elephant Parts", a film-length mix of comedy
and pop video. Michael Nesmith won the very first Video Grammy Award
in 1982 for his outstanding work in "Elephant Parts". Nesmith then
produced and starred in eight episodes of "Michael Nesmith in
Television Parts", an NBC comedy show in the mid-80?.
Between "Elephant Parts" and "Television Parts", Nesmith
co-wrote, produced and scored the film "Timerider" and was the
producer of "Repoman", "Tapeheads", and "Square Dance". In 1989,
Michael Nesmith reunited with The Monkees when they were presented
with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
In 1989, Nesmith returned to his music and assembled a
compilation of unreleased tracks and selected cuts from his later
LP? entitled "The Newer Stuff".In late 1991, Rhino Records released
another CD collection from his earlier LP? entitled, fittingly, "The
Older Stuff": The Best of Michael Nesmith (1970-73).
In September of 1992, Michael Nesmith launched his independent
record label, Pacific Arts Audio, with the release of his long
awaited "...tropical campfires...". Nesmith fans consider this album
to be one of his best works.
In addition to releasing his own work, Nesmith signed The
Hellecasters and released two albums by them,"Return Of The
Hellecasters" and "Escape from Hollywood". In just under a years
time, The Hellecasters won three awards for 1993; "Best Overall
Guitar LP" & "Best Country LP" in the prestigious Guitar Player
Magazine? readers poll, and "Top 2 Roots LP" in Guitar World
"The Garden" was released in September of 1994.This outstanding
multi-media package was nominated for a Grammy Award in the new age
category. It is the second part of a work Nesmith started in 1974
entitled "The Prison". Like The Prison, The Garden is a book and
music designed to be experienced simultaneously.
Nesmith reunited with The Monkees once again in 1996 to celebrate
their 30 year anniversary.The group released a new album JUSTUS,
that featured songs that were all written and played by The Monkees.
Nesmith produced the album.
Michael Nesmith has written his first novel The Long Sandy Hair
Of Neftoon Zamora, which was released by St Martins Press in
December of 1998
Peter Halsten Thorkelson was born in
Washington, D.C., on February 13, 1942 to John and Virginia
Thorkelson. He was the oldest of the Monkees even though this fact
was concealed so that Mike Nesmith could assume the job as leader of
the group. When he was younger, Peter and his family moved quite a
bit, and even ended up in Berlin, Germany at one point until his
family finally settled into Connecticut. His father assumed a job at
the University of Connecticut teaching economics.
Peter began mastering
musical instruments at a very early age. At nine, he studied piano
and later took up the banjo and acoustic guitar. He attended
Carleton College in Minnesota, but he flunked out twice, so he
decided to seek his fame and fortune in the Greenwich Village scene
of New York. There he played in clubs and cafes, trying to make a
living. While in New York, he befriended Stephen Stills and his
first wife Jody. His first marriage was short lived however, only
lasting three months. He realized that he would not find fame in New
York, so Peter made his way to California.
In California, Peter had
hoped to make it big, but ended up working a dishwashing job for $50
a week. Peter met up with his friend from the Village, Stills, and
got a job playing piano for him in the group, The Buffalo Fish. It
was Stills who got Peter the audition for The Monkees, after he was
rejected for thinning hair and crooked teeth. Peter auditioned and
got the job, his musical ability and his ability to play a
convincing dummy landed him the role.
"I played a simpleton,"
Peter said about his part in the television show. "It was a
character I had developed on the Greenwich Village stages as a way
of protecting myself against the result of my bad jokes."
While The Monkees was a
terrific opportunity, there were many tales of hard times for Peter
during the project. But apparently Peter knew what he was getting
into. "The goal was what happened. Nobody was taken by surprise. I
wasn't taken by surprise but the magnitude."
However, his lack of
creative control over the music was disappointing. On the first
album, Peter was only allowed to play fourth chair acoustic guitar
on Mike's song "Papa Gene's Blues." Studio musicians were brought in
to play on the album. The second album was more of a shock for all
the Monkees because it was released without their consent. They were
on tour at the time and were given no input on any of the album.
"The second record was so
angering, because Donnie almost militantly cut us out of the
process. By the time we were playing our own music onstage, and we
were righteously pissed that the album was released without our
knowing anything at all about it. We thought those tracks were being
recorded for the TV show, not a new album. We were on the road at
the time, and somebody went across the street to the mall to get a
copy. We had to buy the album just to hear it."
This caused a revolt
against the "golden ear," Donnie Kirshner. Mike and Peter were the
most prominent protesters bringing Davy and Micky along for the
ride. "What we asked for was to be allowed to be the studio
musicians on our own records. We did not ask for creative control.
We did not ask to be the producers. We did not ask to replace
Kirshner·The order came from Bob to Kirshner 'The next single must
have the boys themselves being the musicians on the B-side.' So
Donnie put out a record where professional studio had done both
sides. He released the record in Canada. Fired, bam! Just like
After Kirshner was gone,
Headquarters was the next album project. Chip Douglas was brought in
to produce the album and the boys played almost all the instruments
on all the tracks. Peter very much enjoyed the studio time. He was
finally given some creative control over his music. He even got a
song he had written on the album, "For Pete's Sake," which was
adopted as the ending credits number on the show for the second
season. "It was honest, it was pure and we had a great time," Micky
Dolenz said of the Headquarters sessions. "Peter says that the
reason he quit was because after we did this album, we decided we
weren't going to be a group anymore. It broke his heart, because
Headquarters was the whole reason why he'd become one of The
Peter wasn't one to embrace
his stardom though. He immersed himself in the lifestyle of the
60's; love beads, paisley clothes, and, of course, chemical
stimulants. Peter was the most hippie-like of the four Monkees.
After the cancellation of
the Monkees in 1968, the group moved onto movies. The Monkees
starred in their first, and only, feature length movie, Head. The
movie was not much success, and has now become a cult classic. There
have been given many interpretations of this movie, but the most
common is the one that it is an explanation of The Monkees
phenomenon. In the end, the Monkees leap off a bridge, trying to
escape their teeny bopper image.
In late 1968, Peter finally
quit The Monkees with the official reason of suffering from
exhaustion, which was not far from the truth. Soon after he formed a
group, Release, with his girlfriend Reine Stewart. Release was not
long lasting, and it did not release any vinyls.
Soon Peter's money began to
run out, having spent his Monkees millions. In order to keep his
house, he had to rent it out to his buddy, Stephen Stills who was
just beginning a group with David Crosby and Graham Nash. Peter was
finally forced to sell in 1970, and he and his pregnant girlfriend,
Stewart, moved into the basement of David Crosby's home. Soon after,
Peter was busted for hashish possession, spending three months in an
Oklahoma penitentiary. After he was released, he spent time between
years later, Peter ended up back in Southern California where he
married Barbara Iannoli and took a job teaching at Pacific Hills
School in Santa Monica. He taught many subjects including math and
music, and also coached baseball. Teaching was not very successful
because he couldn't get along with the system, so he was fired. He
tried another school, but it ended the same way.
Peter finally decided to go
back to show biz. He went out on his own and formed a few groups,
the most notable being Peter Tork and The New Monks (no relation to
The Monkees). They toured in Japan in the early 80's.
At that time, he finally
realized he had a drinking problem, and he did something about it.
"The bottom came for me in June, 1980," he said. "Then I managed to
quit drinking. The following January I had my last toke of grass and
last toot of snow. Since then my career has been puttering along at
a steady rate." Peter then moved to New York, forming The Peter Tork
Now Peter has a solo
album, Stranger Things Have Happened and he has perfomed many solo
shows. He also has an album, Two Man Band, with friend, James Lee
Stanley. Peter can still be seen in solo shows, mostly in Southern
California, with his blues band, Shoe Suede Blues, or doing shows
with James Lee Stanley.