March 3, 2012

the Monkees.

i have a confession to make. my first crush was a drummer.

well, not a "natural" drummer, anyway. one manufactured for television. but a real singer, songwriter, and comedian.... Mr. Micky Dolenz.

i have no idea where i got this photo. it's uh, been saved on my desktop for a while now.

yes, i am an unabashed Monkees fan, and have very much enjoyed watching others coming out of their Monkee closet in the wake of Davy's death. they were a huge part of my childhood and i will always have deep fondness for them.

it started with the re-runs of their tv show on Nick at Nite. i was in grade school and totally captivated. i watched it as often as i could, and when friends came over i would make them play "Monkees", meaning we would choose which Monkee we wanted to be and then re-enact scenes from the episodes. i always chose Micky- he was my favorite from the beginning. the comedic acting chops, the curly hair, and the best voice. (sorry Davy. even Peter and Michael thought so.) one of my friends' uncle made us cassette tapes with "The Monkees" on the A side and "Meet the Beatles" on the B side. he assured us that, while we may ♥ the Monkees now, when we get older we will learn to love the Beatles just as much... probably more. it was true for my friend; within time her wall was plastered with a giant Abbey Road poster. (i don't blame her, they basically wrote a song for her) but i never saw the appeal in the Fab Four. still don't, really. i've never crossed over to the B side. i know i know, they were the originals, they changed the course of pop music, etc. it doesn't matter. the heart wants what the heart wants.

as it happened, the members of the band still talking to each other in the late 80's decided to cash in on the popularity resurgence by launching a reunion tour. our concert promoter neighbor (he of the magic R.E.M. tickets) was working the Southeastern shows, and he brought me swag from the Atlanta show: a t-shirt, his backstage pass, and the absolute best of all- a giant concert program autographed personally for me. he told my mom he had to call his wife to make sure Davy Jones spelled my name correctly. i'm mini-swooning just thinking about it. although, the program was slightly traumatizing because that when i learned just how much older Micky really was (35 years, eep).

over time, i learned that the Monkees were actually a "fake" band, the original boy band. during my adolescent bout of self-righteous integrity, i thought that was lame and that they were sell-outs... but anytime "i'm a Believer" came on the radio or in the grocery store, i would involuntarily hum along. eventually i learned the whole story, which their Wikipedia page does a great job of laying out. the basic gist is that while yes, they were hired to sing & act in a made-up band, those that didn't play eventually learned their instruments, began to write their own songs, and fought their producers for more control of their musical destiny. so, they deserve a little more respect that what is usually offered to them.

photo from here

aaaaaaaaaaanyway, at some point last spring i learned that the Monkees were back on tour again, and would be making a stop in Minneapolis. tickets were expensive, and Matt wasn't really excited about going. but i knew this was one of those opportunities that i would regret passing up. so i ponied up the dough and headed out to the zoo (yes, the zoo) for the outdoor concert. i went by myself but ending up sitting next to an enthusiastic fan who knew all the songwriter/production details, so he and i had a great time chatting. i was jokingly told by 3 different people, "hey, you're too young to be here!" it was a total cheeseball fest interrupted by an hour long thunderstorm, but it was so worth it. there's something about seeing your idols, even as aging has-beens, that is magical. to hear those songs sung live, see the canned and adlibbed stage banter... i'm so glad i went, especially knowing now that it was my absolute only chance. those songs are more of my "comfort music"... songs that remind me of my childhood, that will stay with me the rest of my life.

has anyone else had the chance to see a current/former idol in person?

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