I love the original Monkees. I have been a big ass fan of theirs ever since I first saw their show and heard their music in the late 70s/early 80s (thanks to syndication back when I was a wee, little laddie). But, I also love the New Monkees. Heretical to fans of the 60s uber group, I know, but I can't help it, the New Monkees just connected with me when they first hit TV screens in 1987. Also, I knew enough to not compare and contrast the 80s band to the 60s band. Truthfully, Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike utterly own Larry, Dino, Jared and Marty, but the New Monkees are still worth a barrel of themselves.
Flashback to the Fall of 1987. I was in 7th grade and I was the world's biggest youngling nerd (complete with large, thick glasses, a scrawny, string bean body, and a 4.0 GPA). I really had nothing to do with sports if I could help it, and I mostly spent recess walking around the parking lot that we used for a playground by myself wallowing in self-pity. Then, one Saturday afternoon I saw something on a St. Louis UHF station that changed my life forever: The New Monkees TV show. Seriously, that first episode altered the course of Rossman History forever; I'll get to the explanation for that below.
The TV show started out with this fantastic 80s rock anthem called "Turn It Up", sung by the most bizarre Flock of Seagulls-wannabes hepped up on goofballs that my young eyes had ever bore witness too. The titular New Monkees (the previously mentioned Larry, Dino, Jared and Marty) did their best to capture the look and feel of the original band, and for the most part succeeded. The show was seriously fucked up, and filled with the worst acting I had ever seen -- but so was the 60s show for that matter. There was music everywhere, and I seem to recall the New Monkees launching into one of their pop songs at least twice per show (which was fine by me since I loved their music as well.... stop looking at me like that! At least I didn't like New Kids on the Block like YOU, freak!).
The rest of the show was pretty much like the original Monkees series, except on acid. The premise ran a little something like this: The New Monkees all live inside this huge mansion filled with what seems to be an infinite amount of rooms including their very own diner (complete with a hottie waitress), and a computer room that houses a sophisticated War Gamesesque computer system that ran away from the Pentagon and now helps the boys out with her number-crunching fortune telling. There's also Manford, the guys' butler, who came with the house when they moved in, and who know the house better than anybody else. I seem to recall the old fart actually being IN LOVE with the house, or some strange and fucked up thing, but I also seem to recall that I met Gary Coleman, Emanuel Lewis and Kitt (the Knight Rider car) at Neverland Ranch for Bubbles the chimp's birthday party when I was a kid, so maybe trusting my memory of the 80s isn't the best thing to do.
The New Monkees would spend a good portion of each show exploring the different rooms of their house, or trying to get to certain gigs amid certain hilARious obstacles, or chasing down photocopied doppelgangers of Marty, or watching Larry getting maced by some chick he tried to help in a parking lot, or hunting down the pope (I wish I made that last one up). And if I remember correctly they even had little (kid friendly) SNL-like mini-movies peppered throughout each episode. Oh, and even though I appear to be blocking it out of my consciousness I do have flashes of the absolute WORST and most completely out of place laugh track in the history of the televised comedy. Yes, even more abhorrent than the fake laughter from early Hanna Barbera cartoons (wherein the studio laughter was OBVIOUSLY fake considering the show you were watching was actually hand-drawn animation). I-- I can still hear that dead laughter in my nightmares....
So, how did this quirky, yet somehow appealing, 80s television show change my life? Well, it got me talking to another kid in my school named Ken Mooney. Ken was a little nerd like me, and just about as introverted as I was... No, wait, he actually did have friends. Strike that last part. Anyway, Ken was possibly the only other person in the school who watched the New Monkees too (and possibly the only other person in the state of Missouri seeing as the series barely lasted 13 episodes), and we actually bonded a bit over it... Well, maybe one recess worth of bonding wherein we talked about what made us laugh in the episode aired that past weekend, but that was enough to make me see that human bonding was actually a good thing. And now I'm proud to say that not only do I bond with new people all the time, but I've taken bonding a bit further. Hey, it was just two days ago that I bonded up 3 hookers in some cheap hotel room and made them listen to the New Monkees album four times all the way through. Wow, full circle. Neat!
SPEAKING of the New Monkees' music, that was actually the first thing that producers and talent scouts for the show looked for in their stars this time: musical talent. They made sure that each New Monkee could sing and perform their own musical instrument (the original Monkees were really only judged on their appearance and their ability to perform self-fellatio and accept triple penetration up the anus). Acting talent was (obviously) an afterthought. Don't ask me who played what (even too lazy to look it up in my CD case and that's just 4 feet away from me), but they did jam. What cracks me up though, is that even though each of the songs on their debut/only album are all impressively entertaining and listenable, most of them are either dark or about things that little kids really shouldn't be singing along to. Take the song "Affection" for instance. Here's the second of three verses. Tell me if you'd turn a kid in to the guidance counselor if you heard him repeating this little ditty in the hallway of his elementary school:
This guy I went to school with
he had a wife and a son
a house in the suburbs
and a loaded shotgun.
Well he drove out on the highway
until his motor went dead
and he opened up his jacket
and then he PUT that SHOTGUN to his HEAD!
I am dead serious. That's the actual song (I tried looking up the lyrics online, but they differ vastly from the actual recording [which I'm listening to as I type this]). The third verse of "Affection" is about a murderer being taken to prison, and the first verse is about a girl climbing up onto a window ledge and waving at all the people below. Yeah, all the people in the song "aren't crazy, just a little bored; tired of being lonely, tired of being ignored," but this was an album and TV show AIMED at kids in primary school. Damn.
Oh, then there's "What I Want I Ain't Got" which is about a guy meeting a cheap slut in a pool hall and then fucking her in the back of some stranger's Cadillac (some guy who catches them going at it later in the song). The rest of the tunes were then about love, lust, partying and surprisingly melancholic longings for days gone by (as in the most non-heinous "Boy Inside the Man", which was actually later covered by Tom Cochran FYI... yeah, you really don't give a flying fuck now do you...)
My point is that as a kid I really didn't pay attention to the lyrics' meanings (yes, I knew them all by heart and could belt them out with the New Monkees themselves each time I wore my cassette down by constantly blasting their album [and the Transformers the Movie soundtrack] over and over again during my childhood), and it wasn't until my freshman year in college that I had a roommate actually question me (and the actual meanings of the songs) with, "Holy shit, did that guy just say that he put a fucking shotgun to his goddamn head?!" I stopped, thought through the remainder of the album, and was mindfucked for days afterwards. At least I'll always have the ultimate mid-party song (i.e. when a party seems to be losing its first wind, you get things back in the fiesta-mentality with a mid-party song) sung by the boys known as "Turn It Up." Let the music thunder! And don't turn it down! TURN IT UP! Whooa-oh-ooh-oh!
Hell no! No, no, no, no, no, nyet, non and nunca! Holmes, this New Monkees sheyat is just as bad as that Daydream Believer crap from the 60s! I've never seen the show, bitches, but the music that the Rossman has made me listen to on a number of torturous occasions has made my ears bleed!
Okay, truth be told, it wasn't the music that literally bled my ears, ya whores, it was the pen that I jabbed into my ear canals to stop the shit music from entering my brain that did that. In order to cleanse my palette and my soul afterwards I found that I had to blast me some Avantasia (parts I and II) and some Helloween in a bare, white room for about 35 hours in pure, awesome, head-banging repetition. Ahhhhhh, that was sweet release.
Well holy sheeit, and blow me down with a french tickler! Ah think Ah did all the guys in this band. They're all like in their 40s now, but Ah'd recognize them from the Rossman's album cover anywhere! Ah see them every week down at the soup kitchen! Ah'm there volunteerin' and scoping out homeless booty, unlike them.
Man, that Dino is one kinky mothafucker! He was the one who insisted that we get Mr. Big in on an orgy... Unfortunately that name was completely false in its advertisin'. The Nelson Twins though, who live two boxes down from Dino... Whoa! Ah've never even tried some of the shit that they did to eachother on my daddy! An' he taught me everything Ah ever knew up till that time!