Monday, February 21, 2011

Monkee Grip Glue

The unreclaimable Monkees.
 The Monkees are evidently reformed and touring to cash in the 45th Anniversary of their being manufactured by Hollwywood producer Don Kirshner and his cronies, and an item in The Telegraph would have us believe that the fellows overcame the general scorn heaped upon them and ascended into what there was of the hallowed Rock Pantheon.  At best, the article was a vigorous piece of nonsense. 

Author, please pick up your last check on the way out, as this is the worst sort of puffery one could imagine. Exactly no one took the Monkees seriously as a band, and their chops as a comedians were not held in high regard . Yes, they sold... millions of units, but so has Kraft Cheese, a product who's  popularity reveals how scarce good taste actually is. The Monkees  were a band for teenyboppers with allowance money to burn. It is possible to compare them to the Beatles or the Marx Brothers, but this serves only to demonstrate what they lack. They might have been pioneers of a sort, but they were and remain a fancy you grow out of as your tastes mature; there is the hope that a music fan discovers the good stuff. Theirs was a music glutted by fads , gimmicks and tricks heaped on an albums of songs that were at best cast offs from professional songwriters; it sounded corny back in the day, and the Monkees has aged badly. It sounds pretentious, inane, flimsy constructions gussied up with every studio trick available. The Monkees problem is  worse because, 45 years later, they haven't their youthful cuteness to help get away with the slithering saliva trail they called rock and roll. They are bound to look pathetic. Is this what fans really want to see? 

I should say that the mini-rant was not about these guys individually; Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork have chops, to be sure. But the distinction is that they were members of a combine that was a commercial venture... that was disguised as a rock band,and as far as rock bands go, they were lacking in whatever good graces it takes to be real pantheon members. As an entity, the Monkees were a disgrace. The same may be said of the Sex Pistols, Brit wastrels Malcom McLaren hired to fulfill his fashion sense. The difference is that the Pistols had the integrity to break up unceremoniously. To paraphrase, Johnny Rotten asked the audience at their last US gig if they ever felt they'd been cheated. The Monkees, collectively or individually, never had the honesty to admit that they were a money making fraud.