It’s another year without the Monkees headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — or even nominated for it. And the group’s Micky Dolenz couldn’t care less.
“I don’t want to sound flippant, but I never cared one way or the other about that — or about frankly any other accolades or awards,” Dolenz tells Billboard. “I’ve never been one to chase that stuff, ever. My greatest thrill was winning an Emmy in ’66. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is, like, a private country club, and ‘We’re not gonna let in who we don’t want in our club.’ It’s their prerogative. So I’m not going to chase it.” Dolenz does, however, realize that Monkees fans have been vociferous in their campaign for the group — which was formed for a 1966 NBC TV show and lived on after its cancellation two years later — to be included.
“I’m very, very flattered that the fans have done petitions and written letters and pushed as hard as they can,” Dolenz acknowledges. “That kind of devotion is as good as getting in (to the Rock Hall), really.”
The Rock Hall recently announced its 2019 inductees — Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, the Zombies, Roxy Music, the Cure, Radiohead and Janet Jackson — who will be honored during a March 29 ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Dolenz, meanwhile, is coming off a busy Monkees year, with another one looming in 2019. Following 2016’s critically lauded Good Times!, the group released its first-ever holiday album in October, Christmas Party, which included posthumous vocals by the late Davy Jones and new songs written by XTC’s Andy Partridge, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and album producer Adam Schlesinger.
“It had come up over the years — the decades, in fact — and frankly we just never got around to it in the early days. But there had always been talk about it,” Dolenz says. “Then after Good Times! my feeling was ‘How the hell can we possibly follow that up?’ and then somebody at Rhino came up with the idea of a Christmas album, and that felt right and I think it wound up as something really, really good.”
Meanwhile, Dolenz and Monkees mate Mike Nesmith played a series of shows together earlier this year until forced to cancel the last four dates because Nesmith — who had avoided Monkees reunions until after Jones’ death in 2012 — experienced heart problems, which required quadruple bypass surgery. The two will be back at again this year, starting in March. “Nez and I always got along really good, musically and comedically on the television show,” says Dolenz, who will be performing solo shows during 2019 as well. “Mike is the one who got me writing music back then. We just always liked a lot of the same kind of music and we’re both consummate professionals. We take it seriously but we like to have fun and all that. It’s almost more surprising that we haven’t worked together before this.”
As to whether the duo will be joined by the other living Monkee, Peter Tork, Dolenz says “there’s always talk — like 50 years of it” but adds that Tork “also has some health issues” and is working on a solo album of music that’s stylistically closer to his heart. “His favorite love of his life is blues, and he has a blues group called Shoe Suede Blues and is working on a CD with that,” Dolenz says. “Peter and I had a very, very successful tour a couple of years ago in the States and then in Australia and New Zealand, so it could happen with the three of us. But blues is his first love and that’s what he’s concentrating on right now.”