Do you remember watching this wacky TV show back in the day? Even if you’ve watched every episode and listened to every song, chances are there are still plenty of facts about the Monkees you missed.
I say this as a huge fan myself, of course. While other girls my age were focused on more modern teen idols, I fell hard for the “pre-Fab Four” after stumbling upon a rerun of their series when I was in high school. I spent hours looking for every piece of information I could find on the show, the band, and each of the members: Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork.
But after seeing a few of the tidbits listed below, I realized I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought! Take a look to see some of the most surprising facts about the Monkees.
Did we miss any secrets or fun trivia about the group that you remember? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to Liked Video with your friends!
1. Yes, They Played Their Own Instruments
This rumor still persists after so many decades. Though they were hired strictly as actors, all four of them had musical backgrounds and would often jam on set when the cameras stopped rolling.
Micky, who only knew guitar when hired, quickly picked up a talent for the drums before they started their first world tour. As Mike said in a closing interview on one of their episodes, “I’m fixin’ to walk out there in front of 15,000 people, man. If I don’t play my own instruments, I’m in a lot of trouble!”
2. They Had A Huge Black Box On Set
For the second season, the studio created a space where the four members could hang out without their antics getting in the way of setting up shots and preparing scenes.
Instead of ordinary trailers, they literally had a huge black box with a lighting system to signal them when they were needed on set. They could play loud music and make as much ruckus as they wanted until it was time to get to work.
3. Mike Brought His Laundry To His Audition
The producers were not only baffled by the Texan showing up for his interview in the middle of the hot California summer wearing his trademark wool hat, but that he had his laundry bag in tow, too.
His casual demeanor and quick wit sealed the deal.
4. Davy’s Nickname Was «Frito»
He revealed this “secret” in a teen mag back in the day, but unfortunately left out what inspired the odd moniker. Perhaps he was just a big fan of the snack!
5. Micky And Peter Directed Episodes
Micky also penned the story for the series finale, “The Frodis Caper,” while Peter took the helm behind the scenes in the episode “The Monkees Mind Their Manor.”
Peter also used his full name in the director’s credit for the episode: Peter H. Thorkelson.
6. Mike Wrote Linda Ronstadt’s First Hit
Before the series, Mike recorded a solo album under the name Michael Blessing which featured a tune that would later become a hit for Linda and the Stone Poneys, “Different Drum.”
You can hear Mike sing a few lines from the song in the season one episode, “Too Many Girls.”
7. They Outsold The Beatles And The Rolling Stones
In 1967, their albums out-shined two of the biggest names in the music industry when their sales topped both of the British bands’ output combined.
8. Davy Was Almost Drafted By The U.S. Army
Between the first and second season, he fasted for three weeks to drop enough weight that he would bedeemed unfit for duty. The draft board also took into account that he was the sole financial provider for his family.
9. Charles Manson Did Not Audition
A persistent rumor throughout the years has been that the notorious cult leader was among the young men who responded to the casting ad back in 1965. However, this is impossible considering he was serving a sentence in a federal prison at the time.
10. Jack Nicholson Made A Cameo In Their Movie
Jack became friends with the group through their producer Bob Rafelson and actually helped co-write the bizarre film. Unfortunately, the drastic shift in tone from the TV series caused the movie to flop in theaters.
11. They Hated Their Musical Director
Don Kirshner, shown above with some famous female faces he also worked with, was known as “the man with the golden ear,” but the group disagreed with him from day one when he was brought on to supervise and produce their albums.
In one particularly heated argument, Mike actually punched his fist through the wall near Don’s head and claimed, “That could have been your face.”
12. They’re Banned From The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame