Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Saturday Kids (Or My Monkee Tribute Band Fantasy, Being Act One of Three)

I recently attended a performance of a Beatle tribute band, Rain, and most thoroughly appreciated the performance. Heavy on Lennon songs, great Lennon vocals, and the occasional Macca input kept the performance highly enjoyable.  Plus the ability to have a couple of Minneapolis local beers while listening to the show made the concert highly fantastic. Sure, you can't get around the Macca standards "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be", but when you pull out "In My Life" in Abbey Road outfits, who cares?

That left me to think; how cool would it be if I created and performed in a Monkee's tribute band?  One could say : why would you want to be in a Monkees tribute band?  They were fake, they were made for TV, they were Beatle clones, they were made to make cash, etc etc etc. I do not doubt all of this is very true; however, at the same time, their music is absolutely fantastic, and parallels anything that the 1960's produced.  If one were to ask me : "hey you, would you rather hang out with Mickey Dolenz or Michael Nesmith in the mid 60's over Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan?", I would like say "hell yeah, I would."  I don't doubt Sir Paul and Robert are on the forward list of 20th century artistic geniuses, but that doesn't mean they don't come off stuffy, pretentious, and boring.  I would think the insight of the Monkee boys of that time period would be much more enlightening.

So with that in mind, let's go back to my fantasy.  The idea of this post is to create a "live" play list:

  • List the song title
  • Have a corresponding YouTube video of the song (sorry for the commercial breaks ahead of the video)
  • Discuss some of my ideas of the song, and what I would do to spice it up a bit (if needed)

Here we go.  Imagine sitting in my local coffee shop, sipping on a couple of Toppling Goliath brews, and waiting for myself and three other musicians to come on stage and begin the performance of a life time. So it begins!

First up, She, from the album "More of the Monkees" :

A great, early classic 60's girl styled song to get the show going.  Lots of good harmonies, a solid baseline, and great Dolenz vocals.  There isn't much I'd do to change this one outside of perhaps jangling the guitar part a bit more. I'd let this one ring out with style.  I'd then merge into...

Saturday's Child, from the album "The Monkees" :

Classic guitar riff to start the song; a bit of a garage band/proto punk intro leading into more fantastic Dolenz vocals.  Quickly the songs leads into the recurring chorus of "Saturday's Child'. Echoing counter points that, again, ring out early 60's harmonies (first heard @ :28).  The instrumental break starting at 1:28 brings the entire song to a Kink like freakout.  The only thing I would possibly do is bring the guitar background at the chorus to the front.  Let that Rickenbacker sound jangle, I say...then to

This Just Doesn't Seem to be My Day, from the album "The Monkees" :

The Monkees go Far East on this one.  The first one on the set list that is a Jones vocal, this one seems to have attempted to replicate the mid 60's zen style of the Stones, Kinks and Beatles.  A great change of pace for the set list; again, the only thing I'd do is bring that awesome guitar sound that is so often buried in the choruses of their songs.  Now, it's be time to go Diamond...

Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow, "More of the Monkees" :

An instant Monkee/Neil Diamond classic.  Lots of great harmonies again, with Davy taking the lead on a great lyric.  The chorus erupts into quite a bit of intensity very quickly starting at @:32, and only gets better and better.  I love this song, and I feel even the hipster kids at the coffee shop get into this one.  No doubt, it is time for another Toppling Goliath after this one.  There isn't much I'd take out of this one, outside of perhaps removing/reducing the keyboard part.  As far as 60's pop music, this one is an absolute classic. Now on to the wool hatted one, Michael Nesmith...

Tapioca Tundra, The Birds, The Bees, and the Monkees :

Michael Nesmith = Damon Albarn, anyone?  The muted vocals, minor chord progressions and surrealist lyrics scream of pyschedelic 60's; yet the vocal cycles starting @ 1:54 and the outtro beginning @ 2:25 reminds me more of Blur's 13 than Sgt Pepper.  A true Nesmith classic, and no modification needed as far as I'm concerned. Act one is almost up, time to close with an oft forgotten and somber classic...

Sometime in the Morning, More of the Monkees :

Another top notch Dolenz vocal track.  I've always found the guitar part comforting and the chords at the chorus spine tingling.  I've been listening on/off to the Monkees since 4th grade, and this song is one that I never tire of. The chord progression @ 2:06 and on takes the song to another level. Again, in my honest opinion, not much is needed for change.  And the perfect way to end the first act.  Time for a Zeelander!

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