Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Monkees understand combat and PTSD

I grew up watching the Monkees!
The Monkees prove their staying power with latest tour
August 8, 2013

Peter Tork thinks the phrase “prefab four” is a “fabulous joke. It’s one of the great jokes of all time.”

But the joke has been on anyone who thinks The Monkees don’t have staying power, 47 years after a TV show created them in 1966.

It could have been over yet again when Davy Jones, one of the three original members who played most of the live dates with Tork and Micky Dolenz, died in 2012 at age 66.

But The Monkees surprised everyone again when Michael Nesmith, who had essentially retired from performing, came back to keep the group on the road for another two summers.

“The reception we get is kind of a pent-up thing,” the 71-year-old Tork said from a recent tour stop. And those who were fans enough to stick with the band through its original run of records will find an extra layer of reward in Saturday’s concert at Green Valley Ranch.

Nesmith’s return includes songs that haven’t been played in ages, and shifts what Tork calls “a British music hall” tone with Jones to the more psychedelic work that emerged after the group assumed control of its musical output from producer Don Kirshner.

“Everything we’re doing on the show this year is Monkee stuff, even if it’s so obscure you never heard it before,” Tork says. That includes songs from the trippy 1968 movie and soundtrack album “Head,” the group’s post-TV plunge into “Sgt. Pepper” waters.
Before that, “there was always this relationship between old senior adults and young adults,” he adds. “The kids who were starting to watch television at that point in the ’60s, they could smell that the formulas of the day were not aimed at them. They were aimed at the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) victims of World War II.

“All of them came home with PTSD before they had a name for it, and none of them would talk about their experiences in the war,” he says. “They wanted their houses to look good, and they wanted their children to look good. Kids with pot were a betrayal, because they fought for the American way, which was law and order, and they went through horrific stuff to do it.”
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