I discovered late in life, that I had REALLY only been jealous of one friend in my life. Arlene. She is as wonderful, kind and generous a person who has ever walked this earth. BUT, she got to see the Monkees in concert in New York for one of the few times that Jimi Hendrix opened for them. Citing “artistic differences” with one extension of the third digit he took his leave when all the hormental teens were just screaming for Davy. What a moment.
I waged a full throttle, redheaded campaign to be allowed — at the age of ten (almost)– to go to the Arie Crown Theatre to go and see them. I had it all mapped out. I had the train schedule and had saved for cab fare (at fifty cents a week). (Having questioned my oblivious father what cab fare cost from the Northwestern Station to Arie Crown).
I was set.
They said “NO!!!”
I may forgive them eventually. Haven’t yet. How unreasonable could any set of parents be? I certainly had the worst set of THE most unreasonable parents in the world. I didn’t fail to tell share that fact with them endlessly.
I battled every Monday night to have ONE half hour with the four boys my pre-hormental “Pre Fab” guys provided for me. It martyred my father. I’m sure, given everything else, he received beatification on that fact alone. But I refused to be his remote control for the four channels on the air (pre UHF) unless I could have that time with the Monkees.
Later that same year, I got into an MAJOR argument with my much older brother that the Monkees were SO much better than the Beatles. This conclusion was drawn by WLS-AM (when their was only AM radio and before eight tracks) His head almost exploded all over the wall of his 1963 Chevy Nova.
“Monkeemania”, as it was called, carried me through a major transition in my life. One day, I was in Ellen Puschak’s basement listening ENDLESSLY to “More of the Monkees” somewhat quietly (her dad was a Chicago fireman) and the next we were in the “farm country” of the northwest suburbs where they still grew corn. and I could walk three blocks away and ride a horse (or something that resembled one).
I understand they started out as manufactured. They were one of many sixties bands that were — especially the “bubble gum” bands. But they found a way to take control and make it real. Their version of the Christmas hymn “Riu Chiu” remains one of my all time favorites (in an episode that also starred “Eddie Munster” aka Butch Patrick).
I was just another pre teen praying for Marcia Brady hair, breasts, (not necessarily in that order) and madly in love with the Monkees. Every day I set out to be “groovy” and failed miserably. But I was an unabashed Davy Jones fan. One of the two fan letters I wrote in my life was to Davy. I remember it is how I learned to spell the word offense. In professing my undying love for Davy, I constructed the following sentences: “I love Davy because he loves horses. No offense to you other three fellows, but I do.”
The lack of a response did not deter me. Given my size at the time, I had a jockey school all picked out in California. I planned on going there when I turned sixteen and dropped out of school. I would become a licensed jockey and meet Davy Jones and prove worthy of his love of horses. I did not share these plans with the folks for obvious reasons.
I grew too tall to become a jockey, never having achieved grooviness. I took up showing hunters in little shows near home. I stopped fighting with my hair. The Monkees broke up and life moved on.
Flash forward to 1997. Having failed to get tickets to the 1986 reunion tour, the three remaining Monkees were touring in Minneapolis where we were having our annual family reunion. I grabbed two tickets for my beloved niece, Katie, and myself.
I felt a little ridiculous but triumphant. After all, I had waited thirty years to get to see these guys perform.
What happened next amazed me.
When we got to the theatre, there were literally hundreds of women my age and slightly older with posters, journals, photos and all sorts of memorabilia hoping to get a few seconds with the band.
And here I thought I was in need of intervention…
It was a great show. It was very family friendly with Peter, Mickey and Davy joking about handing out Advil to the girls in the “mosh pit”. They knew their fan base and had a genuine affection for them. They commiserated with the poor husbands who were dragged along to keep their wives from throwing their granny panties on the stage.
It was such a great, though belated, experience. Several years later I took my daughter to another concert/semi-reunion in 2001 and was lucky enough to see Davy Jones last summer. His fan base was still just as strong as ever.
I find myself very sad. It a chapter from my childhood that is permanently closed. Many with more street cred to their names have commented on the untimely demise of Mr. Jones. But I had to try to put down the impact, however subtle, he had on my life. I never got the Marcia Brady hair, the breasts did come eventually, but Davy and I had horses in common. We had that thread. And I’m glad he was around his horses when his time came.
Davy once said he was a very private person living a very public life. I thank you for the public part and am very glad that your funeral yesterday provided you the privacy you craved.
He is missed by many. And by a little girl who ended up in a grown up body.