It’s being held in New Jersey, but the David T. Jones Memorial Monkees Convention this weekend has Connecticut all over it.
This singular gathering, in honor of the short British Monkee who passed away last year, has been organized by Orange resident Charles Rosenay!!! One of the featured guests at the event will be Peter Tork, the Monkee who was raised in Connecticut (where his father taught at UConn Storrs). Micky Dolenz, who’s been in Connecticut on numerous occasions (Monkees tours at the casinos, the Goodspeed Opera House revival of the musical Pippin, a national tour of Grease…) will also attend.
The Monkees were created through auditions for a TV comedy show, but became a pop band that continued to record and tour for decades after the show was cancelled. At first, all their songs were written (and all their instruments were played) by pop industry professionals, but after a short while Jones, Dolenz, Tork and especially Nesmith’s own work and performing and songwriting skills shone through on the group’s albums. Besides the series and several TV specials, the band made a classic hallucinatory feature film, Head, co-written by Jack Nicholson.
That’s a lot to celebrate. It all happens March 1-3 at the Meadowlands Sheraton, E. Rutherford, New Jersey.
Charles Rosenay!!! is best known for his conventions and tours celebrating The Beatles and various movie monsters, but in his youth he actually was the Davy Jones manqué in a Monkees tribute band.
Trusted by horde of ‘60s pop stars whom he’s booked for his conventions, nobody else could have arranged a Monkees convention of this magnitude. Besides having two of the three surviving Monkees performing at the event (alongside the Monkees/Davy Jones Touring Band), the fourth—Michael Nesmith, who barely ever does reunion things, and never conventions—will be represented by his son Christian (palying guitar for vocalist Circe Link) and by the Michael Nesmith tribute band Loose Salute.
Rosenay!!! has also invited a host of acts which Monkees fans are sure to hold in equal esteem: bubblegum pop icons Ron Dante (of The Archies) and 1910 Fruitgum Company; Robbie Rist (a musician also known as “Cousin Oliver” from the final season of The Brady Bunch) and ‘60s/’70s friendly cover bands The Characters, Blue Meanies, and Pat Horgan & Thunder Road, (aka the Garage Band Monkees).
Oh, and one more Connecticut connection: Gary DeCarlo’s playing. He was a founding member of Steam, the “Kiss Him Goodbye” hitmakers.
From “Hey Hey It’s the Monkees” to “Na na na na hey hey hey Goodbye,” the David T. Jones Memorial Monkees Convention is a fitting musical send-off to the much-lived shortest cutest member of the Prefab Four.
But wait, there’s more. Other guests—some of them singers, but most of them actors and other celebrities there to give talks or just chat or sign autographs—include Connecticut-based percussionist Rich Dart (who’s played with Mickey Dolenz), David Cassidy, four of the six siblings in the Brady Bunch (Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland), Butch Patrick from The Munsters, beach party movie icon Donna Lorene, folk musician/photographer Henry Diltz, disk jockey Jerry Blavat, singer/songwriters Freddy (“I Want to Be Your Davy Jones”) Monday, drummer Felipe Torres, actress Arlene Martel (T’Ping on the original Star Trek), John Lennon’s ladyfriend May Pang and several members of Davy Jones’ family.
Names seem to be added to the line-up constantly, right up to the last minute. The convention also features a memorabilia marketplace, a “’60 costume bazaar,” auctions, artwork and the MonkeeMobile which the band drove around in on their TV series.
A weekend pass to the convention costs $110, with higher-priced passes available for VIP seating and other bonuses. A Friday-only pass is $30, Saturday or Sunday only are $50 each. There’s also a $25 Peace Flag workshop. Details, discounted advance tickets and the latest schedule can be found at 1-866-Monkees or http://www.monkeeconvention.com