Friday, 21 December 2007

Mark Mikel on The Monkees part the third

Mark Mikel "I saw this movie in 1973 on the CBS late show. I was intrigued by the newspaper listing which read:HEAD-1968 starring Annette Funicello and Peter Tork.I made sure I was allowed to stay up and watch it by asking my parents early in the week Then at 11:30pm that next Saturday my life was greatly affected. When I first realized all of The Monkees were in it I was completely glued to the set. Then the beginning-Micky commiting suicide while the other 3 watched and landing in the river, finding psychedelic mermaids instead, to the sound of this Monkees track I'd never heard before (Porpoise Song) seemed too fucking cool. It didn't hurt that it felt like the best song I'd ever heard in my life at the time.But that movie cracked me up and I totally got it. Every song seemed equally as cool as PS and every one new to my ears. It was an unexpected treasure for me. At 12 years old it was the best movie ever made. I guess I still carry that feeling with me a bit.

I never understand how this movie gets panned. It's so fucking funny and the music is phenomenal.Just watch the first scene where the mayor is inspecting the soldiers and each makes a sound as he presents arms. One soldier has a goofball face and sound. That happens so fast and subtley it cracks me way up. Lots of schtuff like that.If you pay close attention, you'll see that this movie is brilliant."But why should anyone listen to me? Why should I speak? Since I know nothing.""And...uh...I'd like a glass of cold gravy with a hair in it please.""Are you saying you don't see the connection between government and laughing at people?"

Head Fantastic. Every song is a gem. The problem is it's a movie soundtrack and only has 6 songs. Tork and Nesmith dominate and shine brightly on their two respective tracks. This album contains one of the coolest rock singles ever released" "Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)"/"As We Go Along" - both songs written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and sung by Dolenz.Album highlights: All 6 songs.

Instant Replay Exit Peter Tork and we have another Birds Bees-type Monkees album with some early Kirshner-rejected songs added in. Good but not a huge step in the right direction. It's starting to become obvious that nobody really cares anymore.Album highlights: You and I, I Won't Be The Same Without Her, While I Cry, Through the Looking Glass, Shorty Blackwell.

Present More of the same but more focused. It still included 2 early Kirshner-rejects by Boyce & Hart. Dolenz and Jones seem to become prolific songwriters. A very odd album that comes across as "adult-contemporary" Monkees.Album highlights:Little Girl, Listen to the Band, The French Song, Mommy and Daddy, Bye, Bye Baby Bye Bye, Good Clean Fun.
I was 8 years old when this album came out. My mom gave me the choice of one album from the Monkees albums available in the store at the time. They had the first two albums (which I already possessed), the newly released Greatest Hits (that I wanted badly because my friend had it and I loved Zor and Zam, Daydream Believer, A Little Bit Me and Valleri- all songs I didn't have) and one I'd never seen before- The Monkees Present Micky David & Michael. I was sad to see that Tork wasn't part of it.But that was a hard decision for me. Probably the hardest decision ever in my then brief existence on this planet. I gambled and chose Present, reasoning to myself that 12 new Monkees songs would be much better than 4 that I'd already heard- even if I loved those 4 songs more than life. If Birds,Bees&Monkees had been in stock, it would have been a no-brainer (unless of course they had Head too). I'd only seen those other albums in the stores enough to be aware of their existence.When first I listened to Present, I was very disappointed. The music seemed dark, dull and lifeless. The only songs that sounded remotely like The Monkees to me were Ladies Aid Society and Looking for the Good Times. I thought Micky's voice sounded weird. It sounded sped up and light to me. Davy sounded sad on If I Knew and French Song and Mike sounded like he was more concerned with sounding country than giving us some good rocking schtuff.I played the album about 1000 times anyway- being the dedicated little freak I was. I would sometimes watch the record spin and fantasize that I had made the right decision and bought the greatest hits LP instead...looking at the band space of Pillow Time and wishing it was Zor and Zam.I took it into school to play for my class (during designated "play your album" times). In 1969, The Monkees were already considered pretty uncool even amongst a bunch of 3rd graders. I put it on and I couldn't get past the first verse of Little Girl before everyone was laughing at me and saying Micky Dolenz sounds like a girl singing. I took the LP off and sat down in humiliation. That was the last time I ever took a Monkees LP to school."

No comments: