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If there was concern over interest in a new album from the Monkees it’s vanished. “Good Times!” — the group’s first new release in 10 years — recently debuted at 14 on the Billboard 200 chart. It’s the first Top 20 LP since 1968 for the Monkees, bringing its 50th anniversary tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Tuesday, June 14.
Peter Tork, who recorded the album with surviving members Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, recently participated in a brief Q&A.
Q: It’s been a decade since the last Monkees album. What made this the right time for a new one?
A: “Who knows? It was probably Rhino Records watching the fact it was the 50th. I haven’t thought about it much but there are people paid to think of those things. I suspect it’s been in the pipeline two or three years but we did all the basic recordings in about two weeks, which is a remarkably short time. There was another two or three weeks for mixing and production and, presto chango, we have another new Monkees CD.”
Q: “Good Times!” has tracks written by the band and some by early collaborators like Goffin & King, Harry Nilsson and Boyce & Hart. There are also new songs by contemporary artists like Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard of Deathcab for Cutie, XTC’s Andy Partridge and producer Adam Schlesinger. How did that unique mix come about?
A: “I don’t know who had the original idea but it was probably Rhino president John Hughes. Adam was the right man to produce. He wrote ‘That Thing You Do’ for the movie of the same name, which is a perfect song for the occasion. It was absolutely right for the era. It’s not derivative but original enough not to be an old, tired rehashing. When you get a chance to get together with Adam Schlesinger, you don’t think twice.”
Q: Will you be playing much of the new album on this anniversary tour or will it be mostly hits and deep cuts?
A: “A bit of both. We’re doing new the songs, ‘She Makes Me Laugh’ and ‘Little Girl.’ We might get around to doing another cut depending on the response. One CD is now a small portion of our entire catalog. You can’t do a Monkees concert without doing ‘Last Train to Clarksville,’ ‘I’m a Believer,’ Daydream Believer’ and so on, and then there’s all the secondary songs. We’re striving to do everything as much like the originals as possible so it should be a fun show.”