Results for The Monkees

interviews

Hal Blaine of The Wrecking Crew

halblainealbum Hal Blaine may not be a household name, but if rock ‘n’ roll is all about the beat, then the 86-year-old drummer is arguably one of the biggest rock stars alive. It's his stamp you hear on some of the biggest records of the 1960's and early '70s. He recorded with Elvis, The Mamas and the Papas, Sam Cooke, Simon & Garfunkel, The Carpenters, Jan and Dean and even Barbra Streisand. That's 38 chart-toppers to be exact, and over 5,000 songs. So if we're comparing successful outputs, that really makes his only rival The Beatles!

Of course the idea of a session musician is something we're familiar with today, but many listeners can probably still remember their own revelation that their favorite acts might not have played their own songs. You expect that of The Monkees, but The Beach Boys? The Byrds? Many of their songs were actually recorded by Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew – a loose organization of California studio players whose members included Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer and more. There was an unspoken pact to keep their hit-making machine a secret, but as time has gone on, they've gotten their due. Hal Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and last month saw the release of The Wrecking Crew, a new documentary directed by Denny Tedesco, son of crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco.

Go to episode 488

Wilco

Getting all six members of the band Wilco on the show is no easy feat. But, this week Jim and Greg were able to snag an hour with the band just before their first U.S. performance in support of Sky Blue Sky, their sixth studio album released last week. The men all met at Northwestern University's Patten Gymnasium, but aside from the shoddy acoustics, it was a treat for all. Those not familiar with Wilco's story, should check out Greg's book Learning How to Die. But, by now, most have heard about the trials and tribulations of Jeff Tweedy and his often-changing cast of characters. The current cast includes Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline, Mike Jorgensen and Pat Sansone. The members of Wilco are all great musicians in their own right with a number of side projects, but, as they explain to Jim and Greg, there is nothing like collaborating with band mates (or living like The Monkees).

A lot has been said about the fact that between the recording of A Ghost Is Born and Sky Blue Sky, chief songwriter and lead singer Jeff Tweedy went to rehab to deal with prescription drug dependency and depression. In fact, with its intense fan base and media scrutiny, there's not a lot about the band that hasn‘t been said. The question is posed as to whether or not Jeff’s recovery affected the music. But, he explains that the biggest effect is just feeling physically healthy. Still, as Jim notes, you can't help but sense a more positive outlook on Sky Blue Sky — a tone that Jeff attributes to maturity more than anything. Listen to the tracks "Side With the Seeds," "Sky Blue Sky," and "What Light," and you be the judge. Then check out the exclusive bonus track, "You Are My Face."

Go to episode 77
specials

The Monkees

Hey, hey, it's The Monkees! Jim and Greg go ape on this episode with Eric Lefcowitz, author of Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made For TV Band. The three men talk about the band's history as a group manufactured to tap into Beatlemania. TV producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider brought bandmates Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones together, and their music was supervised by record producer Don Kirshner. This was the original pop model, giving way to NSYNC, Justin Bieber and Glee. But eventually, as often happens, The Monkees began to itch for independence. They went on to write and produce more of their own music and make the trippy cult classic Head. But for those who want to relive the golden age, rumor has it The Monkees will be“reuniting”(sans Nesmith) this year.

Go to episode 273

The Monkees

Hey, hey it's The Monkees! Jim and Greg go ape on this episode with Eric Lefcowitz, author of Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made For TV Band. Monkees teen icon Davy Jones died last week at age 66, and so Jim and Greg return to this 2011 conversation. The three men talk about the band's history as a group manufactured to tap into Beatlemania. TV producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider brought bandmates Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones together, and their music was supervised by record producer Don Kirshner. This was the original pop model, giving way to N'Sync, Justin Bieber and Glee. But eventually, as often happens, The Monkees began to itch for independence. They went on to write and produce more of their own music and make the trippy cult classic Head. And of course, there were a number of reunion efforts in later decades. But, for many their legacy remains those wacky TV moments and classic pop songs.

Go to episode 328

The Moog

The Moog company of Asheville, North Carolina recently announced it would end production on its flagship synthesizer, the Minimoog Voyager. That got Jim and Greg to thinking about the incredible influence the Moog synthesizer has had on rock and pop music since it debuted in 1964. Robert Moog's invention has seen a renaissance in the past decade, as acts ranging from M83 to Future Islands to Taylor Swift have taken inspiration from the synthpop sound.

To get some perspective on the Moog's history and legacy, Jim and Greg turn to Brian Kehew, the former official historian for the Bob Moog Foundation. Kehew also co-founded an all-analog band called Moog Cookbook in the '90s and has worked in the studio with Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann and Moog superstars Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In addition to ELP, Kehew points to the following as great synthesizer musicians:

Go to episode 522
dijs

Jim

“The Porpoise Song”The Monkees

While Jim doesn't dig the Jonas Brothers, he's certainly not anti-bubblegum pop. His favorite band in the genre is The Monkees, a group who was manufactured as an“American Beatles,”with their own TV show. Head, their self-made movie, presented a different image from the cute, harmless one their TV show portrayed. At the time they made the movie, the band members were experimenting with psychedelics and a little more musically inspired. The opener is "The Porpoise Song", a classic, albeit drug-inspired, bubblegum pop song, and it is Jim's latest Desert Island Jukebox pick.

Go to episode 143
news

Music News

The original manuscript to Don McLean's 1971 hit "American Pie" sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie's for $1.2 million – enough cash to buy a new Chevy and maybe even finally saturate that levee. McLean has always been cryptic about what his lyrics mean, but the 16-page document may offer some clues. Greg reads the song as a crash course in rock ‘n’ roll history of the years between Buddy Holly's death and the writing of the song.

There's still another chance to bid on some pop memorabilia, however: the estate of Davy Jones is putting several items belonging to the late Monkees singer on the auction block in May. If you're lucky, you might be able to snag some of his gold records, guitars, or costumes. But Jim is most excited about the tambourine for sale – after Linda McCartney of Wings, Jones may be the most famous tambourine player in rock.

Go to episode 489

Music News

Go to episode 611

Music News

The Rolling Stones made headlines this week after inking an exclusive recording deal with Universal Music. This has prompted speculation that the Stones are planning to leave longtime label EMI, which is restructuring under new ownership. This would be one of many big name acts rumored to be headed for the hills, including Coldplay and Robbie Williams. Paul McCartney and Radiohead have already fled, and the potential loss of the Stones catalog could cost EMI over $6 million. New CEO Guy Hands refuses to express concern, but Jim and Greg predict that the music industry may come down from the six major labels it had at the turn of the century, to only three.

Singer/songwriter John Stewart passed away earlier this week at the age of 68. Stewart penned The Monkees' classic tune "Daydream Believer," but many listeners may not know about the huge song catalog he left behind. He recorded nearly four dozen solo albums and helped to create what we now know as "Americana." In addition to influencing artists like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Roseanne Cash, he was idolized by Lindsey Buckingham, the Fleetwood Mac member who teamed up with him and Stevie Nicks for Stewart's hit single "Gold."

Go to episode 113

Music News

A group of musicians led by the estate of jazz musician Chet Baker filed a lawsuit against the four major record labels in Canada. The labels were using artists' songs for compilation albums, but had yet to pay any royalties. Now they're paying up to the tune of $47 million.

Music publisher and television host Don Kirshner died this week at age 76. Kirshner began his career in music at the Brill Building, working with songwriters and producers like Carole King and Phil Spector. He then developed bubblegum acts The Monkees and The Archies before going on to host Don Kirshner's Rock Hour in 1973. Greg and Jim both fondly remember watching Kirshner's stiff, deadpan intros to that era's great acts including Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Sly and the Family Stone. To pay homage to Kirshner, Jim and Greg choose to play Blue Oyster Cult's "Marshall Plan," which features a sample of an intro by Kirshner.

Go to episode 269

Music News

Monkees fans young and old were sad to learn of the passing of lead singer Davy Jones at age 66. As Jim and Greg explain, Jones wasn't much of a singer or musician, but had acting chops and most importantly, charisma. This was fitting for this postmodern band that still polarizes people today. Was he a manufactured pop star or the real deal? Whatever the answer, he will be missed. Jim and Greg play The Monkees' last top 10 hit "Valleri" in remembrance.

Go to episode 327

Music News

Lyricist Gerry Goffin, whose songwriting partnership in the early 1960's with then-wife Carole King resulted in some of the biggest hits of the era, died this week at age 75. Broadway fans may have recently seen this creative and romantic relationship fall apart on stage in the musical "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical." But, the songs endure, including "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Up on the Roof" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday," performed by The Monkees.

For more on the Brill Building era, check out Jim and Greg's interview with another famous songwriting duo, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

Go to episode 448