Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Monkee Business" Reissue: Lefkowitz

Here's a link to a post about an email that Eric Lefcowitz wrote discussing the "shenanigans" about the most recent tour.

He seems to be discussing the Summer/Fall 2012 tour as if Davy were still alive.  He also seems to want to stir up controversy about Davy insisting that his new, young wife perform on the 2011 tour.  And that something other than a misunderstanding on the part of the booking agents occurred to interrupt  the end of the tour.  And that Mike was about to go blind?

Certain elements of sensationalism can sell books, or try to.  But it seems like he is trying to drum up excitement by trumping up all charges.

At least the link includes his list of Top Ten Reasons they should be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (RRHF).  Frankly, we all have to wait for certain politics, and perhaps the man himself, Jann Wenner, to die.   Lefcowitz makes a decent argument, but it's a lost cause.  The significant thing is to remember why people care & like & LOVE this band.

PS Penn Jilette wrote the Forward to this version.  He's an excellent writer and a big fan of 1960's music.  He also wrote the Forward for Howard Kaylan's book, "Shell Shocked".  Excerpt from the book here, written by Kaylan about Tricia Nixon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Head Film Script Analysis: Some of the Corpses Are Amusing

In case you are not aware,  there is a great group called "Some of the Corpses Are Amusing" (SOTCAA).  Lots of wacky things, not the least of which is a gradually revealed scene-by-scene reverse-engineering of the "Head" film script.

Yes, you heard me. The Script.


it gets better!

They fully dissect the shooting script, comparing it fully to the final version. If you are a Script Supervising nerd like me (or just an obsessive fan, like me), this is great literature.  Or at least, incredibly compelling.

Even the screen grabs from various video/dvd releases are useful.  Like a full analysis of the bathroom scene, including a complement to the German voice over actor who perfectly imitates Peter's whistle of "Strawberry Fields Forever".  This is like reading a graduate thesis, playing a multimedia video game, and Shakespeare's footnotes.  An archivist's dream!

The script, even the pages that didn't make it into the final film are addressed and tangents are fully explored. These people are British ("faecal matter" !! when discussing the finer points of having a toilet flush sound )  and totally obsessive (who else would bring in Janet Leigh?)  And there is a copacetic Monkee sense of humor.  Even Nez would giggle. (Direct stolen quote below)

The business with the MAN flushing the toilet and emerging from the cubicle was dropped by the time of the shoot. It's worth remembering that the first sight of a toilet flush in mainstream cinema had only occurred only eight years previously (in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) - and Janet Leigh wasn't even using it for its intended purpose back then). It might be fair to assume that even scenes of 'implied' disposal of urine or faecal matter would have been regarded as questionable at the time, especially in a film the studios intended to aim at America's youth.
The toilet in question is heard flushing and gurgling (entirely of its own volition) a bit later - when the Cop checks the cubicle is empty before performing his burlesque dance - but even there there's no implication that anyone's recently sat down on it.
We did ask Mike Nesmith for his views on the above important issue, but he insisted he'd never even heard of a toilet in 1968...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nez Radio Interview on World Cafe

I LOVE this show!  It's a nightly NPR music review, offering a good mix of folk, acoustic, etc.  This interview in particular is excellent, allowing him a good chance to discuss the Monkee years, FNB stuff, his songwriting and what else went on.  It also includes a rare cover and a discussion of the storytelling format of his recent solo tour.

I find that it is really rare to get a *somewhat* mainstream interview which doesn't try to focus exclusively on sound bytes or Monkee history.  The conversation is intelligent and it's a pleasure to hear how eloquent Nez is about everything.

It's also a show that Tork should get Shoe Suede Blues on.  But hasn't yet. (??) Maybe Nez has broken the "M" curse, perhaps?

Listen to the half hour here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

20 Feet From Stardom (Film)

There is a terrific movie about another great hidden mystery in music.  I hope that all my readers understand that the Monkees played their own instruments (see especially "Headquarters") and that they sang their songs, backed up by session musicians called The Wrecking Crew (who backed up EVERYONE in the late 60's).

The recent movie, 20 Feet From Stardom, is about backup singers.  It exposes people like Phil Spector, who took Darlene Love's voice and put it on a record by "The Crystals".  They were out touring and hadn't even heard the song they were credited with singing.  (Not that I'm bitter, but the Monkees still get talked about in the same breath as Milli Vanilli).

The film features the woman who sing with British groups who want soul (Rolling Stones) and even on a controversial song like "Sweet Home Alabama".  The hippest protest in the late 1960's, "sing the shit out of that song AND do it better than the lead".  The south re-enacting its own history and the white men being clueless about who's doing all the heavy lifting.  Amazing stuff.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Winning 2 Emmys in One Night

Here's a clip of the Monkees winning the Emmys (plural!) from the 1967 TV Broadcast.  Best Director for "Royal Flush", James Frawley and also Best Comedy Series.

Notable cameos include other nominees, Don Adams (Get Smart) and also, Jim Frawley gets accosted by Milton Berle (?), who seems to shrug and say that everyone seems to be hugging the winner.  And everyone is.  Also the amazing Jimmy Durante.    He's got a great moment reading the names with a little girl (youngest/oldest thing).  And you can tell when he ad-libs.  Terrific.

Note who gets thanked at the final moments, "To the Monkees, who really won the award," says Bob Rafelson.  Giving credit where credit is due.


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