Two years ago, the Monkees stunned a lot of people, especially themselves, during their album for the 50th anniversary Good times! press the number 14 on the Board 200 and earned them some of the best reviews throughout their career. Much has been said about a sequel, but no one could agree on which direction to take. "We really caught a lightning bolt in a bottle with Good times!", States the singer Micky Dolenz." I remember the people who asked Good times! 2, but this didn't set me on fire. It was too risky to try to do it again. "
But then Rhino launched the idea of a Monkees Christmas album, which the group somehow never did during its heyday of the Sixties or any of their many meetings. One time Good times! producer Adam Schlesinger signed the project and all, from Rivers Cuomo to Andy Partridge of XTC, Peter Buck of R.E.M. and even the novelist Michael Chabon agreed to write songs, the idea became too good to let go. "It all went so fast," says Dolenz. "You have no idea."
Christmas party (to be released Friday) is a mix of new songs, such as "What Would Santa Do", written by Rivers Cuomo and "Unwrap You at Christmas" by Andy Partridge (which you can hear below) and classics like "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney and “Silver Bells. "There are also some shots on the left as" Jesus Christ "by Alex Chilton. Dolenz sings on the head of most songs, but Michael Nesmith tackles "The Christmas Song" and "Snowfall." "He didn't want to write a Christmas song," says Dolenz. "But when he heard about the project, he went," Hmmm. I think I'd like to do a couple of classics. ""
There are also two songs ("Silver Bells" and "Mele Kalikimaka") that present the late Davy Jones on the lead vocal. They were recorded many years ago when he created his Christmas album, although the new instrumentation was combined with his original voice. "The originals weren't even complete recordings," says Dolenz. "They were demos, but fortunately they had a good and clean voice".
Perhaps the most interesting song on the album is "House of Broken Gingerbread", which Schlesinger wrote with Michael Chabon. The texts describe a surreal scene in a Christmas celebration in which "the mistletoe hangs by a thread" and "misfit toys shake their heads." "Boy," says Dolenz. "What crazy crazy lyrics!"
Peter Tork did not participate in the last Monkees tour and was not seen much in public in the last year. His only contribution to the album is a banjo-based interpretation of "Angels We Have Heard On High". "I love the fact that he put the banjo in a Christmas song," says Dolenz. "He had his health problems and we are sending him best wishes."
The album closes with a blues version of "Merry Christmas Baby" with Dolenz on the lead vocal. "I hope I'm not kidding when I did it," he says. "My pre-Monkees roots were Otis Redding, Fats Domino and Little Richard. I wear that hat on that song. I didn't just want to embarrass myself. "
There are no promotion plans Christmas party with any type of live work, but Dolenz and Nesmith are returning to the street in March to play the four dates that have had to postpone this year when Nez underwent a quadruple bypass surgery. "Nobody knew, especially him, what was wrong and how bad," says Dolenz. "The tour could have helped him save it because if he had been sitting at home watching TV, he wouldn't have noticed how sick he was."
Preparing Monkees' machine for only four appointments seems like a lot of work, but Dolenz says it's "definitely a possibility" that they will add more shows on the itinerary. For now, though, he's just happy that Nesmith is back in good health. "When I saw it again a few weeks ago it was pretty exciting," he says. "We are truly brothers because there are so many unexpressed and understandable things that can be said with a look."
He is also still shocked by the fact that the Monkees are still releasing new music after all these years and actually there is an audience for this. "It's just crazy," says Dolenz. "The equivalent of Good times! going to the Top 20 would have been someone like (the star of the Italian opera) Enrico Caruso, who was popular in 1917, with a record in the Top 20 in 1967. "