Micky Dolenz is the last of The Monkees, that crazy quartet that took pop culture by storm in the 1960s. A made-for-TV band, The Monkees had four No. 1 albums in 1967 – a feat not even a single true the group is ever tied.

This month marks 56 years since The Monkees’ debut single “Last Train to Clarksville” propelled them to superstardom. Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith became household names from their quirky TV shows.

The Monkees – Opening Theme (HQ) from
nose66 on YouTube

Now, 77-year-old Dolenz is trying to keep the music alive on his own.

CBS News’ Anthony Mason caught up with Dolenz on his latest tour to discuss how the band’s legacy lives on. Mason asked, “How are you, first of all?”

“I am above ground!” he laughed.

“It’s a joke, but it is not.”

“It’s not a joke!”

“What’s it like being on tour alone?”

Micky Dolenz, last of The Monkees, on tour.

CBS News

“Wow! I haven’t processed it at all,” he laughed. “After Davy passed, which was a huge shock, I remember then thinking, ‘What are we going to do?’

Davy Jones died a decade ago. In 2016, the three surviving members, Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork celebrated the Monkees’ 50th anniversary.

Tork Mason then told “CBS Sunday Morning,” “We’ll tour until one of us drops. Then, the other one will continue as Monkee!”

Mason told Dolenz, “When Mike passed, I couldn’t help but think about it.”

“You AND me,” said Dolenz.

“And there you are.”

Tork died of cancer in 2019.

Dolenz and Nesmith had been in the middle of a farewell tour last December when Nesmith died of heart failurethree years after recovering from a quadruple bypass.

“But he wanted to do that tour?” Mason asked.

“Oh, he insisted on doing it,” Dolenz said.

“Why do you think he was so persistent?”

“Well, he had always talked about the last of these Monkee experiences being kind of a swan song.”

The Monkees: Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork.

Rhino Records

Over the years, Nesmith had skipped most reunion tours. “He, at times, had a little trouble with the Monkee thing,” Dolenz said. “It’s like he said, ‘Oh, I get it now.’ It’s meant so much to so many people for so long.”

“I think there was a doubt in him, on some level?”

“Always. I’ve always had a doubt. But we all do. I’m thinking, ‘Why is someone like you, this great, incredibly famous, brilliant journalist, talking to me?‘”

“Because the first record I ever bought was a Monkees record,” Mason replied.

“I got nothing on that record!” he laughed.

The Monkees – Daydream Believer (Official Music Video) from
The monkeys on YouTube

In 1966, they were just young actors playing a group. And they were on salary, according to Dolenz: “Four hundred dollars a week, including concerts for 10,000, 20,000 people. Am I bitter? No, Anthony, I am not bitter, – he laughed. – No. No I’m not. I mean, it’s been a blessing, an incredible blessing. Give me a wonderful life.”

[I’m Not Your] Steppin’ Stone [2006 Remaster] from
Monkeys – Topic on YouTube

The quartet had answered an ad in Variety seeking “four crazy guys.” “Davy had a very ballady, Broadway feel, a beautiful voice. Peter was at home, human. And Nes, of course, was a flat place to start.”

Dolenz would sing lead on most of the band’s biggest hits: “I was the only one who could go, (screams in a high pitched tone) ‘BAAAAA…!!’ Sorry, fat boy! A fuse blew!”

“Well, we know you can still do it!” Mason said.

“Well, yes!” Dolenz said. “Donny Kirshner and the producers would call me into the studio at the end of shooting the TV show ten hours a day: ‘Okay, you’re going to sing this.’ “What’s it called?” “Last Train to … Somewhere.”

Last Train to Clarksville (Original Stereo Version) (2006 Remaster) from
Monkeys – Topic on YouTube

“The Monkees” ran for only two seasons … 58 episodes. But reruns continued to reintroduce them to new audiences. “The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, and you don’t know why,” Dolenz said. “It was us. It was the music. It was the show. It was the writers, the directors, everything.”

Dolenz has tried to keep his friends on stage by playing old home movies. “And so, we made it a party.”

“How did it feel about you?” Mason asked.

“Very mixed emotions!”


“Oh, boy! I can’t watch some of the videos, until today.”

“Looking at the set list, there’s a few songs you have to play every night, right?”

“They’re called ‘can’t helps,'” he replied.

“Do you consider it your responsibility to continue this?”

“Yes,” Dolenz replied. “And I love to sing those songs. How can you not love to sing ‘I’m a Believer’? They’re just such great tunes.”

“We grow old, but songs don’t”.

“This is true!”

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