Dear Davy Jones,
My apologies for the amount of time that has passed since I last wrote to you. It’s been what, 27 years?
I don’t expect you to remember me specifically, of course, you being the star that you are and all. But one of the happiest days of my childhood was when I discovered a fan club address on the back of your first album. What was that one called? Meet the Monkees?
My mother had been nice enough to dredge it from her collection and hand it down to me when I shunned the standard kid music in your favor. I’d play the LP, grab my box of crayons, and draw pictures of us holding hands and going for rides in the red car you used to drive on your TV show.
I’m afraid the concept of a rerun was a bit too abstract for my seven year-old brain to grasp, so I must admit that I assumed your show happened in real time. Would you believe, Davy, that I spent one summer writing you a letter every week? You were my first crush and nothing was more important to me than connecting with you.
I eventually came to realize that I had been born just a tad too late, and that my letters (much like my dreams) had likely wound up in the same place as my letters to Santa. You were never going to ask me to play tambourine for you, you would never sing at my school dances, and the likelihood of ever seeing you in person was slim.
Of course, that was before reunion albums and nostalgia tours made it okay for bands to foist themselves on the public past their prime. When 1986 rolled around and I started hearing you on radio stations that played more than oldies, I was shocked and elated. Sure, Jon Bon Jovi was the new king of my fantasies (he never approved an album cover featuring him and his bandmates stuffed into inner tubes in a pool, that’s for damn sure), but as a fan, I’ve always been loyal to a fault. Just ask Huey Lewis.
And it certainly isn’t easy to be a Monkees fan, Davy, as I’m sure you can imagine. The ridicule I’ve endured from people starting with my mother (she’s a Stones fan) and ending with musicians who feel superior just because they always play their own instruments has been endless.
Don’t think that I didn’t fight their criticisms for you, though! It took a bit of digging, since there was no way I could ever claim that “Daydream Believer” is a good song, and god knows no one, not even you, can explain the movie Head. But I take my role as a fan very serious, and was thrilled to discover truly wonderful material on the Missing Links albums that I was proud to share with my friends.
Tell me Davy, why on earth wasn’t more done with songs like “Of You”, “Hollywood” and “St. Matthew”? They truly captured the feel of the era and can even be considered lovely frontrunners, much like Gram Parsons’ material, to the whole alt-country genre. Did you bury them because they were all written and sung by Michael Nesmith?
You’ll have to forgive my snark here, Davy. It’s just that after having been such a supporter of the band for so long, I can’t help but feel a small sense of entitlement.
Which is why I’m writing you this letter. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to reimburse me for buying the Justus album.) Do you remember the show you played at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois? It wasn’t that long ago, really.
I was about to turn 30, and you and Mickey Dolenz were still touring as “The Monkees” even without Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork in the lineup. It didn’t really matter, you didn’t play their songs anyway, and I was just happy to finally be in your audience.
Despite the general campiness of it all, I had a great time singing along to songs that had been a part of my life for many years. Even the girlfriend who accompanied me had a great time, though whether that was a result of the liquor I plied her with or your performance is somewhat debatable (she’s really more of a Partridge Family fan).
Still, she was indulgent enough to follow me to the alley behind the theatre after your show in an attempt to get your autograph. I had correctly reasoned that the midwestern housewives in attendance weren’t as well-versed in backstage crashing as I was, and my girlfriend and I were the only two people to camp out by the exit.
Like most alleys, it wasn’t the most pleasant of locations. My friend and I tried to get as comfortable as possible by leaning against the least steaming of the dumpsters, while still keeping a respectful distance from your waiting limo. We didn’t want to freak you out by seeming overly stalker-like or fanatical, you see.
So there we were, two pretty girls, smiling and hopeful and anxious to shake your hand. We waited at least an hour, and had in that time gotten to know Barry Williams, your opener, quite well. If you ever encounter him, do pass on my thanks for his graciousness in that dank alley.
As a fan, I can’t say the chilly night air, suspicious rustling in the dumpster and odd looks from the wait staff at the restaurant next door really bothered me. Excitement typically overrides discomfort and common sense.
You eventually emerged, with Mickey on your heels, another 20 minutes later. My girlfriend and I called out your name and smiled. Do you remember what happened next, Davy? Because I sure do.
For the reams of paper I spent writing you letters, the albums I sought out, songs I memorized, and breath I used in your defense, all I received to show for it that night was a wave. No smile, no hello, just a fucking wave. Were this an episode of your tv show, your getaway car would have kicked up filthy water and debris in my face as you sped into the sunset.
Anyway Davy, I’m not writing this to make you feel bad; believe me, I’ve heard worse horror stories about David Cassidy. I really just wanted to ask you for one thing: the autograph I never got.
I’d consider it a personal favor, and a better conclusion to The Monkees musical portion of my life than the one you, I’d like to believe unwittingly, gave me. If you need my address, try contacting the Michael Nesmith Fan Club. I’m sure they’ll be happy to supply it.