This past weekend, I took my nine year old daughter to DC to meet up with one of my sisters to go see the Monkees in concert.
I am overcome with emotion. As I compose this post, I am crying.
You may think I am crazier than I already am because I am crying over a Monkees concert For Pete’s Sake (that’s a Monkee joke… look it up). But please read me out as I try to explain my feelings in words I know that will never be adequate.
When I was growing up, I watched the first syndication of The Monkees on TV. This was the 70s, so about ten years after the show was on the air. Ten years later, I became a nutso fan, fueled by my sister (mentioned above). We saw them in concert several times and went to conventions. We even saw Mike join them in LA. It was a fun time and a part of my childhood I will not forget. Although I seemed to forgot that I joined Micky on stage to sing Rio Rio Chiu. I also remember a couple of things about this time in my life… I remember being sick to my stomach before going to a convention in Chicago. I remember being ill in the hotel room. Looking back I realize that it was the beginning of the signs of the depression and anxiety I now live with.
Once I went away from college, I moved away from the music that had meant so much to me. About ten years ago, I started listening again to Papa Nez’s solo stuff, but kind of gave up on the group as a whole.
Most people have music that brings back incredible memories. The Monkees are my memories. Many true lovers of the 1960s music scene look upon them as bubblegum trying to imitate the Beatles. Sure, I admit that is how they started. But once they demanded they write and they perform, the quality of the music changed so much for the better.
So why am I so emotional about seeing them last night? I wish I had a straight answer, but I don’t. The best I can come up with I will write in the form of a note to each member.
To Davy Jones,
I will admit to you right here and now that you were my least favorite of the guys. Part of it was because everyone seemed to have you as their favorite and I wanted to be different. I guess I also felt that you seemed to always live off your Monkees glory days and not move on like the others. I remember seeing you perform in the show The Real Live Brady Bunch at Virginia Tech in the early 90s. You were hysterical and it was nice meeting you after the show. You were so nice, but I admit I was disgusted when I saw someone with you bring up two girls to you after the show. I made an assumption about why they were brought to you, and I there is a chance I am wrong, but somehow I doubt it.
I would like to take this time to apologize. I realize now that it’s not that you lived off the heyday, but that you really loved it. You enjoyed what you did and how you affected people. I read arrogance in what was humor. When you died, a part of my childhood died too. Two months and one day later, my father passed away. So hearing your voice and the tribute the guys did this year really hit me harder than I thought. You really impacted so many in your life and you are greatly missed.
To Micky Dolenz,
I still think you have one of the best voices in rock and roll. Your energy onstage brings out the best in everyone around you. I really admire your talents, but also that you take the time to speak with fans. The way you speak about your children and include your family in all that you do is amazing and something to be admired and imitated.
To Peter Tork,
This will be the hardest one to write. I love watching you perform on stage. Your talents as a musician are to be envied. What instrument CAN’T you play? But I am going to tell a story on you that few people know. One that has touched me so much and makes me cry whenever I think about it.
It was April 17th or 18th, 2007. Our little community in Blacksburg, VA had just been shaken after a lunatic decided he didn’t want to live anymore and took the lives of 32 students, faculty, and staff at Virginia Tech. When people could not get through to VT, they would call our office in Blacksburg and we were tired, overwhelmed, and in mourning. The phone rang in the office and I answered. A lady called and said she was a representative for Peter Tork and that Peter wanted to come to our community and play a concert as a benefit and who should she speak with to make it happen. I think I sent her to the local theatre in downtown. Unfortunately you did not get to come. More “popular” performers came to VT and played for free in the stadium. But I will never forget your generosity. I am so glad I took that call that day. Peter, if you ever see this, on behalf of the Hokies, I thank you.
Dear Michael Nesmith,
I guess I could say you are my favorite of the guys. Your storytelling ability is the best I have heard. Sometimes it seems that your songs were written about me. The Crippled Lion is my favorite song because I know “my path is planned, but not rehearsed.” When I was pregnant with my first child, I was told to get a focus point for labor and I chose your music. In all honesty, you didn’t help the labor move along, but it did calm me down. Either it was your music or the pain meds, I don’t know. But you have helped me in times of emotional blackness. Your love for words, music, and your odd humor make you such a musical blessing. For someone whose talents mean so much to me, I am totally at a loss to say anything to you other than “Thank You” for bringing so much joy to my heart.
So I guess that is it. Once again, a poor choice of words for something so emotional.