Basement Party 2

Basement Party 2

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For the love of Davy

We interrupt our regularly scheduled episode of "Bedroom In the Basement" (today's installment was going to discuss the new Van Halen single) to pay tribute to a guy even shorter than me, Davy Jones, who died suddenly today at the age of 66.

It's hard to recall my earliest memory of the Monkees, but I believe it was sometime back in 1986 when I saw a rerun of their show while at a hotel (possibly on "Nick at Nite?").  The catchy songs and madcap antics of the characters appealed to me, and I remember my parents taking notice of my enjoyment of them. They may have been the first band my dad and I bonded over, as he was a fan of them in his teenage years. This was an excellent example of how the music of the '60s bridged the generation gap. My dad said he had all of the Monkees records, and when we got back home he looked through an old, musty box in the basement to find them for me to listen to. Alas, they were nowhere to be found.

It turns out the Monkee records, along with my dad's Beatles collection (and possibly a copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"), were loaned out to a short-haired, bespectacled babysitter of mine named Janet.  She had wanted to record them onto cassette for her brother, and never returned them. In the meantime my family moved to a town 45 minutes away, putting the final nail in the coffin as far as ever getting them back.

Despite this setback, I continued to enjoy the music of the Monkees over the next 25+ years, and saw many a reunion occur between them. I remember it being a big deal in 1996 when all four members got back together, as Mike Nesmith had often been the lone hold-out for a full fledged reunion. I saw Davy appear as himself on a rerun of "The Brady Bunch," and watched him reprise this role in 1995's "Brady Bunch Movie."

As I got older, I noticed that the Monkees were deeper than I had been led to believe. This was evident after watching their feature film, 1968's 'Head," which was a tripped-out satire. I later discovered that some of their deeper cuts were early examples of the "country rock" style popularized in the late '60s by bands like The Byrds and Poco.

A lot of people slagged them for being actors pretending to be a band, but Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork were accomplished musicians prior to joining (Stephen Stills had recommended Peter Tork for the band after his own failed audition).

So, remembering Davy, I offer my favorite performance of his. The video is a scene from the movie "Head" featuring Davy dancing while singing "Daddy's Song." It spotlights some innovative choreography and cinematography, but what I enjoy the most about it is that it's a happy song with lyrics that are sad.
                                                    David Thomas Jones, 1945-2012

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