August 12, 2011

"They're Too Busy Putting People Down to Sing."

Taranto's riff on the headline "The Monkees Cancel Nine Remaining Tour Dates."

If you're not a baby boomer and don't get it...

72 comments:

timmaguire42 said...

But who are The Monkeys putting down?

Fred4Pres said...

Too bad. I caught this show with my kids and it was great.

t-man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t-man said...

As a GenX-er (along with Taranto), I would bet that I have seen more episodes of The Monkees, more often, than any baby boomer. The short-lived show was an afternoon rerun for kids my age.

Fred4Pres said...

From past history they are likely putting each other down. But when I saw them Mickey, Peter, and Davey seemed to having a good time.

Curious George said...

Mike's mother invented "White Out".

The Crack Emcee said...

Mickey Dolenz is an ego maniac. Mike "Repo Man" Nesbith (sp?) is brilliant, which is why he never does these things. Peter Tork was my favorite as a kid. Never thought about Davey.

As far as columnists go, James Taranto is close to being a national treasure. He'd actually be one if more people read him, but, except for online, I don't know anyone who does.

Ann Althouse said...

"But who are The Monkeys putting down?"

They're putting you down, Tim.

Irene said...

Maybe Mike Nesmith doesn't do these things because perhaps he got a good chunk of money from Mom's sale of the "Liquid Paper" company to Gillette.

Ann Althouse said...

If there were a modern "Dictionary of Received Ideas," the entry under "The Monkees" would be "Mike Nesmith's mother invented Wite-Out."

machine said...

I am a baby boomer and this is not a video of "The Monkees"...its from a TV movie or something...

Mike Nesmith also invented Country-rock and MTV...

Ann Althouse said...

I mean Liquid Paper.

Ann Althouse said...

Liquid Paper is a much trippier name than Wite-Out.

Ann Althouse said...

Wite-Out sounds a little racist.

Ann Althouse said...

And since the ink you're trying to efface is, in fact, black, "Wite-Out" is a misnomer. Correcting that misnomer would seem really racist.

Ann Althouse said...

"I am a baby boomer and this is not a video of "The Monkees"...its from a TV movie or something..."

???

Sometimes the embed doesn't work for some people... but this should be the opening credits for "The Monkees," which contains the lyric that makes Taranto's joke comprehensible.

t-man said...

This may win as the post with the most Althouse-herself comments.

wv: "almlay" - charity sex

traditionalguy said...

This is a monkeying around post for sure.

ESPN notes that the 2 leaders after day one at the PGA are from Wisconsin. Who would have thunk?

The cadre of young Europeans are being beat at last.

But Tiger has been monkeying around. He is now 14 strokes behind the leader after day one.

Rialby said...

Speaking of Wite Out - when does the Wisconsin State Fair end?

Robert Cook said...

"Sometimes the embed doesn't work for some people... but this should be the opening credits for 'The Monkees,' which contains the lyric that makes Taranto's joke comprehensible."

Go back and take a look at the linked video. It's actors recreating the iconic opening credits sequence from the tv show...it is not the actual Monkees in this clip.

Mark O said...

Looks like Ann's awake. And another thing. Wait, wait.

A poor, contrived, miserable simulacrum of The Beatles.

EDH said...

The best thing the Monkees ever gave us was Head.

machine said...

thank you Robert Cook. The video is not the opening credits of "The Monkees"...

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Ellison said...

Best Monkees songs:

"Daydream Believer"
"Last Train to Clarksville"
"I'm a Believer"
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Steppin' Stone"

These are seriously good songs. During the Monkees's era, people scorned them because they were a manufactured group that didn't write its own material. Much like Elvis.

Do the two "Believer" songs signal that the Monkees were actually an underground religious-revival vector?

Robert Cook said...

I would add "You Just May Be The One" to the list of great Monkees songs. There are others, I'm sure, but this is a favorite that leaps to mind immediately.

A Nesmith song, not surprisingly; he was a great songwriter.

machine said...

Mike Nesmith does not need his mother's "white-out" money...as noted earlier, he started the music video channel that became MTV (and was paid well for it), he won the first Grammy for a music video which greatly helped the sales of his "video" album, and his company won a $49 million lawsuit against PBS...

edutcher said...

Torkelson and Dolenz look like Hell.

Jones looks like Boehner.

Ellison is right about the Monkees' creation. Don Kirshner was asked by Columbia to create a group to do a Beatles parody series. His big fox paws was that he used actors, rather than musicians and this caused mega-outrage since everything initially was lip-synced and they didn't play any instruments.

machine said...

Mike Nesmith does not need his mother's "white-out" money...as noted earlier, he started the music video channel that became MTV (and was paid well for it), he won the first Grammy for a music video which greatly helped the sales of his "video" album, and his company won a $49 million lawsuit against PBS...

I believe Nesmith invented the concept of the music video, as well, so he's as much the innovator as Mom.

Carol said...

Nesmith wrote some great songs - "Different Drum," "JoAnne," and "Some of Shelley's Blues." Smart guy. He was always my favorite.

Lots of people put them down for not playing their own instruments (much) but neither did most the LA bands of the time, whose music was mostly provided by the Wrecking Crew session players.

The Crack Emcee said...

Don't leave out "Valleri" as a great Monkees song.

They were a good band.

Irene said...

Image search.

howzerdo said...

The article cryptically says it was business issues, then later elaborates, that it was scheduling. But I wonder if it was sluggish ticket sales? This is speculation due to anecdote, but the performances and concerts I have been to recently have been half empty, when in the past they would have been sold out for weeks. They were even offering upgrades to better seats at the show. The economic times could not be more apparent.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

And since the ink you're trying to efface is, in fact, black, "Wite-Out" is a misnomer. Correcting that misnomer would seem really racist.

Ye gods. It evolved from blacking-out. You know? WWII and ink? WWII and lights? No further depth, and certainly no racism, that's just dumb.

cassandra lite said...

Carol, the L.A. bands didn't play their own music?!?! Can't imagine where you got that. Byrds? Doors? Buffalo Springfield? (Good thing Steve Stills was rejected during his Monkees audition; true story.) Even the Turtles and Grass Roots played their own music. I saw them all. Live. In person. Both on the Strip and at my high school. Great times.

t-man said...

Well, the economic times has not yet affected Taylor Swift. I took my two girls to her stadium concernt last weekend, and it was packed. 51,000 people (of which about 1,000 males).

Ann Althouse said...

LOL. Fake Monkees. My ears prevail over my eyes.

Chip S. said...

And since the ink you're trying to efface is, in fact, black, "Wite-Out" is a misnomer.

In a blackout, you can't see things because of darkness. In a "Wite-Out," you can't see things because of brightness. So, not a misnomer at all. Cheeseheads should be familiar with the weather condition to which the product's name refers.

Amazingly, both Liquid Paper (owned by Rubbermaid) and Wite-Out (owned by Bic) are still being produced.

SteveR said...

Some will say that The Monkees and the concept of the music video was due to the success of A Hard Days Night

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip S. said...

If the Monkees really didn't sing or play their own instruments, how did they go on tour? Were their stand-ins standing right behind them, or backstage? Did separate people sing and play for each Monkee? What share of the tour proceeds would they be able to bargain for?

If they eventually started singing and playing their own instruments, did their music sound different from before? I wonder how much can be done in post-production.

The Monkees raise a lot of issues for such an innocuous group.

kimsch said...

I prefer the roll-on correction "tape" to the bottles of correction fluid. The "tape" is much smoother and can be written over easier. And that's "written" over, not "typed" over. I only use it for something that's been handwritten or to cover something I don't want to photocopy. I personally know where ONE typewritter is located that I could use if absolutely necessary.

wv: canizeno

jeff said...

I used to watch The Monkeys on Sat morning. It was right before that show with all the chimps that were detectives. Towards the end the show was incomprehensible with all the concert footage of them actually touring. Not that it was Shakespeare before, but I found it entertaining in kind of a marx brothers sort of way.

Bob_R said...

Of course they were a great band: Carol Kaye on Bass, Leon Russell on piano, Hal Blane on drums, Glen Campbell and Louis Shelton on guitar. Best in the business.

Robert Cook said...

"Carol, the L.A. bands didn't play their own music?!?! Can't imagine where you got that. Byrds? Doors? Buffalo Springfield? (Good thing Steve Stills was rejected during his Monkees audition; true story.) Even the Turtles and Grass Roots played their own music. I saw them all. Live. In person. Both on the Strip and at my high school. Great times."

Many bands that played their own instruments live utilized studio musicians in recording...including the Beach Boys.

The live experience is ephemeral and the excitement of the event will often blind one to deficiencies in playing, or one will later forget the lackluster moments in favor of the highlights; a recorded performance will be listened to many times--hopefully--and whether the band members themselves or hired studio hands--or a combination--will be doing the playing, they must take much greater pains to insure everything is played as well as possible.

A whole school of late 60s-early 70s California records were built on a small cadre of expert studio musicians and much overdubbing to build the most flawless recorded performances they could achieve. (This created a body of music that many disdain as "slick," "homogenized," "soulless, " and so on. And much of it was, if the songwriting was not up to the quality of the musical performances.)

ricpic said...

The Monkeys were a studio manufactured answer to the Beatles. That said,I think they were quite good.

Robert Cook said...

"If the Monkees really didn't sing or play their own instruments, how did they go on tour? Were their stand-ins standing right behind them, or backstage? Did separate people sing and play for each Monkee? What share of the tour proceeds would they be able to bargain for?

"If they eventually started singing and playing their own instruments, did their music sound different from before? I wonder how much can be done in post-production."


The Monkees did their own singing. Nesmith and Tork were musicians coming in, and Davy Jones had been a song and dance performer for several years. They expected to play on their recordings and were surprised when first entering the studios to record their vocals and they discovered they would not be permitted to participate in the playing of the instruments.

Later, their exploding popularity gave them leverage to pressure their management to allow them--well, Tork and Nesmith, anyway--to play instruments on the records, as well as to contribute songs--which were also originally produced by hired songsmiths such as Carole King and Gerry Coffin, Neil Diamond, Boyce and Hart, etc. After Dolenz got up to speed on drums, they went on tour and played as a real, live band.

Don Kirshner's frustrations dealing with live performers with egos and demands for participation led him to create the all-cartoon band THE ARCHIES.

X said...

I like The New Monkees. A failed reinvention of a fake band. They're actually not bad.

Bob_R said...

Sorry Robert Cook. A little rock and roll history will do you some good. For instance, the only "Byrd" plaing on the studio recording Mr. Tambourine Man is McGuinn on Rickenbacker 12-string. SOP for new bands then. No ProTools to line up the instruments and get everyone playing in time even if they can't do it in the studio. Those were the days of four tracks and time was money. Once a band got good enough to quit its day job and play on the road for several months they were usable. Until then, no way.

Chip S. said...

Thx, RC.

Robert Cook said...

"Sorry Robert Cook. A little rock and roll history will do you some good. For instance, the only "Byrd" plaing on the studio recording Mr. Tambourine Man is McGuinn on Rickenbacker 12-string. SOP for new bands then."

And I said something contrary to this...how?

Bob_R said...

And BTW, the assertion that the Monkees thought they would be playing on the albums when they were hired is hotly disputed. The Kirshner side is that everyone understood originally that they were to be actors and singers - that was the casting call - that was the job description. It was only after the press decided that this was "inauthentic" that the "revisionist" job description circulated. The Monkees side sounds better on made for TV movies, but it's not clear what the truth really is.

Bob_R said...

@Robert Cook - Sorry, my mistake. I took something you quoted for something you said. My apologies.

Bob Ellison said...

AOSIK (Antiquated Office Supply Inventors' Kids) is a Los Angeles company dedicated to signing the offspring of clever inventors to exclusive recording+acting contracts. Their biggest success so far, rapper Pencil Stub, has not lived up to his potential.

Robert Cook said...

BobR.

...s'alright, dude!

jr565 said...

Cassandra lite wrote:
Carol, the L.A. bands didn't play their own music?!?! Can't imagine where you got that. Byrds? Doors? Buffalo Springfield? (Good thing Steve Stills was rejected during his Monkees audition; true story.) Even the Turtles and Grass Roots played their own music. I saw them all. Live. In person. Both on the Strip and at my high school. Great times.


in the case of the bytes, there is some small truth to that. At least on the first single or so. The only one who played on tambourine man was mcguinn (maybe Crosby),though they did sing. Mike Clarke at the time was hired off the street because he looked good, and I don't think they thought hillman was great on the bass (though, in fact he was really good on the mandolin). After the first single or so, though, the Byrds told the record company to eat shit and ended up playing their instruments going forward.

jr565 said...

Bytes=Byrds

timmaguire42 said...

Ann Althouse said...They're putting you down, Tim.

Me?!?

But..but..(as an old girlfriend used to say, "who you calling a butt butt?")

jr565 said...

And by "they" I meant, the record companies, not the Byrds, who were happy with their musical ability.

LordSomber said...

My favourite movie is 12 Monkees.

chickenlittle said...

@Sixty Grit: You mentioned Carol Kaye. I kinda sorta did a blog post on her: link

Toot toot!

Triangle Man said...

This video is the season one intro and theme song.

Indigo Red said...

@Bob Ellison - ...so far, rapper Pencil Stub, has not lived up to his potential.

With the name Pencil Stub and few have heard of him, I'd say he has lived up to his potential.

Irene said...

"LOL. Fake Monkees. My ears prevail over my eyes."

Is a revival band that consists of part of the original, aging members of a group better than a "review" band that seeks to recreate the group's original vibe?

I grew up next door to a kid who was crazy about the Beatles. We all were crazy about the Beatles, but he was super-duper crazy about them. The kid was an excellent musician. He could hear a tune at the age of eight or nine and play it perfectly on the piano. He continued to study piano well after I stopped taking lessons.

Long after the Beatles broke up, and after he finished college, he still had Beatles on the brain. When our neighborhood flooded badly in the 1980s—I mean badly enough that the water was nearly rising through the basement ceilings—he propped up the "Help!" poster in his Mom's big bay window.

Who knew! He has made a career during the last thirty years or so of working in a Beatles review-type band that is enormously successful and has international recognition.

Trooper York said...

The Monkees are so sixties man.

They are not groovy anymore.

Now you need to listen to Kim Zolciak or<a href="http://youtu.be/kEDvlSAMhQU?> Countess Luann!</a>

Come into the year 2011 babies!

Trooper York said...

That is Countess Luann!

Don't be a drag Daddio!

Trooper York said...

Or youse guys can watch the professor in her younger days when she played bass in the Tom Tom Club.

chickenlittle said...

Et tu, blogfather?

Trooper York said...

Hey I have to catch up on my annoying behavior.

I am even wearing shorts.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Trooper's figured out Altmouth/Weyhouse's secret!

You know that picture of her that keeps getting reposted everywhere? She wants you to think she was studying for a law exam, but she was really writing "Wordy Rappinghood".

chickenlittle said...

Troop Hey I have to catch up on my annoying behavior.

I meant the fawning comparison.


(Oops!)

exhelodrvr1 said...

Jeff,
That was "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp"

Gary Rosen said...

"the Byrds, who were happy with their musical ability."

But they never had another hit as big as "Mr. Tambourine Man".

It goes to bands even bigger than the Byrds. Studio drumming legend Bernard Purdie claims to have played on Beatle records. And I've heard for years that Jimmy Page played on some Rolling Stones records.