Thursday, March 1, 2012

People Say We Monkey Around

TigerBlog was walking outside a locker room near tennis courts one time when a man walked by, showing all the signs of just having played.

He carried his bag. His hair was wet. He had a towel around his neck. His face was beat red.

And he was short.

The person TB was with pointed over to the man and said "you know who that is?" TB had no idea and replied as such.

"Davy Jones. You know, the lead singer from the Monkees."

Upon further glance, that's exactly who it was.

It was definitely the face that TB had seen on the TV show all those years ago.

And then TB heard him speak, in a distinct English voice.

And then he was gone, into the locker room, one more TB brush with greatness behind him.

The locker room was the one on E level of Jadwin Gym, and this was when TB worked at the newspaper. He has no idea why the lead singer of the Monkees would be playing tennis on E level of Jadwin, has no idea if he had a connection to this area, if he played here more than once.

If you're TB's age, then you watched the group - the "pre-fab four," as opposed to the Beatles - and its rather wild TV show. And you know all of the group's biggest songs.

There was "Daydream Believer." "Last Train To Clarksville." "Pleasant Valley Sunday."

The song "I'm A Believer" was written by Neil Diamond of all people.

And of course their most famous offering, which was the theme song for the TV show: "Here we come, walking down the street, we get the funniest looks from, everyone we meet; hey, hey, we're the Monkees, people say we monkey around ..."

Then there were other songs, like "I Wanna Be Free," which flew under the radar, and TB's favorite song by the Monkees, "Shades of Gray."

If you know anything about the Monkees, you know that it was Davy Jones and three Americans, that it's like other people were playing the music, that their sole goal was to capitalize on the Beatles craze, that they looked like they were having so much fun and that they sang some good songs.

TB thought of all that, and the time he saw Jones in Jadwin, when he heard the news yesterday that Jones had died, of an apparent heart attack, at the age of 66.

The Monkees never played a concert at Jadwin, as far as TB knows. TB doesn't have the full concert list for the building's history, but he does know that Boston played here. So did the Beach Boys. And Joan Baez. And Cat Stevens. And Mary Chapin Carpenter (well, she played outside Jadwin).

And of course, the single greatest event it the building's history is the 1978 concert here by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

TB loves the arenas that are used for basketball, hockey, indoor soccer, concerts, political events, the circus and all and have on the concourse great pictures of all of those. The Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State, where Princeton played basketball a few times, is one such arena.

So is Madison Square Garden.

Jadwin isn't quite like that. It's not booked with outside events too often, if ever.

It doesn't usually require quick turnarounds of the seating setup, other than to roll in the south stands for basketball after a track meet.

This weekend it will have the EIWA wrestling championships and then men's basketball and then back to wrestling and back to basketball. Someone here hit upon the idea of setting up a camera to check out the changeover and then turning it into one of those time lapse videos.

That should be cool. We'll see what comes of it.

In the meantime, the world goes on without Davy Jones, the diminutive front man for one of the fun groups of all time, group that was too busy singing to put anybody down.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course the Monkees had many critics because they were an entirely manufactured act, sort of a Menudo before there was Menudo. My view is that great music is great music. I don't care if it's written by one lone creative genius or it's merely a corporate product marketed by a monolithic international conglomerate. If I'm tapping my toes, that's all that counts.

Incidentally, the reason the Monkees only toured with three members (Davy, Mickey and Peter) is that the fourth (Michael) was independently wealthy because his mother had invented Liquid Paper and sold it to Gillette in 1979 for $48 million plus a royalty stream. So the Monkees were both birthed and eventually hobbled by monolithic international conglomerates.