Monday, August 25, 2014

The Monkees, Micky Dolenz & Me

I grew up in a family with four kids, so naturally we spent a lot of time fighting over what to watch on our one television.

I liked Speed Racer.

My sister, Megan, adored Space Giants.

Johnny and Joey were devoted to all things baseball.

It was rare for us to agree on a single show, but there was one solitary exception.

That show was The Monkees.

Me (on right) looking like a Monkee myself and my mom looking HOT. 

As we watched old re-runs, we would sit immobile, mesmerized by the Neil Diamond and Carole King penned tunes.  Micky Dolenz, despite modern reports to the contrary, was the true front man of the group, not Davy Jones. Dolenz sang lead on seven of the group's ten biggest hits. 

I worshipped him.  His amazing vocal range and downright silliness were a two-pronged attack on my heart.  Interestingly, several of his songs are finding new popularity courtesy of cable television. Todd and Walt cooked meth together  to Goin' Down on Breaking BadMad Men featured The Porpoise Song.

Dolenz did not write many tunes for The Monkees, but he did write my favorite. The song is Randy Scouse Git, and it encompasses his experiences meeting his future wife ("the being known as Wondergirl") and The Beatles ("the four kings of EMI") while visiting London.

The song starts out all light-hearted and happy.  Micky makes faces into the camera.  We are meant to believe this song and the man himself have very little substance.

But then the tempo changes.

The song becomes angry, accusatory, and indignant.  The final refrain:

Why don't you cut your hair?
Why don't you live up there?
Why don't you do what I do,
See what I feel when I care?
Why don't you be like me?
Why don't you stop and see?
Why don't you hate who I hate,
Kill who I kill to be free.

It is Mr. Dolenz's opus.

And it still speaks to me to this day.

Often, I feel the need to play the role of the clown.  In a world where everyone is screaming for validation, FEEL MY PAIN!  SEE MY HURT!  SUPPORT MY CAUSE!, the clown is the safe role.  The clown is not expected to have substantial thoughts.  The clown is pliable to the rhetoric at hand.

It is a master disguise.

And Micky Dolenz knew it.

But he showed his hand with Randy Scouse Git.  He was tired of getting yelled at.

Like Micky, I am on empathy overload, not humanly capable of feeling extreme passion over every pain, every hurt, and every cause that screams across my television, computer, and newspaper.  Sometimes, like Micky, I just want to find a place to hide.  Does this make me apathetic?  Or simply numb to screaming?

Perhaps it is a call to start minding those who speak in whispers and thoughtful reflection.  The poets.  The songwriters.  The composers. 

Randy Scouse Git has never been more timely or needed.  I hope everyone gives it a listen and takes something away from it.

There is gold in that curly-haired tablecloth.


  1. I have this paper cut I want to tell you about...

  2. I love your substantial thoughts. They are my favorite part of you.

    1. I like your brownies. And your kids. And your deep thoughts, too. When we going out for pizza?

  3. there were 4 kids in my family too. We fought over My Favorite Martian and Jamie McFeeters. I loved the Monkees too. I have to say...I did not know what the heck the lyrics were to this song though. Little creepy. I did know Dolenz was the bigger talent in the group, but Davy Jones was just to cute to put on a back burner.

    1. Meh...Davy was just too short and pretty for me. But you know how I love tall funny guys!

  4. I love this Marianne. I used to watch The Monkees on Nick at Night as a kid. I remember being upset when someone told me they weren't a "real" band because I loved them. I am fascinated by how much of their history you know and I am now very curious to find out more about them.

    I am on empathy overload right now too. I usually stuff my face with cake to ease the pressure, but maybe I just need to download a few CD's from The Monkees. I am sure my waistline would appreciate it.

    1. Oooh, then check out "Headquarters" as that was the first album they did mostly on their own (not that I don't love their other stuff, too). But it proves the guys had real talent!

  5. Your childhood picture at the beach is adorable.

    What are your serious or sill thoughts on the ice bucket challenge? My brother challenged me on Facebook. Then he retired and went to Europe taking my favorite, his wife, with him, and not waiting around to see if we (my other brother and I) took up the ice bucket challenge.

    My brothers and I never agreed on TV, but you know, I am old and our parents (gasp) watched Lawrence Welk.

    1. LOL. The ice bucket challenge doesn't bother me, but people are getting up in arms over it! Proves we are all different, no?

  6. OMG can I relate to this.
    And Micky was my favorite.

    1. MINE TOO! Obviously. I still wouldn't kick him out of bed. ;)

  7. Dolenz - incredible musicality and depth. And that voice...!