Hey, hey it's the Monkees farewell tour making a Medford stop

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Micky Dolenz didn’t get out much in 1966. Dolenz spent his days filming “The Monkees” TV show with Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, and his nights laying down vocals for albums “The Monkees” and “More of the Monkees.” But Dolenz found some time to do his Christmas shopping.

Hey, hey it’s the Monkees farewell tour making a Medford stop
© Provided by Boston Herald Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith with The Monkees Perform at the Symphony Hall on Friday, October 8, 2021, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)

“The record ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ became a hit, or so I was told, because we were filming eight to ten hours a day and I was in the recording studio at night singing,” Dolenz told the Herald. “We had a hiatus for Christmas and I put together my Christmas list and went down to my local mall in L.A. where I had shopped since I was a kid.”

Dolenz went through the big glass doors and suddenly there was screaming and running everywhere.

“I thought it was a fire and turned around and held the doors open and said, ‘Don’t panic,’” he said with a laugh. “I realized pretty quickly it wasn’t a fire and that they were running at me.”

Since then, Dolenz has spent years returning to screams and cheers of Monkeemania. Now he and bandmate Michael Nesmith are ready to say goodbye to the sensation started 55 years ago — the Monkees’ farewell tour stops at Medford’s Chevalier Theatre on Saturday before the hometown finale at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on Nov. 14.

Hey, hey it’s the Monkees farewell tour making a Medford stop
© Provided by Boston Herald Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (Photo by Paul Undersinger, courtesy artist management)

In 1965, Dolenz showed up to an audition for a show about a struggling rock band inspired by the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.” And for a while the Monkees became as big as the Fab Four: “Last Train To Clarksville” hit No. 1 and the band’s self-titled debut album soon followed suit with 13 weeks at the top spot on the chart. Since then, the Monkees have rebounded again and again thanks to reruns and reunion tours. But with the passing of Jones and Tork, Dolenz and Nesmith felt it was time to close the book on the band.

“It’s great that we end it at the Greek,” Dolenz said. “And audiences have been insane, just crazy. The fans are loving it, I’m loving it. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of work in the traveling. But as you know, they pay us to travel and we sing for free.”

Putting together one final tour involves a lot of deliberation. With a dozen Top 40 hits and as many albums, the band has plenty of material to choose from.

“The basic thing is give them the hits, all of them, in their entirety, no medleys,” Dolenz said. “Once the fans know they are going to get those hits, we can kind of fill up the show with whatever we want. … Even if the audience doesn’t recognize a song, the material is always pretty good considering who our songwriters were.”

With joyful chuckle, Dolenz lists a who’s who of songwriting genius who have written for the band: Carole King, Neil Diamond, Cynthia Weil, Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher. But Dolenz also makes sure to include in that list his dear friend “Nez,” reminding the world what a talent Michael Nesmith has always been.

“We’re doing ‘Different Drum,’ which he wrote in the early, early days for the Monkees,” Dolenz said. “We didn’t have a lot of control in those days. But they turned him down and said, ‘It doesn’t sound like the Monkees.’”

“He told them, ‘But I am one of the Monkees,’” Dolenz added with a laugh.

Nesmith ended up giving “Different Drum” to Linda Ronstadt’s band, the Stone Ponys, who turned it into a smash in 1967.

Dolenz promises that he will return to the stage for solo shows “if people want me.” As humble as he is, ever since that day in 1966 at the shopping mall, fans have relished a chance to scream with joy at his work.

For tickets and details, go to monkees.com.

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