Micky Dolenz: “The Monkees Was Not A Group”

Micky Dolenz interview for "The Wrecking Crew" documentary

Still today, many Monkee fans are disappointed about the fact, that the Monkees didn’t record their music. The Monkees records were made by a group of very versatile studio musicians.

The documentary The Wrecking Crew pays tribute to these great musicians in the background who were responsible for so many classic recordings of the nineteen-sixties.

Director Denny Tedesco, son of the late guitar legend Tommy Tedesco,  interviewed Micky Dolenz of The Monkees for the documentary. And Dolenz says it straight forward:

“The Monkees was not a group”.

-> Watch the Micky Dolenz Interview

Great American Drummer Earl Palmer Has Died

His legacy is immense: he shaped American popular music with his drumming from the late nineteen-forties until the nineteen-eighties. Earl Palmer, born October 25, 1924, in New Orleans died on September 19th at his home in Banning California. He had to undergo a lung surgery about a year ago and was suffering since then.

Earl Palmer was a jazz drummer at heart, but his tasteful and incredibly diverse drumming felt at home in every style of music: rhythm ‘n’ blues, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, rock, soul, funk, film scores, cartoon music, or easy listening. He can be heard on dozens of historic songs and film soundtracks.

In then nineteen-fifties his drums made teenagers dance all over the world. He played on defining rock ‘n’ roll songs like I’m Walkin (Fats Domino) , Tutti Frutti, The Girl Can’t Help It, Long Tall Sally (Little Richard) , La Bamba ( Ritchie Valens) or Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran). He recorded for soul star Sam Cooke (Cupid, Twistin’ The Night Away), for Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Herb Alpert, Glen Campbell, Mel Tormé, Lou Rawls, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Tim Buckley, Tom Waits, The Byrds, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Randy Newman, Barbara Streisand and many others.

And then there are the film soundtracks: He worked with great composers like Quincy Jones, Elmer Bernstein, John Barry, Neal Hefti and Maurice Jarre. He supplied the rhythm to movies like Judgment At Nuremberg, Baby The Rain Must Fall, In The Heat Of The Night, Bullitt and he played on many television scores: 77 Sunset Strip, Peyton Place, The Partridge Family, M.A.S.H. and many others.

Earl Palmer was a tap dancer when he was a child and later picked up the drums. Soon he played with many local bands in New Orleans. After World War II he used the GI schooling for entering the Grunewald’s School of Music in New Orleans. He studied music theory, sight reading and arranging. So when he moved to Los Angeles in 1957, he not only brought with him the New Orleans “swamp beat”, but also a strong theoretical background that served him well in becoming the number one studio drummer of the Los Angeles music studios.

Drummerworld presents interesting information about his drumming including video samples. There’s also a very good biography called Backbeat: Earl Palmer’s Story that came out in 1999.

Typing Errors Helped Starting The Monkees’ Career

Ex-Monkee, songwriter and novelist Michael Nesmith’s mother Bette Nesmith Graham invented the typewriter correction fluid “Liquid Paper” and made a fortune out of it. So Michael Nesmith didn’t have to worry about money during his teenage years. His mother’s fortune gave him the freedom of pursuing his artistic ambitions. Sometimes typing errors can be very helpful …

Squelching Rumors About The Monkees

The Monkees

Like most US rock and pop groups of the sixties, the Monkees didn’t play on their hits, they only did the singing. They were in good company: The Beach Boys, the Mama & Papas, the Ventures, the Carpenters, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Byrds and many more relied on studio musicians.

In Hal Blaine’s biography (studio drummer from Los Angeles) there’s an amusing part about how the Monkees’ record company tried fighting the rumors that were going around in 1967, that the Monkees didn’t play their instruments on the records:

I remember one day in Studio A at RCA we were making Monkees records in a studio the size of an aircraft hangar, with all the doors locked and “closed session” signs all over. Next door, in Studio C, The Monkees sat at their instruments making music for the press. The studio bosses had set up the session to squelch the ugly rumors, and the boys gave a convincing performance. Eventually, things cooled down, and later that year I got a call from band member Michael Nesmith (he of the drawl and knit cap) asking me to contract some musicians for a few dates.

Order the book

Source: Hal Blaine / Mr. Bonzai: Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew, Rebeats Publications. Alma, Michigan, page 86

Related link

Typing Errors Helped Starting The Monkees’ Career

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine