HomeSixtiesWas “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen Obscene?


Was “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen Obscene? — 1 Comment

  1. Hey there,

    I just want to make a few observations about your monograph on the Monkees. One thing you claim in the book is that none of the singles from Headquarters really went anywhere with the public, but aside from Randy Scouse Git, released in the UK, there WERE no singles from the album and only was son was included a a b-sides this has always perplexed me. There are a number of single-worthy tracks on the record. Moreover, the Monkees were always more popular in America than in the UK, so I really have no doubt that Randy would have been a number 1 hit in America. It could have changed the course of the Monkees as a group if a Monkee-played and Monkee-written tune became another chart topper in the States. It may have give Micky the confidence to keep drumming, and least on some tracks. Sure, he wouldn’t have been able to play Goin’ Down, but the drums on Daydream Believer are not difficult at all. There are a few tracks with tricky drum parts on Pisces, but for the most part, it’s not a drum album. Mickey could have done at LEAST half of it if he had the confidence. By the way, I’ve always wondered why only one single was release on the first four or five albums. Sure, Kirshner was a pain in the butt, but why not release a couple more?? Mary Mary in particular is a great song, and one of the all time best songs titled with a girl’s name. And The Girl I Knew Somewhere is so darn catchy, it would have made a great a-side. To me, it seems like the Monkees were hampered by a bunch of bad decisions (but I will not discount the influence of Kirshner in getting them going).

    One such bad decision was the band line-up. Micky was quite competent on guitar, and Peter was great. They were probably both better guitarists than Mike, but mike was the real talent, because he had heavy duty song writing chops, unlike Peter would could barely get a song finished to save his life. Yes, it probably wouldn’t have been a great idea to put Davy behind the drums. But they could well have used a touring drummer while the four Monkees could have a nice, less garage-band sound if they had two guitars, bass, and keyboard when necessary, and it would have big a big deal if Micky or Davy took the drums on some tracks where they didn’t need extra instruments. Mike would have made a great rhythm guitar player and peter a great lead guitar player and piano player. That way, it wouldn’t have sounded as if they were doing cover versions of their own songs with a single guitar. Anyway, to my mind, Mike’s songs truly defined the Monkees sound for me. They sound so much more organic than the songs of hired songwriters (with the exception of Goffin and King). It’s hard to see why Kirshner couldn’t recognize that, but I guess he was a money man, not a music man. When I listen to the Monkees, I really only ever listen to the songs that Mike, Peter, and Micky wrote. Like I said, organic. And what’s more, against all odds, they made fantastic music without Kirshner and the Wrecking Crew.

    I also think you made a mistake in suggesting that on Pisces, each of the Monkees went to the studio individually and used only session musicians. Mike and Peter played together on most of the tracks, and Micky was almost always involved in some way. I wish Mike had brought Peter in for banjo on What am I Doin’ Hangin’ Round. I wonder why he didn’t, especially since he tried his best to get Peter included on tracks for the first two albums. It was the following album that saw the Monkees revert almost entirely to session musicians, but maybe it was a fair trade since the Monkees blossomed creatively and had creative control. Still, Headquarters and Pisces are the best two albums of the bunch.

    Also, I think I would take exception to your claim that the Monkees didn’t really like each other. I read somewhere that the Monkees and the crew (minus Nesmith) routinely got together to play softball on weekends. And didn’t Davy live with Michael for a time? I don’t think the show would have worked at all, despite training, if the guys didn’t like each other.

    Another thing I’m not sure you’re correct about is that the 1997 shows in England were poorly attended. From what I’ve read, they were jam packed, but you are correct that the critics panned the show (however, I think they did get good reviews for their album release concert at Hard Rock.

    You say that Mike was pretty isolated from the rest of the group, and that is true, but I had the chance to meet him last year and he was extremely warm and kind. It was a meet and greet, during which everyone got a personal moment or two with Nez. There were several major idiots there who wanted a picture taken with him giving them a hug, and he actually did it.

    I have to disagree that Mike reunited with the other guys because he needed the money. He has been quite a wealthy man since the late 70s from his mom’s white out fortune, but he also started Pacific Arts, a highly profitable video distribution company. He also won a law suit related to that company that was worth many millions.

    Sorry, didn’t mean for that to be so long, but those are my 2 cents.

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