Let’s play a little word association game. What do you think of when I say “bananas”? I am going to take a wild guess and bet most of you said “monkeys.” But you would be wrong. The answer is “Monkees.” That’s right…with a capital M and two e’s…as in “Hey, Hey we are the…”

I am just going to lay this all out for you: I love The Monkees. LOVE them. No, I was not alive in the 1960’s. Yes, they are all older than my parents. No, I don’t think this is weird. And yes, they did play their own instruments. Don’t bug me about it.

So why am I devoting a whole page just to The Monkees? Is it because I am a tad obsessed and hope to convert everyone who reads this blog to join the great Monkee force of fans? I can’t deny either fact, but there is a deeper reason here. The Monkees are not just a band and a television show I enjoy…a lot. They mean much more to me than that. I am going to make a daring statement here and claim that The Monkees played a very large role in making me who I am today. Before you write me off as a nutcase, hear me out.

I am what you call a second-generation Monkee fan. I discovered and fell in love with them at the age of nine in 1986 when they reunited for a 20th Anniversary tour. I could go on for a millennium about what drew me to these four madcap musicians, but I realize most people really don’t care. So I won’t. What I do want to make note of is that I was the only nine-year-old I knew who held a torch for a band from a bygone generation. Try being in love with a group your mom used to be in love with while all your friends were worshiping Aerosmith and New Kids on the Block, and then tell me about conviction (remember, this was before retro was cool).

Micky, Davy, Peter, and Mike

I was most certainly made fun of for being a Monkee fan and wanting to marry the wacky, adorable drummer, Micky Dolenz. But I did not care. Ironically, at a time in life when most kids are trying desperately to be carbon copies of each other to escape ridicule, I was flying my Monkee flag of uniqueness as high as I could. I heard the taunts from just about everyone: classmates, friends, teachers, random people I would meet…even my dad, who is a staunch Beatles fan, would tease me about liking the pre-fab four (he still does actually). But guess what? I survived. And that taught me a very valuable life lesson. I had stuck by what I believed, and I came out the other end pretty much unscathed. That settled into my psyche, and I could dip into that pool of confidence as I faced other situations where I knew it was best for me to go against the grain…more important situations that may have involved risky behaviors, for example. I can not say the exact thought, “I survived being made fun of for the Monkees, so I can survive being made fun of for not getting high,” ever crossed my mind, in so many words. But that experience as a pre-teen certainly conditioned me to know that I could make decisions for myself and be okay with the consequences. And there would be people out there who would like me anyway.

As I got older, fewer people would make fun of me for being a Monkee fan. In fact, quite a lot of people actually found it endearing. I like to think of it as my lovable quirk, my conversation ice-breaker, my name-one-interesting-fact-about-you ace in the hole. I sometimes wonder if my unabashed love for this much-maligned foursome actually attracts people to me. I can not help but think part of that could be because I am comfortable with who I am. I always enjoy being around people who are happy with themselves. Maybe that is also what I put out to the world when someone snidely questions, “You like The Monkees?” and I respond with a very polite version of, “Yeah, I do. So suck it.”

So go ahead, take your shots. I know who I am, and I know that I love The Monkees. What I am NOT is your Steppin’ Stone. (Sorry. Bad joke…phenomenal song.)

And just a fair warning…I am fairly certain my favorite primates will find their way into blog posts.

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13 Responses

  1. Verna Hopkins Wommack

    OMG….I could have wrote the same paragraph about how other kids listened to NKOTB while I was happy in my own little unique Monkees World! It’s neat to see THERE WAS someone like me out there in the mid 80s!! 😀

  2. Robyn

    Wow – I could have written this page (except that I’m a THIRD generation fan). I also have always been the only one I knew who liked (or even knew about) The Monkees – all alone in my own little shrine of fandom. When I conversed with the rare older fan, I was also the only serious Micky fan! I thought *I* was the only one!!! I’ve always tried to convert others, and once I let one of my friends borrow my cherished Monkees DVDs. After she watched some, she told me she was floored by how much it reminded her of me. She said that I was the female clone of Micky!! (best compliment EVER!). I know I can say without a doubt that the boys have shaped who I am today – you have no idea how frequently I reference them! It took the traumatic experience of dear Davy’s death :'( for me to realize how closely people associate me with the Monkees… and also how much I owed them for making me what I am. RIP, Davy, and Monkees forever!!!
    PS
    I’m extremely jealous of your Monkee encounters, but hopefully I’ll get to see El Dolenzio perform in September!!!!!!! 🙂

    • kelloggs77

      Robyn, yes, you’ve just found another Monkee sister! There are more of us out there than you know…we might just be spread out a little 🙂 And you are obviously very intelligent, being a Micky Chickie. I’ll send positive vibes that September works out for you. It took me 25 years to meet him, but it was most definitely worth the wait! Good luck! And thanks for checking out my blog…you can be sure our boys will pop up here every now and again!

      • Robyn

        🙂 Thanks!! Now that so many fans are beginning to come out of the woodwork again (because of Davy), I’m starting to realize that Monkee fandom really is alive and well after all! But it’s still nice to talk to a real live Monkee person. I’ll let you know if I get to meet Mick!!

  3. erin

    there’s always a sense of kinship when finding other 2nd generation monkees fans 🙂
    i grew up with my mom’s records and the mid-80s reruns on television. to this day, there still exists a cassette tape of me at age 4 talking about how “everybody out there loves the monkees, don’t you folks? BET you do! and i do too!” and then i proceeded to name them and call peter “donald.” way to go, 4-year-old self.
    i hope you’re getting the chance to see the upcoming tour with mike. i can honestly say i’ve waited my whole life for this moment (i’m 30 now) and there aren’t words that can describe what this opportunity feels like.

    • kelloggs77

      Thanks Erin! This tour really is the holy grail for those of us who never got a chance to see Nez with the other guys. And yes, I am going!!! I can’t wait!

  4. houseofmayhemandchaos

    I saw the Monkees on that very same tour in 1986. It was my first concert and I’ve seen them so many times since. We live in a Monkee-happy house here too! My boys love the songs and they will always have a very special place in my heart and on my turntable. 🙂

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      That sounds like a house I’d love to live in! Gotta pass on the legacy 🙂 I never did get to see them in the 80’s but have made up for it since. Once in ’96, in 2001, 2011, twice in 2012, and once in 2013. And I’m going to see Nez’s upcoming solo show. You can never get enough!

  5. rgayer55

    Sadly, I must confess to being old enough to have watched them on TV in the 60s and now I see them in syndication on satellite. I always thought they were entertaining and wondered if the “Last Train to Clarksville” was about the Arkansas town just off I-40.

    • AreYouFinishedYet

      There’s nothing sad about being around to watch them in the 60’s! I often wish I could have experienced Monkeemania in its heyday!

      I think I remember reading Bobby Hart (who wrote the song with Tommy Boyce) saying there was a nearby town in California called “Clarksdale” or something like that that they initially used. But then they simply changed it to Clarksville because it sounded better. After the fact, they found out that there is actually a Clarksville, Tennessee which is the site of a military fort. Considering the song is about a guy going off to war, it was quite the happy coincidence!

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