David Cassidy Remembered by The Monkees' Micky Dolenz & Former 'Tiger Beat' Editor

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David Cassidy photographed in 1985.

"He was very dedicated and passionate about his music," Dolenz recalls of a 2013 tour with his fellow teen idol.

Many people remember David Cassidy as an idol. Those who knew him personally found him a sweet guy and dedicated musician but someone who was also frustrated by the business that made him famous.

Micky Dolenz of The Monkees toured with Cassidy -- who died Tuesday at age 67 -- and Peter Noone as The World's Greatest Teen Idols in 2013. "[It was a] great show and I had great fun," Dolenz told Billboard. "David was a really consummate performer. He was really a good entertainer and a great guitar player, which I didn't even know. I didn't know he could play a rock 'n' roll, bluesy guitar. He was very dedicated and passionate about his music and his rock 'n' roll and his blues."

Dolenz says he and Cassidy became friends early on. "We just sort of immediately hit it off in the same way that Davy Jones and I hit it off early, and I think for the same reason. I'd been a child star. I remember Davy Jones from the very early days of the auditions before we were even cast. David Cassidy [had] been born and raised in the business, as had I. So yeah, there was a camaraderie. That happens a lot in any business, but in our business especially. You meet people that have run the gauntlet [and] been through the fire. So you do tend to identify and commiserate with people that have been through the same thing that you have."

He said however that a later career dilemma became a huge problem to Cassidy. "Like many others, I know he got frustrated in that he wanted to move on. He wanted to play rock n roll. He wanted to play blues. And let's face it: The hardcore fans and the people that came to see him, they obviously wanted to hear those hits. It's a common challenge that we all have. You want to move on, maybe. You want to play some new stuff. You want to be recognized for other accomplishments.

"I knew, of course, that David had his demons. Everybody has had their demons in their lives, especially as you start getting older," he said. "I kind of wish, and I tweeted this recently, I kind of wish I'd been more help. But I don't know what I could have done."

Dolenz -- who's headlining Winter's Eve, a holiday tree-lighting and entertainment event in Lincoln Square in New York on Monday -- has been kept busy by The Monkees, who had a top 20 album last year with Good Times and recently announced a deluxe reissue of their More of the Monkees album. An upcoming joint tour by Dolenz and fellow Monkee Mike Nesmith is being discussed, he said.

Ann Moses, former editor of Tiger Beat magazine who published a book this year called Meow! My Groovy Life With Tiger Beat's Teen Idols, available through her website, says Cassidy's frustrations began during his teen idol days. "He was just kind of overwhelmed because of all his responsibilities from the concerts. They had him out 24/7. When he wasn't filming, he was recording. When he wasn't recording, he was rehearsing for his tours. Then he was going out weekends after a full week of filming, they'd send him out on the weekend to do live performances. Then [during] every hiatus, he'd be on some worldwide tour. So I don't know how he didn't collapse at that point. He did it, but it really took its toll. He was in his early 20s, but you can only go so hard so long."

She says he was very enthusiastic initially. "At first, he was excited to be a part of it. The people were interviewing him. He was so excited doing the show. It was all new and he was wrapped up in the excitement of all that. But very soon he would come to realize that he didn't have a moment to himself. And while he wasn't resentful in the early days of the volume of the press and way we were out there constantly, after a couple of years, he literally would avoid me when I'd go out onto the set."

"'What am I supposed to do?'" she asked Tiger Beat publisher Chuck Laufer. "'David keeps ditching me.' And he said, 'Well, let me see what I can do.' And in the grand Hollywood tradition of 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours,' he called up Jack Cassidy and he explained the situation and he basically asked Jack Cassidy to have a heart-to-heart with him, talk about the realities of stardom and explain to him that this was something that he needed to do. In return for that favor, Chuck Laufer bought brand-new dirt bikes for Shawn and Patrick Cassidy, David's stepbrothers. So here his dad is, you could say, selling him out for bikes for his kids. So not even his own father was looking out for what was best for David. I certainly wasn't conscious of that at the time, but looking back you go, 'Whoa.' He was supposed to have his back."

But she remembers an anecdote that shows Cassidy also had a sweet side. "Within the first few months of The Partridge Family, I was doing an interview. And David said to me, 'My dog had puppies and we're so excited. But what the heck am I going to do with them? I'm on the set 14 hours a day.'" The dog's real name was Hashish but called Sheesh in teen magazines to prevent fans from learning he was into drugs, Moses said.

"So I said, 'What about if my mom takes care of them?' She agreed to watch them until we could have a contest in Tiger Beat, and it was 'Win One of David Cassidy's Puppies.' The way you won was you chose the best name for the puppies. It was about three months before the puppies were ready to go to their new home.

"And just a few weeks before they were ready to be shipped to their new owners, David drove down to my mom's house in Anaheim and visited them. And he was so sweet to my Mom. He thanked her for taking care of them. He was just so grateful.

"It was just the unfiltered David. He was there with his puppies and he was so happy. And I think he was really pleased that they were going to go to these homes. Once they got to their destination, we ran the pictures of who the winners were and why their names were chosen. And it showed them with the dogs in their homes. It was just a great way to handle what would have been a problem for him. It just worked out for everybody."


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