The Monkees turn 50 this year - and the celebration is just getting bigger and bigger! Rhino has already released two titles in conjunction with the label's Start Your Ear Off Right campaign, The Classic Album Collection and The Cereal Box Singles (watch this space for reviews soon!), and the eagerly-awaited Blu-ray box set of the classic television show is due on April 29. Today, Rhino and Micky Dolenz took to Rolling Stone to confirm more big news: the first new Monkees album in 20 years. June 10 is the date for Good Times!, produced by Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger.
Dolenz explained the new album's genesis to Rolling Stone: "There have been some recent personnel changes at Rhino and the incoming personnel were very, very pro and positive about the Monkees. [Rhino executives] John Hughes and Mark Pinkus both said they wanted us to make a new album, and they spelled out the exact kind of album that would go down well with the 50th anniversary and with our fans."
Good Times! promises to live up to its title with new songs penned for The Monkees by Schlesinger, Noel Gallagher, Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard, Andy Partridge, and Zach Rogue, alongside newly-completed recordings of songs by Neil Diamond, Carole King and the late Harry Nilsson. The album's title track was written by Nilsson and recorded in 1968 with Mike Nesmith on guitar and Harry providing a guide vocal; that recording has been completed here as a duet between Nilsson and his good friend Dolenz. Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Wasn't Born to Follow" and Diamond's "Love to Love" have also been revisited and completed for the Good Times! release. (The backing track of "Wasn't Born to Follow" and a version of "Love to Love" have been previously released.)
Both Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork are confirmed to sing and play on Good Times!, but Rolling Stone initially reported that there are currently no formal plans for Mike Nesmith to contribute new vocals or instrumentation. (As a songwriter, he will be represented by "I Know What I Know" on the album.) However, Monkees Live Almanac has quoted Rhino's John Hughes on February 9 that Nesmith will, indeed, be a part of the sessions: "[Producer] Adam (Schlesinger)...is working very closely with all three guys...all three are on the album and full participants...playing on tracks, singing (obviously), contributing songs...it's really all The Monkees, and that includes Davy." The late Jones will be heard on Diamond's "Love to Love," perhaps with Dolenz contributing new harmonies. Dolenz and Tork will also be taking to the road for The Monkees' 50th anniversary tour, with U.S. dates lined up from May 18 to October 29, and each ticket purchased on Ticketmaster will include a download of Good Times!.
Watch this space for more details on Good Times!, which is due June 10 from Rhino on CD and July 1 on LP, and all things Monkees!
To pre-order Good TImes! (track listing TBD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Links TBD
Sad that Nez isn't really involved at the moment. From what I've read the album isn't complete yet so maybe he has a change of heart & contributes some vocals & guitar but I won't hold my breathe. Come on Mike you only get one 50th!
Charlie Ray says
If Nesmith isn't on it, it's far less interesting news. Seeing the three of them together on tour was great, but without Mike, then it's basically Micky Dolenz / Peter Tork album. Great guys, but it's not the Monkees without Mike.
Damn.....no Mike Nesmith....he's not touring either......
I'll pick up the CD but pass on the tour........its a shame because the two recent tours that he took part in were fantastic -- the two shows I saw were amazing !!!!
I did read somewhere the last day or two that a Nesmith written track will be on the album - I assumed he was doing lead vocals on it but I guess I'm wrong.....damn....
its always got to be spoiled by someone, but really without Davy it is hard to be excited about it anyway regardless of Mike's holding out.
No offense to Davy, who had his moments for sure, but he (and whoever was writing for him) could always be counted on for some syrupy dreck too.
While it would've been great to have all four of them together for the album and a tour, the lack of Davy could've also meant a higher batting average of the songs on the album. But the lack of Nez more than defeats that. I love both Micky and Peter but, let's face it, they ain't Nez. This album is now a lot less interesting if he's not on board. Should still be better than Pool It though (how could it not be?).
Then again, given how lousy Justus was, which had Mike on it, there's still no guarantees. I got to see the 2014 tour with Nesmith though, and that was great fun. They did a nice job paying tribute to Davy (each of the three survivors taking a verse of "Daydream Believer" was great!) and it was cool to see and hear Nez sing and play. Dream come true!
I was willing to give it a chance WITH Mike, but if he's not involved, I'll probably pass. But maybe I'll be proved wrong. Maybe Mickey and Peter and collaborators will come up with a surprise winner. Not placing any bets on it, though.
Brad Skistimas says
I love Nesmith, always been my favorite Monkee. That being said, Pool It! is still actually one of my favorite Monkee albums and I think a good deal of care and attention will go into this album, I am expecting good things (neh, Good Time?) from this album. It has some great people involved already and the fact that they are bringing some older tracks to light is a plus for the nostalgist in me. I'm not surprised by Nesmith's lack of involvement at the moment, that's how he's always been. If it does end up being a Dolenz/Tork album that is kind of neat in itself because there have been so many concoctions of Monkee line ups... Dolenz/Jones/Nesmith on "Instant Replay" "Presents" then just Dolenz/Jones on "Changes," then Dolenz/Jones/Tork on "Pool It!" and finally "Dolenz/Tork/Nesmith on tour last year... it is what it is and that's kind of the cool thing about the Monkees over the years. I'm excited.
Pool It? Really?
Ugh, that "modern" 80s production just killed the project (not to mention very little, if any, playing or writing from Micky, Peter, or Davy). It was exactly what The Monkees did not need. It's my hope that this new album, no Nesmith aside, plays to their strengths and is a power-pop/rock album with Farfisa or Hammond organ, a Fender Rhodes, or maybe even a Moog?
Make a 60s album in 2016. No modern synths, no drum machines, etc.
When Micky says the Rhino people told him what kind of album they think Monkess fans would want, that is what I hope they mean. With people like Partridge, Gallagher, Cuomo, etc., involved, it might just be.
No Nesmith is really a drag, and it dampens my enthusiasm (same for the tour, although so far they aren't coming to my town), but I think this album may still surprise us all.
Oh, and I hope Peter plays some banjo on the album too!
I think it was Dolenz / Tork on That Was Then, This Is Now - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere and Kicks when the revival first kicked off.
I love this band but can these guys really not just retire? It was ridiculous at "Pool It."
Agreed that Pool It is garbage, and so was Justus, but I think this producer and the writers involved could be game-changers. These guy are actual fans, and I think Rhino's looking for something that sounds like an actual MONKEES album, which those other two did not.
If nothing else, I'm intrigued to hear what Partridge comes up with. XTC did some pretty cool, trippy stuff. An album that sounds like Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones (or maybe some tracks that could've been on Head? I can dream) would be a real treat!
The older tracks being finished up could also distiguish this one. "Love to Love" is an odd choice since it's been released before and sounded finished to me, but it's cool little tune that puts Davy on the album."Wasn't Born To Follow" is a great tune (the Byrds releaed it back in the day), and I always wanted to hear the Monkees version. And at least we're getting one Nesmith composition!
It sucks Mike's not taking part on the album or tour, and maybe this album will be as forgettable as the 80s and 90s recordings, but I think it's got potential. And why not do something special for the 50th anniversary?
Steve Bruun says
Another songwriter working on the album is Andy Partridge from XTC. He has submitted at least three songs for the group's consideration, and one of them, "You Bring The Summer," has been confirmed for the album. No word yet on whether any of the songwriters will be playing on the album.
I hope Michael Nesmith can be persuaded to participate in the new sessions, even if he won't go out on the upcoming tour.
A few years ago, when Rhino Handmade started including backing tracks on its deluxe Monkees reissues, it occurred to me that the Monkees could put together a "new" album in a week just by adding vocals to the vintage tracks. Clearly someone close to the band (Sandoval, maybe?) had a similar idea. I'm also all in favor of having Adam Schlesinger produce new songs by more modern writers. I just hope that the old and the new will gel together and work as an album. Too soon to tell, because they haven't even finished recording it yet.