Where are 'The Monkees' now? Bob Rafelson co-created TV show that spawned iconic 'Daydream Believer' band
Oscar-nominated director Bob Rafelson has died and people are reminscing his iconic work over the years. Often credited with bringing a new wave to Hollywood and inspiring directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and more, he was most notably known for the fictional pop music group and television series, 'The Monkees', which he co-created alongside the late Bert Schneider. The show earned him an Emmy in 1967.
The pop rock band emerging out of California consisted of 4 members - Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith. Dolenz, fluent in playing guitar and drums, and Jones were child stars which gave the band enough popularity, to begin with. Tork and Nesmith were the brains of the band as they were musically gifted, putting talent on the table. The combination was the recipe for success as the band came on par with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and more. This was a reality that many couldn't digest as the members who played fictional roles in a television series ended up becoming an actual band, and a good one at that.
Where are the members of the Monkees now?
Dolenz kickstarted his career at the age of 11 with a children’s show called 'Circus Boy' where he toured with a baby elephant. During this process, he learned how to play the guitar from a circus boy. The 77-year-old actor and singer smashed his 'The Monkees' audition as he rocked to Chuck Berry’s masterpiece, 'Johnny B Goode' and secured the job. Dolenz was chosen to be the drummer and the lead vocalist, and with proper lessons, he was able to play the drums as well. He is responsible for writing some of their hits like 'Last Train to Clarksville', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', and 'I’m a Believer'.
In recent years, he has worked with some A-list musicians such as Carole King, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and touring with his bandmate Nesmith reliving the legend. As recently as May 2021, the pair released an album called 'Dolenz Sings Nesmith'. Fun fact: Back in his circus days, he formed a band called 'Micky and the One-Nighters'. He went on a monkees farewell tour on April 5, 2022 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium which concluded on April 16 in Madison, Wisconsin. He's also done a lot of voice work in cartoons like 'The Funky Phantom', 'Devlin, and Captain Caveman', and the 'Teen Angels'.
Starting his career by singing in folk clubs around LA, Nesmith bagged his role in the Emmy-winning comedy series by keeping it cool. He showed up at the audition on his bike and wore a wool hat to keep his hair out of his face. Surprisingly, when the producers shortened the list, Nesmith was a finalist and was dubbed as the "wool hat guy." He's written some classics of the band like 'The Girl I Knew Somewhere' and 'Mary, Mary'.
Nesmith, often considered one of the pioneers of country rock, went on a tour with Dolenz in 2018 under the name called 'The Monkees Present: The Mike and Micky Show'. The tour, which began in 2018, had to stretch until 2019 due to his medical conditions which resulted in quadruple bypass surgery. After the band, he helped First National Band excel and wrote their hit single 'Joanne'. Sadly, Nesmith died on the morning of December 10, 2021, at the age of 78 from heart failure.
Tork was almost not into 'The Monkees', the show, and the band if it wasn't for his ex-roommate. Musician Stephen Stills almost bagged the role to be a Monkee but things didn't fall through. However, he made sure to push for his roomie to audition, and we know the rest. Tork moved to NYC in the 1960s entering the folk scene head-on. He was the most effective and efficient band member and only he was allowed to record any tracks for the first two albums.
The keyboardist and bass guitarist of the Monkees decided to leave the band in 1968 using an opt-out clause. This buyout left him with little money. To make ends meet, he worked as a singing waiter, an algebra teacher, a baseball coach, and more. While he did collaborate with the Beatles’ George Harrison, his record and movie production was a major flop and he was forced to sell his house. Tork reunited with Dolenz and Davy Jones for 'Christmas Is My Time of Year' single. He also acted in two episodes of 'Boy Meets World' in 1995, and a horror flick called, 'I Filmed Your Death'. He died on February 21, 2019 after battling a rare neck cancer.
Jones became well-known at the age of 15 after appearing on BBC’s 'Coronation Street'. While he wanted to give up acting after the loss of his mother, his jockey mentor pushed him to audition for the role of the Artful Dodger for a production. He did, and he got nominated for a Tony. His track, 'What Are We Going To Do?', was released a year ago before he joined the Monkees debuted on the Hot 100, and was a well-respected hit. He then joined the Monkees.
The singer often switched his role with Dolenz in the band. Starting a new chapter after the Monkees, he opened his first store in NYC called 'Zilch' which provided hip clothing. He kept appearing as a welcomed guest on television programs like 'My Two Dads' and 'Laugh-In'. While working on his solo album, he collaborated with the hit band U2. His album 'Just Me' came out in 2001. The singer died on February 29, 2012, at the age of 66 due to a heart attack.