The Monkees – Back to the Future

by Ann Moses on August 11, 2013

It didn’t take a DeLorean time machine to take me right back to 1967 last

Peter and me back in the day on the Monkees set.

Peter and me back in the day on the Monkees set.

Friday night. Seeing the Monkees – Mike, Peter and Micky – live at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona took my heart and mind back to the first Monkees performance I ever attended at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on January 22, 1967. On that night, I flew in their private plane to San Francisco International Airport and rode to the arena with Davy in his limo.

Déjà vu was the feeling of this more recent night. I have been away from Hollywood since 1972, so making arrangements to have my first reunion with the Monkees was not easy. Fortunately, working through a number of sources I got in touch with Andrew Sandoval the Monkees’ tour manager. Being a rock archivist in addition to his recording and tour management background, he knew who I was when I contacted him. He told me he has every issue of Tiger Beat through 1970.

I told him how I lived just nine miles south of the upcoming concert at the Mesa Arts Center. He graciously asked the guys if they would be willing to have a brief reunion, and he emailed me the results – he was leaving two tickets at the box office for me. I could meet with Peter backstage before the show, Micky after the show, and Mike, according to Andrew, “is the most reclusive of the bunch and usually passes on meetings,” which is what came to be.

I got the go-ahead for our reunion just nine hours before I was to meet them. I spent the day going through my previously scheduled appointments, but my mind and stomach would not let me forget about my 6 p.m. date with Peter. I invited my good friend from work, Mindy Evanson, who is a great photographer. I had two plans for Mindy. One, I wanted her to experience this great group that was popular before she was born and yet were still putting on fantastic concerts today, and two, I wanted her to record my reunion.

Fast forward to 2013.

Fast forward to 2013.

We arrived at the backstage door, barricaded by security guards and where a small crowd of fans had gathered. The guard called in to Andrew, and he came out to greet us. What a lovely man, and so gracious about making this dream come to life – plus this was a first for me. You see, every concert I attended during my Tiger Beat years I traveled with the band, and I would arrive backstage with them. I don’t mean to sound smug, it was just the way it worked when I was invited to travel with the groups. This time it was fun being outside with the eager fans. It was also a trip to see how devoted their fan base is all these years later.

I had been doing the math all day. It had been forty-seven years since I had first met the Monkees. Andrew showed us to Peter’s dressing room, knocked, and there was Peter, like me, older, but with the same warm eyes and sweet smile. His hair was mostly gray and thinning; mine was too except for my beloved hairdresser, Audrey. He immediately drew me into a bear hug and kiss on the cheek. Then he held out his hand and pulled his lady forward by her hand saying, “I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Pamela.” We shook hands, and I introduced Mindy to them both. I couldn’t help but reply, “Fiancée is such a lovely word. I am so happy for you!”

Me, Peter and Mindy.

Me, Peter and Mindy.

We all sat down and there was the déjà vu spreading over me – it was exactly like when I used to sit with Peter on the Monkees’ set. He was always totally comfortable answering my questions and asking me just as many. That’s what set Peter apart from Micky and Mike for me: he was always as interested in my life as I was in his. He was the same thoughtful, caring boy I knew so long ago. He told me about how he’s living in Connecticut and trying to restore his family childhood home that was built in the 1700s. He and Pam have not set a wedding date because they keep getting “interrupted” by Peter’s children getting married. He asked me about my family, and I proudly told him my husband and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary last week. And how we are so proud of our sons, Matt and Mike who are 28 and 29, and that Matt married his college sweetheart, Katy, almost four years ago.

He asked how Mindy and I knew each other, and we looked at each other and laughed. I explained, “We work together at an orthodontic office. Mindy is the Lead Clinical Assistant and I am the Treatment Coordinator.” Peter was slightly taken aback. “You mean you didn’t stay in journalism?” he asked. “No,” I said and explained that after I left Tiger Beat I didn’t do much writing up until now. I know he was surprised.

Here they come. . .

Here they come. . .

Soon it was time for Peter, Mike and Micky to do their vocal warm-ups, so Andrew showed us the way to the theater lobby. But not before one more genuine hug and kiss on the lips from Peter. We were grown-ups now and it seemed natural to embrace the history we had with one another.

Hundreds of fans waited for the auditorium to open, but they busied themselves at the souvenir stand, including a long line for the $35 tee shirts. I laughed to myself as I was writing this and fact checking some dates of those long ago concerts because I found photos of ticket stubs where seats were $4 and $6.50. Tickets today are $59 – $125 each. I also thought back to the concerts I had attended with the Monkees where they were playing 20,000-seat stadiums. This venue was much more intimate, seating about 1,500. So much better. I had to giggle when the big video screen showed scenes of screaming fans from those days. Mindy asked, “Is that what it was like?” I assured her it was.

The theater filled quickly with anxious fans. Mostly an older crowd, I imagined

Awesome, as ever!

Awesome, as ever!

many of them were fans from the sixties. As soon as the lights dimmed, a great video show began on the huge screen at the back of the stage. We saw clips from the TV show, plus the Monkees ads for Kool-Aid and Rice Krispies. The crowd loved it. Then the announcer from the radio station sponsoring the concert introduced the Monkees, and as they walked briskly on stage, the crowd jumped to its feet and cheered at high volume. Peter was dressed in black jeans and a shiny blue shirt, Micky wore black jeans and sneakers, red shirt and a brown jacket and his dapper hat, and Mike wore black jeans, black shirt and a white jacket.

I can’t remember every song, but the video presentation was integral to the performance. I explained to Mindy that some of the videos she was seeing were the precursors to music videos like the ones on MTV. The Monkees were the first band that added the jumbo screen flashing still photos of the group throughout their shows, as well as making personal political statements by showing images of the civil rights marches.

What I noticed as the show went on — and it was a full two hour, all-out intense performance  — was that the audience was on their feet, dancing and singing along to every Monkees song. But when each of the three would come out to do a solo, the audience was in their seats and clapped enthusiastically, but not nearly as turned on as the Monkees songs they had come to enjoy on their time machine, taking them back to their days as young Monkee fans.

I was dumbstruck as Micky introduced and thanked all the members of their backup band. I had watched the woman at stage left all night playing a rhythm instrument and singing backup, but when he introduced her as his sister Coco, I was blown away. I had met Coco when I flew up to Micky’s family home in ’67 to do a story on Micky’s “Hometown Haunts.” At that time, I took tons of pictures of Coco, and she began writing a column “My Brother Micky” in Tiger Beat. Then they introduced one of the backup guitarists and the name shocked me: Christian Nesmith. I can still remember meeting Christian at age three, and here he was this tall, lanky like his dad, dark thinning hair, grown man. Wow!

There was an awesome tribute to Davy Jones, (he was seen with the others in all the other videos on the screen). This video was all Davy, dancing in a white tuxedo, then as he’d make a turn he’d be in a black tuxedo. Great editing and it made the presentation so much more dramatic.

After the tribute, the audience went silent. Micky walked around the stage with the hand microphone. “When we were trying to decide who would sing this song, we thought Mike? Me? Peter? And then we knew who should sing this song,” and he pointed to the audience. “You.” In an instant every audience member was on their feet, cheering, and the Monkees began the musical intro to “Daydream Believer.” He invited a young woman from the front row to join him on the stage for the sing-a-long. Then Micky began the first few words:

Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.”

The audience rose to the challenge, and we were all singing our hearts out:
But it rings and I rise,
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
My shavin’ razor’s cold and it stings. . . ”

It was the most fun song of the whole night.

At the end of their two-hour set, they walked off stage to a standing ovation and hoots and hollers and cheers. Of course, that earned us two encore songs, one of which was “Last Train to Clarksville.” Where it all began.

After the show, Mindy and I went backstage and now was my chance to re-unite with Micky. He didn’t recognize me, but, hey, as soon as I introduced myself “Hi, Micky, Annie Moses, Tiger Beat,” he grabbed me into a big hug, and then held me back by my shoulders for a closer look. He remembered I was going to be there, and I told him how great the show was. He, too, quizzed me about what I’d been doing since the Monkee days. We only had a few minutes, because he was greeting the radio station contest winners, who were backstage to meet him.BestMickAnncrop

After my good-byes and thank yous to Andrew, Mindy and I drove home in the darkness. “Can you believe what a great show that was?” I asked her. She wholeheartedly agreed. What she did not realize after seeing such amazing musicians, singers and performers in Mike, Peter and Micky, that all those years ago there was a world-wide brouhaha that the Monkees did not know how to play their own instruments. On their early records, session musicians played the rhythm tracks and lead parts, and then the Monkees overdubbed the vocals. But from their first live performance on their promo tour in 1966, they always played their own instruments on stage. It just occurred to me that via the time machine they had gotten better and better every year that has passed.

Good times. . .Ann Moses reporting about “back in the day,” and last Friday night!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie Mitchell August 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing, it just made my day!

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Anita Williams Weinberg August 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Great review and remembrance–you are just the luckiest girl in the world. I learned to read at the age of 4 by reading your articles in the fan mags. 😉

Are you familiar with The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation? It’s a non-profit set up by Davy’s 4 daughters (“all girls,” as he used to say!) to continue his thoroughbred rescue efforts. You can find out more at http://www.djemf.com, or on Facebook!

Thank you so much for the memories!

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Ann Moses August 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Reading Tiger Beat at age 4, boy am I glad we kept our copy appropriate for the microboppers! Thanks for the kind words!

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Kathy August 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hi,
What a great read! I, too, wish you had continued with your journalism career. Just in case you aren’t aware of it, the black-white tuxedo thing was from their movie, “Head.” A cult classic whether you’re a Monkees fan or not.
Glad you had fun!

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Ann Moses August 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Thanks Kathy!
Your putting the dance sequence in place was such a help. I was on the set for many of the “Head” scenes, both indoors and out and I attended the premiere, but only saw it that one time. From your description as a “cult classic” I better get a copy and re-visit.

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Diane August 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Wow, Ann Moses lives in Mesa, AZ! I do as well and I have to tell you, growing up you and your competition, Gloria Stavers over at 16 were early heroes of mine! Imagine being 10 and thinking there is a woman out there with the coolest job on the planet, meeting the Monkees and the later Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Mark Lindsay…I still have select issues that I saved over the years and still look back on them fondly from time to time. Seems like yesterday. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Had a crush on Peter the size of Montana, so it’s wonderful to know he is the nice guy I always pictured. Oh – I know you left in the early ’70s, but a question many of my friends and I had growing up….What was with the DeFranco family??? Did they have part ownership in the mag? lol

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Ann Moses August 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

You are too funny. I’ll be sure to tell you all the details of the DeFranco connection to Tiger Beat in my upcoming memoir. LOL is right! BTW your feelings were well placed for Peter. He was a wonderful young man and has stayed that way through his 71 years!

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Tony August 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

wow so good to read your article on the recent monkees tour you attended ….god the memorys you must have from back in the 60’s hanging with them must be fantastic …have you ever thought of wrieting a book about hanging with all those famous rock stars from the 60’s ? I wanna hear more about you being on the set when they where filming HEAD what a experince and the storys you must have to tell us monkees fans most be great …Anyway thank you for all the great memorys and all the great old tiger beat and monkee spectacular magazines you have given us in the past so good to see you you again.

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Ann Moses August 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Funny you should mention a book. . .stay tuned!

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Donna August 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Thanks for a great story. My family got to spend the day with the three of them when they had their comeback in the 80s courtesy of Rhino records and Nickelodeon TV. Peter was was the one that made the whole thing wonderful for us. Have met him a few times since and he is still the sweet caring person he always was. My daughter was on the cover of those magazines as the winner of the contest. Can’t remember if it was Tigerbeat though. Glad you were able to reconnect.

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Mary Cherry August 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Great article and such a fun read for a 1st Gen fan of the Monkees! I was 10 yrs old in ’66 and spent every cent I could get on every Tiger Beat that came out and thought you were the luckiest girl ever! You’re adorable still and so glad you got to reconnect with Peter and Micky!

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Ann Moses August 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Mary,
I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world, too. I never, ever took my amazing experiences for granted. Calling me “adorable still” is icing on the cupcake! Thank you!

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Susan August 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I loved Tiger Beat back in the 60’s. I know how you felt seeing the Monkees again. I saw them in 86.And for me it was like going back in time too.Thanks for sharing your story.

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Alba August 19, 2013 at 7:33 am

Well Ann,ill say it again..you were and certainly are the luckiest girl to have had the Monkees around you, then and now! Ive enjoyed so much reading this article. It was so nice of you taking along your young friend photographer to live such a great experience and see “what it was like” . Did you know Tiger Beat collection magazines are worth $35 each on the internet now,wow! I remember i used to buy them 10 cents a piece back in 67 when i was 13 yrs old. I read Micky’s mother interview to you were she asked you about the happiest day of your life and you graciously answered, “there hasn’t been just one happiest day, because I can’t think of many sad days,just try and enjoy every day as it comes”. Guess getting to see the guys backstage again and their great show ,forty-plus years from back their hey days sure counts of one of you happiest!!! Thanks for sharing!!

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Ann Moses August 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

Micky’s mom really did turn the tables on me on the day I spent with Coco and her family, ending the day with a lovely home-cooked family dinner. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but Coco and I had a big hug backstage and we were both blown away to see one another after all this time!

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Marian August 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Wow Ann! You still do great at writing! I was at the last concert of the tour here in Portland last night. It was Fab! I was also able to see the tour in 2011 with Davy, Micky and Peter. There was a pang in my heart when they did the tribute. Watching the video of Davy dancing to Daddy’s Song brought tears to my eyes as I remember him dancing live on stage in his white tuxedo two years earlier. He was still a whirling dervish at 65 – incredible! My brother lives in Meza but did not go. I too am amazed at the prices. Although, I do recall a certain magazine being all of 25¢-35¢ and now most magazines are $5.99 or more!

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Ann Moses August 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Good point, well made, but I remember an little article I wrote for the New Musical Express in 1968 how The Rolling Stones had not sold out an arena because they charged $7.00 for tickets. LOL

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Barbara August 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Just thought you would like to know where another of your associates is now. Really nice to see names from our teenybopper years again! We SO wanted all your jobs!!

http://www.robinboyd.com/magicalmystery.html

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Gary September 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Thanks, Ann, for so expertly capturing this concert experience and its surrounding fun.

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Curtis September 6, 2013 at 6:29 am

Wow! A blog by Ann Moses! Very cool!

I was just a little kid, not a teenager, in the 60s (the 70s were my decade) but my older sister was 16, and she was a Monkees fan. It was she who exposed me to them when she had to babysit me and my two younger sisters, and would plump us down in front of the TV with her to watch the show. I re-discovered them in re-runs a few years later when I was around 10/11 years old. Around that time, I also ran across old copies of “Tiger Beat” and “16” that a friend’s older sister had bought in the 60s, and while it definitely wasn’t cool for a guy to be caught reading teen magazines (we were only supposed to be reading about the heavier rock groups in magazines like Hit Parader and Creem) I was keen to read anything I could about The Monkees, so I devoured and re-read those old magazines till they eventually fell apart.

Oh, and I also discovered and fell in love with the music of Paul Revere & The Raiders by reading your articles in those old Tiger Beats, so would we have to twist your arm really, really hard to get some of your recollections of them during that period, too?

It’s nice to see you’re well and doing well, Ann, and thanks for bringing back some great memories of a more innocent time. God bless!

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Ann Moses September 6, 2013 at 8:23 am

Yes, Curtis, I do need to review my wonderful times with the Raiders. In the short term, be sure to read my post about Jim “Harpo” Valley titled “My Trip to the Rainbow Planet.”

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Curtis September 6, 2013 at 8:37 am

Thank you for the heads up, Ann! I saw that one in the sidebar but hadn’t got to it yet, so I wasn’t aware it was about Harpo. I’ll certainly check it out later this evening. Cheers!

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Grace Stenberg September 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Ms. Moses,
You are lucky getting to meet Peter and Micky. I have had the good fortune of meeting Peter 3 months ago, and it was definitely a fulfilling experience. Thank you for posting this!

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Melissa October 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

Ann, We kind of grew up together, and I loved Tiger Beat. It was one of the magazines I had to get the moment it came out, so I remember all the great articles you wrote and can only imagine what life was like for you. It was the life I imagined for myself. I’ve had the great fortune to meet Micky and Peter and David, and they are just as you describe them, as is the concert, which I was also lucky enough to see here in L.A. Thank you for sharing this great experience. You are a terrific writer, and I’m so happy to have found you again after all these years.

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Penny January 15, 2014 at 12:07 am

OMG, Dear Ann, sooo glad to FIND YOU!,Was only 12 years of age when you kindly scribbled a note back to me from Tiger Beat saying you couldn’t send me the Monkees autographs. (still have it!) LOL, I went on to Journalism college because of you, T.B. and Gloria (16 Mag) ! I still have a crate full of T.B. & 16 mags that I have refused to part with (throughout many moves) saying that this was my LIFE – – loving allllll of the Monkees, the sixties, Woodstock, Where The Action Is etc, etc etc Can’t part with any of it (and am still devastated over Davy’s death.) OMG! Always though of him over the decades, and if only I knew, would have helped him out and loveddddd himmmm forever. Now age at 59 , wish I COULD FEEL THE 60’S AGAIN! – Penny in BC I will keep in touch with you now, old friend of the 60`s!

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Becky Ryker May 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm

It’s been two and a half years now since you wrote this wonderful story. You appeared in my FB news feed this evening, (05/15/2016) and from there I stumbled into your website. I loved you and your stories in Tiger Beat, it’s lovely to see you again. You were such a huge part of my Monkee experience. “Back then”, I had absolutely every issue. Decades later, I lost them to one of my Dad’s clear-out events. I’ve never stopped grieving the loss. I am surprised to find you left journalism; your writing is as fresh as it was in 1968. Just wanted to say Hi, Ann…and thanks. Becky

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