Monday, October 28, 2013

Nez on FB-Hesitation

Another Post from Nez.  He takes a simple moment, places it into the context of his life on tour. And then he goes into marketing mode, talking about distribution and limited release.  No hesitation about going on this tour (as opposed to previous years when he couldn't face a cheering crowd).  Have I bought a ticket yet?

(Honestly, I hesitated)

"I asked the waitress at Over Easy in Scottsdale how the latte was? She hesitated a nanosecond and I said I’ll just have a cup of regular coffee. That was the better decision – the coffee was good and the breakfast was really good. I recommend it but I can’t recommend the latte since I didn't have it.

That little pause speaks volumes and I have learned to listen to it.

There was an entire movie made about it in the 30’s or 40’s but I can’t think of the name of it. She is standing on the street level at the foot of the stairs outside a brownstone in New York looking up at him and she says something like, “Do you love me, Johnny?” and there is that pause. Devastating.

Because it’s a movie the pause is longer than real life for dramatic effect – and in that pause her face falls and her shoulders slump. She knows he doesn't love her regardless of what he might say next. It would be even worse if he said “Sure, kid.” Or some horrible flip reply – like Nicholson’s response to Shirley McClain in Terms of Endearment –“I love you too, babe.” Again, devastating.

Fortunately is was only a latte this morning and not a life changer – but that little hesitation brought back so many moments like that in my life. In the blink of an eye everything is known; one of life’s little features to steer us down the right paths by just listening.

I’m in Scottsdale today to perform the “Movies of the Mind” opening show at the Musical Instrument Museum tonight. It is such a great facility. I am going over early to go through the museum with Chris Scruggs. Chris is on tour with me and Joe and Boh and Paul – and he is a real treasure of information about instruments and the history of music –Nashville music especially -- and he is a gifted player. (I hope you get to hear him in this band.) I think he will love the Museum so I am really looking forward to it.

Since tonight is the first night of the tour everyone’s heart is racing. Like the start of a great marathon or something. So exciting.

It’s sold out and that is always a thrill.

This will also be the first time that the Live album “Movies of the Mind” will go on sale.

Not the album itself but a card for it –like a Starbuck’s card or a Target card -- because I am recording every show for archival purposes and then I will select the best performance of each song and each narrative and create the Live Movies of the Mind album in three packages.

It will be a limited edition so I am going to make a total of a thousand copies.

The first package of 200 will be signed and numbered CD’s and have the complete best of the Movies of the Mind Tour 2013 – songs and narratives -- plus a vinyl LP signed and numbered and some other collectibles in a Super Deluxe Edition. (The first ten of those are reserved so the first one for sale will be number 11)

The second package will be another 200 of the CD’s signed with complete music and narrative and a t-shirt in a Deluxe Edition.

The third package, the Standard Edition -- will be a compilation of the all the music that will fit on one CD – also with a t-shirt.

After I select and edit everything I’ll master and produce and ship sometime in January.

You can find out more about it here:
and there will be sales at the merch tables at the shows.

We left Nashville yesterday in 28 degree weather and now we are sitting in the Arizona desert where it is 80. These fall tours leave it so one never knows exactly how to pack. I have gloves, a ski hat, and a bathing suit and flip flops. Austin tomorrow then Dallas – all sold out.

These tours have been great to do. The last Monkees tour was a blast. And now this one – my solo one –is even more fun.

No hesitation about that."

Michael Nesmith, FB post, 10/28/13, 4pm EST

Friday, October 18, 2013

Vito Scotti, Mike Mazurki and David Cassidy's First Wife

I had included Vito Scotti in his appearance in #17, Case of the Missing Monkee.  But I saw him on tv the other night, and I had to look him up again.

His IMDB resume is huge, active from 1949 to 2006.  Which is especially impressive, since he died in 1996.  (Born 1918)

He was Italian, but benefitted from Hollywood's lack of cultural sensitivity and played a variety of roles including Mexican, Russian, Japanese or just plain "creepy villain" accent from the land of evil evildoers.  He was on everything from Adam-12 to Zorro!  Batman to the Brady Bunch!  Gunsmoke to Golden Girls!  And yes, he has enough shows to keep the alliterative jokes coming.

Dr. Boris Balinkoff (vaguely of the Russian persuasion of bad guys) lived on a creepy island in the Pacific and tried to rescue The Castaways from the Isle of Gilligan on "The Friendly Physician" (Season 2, Episode 29).  He made the dog meow like a cat, etc.  The sets and props were probably shared (even though it was CBS, not Screen Gems.  Does anyone know the particulars here?)  He appeared in 4 episodes total, 2 as Boris and 2 as a Japanese soldier or sailor.

Mike Mazurki (1907-1990) has an equally impressive IMDB resume, active from 1934 to 1990. His most famous movies are the film noir, "Murder My Sweet" (1944, with Dick Powell, former singer turned heavy tough guy), "Dick Tracy" (1945), "Night and the City"(1950) , and Nightmare Alley (1947, about carnivals!). He was a big guy (6'5") and a wrestler, born in the Ukraine.  He was discovered by Josef Von Sternberg.  Best of all, he was the guy who punches Rod Stewart in the video for "Infatuation" (which is filmed in b&w, like film noir in a 80's LA apartment complex where Rod is your cool stalker in leather).  Wiki reports that Mike had met more famous people on that film shoot than any other in his career, which seem rather inconceivable since on Season 2, Episode 29, he is in a body-swapping lab with everyone on Gilligan's Island at the same time and even switches bodies with Ginger!

To go even further afield, the woman that Rod is Infatuated with is none other than Kay Lenz.  The Emmy-winning actress started as a kid on Andy Griffith, was in American Graffiti.   And was the first wife of  . . . David Cassidy. They lasted from 1977 to 1982.  (Post Partridge Family)

Of course, DC is the guy who is known to Monkee fans as the guy who blew off the 2013 Convention because he "had to catch a plane".  We didn't really want his autograph anyway.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Julie Newmar, Still Upstaging Everyone

"If we don't see the positive picture in aging, it won't be ours to have." 

In the infamous Episode #29, "Monkees Get Out More Dirt", the incredible Julie Newmar comes on.  Just to play herself.

Before she even has a major line, the Boys become enraptured with her (even if the makeup guy went a little overboard).    She has an inner radiance which comes through without her having to do much.

I saw her on Twilight Zone #116, "Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville", and she gets to play Ms. Devlin.  She's always the best thing on the screen.

THIS, I might argue, is the premiere difference between A VISION and an actress.  Lots of beautiful people flock to Hollywood.  Some of that group make it onto film (think of all the pretty faces you've seen).  Some of those are actually liked by the camera & become stars because of it (Natalie Wood, Ann-Margaret).  Some just remain beautiful throughout their lives, whether fame follows or not.  Julie Newmar is one of those.

Aside-The most beautiful woman I have ever been in a room with is Beverly D'Angelo. I am a Production Stage Manager for Independent Theater & Off-Off Bway.  At the turn of the last century, I was working at the Actors' Studio in NYC, doing a "Rehearsal-Version" of Oedipus Rex (I think I got the part because I had taken Ancient Greek in college).  It was directed by Estelle Parsons and Al Pacino was playing the King.  There were lots of other movie stars-remind me to tell you more about it sometime.  Anyways, we were having a room full of "special" invited guests, BD'A walked into the room and there was a sudden hush as everyone turned around.  It wasn't that everyone suddenly "recognized" her (there were people in the audience who were A LOT more famous, including Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward).  It was that she GLOWED.  Everyone was looking at her, as if no human could naturally be that beautiful.  It happens, and I'm here to provide my testimony.

Regardless, I have never seen Julie Newmar in person, but I believe she exists in this peculiar category.

And here she is on FB, alive and well at 80!!  Note how different/similar her post is to Nez.  (Peter's people put up trivia, Micky's FB is about marketing his latest appearance/CD and DJ has various groups that are devoted to his old pictures &/or his horses).  Julie waxes poetic and philosophical.

"ON BEING 80 by Julie Newmar 
It's time to rewrite the rules It was only two years ago that youth left me. Hate me or not, middle age didn't happen to me; a privilege undeserved, or unobserved. In August of this year, I will be 80. It is time to cross the Rubicon and come to terms with the best of myself. There is no more time for "unsuccess". I give myself four seconds to go from a losing to a winning thought, a life giving one. What if Sydney Pollock or Elizabeth Taylor lived to be 80? My hair is mostly white now, but with daily sprits of sheen it gleams almost pure silver. Like Clint Eastwood, I've kept a flat belly. I like the fact he can wear a plain T-shirt and scowl at some pretending offender. My spine is straight. I don't look down on those with their imagined weaknesses. I ignore irrelevance ― poor speech, bad manners and those awful screeching female reporters on TV whose voices sound like they are crunching on a mouthful of beetles. It's curious sometimes how life seems to reverse itself, when what was the strongest virtue in our lifetime becomes our weakest trait. Those dancers who can't walk, singers whose voices croak, a seamstress who can't see. In this fall from grace, from our former powers, we think that nature or God has damned us; this is not so. It is more like a peeling away of consumed fruit revealing our infinite but not yet explored core. There waiting is the next discovery, a new platform or stage to revel in. What's so great about “agefying”? It is the power that having distance gives us. It's the view from the top. At 80, you have patience. Patience is like a magical chess game; the magic part is being able to see six, seven steps ahead. Been there, done that stupid thing. Don't need this strife anymore. As my thinking goes today ― I win and I do, by making sure I always see others as winners. Ask and it will be given. This is easier than you may think. Food, things, the good stuff flow to me. True, I don't any longer race out to the post office and markets. In place I've created a remarkable delivery system. I call it: You do this for me. I am kinder, decidedly, but a lot less tolerant of those who practice life as a soap opera. Maybe it is a safety valve but I chose to live on top of my discomforts as well as diseases. I don't discuss, indulge in, support causes for, join chat groups, war against that which ails and annoys me. It's simply wastes energy. I can discuss unpleasant subjects, but in a less passionate and more general way. Another great virtue of age is to rise above the need to be seen or carry weight in situations of unnecessary stress. Strife is wholly unnecessary. Strife wins you nothing. It is self-inflicted and tenders depression. Being thin is good, though not necessary. You don't see an 80 year old weighing 300 pounds. Nor any 60 year old weighing 300 pounds who are actually healthy. Eat less, it's cheaper. Then you can have, like me, anything you like. The other evening around 8 PM, when the light outside was what cinema photographers refer to as golden, I sat silently for over an hour with my son observing the intense, almost palpitating color of the flowers in my garden. The hummingbirds were still sipping sweet nurture from their favorite tubular blossoms. Bliss, ecstasy and a good garden can extend life. Dance is my art, but the theme of my life is beauty of which a major part is discipline. I listen with the inner ear so that harmony can occupy the higher spaces and let intuition tell me what to do next. So, let us not confuse nature’s progress with lazy avenues of lament. If we don't see the positive picture in aging, it won't be ours to have. Perhaps, if we get out of our own way, we can desire and let be. Yes, that's it. To age successfully one must not be in resistance. Resistance and ill health go together. So there you have it. Now let's have fun."
10/17/13, 8:38am EST

FYI Sydney Pollack died at 73, Elizabeth Taylor died at 79

Imagine how lucky we are being in a generation to see the beautiful people we admire from the 60's reveal themselves on FB, rather than published biographies written by ghostwriters and polished beyond humanity.

She offers advice, "Eat less, it's cheaper." and "I am less tolerant of those who practice life like a soap opera".  If you cannot appreciate hummingbirds and beauty now, if you give into "unsuccess", your life will be shorter & more difficult.

Think of yourself at 80, and if you will agree with her.  Do you agree with her at your current age?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nomination Process Still Sucks

Before we get to the current list, let's review why The Monkees Should be in the RRHF, from our beloved Eric Lefcowitz.

Announcements for nominees into Rolling Stone Magazine's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (And Other Ways to Rewrite History) are posted, and the average human can vote for them here.

The nominees are:

Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Deep Purple
Peter Gabriel
Hall &Oates
LL Cool J
The Meters
The Replacements
Linda Ronstadt
Cat Stevens
Link Wray

(Of the above I only even listen to about 7, and really LOVE only 4)

As always, Our Boys are not included and never will be as long as Jann Wenner has power.

Peter has said (and it is on JW's wiki page):

[Wenner] "doesn't care what the rules are and just operates how he sees fit. It is an abuse of power. I don't know whether The Monkees belong in the Hall of Fame, but it's pretty clear that we're not in there because of a personal whim." Tork believes Wenner doesn't like the fact that The Monkees, who were originally cast as actors for a TV sitcom, didn't play their own instruments on their first two records. "Jann seems to have taken it harder than everyone else, and now, 40 years later, everybody says, 'What's the big deal? Everybody else does it.' Nobody cares now except him. He feels his moral judgment in 1967 and 1968 is supposed to serve in 2007. - New York Post June 10, 2007

He's not the only one to feel that it is an abuse of power.  Fans of Chicago and the Moody Blues (and Kiss up until this year) have been rabid about those exclusions.

Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls calls JW out for creating a "Boy's Club" within Rock & Roll.  

TAKE A LOOK AT THE LIST.  Linda Ronstadt is the ONLY woman.  Not the only solo woman, but literally the ONLY WOMAN on the entire list.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think about where your money goes.  Because every dollar IS a vote.  We do it all the time.  We are ALWAYS surrounded by marketing.  Question authority!

FUCK the R&R Hall of Fame (and Rolling Stone Magazine and Jann Wenner).

That is all.

Go out there and make some music!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nez on FB: Overhearing Neighbors' Fight

What an old man without his dog thinks about.

Sometimes these background ideas turn into songs, sometimes, they turn into mundane musings about other people.

It's always fun to hear what people in gated (or double gated) communities think about the people they are locked up with.

I live in a gated community. Actually it’s double gated—a main gate and the gate at my house. The gates are open most of the time, closed at night usually.

It’s a nice place, with nice people, pretty homes. One of the more interesting families is just down the road. They have a really big house and a lot of acreage. Lots of kids. I don’t know them well. I say Hi at the mailboxes and that’s about it. But they are so active in the Home Owners Association that most of us here know what is going on with them. Like I say – they have a really, really big house.

She is the arborist for the city and he is in construction; big construction like roads and railways. 

It would seem that they have hit a hard patch in their marriage and some of the neighbors were talking about it the other day at the mailboxes. I mostly listened.

I noticed when the Arborists – I don’t know their names –had started building an addition on their home -- a large addition – several rooms in a whole new wing a while back. They have been in construction on it for a few years now.

They started building right after she got the job as the city arborist. It was a great job for her. One of the neighbors here has a truck dealership and she bought a fleet of big trucks from him for the new tree business. It’s a little city but with a lot of trees. 

The truck dealer – Ford or Chevy I think – maybe Dodge – I can’t remember exactly –said he was really happy with the sale to the Arborists – biggest sale he ever made -- but he was in a real quandary now because the weirdest thing had happened and he didn't know what to do about it.

For some reason the Arborists started fighting about the new addition. Apparently she didn't like it – the way it looked or something – and insisted that he stop building it and tear it down. They got very angry with each other. Shouts and screams – we could all hear it on some nights. I did notice the construction slowing. It didn't entirely stop however.

But here is the strange part –according to the truck dealer – Mr. Arborist keeps the books for the family while she does the heavy lifting, the chain saw work – I think she makes a lot more money than he does – and Mr. Arborist said that unless Ms. Arborist agreed to keep going with the addition he was going to stop paying all their bills. He hid the check book – something like that.

We all laughed at the absurdity of it – but not the truck dealer – (maybe Toyota?? – I just can’t remember -- if I ever knew) – but not him; he wasn't laughing at all. He was panicked. He said to us “Why would they stop paying me!? I didn't do anything. I made them the loan for the trucks and now he is not going to pay me because she doesn't like the way the addition to the house is going up? What the hell is that about?!” 

I felt very bad for him.

We all stopped laughing. For one thing I had no idea the dealer had enough money to finance Ms. Arborist’s fleet of trucks – and for another thing – I did see his point. 

Mr.Truck dealer didn't know what to do. He said if they stop paying him it will wipe him out – and Mr. and Ms. Arborist can forget about him ever loaning them money again. He simply could not understand why he was being held hostage because of some domestic fight.

I had to leave about that time – I’m packing for the tour today and heading to Nashville for rehearsals – but it started me thinking. 

I don’t know that I ever heard of that kind of domestic squabble leaking over to a neighbor like that before. One would think since the Arborists are married they would want to work together – find some way through the mess but the whole business of breaking trust with a neighbor because your own home has become a battleground just didn't make sense to me.

But –like I say I have to pack for the tour so I will leave it at that. I hope when I come home the Arborists have put their marriage together. They have great kids – and I think they lead a pretty nice life when they are not fighting. I know all of us in the neighbor ---

Wait! I know! The Kenworth guy – that’s it!! He sells those big Kenworth trucks. 

I know he will be happy when the wisdom of good will and understanding comes to the Arborists and that they honor their commitments - if not to each other at least to their neighbors.

Kenworth’s a good truck, I think."

10:20am Eastern time, October 15, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Boyce & Hart "Angels"

Watching TCM, my default network, I am constantly surprised by gems.  Especially when you consider they maintain the entire backlog of movies pre-1980.  For some reasons, a large percentage of movies must be from the past 5-30 years, to even be viewed.

Lauren Bacall once said, "Any movie is a new movie.  If you haven't seen it yet."  Or something to that effect.

Back on topic, the movie  "Where Angels Go . . . Trouble Follows" seemed to be a less than exciting romp about nuns and girls (I've done my time in Catholic School, thanks).  But I watched the opening credits.

And then I heard some familiar voices . . .

Maybe it was the lyrics or some familiar sounding instrumentation.  I had to look it up.  Boyce & Hart sang/wrote the theme song!

Try this video, a clip from the movie, NOT the opening credits, but pretty much the same song as in the opening.  4 minutes here is too long, and it's not their best work. There used to be a limit on song length for radio play, 2:38.  (Which in this case is completely legit.)  The song is perfectly fine & completely serviceable for the movie though.  It does make you glad that Don Kirshner didn't sign them as exclusive songwriters for the Monkee TV show.

Look for the Blue shirt with the Monkee buttons on a dancer and the boots with heels that the singer is wearing.  I don't think B&H appear in the band, but it is nice to know that this production shares a costume department with the The Boys.  Another blogger has happened upon this obscure song as well.

Rosalind Russell had a movie career spanning 1934 to 1972.  She WAS "His Girl Friday" (1940), and "Mame" (1958), Mama Rose from "Gypsy" (1960) and everything in between.  Her costars included Cary Grant, James Stewart and Clark Gable.  Old school, classic cinema.  My favorite works of hers are in black & white.  She played the strong woman and was never seen as a sex symbol, which she argued helped the longevity of her career.

Stella Stevens plays a young, hip nun.  She also has a long resume of films and tv work.  She was one of the most photographed women in the 1960's.  And was Playmate of the Month for 1960.  (Not the first Monkee connection to the Playboy empire, one of the biker chicks was also a Playmate).  Her costars would include Bing Crosby, Elvis, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Grungies (Monkees spoof) - The Ben Stiller Show [For the Love of Gru...

Ben Stiller created "The Grungies", the best spoof/mashup of the Monkees' Show and the Seattle Grunge scene.  It's like an episode, set in Seattle, switched to Gen X, all in under 9 minutes.
Even the opening credits/theme song are a terrific rip-off of the original, down to the "hat trick", Monkee walk, Tarzan swing and rolling bed.
The characters are named Jonsie, Dolly, Tork, Stone.  Tork is essentially a stoned "Cousin Itt ".  Stone is a stoner with a hat. (And it might even be Rob Morrow ?)
Josh Goldsilver is played by "Mickey Dolenz". (Yes, it's really HIM!) 
And their Manager/Landlord "Mr. A. Dult" is played by the familiar face of Paul Dooley (you'll recognize him)
The lead singer of the Goo Girls is played by Jeanne Tripplehorn.  Her father, Tom Tripplehorne, was a guitarist for Gary Lewis & The Playboys ("This Diamond Ring" 1965, written by Al Kooper. The band on the recording was actually made up of the Wrecking Crew, Including Leon Russel) 
Best of all, theme music for "The Ben Stiller Show" is credited to Dweezil, Frank Zappa's talented kid!
And if you are wondering where else such an entry might exist, check out The Monkee Wikia (where any Monkee can add to our collective knowledge of the Monkee Universe!)
You can find many articles written (or just started) by The Creative Tinkerer (me, Tammy Rose!)

The above post can be found at:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nez FB Post on "Spiritual Center of a Song"

Again, Mike posts about how he analyzes and views songs, songwritings and songsinging.

Oddly enough, I heard a much longer and more in depth version of the same topic on the radio this morning.  A program called "On Being" in a discussion with the Indigo Girls.  I'd love to hear Nez in a similar setting.

"There are few things in this world you can point to as metaphysical  Music is metaphysical."  I helped produce a benefit performance they did in Provincetown in the summer of 2012.  I was genuinely amazed at how they charged the air.  (Akin to what happens at Monkee concerts, but something deeper and transcendent somehow.  Like appreciating all of your current relationships & your world in the moment.  Monkees create perfect moments of Time Travel)

Here's his post from October 3, 2013, 9:59am.

I had a nice talk with Marc Myers at the Wall Street Journal the other day. He does a column called “Anatomy of a Song” and we were talking about Different Drum.

I tried to explain the idea of the spiritual center of a song, but I don’t know how well I did. 

When I do these live shows like the ones coming up in October/November I introduce the songs by telling a little something about the narrative they are set in. These narratives are the settings for a song -- like a gemstone is set in a ring or set in a bracelet. It’s not what the song is about necessarily but more how the song lives in my mind – like a mind movie.

The spiritual center is what gives the song its luster and color and meaning and informs the setting it is in. These settings vary but they all gather meaning from the songs.

I have written before how “songs sing us” – and that is more than a phrase. This ability to sing us is what makes a song live and breathe. Why we sing in the car and along with the radio and in an audience. A song takes us over in a specific way that causes us to let it sing -- one of the great features of a song, I think.

Mind movies are fun for me, too. They are a wonderful part of the creative process of song writing --bringing an idea into the world -- although creative process doesn’t quite describe the way a song comes to life for me. Creation is not so much a process as it is a discovery of something as it comes into view.

Songs start in mind as sound and rhythm with syllables and bits of words that may change as the song’s spiritual center starts to emerge and assert itself. The spiritual center forms the words that express it and the melody that surrounds it and at last the mind movie that sets it.

I’ve been hard at work writing down the mind movies for this coming tour. I’ll play more songs than last tour and it is great fun for me to watch these new mind movies that have been dormant – just waiting for the chance to come out and play.

I suppose each of us have a spiritual center of our own – what makes us who we are – our ethics and morals and character – our point of view and the settings we create for ourselves – the mind movies that become our experience.

All around me I see systems of ideas, each with their own spiritual center, creating these songs and mind movies -- creating life as we know it.

We start in Phoenix on the 27th. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Karaoke Anyone?

How many of you have been to a Karaoke Party?

(I mean, really.  Don't be afraid to raise your hand)

Okay, now how many of you SING ALONG to any and all Monkee songs?

(See, nobody is shy now!)

Frankly, it's not that different.  Especially if you do it with friends.  In costume.

It's like the tv show itself, give into the silliness & just enjoy yourself!

The above picture is of "Sleepy Jean" of Boston, who generally is excellent at rockin' out and hosting this kind of event.  ALL of her Karaoke parties are Epic!  (And seriously FUN)  I want her to visit my NYC "Sushioke" pals (Sushi+Karaoke=Awesome).  

We sang "Steppin Stone" and "Clarkesville", in addition to a wide range of songs from the 60's to the modern age. (That's the beauty, the possibilities are plentiful!)

Your Wacky Author, 
Tamara's Gonna Be Another Day

Licensing VS Love

Lots of fans have incredible artistic streaks, which naturally manifest into some kind of tribute.  A tangible object shares their vision with other fans.  A bracelet, necklace, bumper sticker, tshirt, oil painting, book or event bring us all together.  But where is the line that divides "tribute" from "licensing issue"?

The huge fear of the Licensing Monster rearing its ugly head is legitimate because it seems to strike arbitrarily and without notice.  And I think it STOPS fans from pursuing their ideas and HARMS the relationship they have with "The Monkees" brand/band/people/fans.   People who do this out of love do NOT plan to get rich, but to do channel all their Monkee energy.

Ironically, every fan arrives to the party FULLY aware of Raybert and Don Kirshner.  We all own various images of The Boys: on lunchboxes, in plastic, and in various magazines.  They didn't get any/enough royalties from the music and less from the merchandising royalties. And they get NOTHING from the sales of the memorabilia. With the standard $30 autographs and photos at the convention, they are working at making up the difference.

So what is a loyal fan to do?

The Monkees Convention 2014 was just announced for next March.  So maybe now would be a great time to iron out licensing issues.  At the convention last year, there were several tables selling Original Art (granted, I paint landscapes on the backs of mousetraps).  Some involved sketches of The Boys done on t-shirts or buttons, etc.  The vendors' contract included the phrase  "we suggest that Monkees & 60's merchandise (including British Invasion) dominate (or appear to dominate) your table space.  The only exception to this rule is obvious: absolutely no bootlegs or unauthorized merchandise" Do you have to get authorization for all your merchandise?  How do you even begin to do that?  And why would the lawyers even care about that sketch of Mike you did and put on a button that you are selling for $2?

There is a woman who had created a book about Micky, self-published it online, and later was contacted by Micky's lawyers who demanded it be taken down.  I don't know where this issue is right now, but she has made it public on FB, so I feel comfortable sharing this much.  She had also contacted Henry Diltz to use photos, but his people came back with a huge number for licensing which precludes her from using any of his photos.  I was told later that it was an issue of her using MD's name, rather than any issue involving pictures.  So are we allowed to use "Micky"?  Or "George Michael Dolenz"?  Can she use his name as a "search term" on something like Amazon?

And why is M----- D------ going after her in the first place?

There was a HUGE case involving Shepard Fairey and his portrait of Obama.  In the Monkeeworld, it is not likely that there will be a huge internet meme crossing over into the realm of profitability.  I would love if the rules be made public; what the official "Monkee Lawyers" would go after and why.

What about artists who do pictures of pictures?  Or karaoke?  Or . . .

ESPECIALLY in the internet age, the traditional policy might evolve.  What if a major concession includes the idea of linking back to the "copyright owner's" website?  Aren't we all on the same side?


Ongoing questions I'd like you (readers) to chime in on.  Either in the comments below or in person.  It seems like a conversation we should all have publicly.  (Maybe get the lawyers up onstage and answer questions directly)

1) In what context are fans allowed to use the names of The Boys or "The Monkees" or song titles or song lyrics?

2)Is there any kind of blanket agreement/declaration that would allow fans to creatively express their love without calling upon the wrath of The Monster?  A standard percentage?  Contacting someone in particular?  What if you don't expect to make more than $100 in profits, or none at all??

3) What are the basic guidelines that any fan should consider when creating any tribute?

4) How much info needs to be made public, especially in terms of transparency?  Contact info for lawyers? How much of a percentage goes to the charity? (Does the consumer need to know?)

5)What issues have you heard of?  Have you ever bought anything that you felt guilty about?


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