The Monkees: a message to their madness

I remember when my dad was in his 40s and 50s and people he’d grown up with, or public figures he admired, began leaving this dimension with alarming frequency. I remember wondering what it would be like for me. Which of my idols would die first, whom among my friends… and the dreaded, when will it be my turn?

It seems with each passing of an icon from my childhood, a crease gets a bit deeper, gravity bears down a little more.  In the same week that I learned the original costumes from my beloved Saturday morning Sid and Marty Krofft TV characters  are being stored only a few miles from me, Davey Jones left this world.

In the early ’70s, the Monkees were my gods. Despite their goofy exploits, they were always  seeking justice in some form. They were, to some degree, missional or at least purposeful in their message, and while Mickey Dolenz was the apparent mastermind (Mike Nesmith was more like the man behind the clear shower curtain),  Davey Jones was the ambassador.

My crush back then was Dolenz (though now it would probably be Nesmith…. Tork was simply too blonde).  I never had the hots for Jones but I understood, even then, why he was necessary. Sure he was talented, but it was his charm (aided by fiercely boyish good looks and an engaging British accent) that brought a sense of civility and honor to rock ‘n’ roll (we could argue all day about whether or not the Monkees were rock n roll, but let’s not).

At a time when rock musicians were still regarded as dirty hippies, the Monkees made it clean; but not in the antiseptic, robotic and compliant way that later boy groups would. Even still, one always sort of knew much of their creativity and hilarity was nourished by THC and probably other substances. (What was it about the 70s that allowed  innocence and drug use to occupy the same public space? That shit would never fly today.)

I thank Davey Jones and those Monkees for everything they did to shape me, for using media even as media thought it was using them, for being so delightfully subversive–all of which become more salient in these times of shadow governments, corporate power and censorship.

As I come to terms with my own mortality, I realize it’s the death of things–principles, liberties, literacy, thinking, questioning, individuality– that disturb me more than the departure of people and the loss of my youth.  Davey Jones is in heaven; the world he leaves behind….is not.

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One Comment to “The Monkees: a message to their madness”

  1. Paragragh 5…are you mad? Those twats were not influenced by anything other than their manufactured and idiotic personas, and paved the way for the erosion of talent, individuality, protest, comment, observation, meaning, etc etc I could go on but why bother. They are remembered only by drunken hen parties bellowing “goodbye sleepy jean” at the top of their voices, possibly the most pointless and meaningless line in pop music ever.
    The only reason anyone gives a solitary drop of shit about them is that they represent the greatest triumph of idiocy versus culture that has possibly ever existed- the odious comparison to the Beatles..is the world insane? Yes, clearly. We now live in a hellhole of false idolatry, where the weak brained and talentless are worshipped, where imitation and plagiarism are seen as valid as originality,
    I don’t know how old you are or why you are thinking about mortality, but when I was growing up I was eternallly gratefull for the Beatles and the Stones, then later the Smiths, REM, and great music goes on. Those fuckers were an annoying TV show in my teens, I hated them and fail to see any value to it at all. Show me one of them that has even emerged as a talent in any respect post “Monkee?” Jesus, the name is enough…”The Monkees???” Aaaargh!
    Am I sad that Davy Jones is dead? Not really.
    Why would anyone mourn the passing of pointlessness?

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