Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones (1945 - 2012)

I love The Monkees. They were my first favorite band, as well as my first favorite television show. In 1976, re-runs of the show played on channel 56 in Massachusetts every afternoon. I watched them over and over, had every episode and every song memorized. I'm not sure if I've ever really had role models, but if I did, The Monkees were them. I wanted my life to be one long Monkees romp. And I still don't understand why it can't be.

In 1986, the albums were re-issued, and the band did a tour (minus Michael Nesmith). My parents took my brother and me to Foxboro to see them, and it was incredible. I can't even begin to describe what a thrill it was to see them that year. I got a couple of T-shirts (which of course I still have). And the following year I saw them again, that time at the Centrum in Worcester with friends. We had good seats for that show, and I remember dancing my ass off to "Goin' Down."

Soon after I moved to Los Angeles, the Monkees did a show at the Universal Amphitheatre. The highlight of the show - the one song that completely blew me away - was Davy's "Daddy's Song" from the film Head. I never expected to see them perform that one. It's a fantastic song, and that sequence in the film is one of my favorite moments in any film ever. When Davy started the song, you could tell which people in the audience were serious Monkees fans. They were the ones that completely lost their shit, and I was one of them. After the show, some kind angel handed me a backstage pass. This was in the days before I started taking my camera to concerts, so I had nothing to document the experience. But I did get a chance to say hi to the band members (and also made use of the open bar).

As great as that show was, it was completely surpassed by last year's show in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Monkees seemed to have more energy last year than ever before, and the song choices were unusual and inspired. (I finally got to see them perform my favorite Monkees song, "As We Go Along.") I included that show in my list of the best five concerts of 2011. So it came as a total shock to learn this morning that Davy Jones was gone. How could that be? One of the threads connecting me to my childhood is cut. This band is one of the few things that I have loved my entire life, my enthusiasm for them never abating. (Actually, the only other thing that I can say that about is the Red Sox.)

I consider myself fortunate to have been able to see Davy perform several times, and to have met him a couple of times. I finally did get a photo with him at a special screening of Head at the Egyptian (he was seated two seats to my left, and Peter Tork was seated directly behind me). He was incredibly kind, and wonderfully talented. He is going to be missed.

(The photos are: 1. The Monkees performing "It's Nice To Be With You," June 15, 2011; 2. The Monkees performing "Shades Of Grey," June 15, 2011; 3. The Monkees performing "Goin' Down," June 15, 2011; 4. Davy Jones during "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone," June 15, 2011; 5. Davy and Peter at The Egyptian, November 12, 2008; and 6. Me with Davy Jones at The Egyptian, November 12, 2008.)

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