“Circus Monkee: Micky Dolenz Solo”
“BUZZ Newspaper Article (#60 mD) Mar 2016
By: RLSchwinden aka MrZerr0
Excerpt from the forth coming book: “Here We Come”
When I was a kid in ’72 in Sioux City, my friends Spencer, Chris & I used to watch “The MONKEES” on Saturdays about noon, & I thought Micky Dolenz was about as cool as it got, (to me) he had a cool haircut (in the 1st season 66-67) he was the Lead singer & played Drums, on a cool Champagne Pink Gretsch 5 piece drum set & sang lead on songs like “Saturday’s Child” & “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day”.
> Count of Monte Cristo: 1956 -1965 <
He was born George Michael Dolenz Jr. on 8 Mar 1945 in L.A.CA. his parents George Sr. (Jure Dolenc: 5 Jan 1908; Triste: Slovene: Austria-Hungry – 8 Feb 1963; L.A.) appeared in some 45 films & TV shows, & his mother Janelle Johnson (2 Dec 1923; Austin TX. – 2 Dec 1995 CA.) was a singer with her own radio show in Austin & an actress in a couple of films, his younger sister Coco (Gemma Marie Dolenz: 5 Apr 1949) is also a talented singer who appeared in the TV show “Circus Boy” with her brother & sang on several MONKEES recordings.
Micky, then known as “Micky Braddock” (to avoid confusion with his father who was also still active actor) landed the role as “Corky” in the NBC TV show “Circus Boy” for 49 Episodes from Sep 1956 to Dec 1957, there was a soundtrack 45 Single with Picture Sleeve released for this TV show, however; though Micky is pictured on the cover, he does not appear on the record, after that show ended he appeared on the “Zane Gray Theater: The Vaunted” in ’58 as “Ted Matson” then in ’59 he appeared as “Melvin” on “Playhouse 90: Velvet Alley”. Micky took some time off from acting & went to technical school for drafting, until the early 60s, when Dolenz took up singing, his 1st band was “Micky & The One-Nighters” where they mostly performed 50s Rock & Roll Covers, such as “Johnny B. Goode”, “Too Much Monkey Business” & “I Got A Woman”.
In Feb ’64 The BEATLES hit America, & Dolenz finds himself back on the small screen in Dec ’64 as “Ed” on “Mr. Novak: Born Of Kings & Angles” followed by a 3 episode stint on “Payton Place” as “Kitch Brunner” in Mar ’65. Improving his guitar skills he was the Lead Vocalist & Rhythm Guitarist for “The Missing Links” (at this time there was no less than 3 different bands with this name; including 1 in NYC with a young man named Eugene Klein who eventually became Gene $immons of “KISS”) this band cut a 3 song demo for “Challenge Records” which was eventually released when Dolenz was famous for being in The MONKEES. There was another 45 Single released under the name “Missing Links” however when I gave a copy to Dolenz in ’93 in Lincoln NE, he stated “Thanks for that, but those 2 songs are not me, I remember my 1st recording sessions, & it wasn’t either of those 2 songs”
> I’ll Meet You At The Station: 1965 -1970 <
In the Fall of ’65 Dolenz auditioned for a TV show titled “The MONKEES” & won the role as the Lead Singer & the Drummer, signing a 7 year contract, they filmed 58 TV Episodes, 1 Film & a TV Special, as well as 13 single 45s, 10 LPs & 4 CDs, & 4 concert tours for the band, Dolenz also appeared in Sonny & Cher’s 1967 film “Good Times”. It was during the height of Dolenz’s popularity his 1st 45 Singles were released “Don’t Do It (Dolenz) b/w Instrumental” in 1966 & “Huff Puff b/w Instrumental” in 1967 both 45s were released on Challenge Records. Dolenz last official job for The MONKEES was a concert with David Jones on 16 Sep 1971 in Philadelphia for the radio station WFIL, and then, The MONKEES were no more.
> Don’t Care Who’s Side You’re On: 1971 -1972 <
Dolenz’s mother helped Micky invest his MONKEES’ money wisely, so he didn’t really need to work, after about a year of rest & relaxation, Dolenz went back to work as “Skip” on the “Funky Phantom” in 1971 he also released his 1st post MONKEES solo single “Easy On You b/w Oh Someone” in Oct 1971 on MGM Records, the president of MGM was Mike Curb (24 Dec 1944) an old high school buddy of his, & signed him to a recording contract. The “A -Side” was entirely done by Dolenz himself, it seems Dolenz liked a little bit of comedy or goofiness to his original compositions. & the “B-Side” was his 1st work released with MONKEE: Peter Tork since Dec ’68.
In 1972 Dolenz really kept himself busy, cutting a version of “Family Of Man” (released by: Three Dog Night) in Jan (still unreleased) & then appearing in 3 TV Shows “My Three Sons” in Apr, & “Adam 12” & “Canon” in Sep & the Film “Night Of The Strangler” as “Vance” which was released in Oct ’72. His 2nd MGM 45 Single “Unattended In The Dungeon b/w A Lover’s Prayer” (Randy Newman) was released in Jun ‘72, Oddly enough there is a lyric in the song “Unattended” that Dolenz expressed a little concern over being released, as it was written “I’d rather be kicked in the groin, than Make me play another gig in Des Moines” now I lived in Des Moines, Iowa from 1984 -99, I finally got a copy of this song in Apr ’87, & I played this record to death, & I never caught the lyric, even after having written an article for “Monkeeshines” in Sep 1991 on Dolenz’s Solo recordings. Several other songs were recorded at this time (Jun ’72) with a 7 piece band & 26 piece orchestra “Since I Fell For You” “A Long Time Since St. Louis” “Love Is All I Have” & “It’s Amazing To Me” (ver #1)
In the summer of ’72 Dolenz teamed up with MGM House Producer Michael Lloyd (3 Nov 1948)& several members of: “Superband” (containing 2 members “3 Dog Night”) to create the band “Starship” (in an effort to hide Dolenz’s identity) to release the single “Johnny B. Goode b/w It’s Amazing To Me” (ver #2) (Dolenz) in Oct ’72 on Lion Records from the forth coming album “Future Rock” here are the other songs recorded for this unreleased LP: “Monkees Medley (4 songs)” “Long Tall Sally” “Little Bitty Pretty One” “Fools Gold” “Apple Cart” “What Can I Do” “When I’m With You” “Let The Good Times Roll” (released by The Osmonds), once the LP was released the band was to open for The Osmonds on the ’72 -73 “Crazy Horses Tour” unfortunately the LP was never released therefore they were unable to participate on the tour & the project disbanded.
> Where You Been: 1973 -1974 <
Things began slowing down for Dolenz in ’73, for his next single he teamed up with his old friend Harry Nilsson (see BUZZ Article #40-Nn) “Daybreak b/w Love War” (Dolenz) was released in May ‘73 on Romar Records. Nilsson had a new film “Son Of Dracula” coming out in Apr ’74, a 2nd promo copy of “Daybreak” remixed & was sent out to radio stations to promote the film. MONKEES Producer Chip Douglas (27 Aug 1942) created a promo video for this song, being the very 1st Dolenz solo video. The “B-Side” is another Dolenz original, hysterical, lyrically, there were 2 other songs recorded during these sessions “(listen to the) Mocking Bird” & “Long Time St. Louis (ver #2). In Sep ’73 Dolenz auditioned for the role of “Fonzie” on “Happy Days” he lost out to Henry Winkler. Micky did make 2 TV appearances on the TV shows “Butch Cassidy” & “Owen Marshall Attorney At Law” in Oct ’73, from here on out Dolenz usually did voice over work in cartoons. Dolenz’s final single for MGM was released in Mar ’74 “Buddy Holly Tribute:”PeggySue, EveryDay, Maybe Baby, That’ll Be The Day” b/w Ooh She’s Young” (Dolenz) on Romar Records to capitalize on the “American Graffiti” film trend, he also appeared on the TV shows: “These Are The Days” & “Devlin”. Sometime in ’74 Dolenz traveled to London to begin work on a 50s Covers album tentatively titled “I Hate Rock & Roll” along with the title song, these other songs recorded for this LP “Purple People Eater” “Splish Splash” & “Wing Walker” a song written by former MONKEES songwriter Bill Martin (R.I.P. 27 Jan 2016), legendary “RAINBOW” member Cozy Powell (1947-1998), provided the drums for these tracks.
> I Remember The Feeling: 1974 -1977 <
The McDonald’s company had the idea to unit all 4 original MONKEES for a TV commercial, at the exact same time a promotion company offered all 4 original MONKEES a US Summer Tour, problems arose when Tork informed McDonald’s he was a vegetarian & would not be part of the commercial & Nesmith would only do a tour if a new album was part of the deal, the company only wanted a tour & did not want to fund a new LP. Dolenz & Jones, now seasoned entertainers & never afraid to work, contacted their former MONKEES Songwriters, Producer & Musicians Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (see BUZZ article #11-K) to form “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” from 1974 to 1976 for 2 Concert Tours 1 LP (with 1 song being written in a Des Moines airport) & 2 Singles & 1 TV Special (Betamax). Dolenz in his down time appeared in 2 films:”Keep Off My Grass” in Mar ’75 & “Linda Lovelace For President” in Apr ’75. Boyce & Hart hung with the project long enough to complete their 2 year contract, where as the other 2 continued as “Dolenz & Jones (w/ Coco)” from 1977 -78 releasing 1 LP & performing 2 Concert Tours & 2 Musicals & a couple TV & Radio appearances (once on Rodney Bingenheimer’s KROC Dolenz confessed he was a fan of the band KISS). Dolenz also did voice work in “Skatebirds” “Captain Caveman” in ‘77 & “Scooby Doo & Dynomutt Hour” in Nov ’78.
> Me, I Got Nothin To Do: 1979- 83 <
Dolenz & Jones went to the UK to perform in Nilsson’s “The Point” Musical, when the play ended Dolenz stayed in England, he did release “Love Light b/w Alicia” (Dolenz) on Chrysalis Records in ’79 with a Promo Video starring his wife Trina, before hanging up his musical & acting career to become a BBC director for the next few years. Then Kodak in Japan used a MONKEES’ song in a 1981 TV commercial which launched the 2nd big MONKEES’ resurgence. Dolenz came out of musical retirement to do his very 1st solo tour in ’81, unfortunately it was only in Japan, followed by a Japanese only LP release of “Micky Dolenz & Davy Jones: MGM Years” in 1982 followed by his 1st single in 3 years “To Be Or Not To Be b/w Beverly Hills” (Dolenz) on JARMC Records in ’82, followed by his 2nd solo tour of Japan with the backing band “Marlboro” here is the setlist for a show in Jan 1982:
Theme From The Monkees: (Boyce & Hart)
Sunny Girlfriend: (Nesmith)
Last Train To Clarksville: (Boyce & Hart)
You Just May Be The One: (originally sung by:Nesmith)
I’m A Believer: (Neil Diamond)
Randy Scouse Git: (written By: Dolenz)
Zor And Zam: (Bill Chadwick)
Mary, Mary: (Nesmith)
I Wanna Be Free: (originally sung by: Jones)
Pillow Time: (written By:Janelle Dolenz)
Shades Of Grey: (originally sung by: Jones & Tork)
No Time: (written By: Dolenz & Nesmith & Tork)
Daydream Believer: (originally sung by: Jones)
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone: (Boyce & Hart)
Goin’ Down: (written By: Dolenz & Nesmith & Tork)
Pleasant Valley Sunday: (Goffin & King)
Beverly Hills: (written By: Dolenz)
To Be Or Not To Be: (Britten & Robertson)
While on tour in Japan Dolenz appeared on several TV shows, 1 Variety show he performed “I’m A Man” Live (written by the same person who wrote his last 45 release). Upon his return to the UK he was in the Paul Williams (19 Sep 1940) Musical “Bugsy Malone” & released his final single “Tomorrow b/w Fat Sam’s Grand Slam” on A&M Records in 1983, where upon he returned to his BBC Director status, some of his credits included “Metal Micky” & “Spitting Image” where he worked on 1 episode with Nesmith. Dolenz has a new 45 to be released in Apr 2016 “Chance Of A Lifetime b/w Livin On Lies” his 1st in 33 years!
> That Was Then This Is Now: 1986 & On <
As the 20th Anniversary of The MONKEES TV show was approaching in Sep ’86 David Fischoff was able to get 3 of the 4 MONKEES back together Dolenz, Jones & Tork, (remember Dolenz, Jones & Nesmith toured as a trio in ’69) & thus a whole other chapter of the MONKEES began from 1986 to 1989 (see future BUZZ article) a Dolenz solo EP was released “Don’t Do It” on Vinyl in ’87. In 1991 Dolenz embarks on his 2nd solo career finally releasing several solo CDs (no vinyl) ”Puts You To Sleep” in 1991 & toured with Donnie Brooks for the “30 Years Of Rock N Roll Show” I saw Dolenz, 3 times on this tour in Burlington, IA. Merrilleville, IN. & Okaboji, IA. I was able to speak with Dolenz several times & give him several cassettes of his solo records “Thanks man, I don’t have any of that stuff anymore, I have been divorced twice!” Micky appeared on the “Ben Stiller Show: With Rob Marrow; The Grungies” in Nov ’92, (this is absolutely worth watching) & “Batman: Animated Series” & once again touring with the “Classic Rock All Stars” in ’92 I saw him in; Des Moines, IA. Williamsburg, IA. & Lincoln, NE. He appeared in the film “Deadfall” in Oct 1993, & released his book “I’m A Believer” also in ‘93 followed by his 2nd solo CD “Broadway Micky” in 1994 & also appeared in the TV series “Monty”, “Ah, Real Monsters”, & “The Tick” & “Boy Meets World” in ’95.
The MONKEES Trio reunited from 1996 -97, & Dolenz was directing the TV series “Pacific Blue” & then surprisingly Nesmith joined them in ’97, releasing a CD, a TV Special, a Rockumentary & a Concert Tour, until they called it quits in late ’97. Dolenz made an appearance in the TV movie “Love Bug” also in ’97. Then Dolenz embarked on his 3rd solo career releasing his 3rd solo CD “Demoiselle” on his own in 1998 & was in the TV show “Secret Files Of Spy Dogs” & “Invisible Mom 2”. The Trio: Jones, Dolenz & Tork reunited from 2000 -2001, after this last tour Jones had no interest in working with the others again until 2011. Micky appeared in “Power Puff Girls” in 2000 & in the “Drew Carey Show” in 2001 & & in “As the World Turns” in 2002, I myself saw Dolenz in 2002 & 2003 in Mille Lacs, MN. @ The Grand Casino.
In the last few years Dolenz appeared in “Johnny Bravo” in 2004. He was in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” in 2007 & released his 4th solo CD “King For A Day” in 2010, shortly after the final reunion with Jones, Dolenz & Tork. Micky released his 5th solo CD “Remember” in 2012, about the same time the 3rd version of the MONKEES Trio emerged: “Dolenz, Nesmith & Tork” which performed 2 separate concert tours in 2012 & 2014. Dolenz released his 6th solo CD “A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock N Roll” in 2015 & most recently his 7th & yet 1st solo LP “MGM Singles Collection” Fall 2015.
So you see Micky Dolenz, was not just an Actor or Musician or a Director, he has spent his last 60 years working at all 3 roles in his career !
See you in St. Cloud on the 26th of March, KISS fans ….
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