Epiphone On the Road with The Monkees

Check out the cool pic of our own John Billings playing an Epiphone Jack Casady bass, holding down the low end for Monkee original Micky Dolenz on tour recently.  John will be playing bass for the reunited Monkees when they head out on tour this month.  Congrats, John!

The Monkees are back in a big way with Michael Nesmith returning to the road with his old friends after a long hiatus.  Sadly, Michael, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz will be missing original member Davy Jones, who died last year.  But don't write off The Monkees by any means.  

As evidenced by dozens of hit singles, the cult classic movie Head (featuring Frank Zappa and directed by Jack Nicholson), and their authoritative live shows, The Monkees have been redeemed by fans many times over even if the writers of Rolling Stone still give them a hard time. The Monkees have been trying to stick it to the rock and roll intelligentsia for decades for not taking them seriously.  Are they right? Let's look at the evidence.

The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and even The Beatles were fans of the Monkees and why wouldn't they be? After all, the Wrecking Crew played on early Monkees sessions and helped guide the band into developing their own sound (the early Monkees live shows were good enough to be featured on The Monkees tv show's closing credits as well as many episodes).  Carole King, Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson, Boyce & Hart, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, and Michael Nesmith himself wrote the songs.  The Sex Pistols did a raging cover of "Stepping Stone," one of the great unsung kiss-off singles of the '60s.  So we have great songs, great records, great lives shows, and hip fans: So what's the problem?

Maybe Lester Bangs and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner might disagree, but if you love rock and roll, you're going to have to make peace with The Monkees. What would you rather hear: "I'm A Believer" or Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music? Something tells us the grand lions of rock and roll criticism probably know just as many songs by The Monkees as they do, say, Lou Reed.  And Peter Tork should tell She and Him, Yo La Tengo, and Steve Nieve of the Imposters that he'd like his Farfisa Combo Organ back, please, but thanks for keeping my sound alive.

Step outside your mind and check out The Monkees this summer and look for an interview with John Billings in the near future.