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various television shows and was even up for some roles on various pilots. In fact, during the pilot season when I auditioned for “The Monkess,” I was up for three other pilots. Then, even when I got the call that I would be doing the pilot for “The Monkees” I didn’t quit school. I had been around the business all my life and was very aware of how difficult it is to sell a pilot. I had taken about 10 days off to shoot the pilot and then went back to school. Then, a few months later, they sold the pilot and got an order for the show from NBC. It was only then that I left school. LA50: You had put a few little bands together before you did “The Monkees.” How did you feel about being in a band that had been put together for you? MD: Well, we weren’t put together as a band. We were cast as actors, just as they would cast for any Broadway musical or film or television show. “The Monkees” was not a band; it was a television show about an imaginary band. LA50: But you guys did evolve into being a real band. MD: Yes, but at the beginning, I just approached it as an entertainer – an actor – who had been cast into a show, and I still see it that way. To me, it was an acting role that called for me to sing. I remember the producers told me I would be the band’s drummer and I told them I was a guitar player – which is what I did as a part of my audition – I had played “Johnny B. Goode.” And they just said: “Oh, whatever, well now you’re the drummer.” And I said: “Okay fine, when do I start?” It was just like when I was 10-years-old and they told me I was going to learn to ride an elephant. LA50: Before we get too much into how your life changed with the success of “The Monkees,” your dad passed away before you got that show. Have you ever thought about what his feelings might have been about “The Monkees” and the success you achieved? MD: Oh boy. I’ve thought about that so many times and, of course, I’ll never really know. I had asked my mom about that – what she thought he would have thought. He was an old-school guy. He had been born in Italy and was a real “old-country-off-the-boat” type guy. He was a strong disciplinarian who was very set in his ways. When my mom and I talked about that, she sort of implied that he may not have been too thrilled about the whole 1960s free-love and free-spirted, rock ‘n’ roll, hippie lifestyle. But who knows? He was an actor, so I’m sure he would have been thrilled that I got a successful series. One thing I do know for sure is that, had he been around, I would have made a much better deal than I did [laughs]. LA50: Micky, did the producers come up with the characters for “The Monkees” or did each of your own personas surface and evolve as time went by? MD: Before they even began casting for the show the producers had in their heads what they wanted. The show was kind of based on the Marx Brothers more than The Beatles. Even before they cast us, in the pilot script, they had one Jerry Lewis-type wacky guy, one more serious guy with a dry Will Rogers sort of humor, and so on. They wanted very distinct characters to play off one

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another so the comedy would work. Then, when they began casting, they were looking for four guys that jumped out of the screen at you with that undefinable thing that every casting director looks for when they cast a role. LA50: Why do you think “The Monkees” was such a success? Why did it resonate so well with viewers? MD: It was a sitcom about a band who was not successful. It was a very different kettle of fish than “A Hard Day’s Night” or “Help!” In those films, The Beatles played themselves and, like in real life, they were a huge success and had fans chasing them all over. In our show, we were a struggling band who wanted to be like The Beatles. We were always out of work and never reached any level of success as a band within the show. I think kids could relate to that more so than they could to The Beatles, who were these mega-stars. Sitcoms traditionally work because people can relate to the characters and what they are going through. I think kids related to our dream and our struggle for success. I’m always amazed that people, even real fans of the show, missed that dynamic – that within the context of the show, The Monkees, as a band, were not famous or even successful. LA50: But that was a very different story when you separate the four of you as the actual band – The Monkees – from the show “The Monkees.” You were hugely successful with such great songs as “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.” And yet, one of your biggest hits is not one that first comes to mind when people think of The Monkees – your song, “Randy Scouse Git.” MD: That was a big hit for me. It went to Number Two on the charts in England and was only kept out of being a Number One hit by The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields.” That song has the distinction of being the only Monkee song that was written by one of us that made it into the Top 10. LA50: The song is about a party The Beatles, or as you call them in the song - “the four kings of E.M.I” - threw for The Monkees at the Speakeasy nightclub in London. Isn’t it kind of ironic that the song was edged out of being a Number One hit by the very guys who inspired it? MD: [laughing] Oh my, I never really thought of that, but it’s true. I’m very proud of that song. It was a stream-of-consciousness, kind of ‘60s sort of song about that party and just about a lot of things that were going on at the time in my life. In the lyrics, I mention Samantha, whom I call the Wonder Girl, who would go on to become my first wife. I mention Mama Cass. She was the girl in the yellow dress. In fact, the guy I was telling you about that I was going to go into the architectural business with, he became my stand-in on “The Monkees” and then one of our road managers. I also mention him in the song. He’s the

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