At the height of his success, Davy Jones could set girls screaming but the Monkees frontman was just as excited by his own fame, his friend and bandmate Micky Dolenz recalled.
“We shared a house together in the early days and we were driving up to and parking in front of our house and listening to the radio and it was Monkee Day and all of a sudden ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ came on,” Dolenz said, referring to the band’s debut single. “He said, ‘Whoa, that’s us.’”
“None at all,” Dolenz said when asked if he had any hints that Jones might be sick. “He’s a vegetarian. He was always outdoors with horses.”
“His mom, I remember, passed on when he was very young and then his father also passed on in the very early days of the Monkees and I believe it was a heart attack. So I believe maybe there was some genetic issue, but nothing we ever knew about,” he said.
Dolenz said he and Jones remained in close touch to the very end, most recently performing together in a reunion tour last year throughout the U.K. and the U.S. that was one of their biggest.
“The shows got some of the best reviews we’ve ever gotten, even from Rolling Stone,” Dolenz said.
Dolenz and Jones first met in the 1960s when they were cast alongside Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith in The Monkees, the band formed as part of a TV series about a rock band also called “The Monkees.”
“I remember him very well from the very early auditions. I think it’s because we both had very similar backgrounds,” Dolenz said. “He’d been on Broadway as Oliver, I’d had a series called ‘Circus Boys,’ so we knew the business, so we just kind of hit it off.”
The show was canceled in 1968 but it cemented the four men, particularly Jones, as teen idols and remained a cult classic well past its cancellation, fueled by the reunion tours and memorabilia.
“On the television show we were never successful, so that endeared us, I think, made it real to a lot of kids,” Dolenz said. “It was about the struggle for success and it spoke to all the bands, all the garage bands, all the kids around the world who were in their living rooms, in their basements trying to become successful.
“The closest thing that’s come down the pike since the Monkees, I think, is ‘Glee’ which is a show about an imaginary glee club, but they’re good, they can actually do it,” he said.