Friday, September 23, 2016

Episode 271: Rock Solid Presents: The Monkees Part 1

Episode 271: Rock Solid Presents: The Monkees Part 1
Pat and Kyle are joined by Craig Smith and Megan Stemm-Wade of the "SamePageCast" for Part 1 of an epic 2 Part ALL Monkees episode. In Part 1 we will discuss the first 6 studio albums the band released from 1966 - 1968. You can hear Part 2 tomorrow over at The Pods & Sods Network. LINK:
From September 22, 2016

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. For the fourth week in a row, we have special guest co-hosts on the show. That's right, co-hosts, because this week you're getting two of them, you lucky ducks! Hailing from the SamePageCast, say hello to Craig Smith and Megan Stemm-Wade! Pat, Craig, and Megan are going to discuss the career of The Monkees. They actually saw the band the previous evening at the Pantages Theater. It was the first time for Pat, the tenth time for Craig and Megan. The Monkees are Megan's favorite band and in Craig's top three. Pat gives the concert a 9 out of 10, with big points for all three living Monkees being there and the setlist.
00:05:00 All in all it was a very enjoyable show and potentially the last show that Michael Nesmith ever does with The Monkees. Not that he really needs it, the man has Liquid Paper money. He can buy half the towns west of the Mighty Mississipi with that kind of moolah. The way this podcast is going to work is that it's going to be split into two parts: Part 1 will be on Rock Solid and cover the first six Monkees studio albums. Part 2 will be on the SamePageCast and will cover the last six Monkees studio albums. And judging by the running time of part 1 alone, this thing is going to be like The Lord of the Rings: Split into parts and STILL a shlep to get through.
00:10:00 Craig flew in from Philadelphia and Megan flew in from Chicago. And boy are their arms tired, hyuck hyuck hyuck. Kidding of course, neither Craig nor Megan are capable of human flight. Pat reminisces with Megan about the Windy City. She is an instructional designer in higher-ed. Craig used to work at a homeless shelter, dealing with the dirty, masturbating homeless of the world. And to calm them down, he would BREAKDANCE in front of them. Electric Boogaloo indeed.
00:15:00 How did two people like Craig and Megan get to podcasting with each other? A few years ago Craig started the Pods & Sods Podcast, which branched off into spin-off podcasts. Megan and Craig met via a Monkees podcast, and they decided to start their own show. They record in separate locations, but these past few days the duo have been staying at Francis Manor, so they're seeing more of each other than usual. They've been having a fabulous time in sunny Los Angeles, although it's a little surreal for them to be staying at Pat's house because they're fans.
00:20:00 Pat asks the eternal question: If you were a Monkee, which Monkee would you be? Craig calls himself a Micky, a goofball. Pat considers Craig to be a Mike. Megan picks Micky as well, but Craig considers her to be a Davy. Pat thinks he's a Peter.
"Now you don't really know The Monkees that much."
- Pat, to Kyle

- Kyle
"Okay, so you're Caesar."
- Pat

00:25:00 What is Pat's history with The Monkees' music? He knew the hits, those classic Monkee songs. Then he got the new album and became curious about what the other Monkees albums sound like. So of course, as Pat is wont to do, he tracked down every Monkees studio album, bought them, and listened to them in chronological order. He loves them, especially the first six. Pat kicks things off with an obvious choice, their theme song! It's "(Theme from) The Monkees" off their 1966 self-titled debut album. The choice of songs are a mix of hits and deep cuts that the gang thinks we, the adoring audience, should know. And we'll be going in chronological order, so we're sticking with the self-titled debut.
00:30:00 Craig describes his vinyl collection of Monkees albums, which numbers at about 100. And that's JUST Monkees albums: Mono mix versions, stereo mix versions, remix versions, deluxe versions, super deluxe versions, different country versions, versions that will make pancakes and wash your balls. Just a bunch of Monkees albums, pure and simple. Craig's pick off of the debut album is "Saturday's Child". Craig and Megan credit the 80s reruns of the Monkees TV show for introducing them to these songs and making them want to get the albums because most of the songs in the show are on the albums. Smart move there. On this first Monkees album, the band do not play any instruments on the songs except for Peter Tork playing guitar on a couple songs that Mike produced. You can thank their manager Don Kirshner for that.
00:35:00 Megan's pick from the first album is called "Take a Giant Step". There might also be listener requests throughout the show, as evidenced by listener Jim Laird picking the hit song "Last Train to Clarksville". It's just as poppy and catchy as The Beatles. "When I was a kid, I thought this was the Beatles," admits Kyle. "Hmmm, dumb," replies his loving uncle Pat.
00:40:00 The gang talk about 8-tracks and how subpar a music format they were. Pat wants Kyle to find 8-track audio on YouTube, but Kyle can only find videos of people fixing 8-tracks. Then the conversation jumps from 8-track trivia to Kiss lyrics to The Wiggles.
00:45:00 Moving on to 1967's More of the Monkees, which was released WITHOUT the band's knowledge. Craig picks the song "Sometime in the Morning". "Great song, horrible production" notes Craig. But incredible vocals from Micky, holy smokes. Hitting them high notes in style. People think Davy was the lead singer of the band, but Pat and Megan consider the real lead singer to be Micky. "With Davy not far behind," adds in Craig.
00:50:00 Megan's song from this second go-round is "The Kind of Girl I Could Love". Michael bringing in his country flair to the proceedings. Pat's pick from the album is the opening track, "She". Also on this album: "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "I'm a Believer." Kyle likes the latter: "Great Smash Mouth song." Oooooh, that cuts deep.
00:55:00 MotM came out in January 1967, and in MAY OF THAT SAME YEAR, they put out their third album Headquarters. But before we get to that, Pat forces Kyle to try to find a particular Ruffles potato chip commercial. He fails. But anyway, Headquarters. At this point in their careers, The Monkees have wrestled control of their direction out of the hands of Don Kirshner. Just suplexed it right out of him. The band had been frustrated with Kirshner's management, so they fired him and did most of the instrumentation themselves.
01:00:00 Pat brings along a single that is found on the deluxe edition of the Headquarters album called "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You". Penned by Neil Diamond, it was released before Headquarters and again the band did not approve of it's release because A) they weren't playing on it and B) Kirshner did not consult them beforehand. Pat then plays the B-side "The Girl I Knew Somewhere".
01:05:00 So the band is playing together, writing together, growing out their hair. The TV show is about to head into its second season. Craig's song from Headquarters is a Davy vehicle called "Forget That Girl". Headquarters is produced by Chip Douglas, who produced some of their biggest hits.
01:10:00 The song that Megan picks is one of her favorite Monkees tunes called "Sunny Girlfriend". Backwards cymbals on that one, very interesting production there. Someone on the Twitter requests "Your Auntie Grizelda," of which Craig explains his frustration with the song. He's tired of hearing Peter play it live when there are better Peter songs to play.
01:15:00 Pat's pick from Headquarters is "Mr. Webster". For Pat, it's The Monkees doing Simon & Garfunkel: A folksy acoustic story about a sad man and his sad life. Craig enjoyed when he discovered "Mr. Webster" on the album because it was not on the TV show. Pat plays another song from Headquarters called "You Just May Be the One".
01:20:00 The gang agree that Michael has the best batting average of the four guys; Davy and Micky have more lead vocal songs, but Michael has quality over quantity. Oh, by the way, Pat once again forces Kyle to find something, this time the Banana Splits theme because they were brought up earlier. Tangents are flying left and right, I can hardly keep up (or care to jot them down).
01:25:00 Pat feels like the next two albums--Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and The Birds, the Bees & The Monkees--are the equivalent to The Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver, or The Rolling Stones' Aftermath & Between the Buttons. "Or Kiss' Dynasty and Unmasked," adds Craig. Right you are, Craig, right you are. They're the back-to-back Monkees albums that Pat really likes listening to. We'll start with PAC&J, which was the third album released by the band in the year of our lord, 1967. It's the first Monkees album from the original nine that Craig ever owned. The song he plays is "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?". A lot of Nesmith on this album, including Megan's pick "The Door into Summer". Pat rounds out the trio of Michael songs with "Love Is Only Sleeping".
01:30:00 Pat offers a terrifying vision of the future: Most Monkees albums have a nonsense song that is stuck on there for the amusement of, well, very few people. It was the 60s, whaddaya gonna do? Pat decided that at the end of this episode, he's gonna play all of those nonsense songs together as one big medley. An ill wind is blowing... But we're still a ways away, so the gang move on to The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees, released in 1968.
01:35:00 The song that Craig picks is "Auntie's Municipal Court". The song that Megan picks is "Zor and Zam". "Who brought Grace Slick into this motherfucker?" asks Craig. Seriously, Micky should be singing about white rabbits and strangers. And then getting drunk and ranting in front of an angry German audience. Vinyl gets brought up again, which leads Craig to rant against The Warmth of Vinyl episode and the goings-on therein.
01:40:00 After Craig complains about the $40 turntable that Pat bought from Target and promptly returned, Pat plays the big one, "Daydream Believer". To be fair to the people, THAT'S the song that makes them think Davy is the lead singer of The Monkees. The track is written by a guy named John Stewart (no, not THAT one), and Kyle finds and plays a snippet of Stewart's own big single "Gold," which features Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
01:45:00 Craig brings up a deep cut from The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees called "Tapioca Tundra". We hear a little bit of it. Then we hear Pat complain that the pizza is late. So he calls the pizza place ON THE AIR like the jefe he is and complains to them that there is no pizza and no salad. HE WAS TOLD IT WOULD BE DELIVERED BY 9:30 AND YET... and yet... his stomach and the stomachs of his guests are currently empty!
01:50:00 Kyle keeps the ones and twos rolling the entire time and the audio is CHILLING. Not since Truman Capote described the murders of the Clutter family has such cold-bloodedness been documented. Pat chastises the person on the other end of the phone and after some discussion, it seems that the delivery is now on its way. Good heavens, that was incredible. There was also a "round the corner, fudge is made" joke that is maybe the funniest thing ever said on the podcast. Craig is in near tears the entire time.
01:55:00 With all that over and done, WHAT DOES EVERYBODY WANT?! Head! WHAT DOES EVERYBODY NEED?! Head! Yes, that's an Al Snow joke in a Rock Solid recap, thank you. Head is the soundtrack to the Monkees' film Head, and it features both full-length songs and stuff from the movie like dialogue and incidental music. It's one of those stream-of-consciousness musical gimmicks.
02:00:00 Craig's pick is a Peter Tork-penned song called "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?". Megan's pick is a song called "As We Go Along". Pat's pick is the song "Circle Sky".
02:05:00 How is Kyle faring in all this? He's enjoying this more than the Dire Straits episode and the Pink Floyd episode. I don't think he'll hate anything as much as he hates those episodes. "It's not a bunch of people noodling for 20 minutes," as Kyle describes. Somewhere Christy Stratton feels a stitch in her side. Somewhere else, Daryl Asher's knee buckles.
We get to the plugs portion of the podcast and good lord, Craig just rattles off the list of podcasts he's part of: A track by track podcast, an 80s podcast, a Pink Floyd podcast, the SamePageCast, an upcoming Monkees podcast, a Phish podcast, an interview podcast hosted by his friend Eric. All of it and more--including PART 2 of this podcast--available on iTunes and You can find Megan on Twitter @siamesemeg and you can find Craig on Twitter @cst_1973.
02:10:00 Thanks so much to Craig and Megan for being on the show and expressing their love for The Monkees. CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE PODCAST!!!! Pat takes us out with the aforementioned "Nonsense Medley".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:25:00 (Theme from) The Monkees The Monkees The Monkees Pat
00:30:00 Saturday’s Child The Monkees The Monkees Craig
00:35:00 Take a Giant Step The Monkees The Monkees Megan
00:35:00 Last Train to Clarksville The Monkees The Monkees Jim Laird
00:45:00 Sometime in the Morning More of The Monkees The Monkees Craig
00:50:00 The Kind of Girl I Could Love More of The Monkees The Monkees Megan
00:50:00 She More of The Monkees The Monkees Pat
01:00:00 A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You Headquarters (Deluxe Edition) The Monkees Pat
01:00:00 The Girl I Knew Somewhere Headquarters (Deluxe Edition) The Monkees Pat
01:05:00 Forget That Girl Headquarters The Monkees Craig
01:10:00 Sunny Girlfriend Headquarters The Monkees Megan
01:15:00 Mr. Webster Headquarters The Monkees Pat
01:15:00 You Just May Be the One Headquarters The Monkees Pat
01:25:00 What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round? Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Craig
01:25:00 The Door into Summer Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Megan
01:25:00 Love Is Only Sleeping Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Monkees Pat
01:35:00 Auntie’s Municipal Court The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Craig
01:35:00 Zor and Zam The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Megan
01:40:00 Daydream Believer The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Pat
01:45:00 Tapioca Tundra The Birds, the Bees, & The Monkees The Monkees Craig
02:00:00 Do I Have to Do This All Over Again? Head The Monkees Craig
02:00:00 As We Go Along Head The Monkees Megan
02:00:00 Circle Sky Head The Monkees Pat
02:10:00 The Nonsense Medley N/A The Monkees Pat

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