Davy Jones performs on MY MUSIC: '60s POP ROCK | ©2011 PBS

Davy Jones performs on MY MUSIC: '60s POP ROCK | ©2011 PBS

Davy Jones remains one of the most enduring icons of ‘60s pop, thanks largely to the fact that as the primary lead singer of the Monkees, he was insanely popular, but also because he’s still performing now.

For people of a certain age, the Monkees were indelible. Yes, the ‘60s band – Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith – were originally put together by NBC network casting executives and played a lot of material by outside songwriters, but the songs were catchy, the show was fun (and actually subversive when rewatched by adults), and the band has remained so beloved that Jones, sometimes solo, sometimes with Dolenz (and occasionally Tork), continues to tour.

Although Jones is also a stage actor – one of the few, if not the only one, who has played both the Artful Dodger (in his youth) and Fagin (more recently) in OLIVER! – a writer and was a jockey, he’s still best known as a pop performer. It therefore makes complete sense that he’s the host of PBS’ MY MUSIC: ’60s POP ROCK, which airs Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 PM.

Jones still loves performing, but he also enjoys his home life – and his horses.  “At the moment, I have six thoroughbreds and I have some other horses – I have a driving horse, I have an Amish carriage, I sometimes ride it round my track at the back of my house. I bought an old house in Pennsylvanian the Eighties and, as they say, people think I’m in the Witness Protection Program. I’m there because I’m unknown, anonymous, and that’s what I like to be. And then I go and I find [very enthusiastic audiences].”

ASSIGNMENT X: You’ve said you’re also working on writing a new musical with a longtime friend …

DAVY JONES: It’s got a great book that I’ve written and we’ve collaborated on all the songs as far as the storyline and everything else. It’s going to be good.

AX: There are clips of you performing very recently and you look to be having as great a time as the audience. Have you just enjoyed performing this much through your entire career, or did you ever have a moment of feeling bad about it?

JONES: Yes, I did. In the Eighties, I went back to England in ’82 and I said to myself, “I’m not going to do it.” Then all of a sudden, I’m watching television and seeing what’s going on, and I said, “I’m better than this. I should be doing some work.” So in ’86, I played the part of Jesus Christ in GODSPELL, and I went out there for a year and I just renewed my interest in the business. I hadn’t worked [as a performer] for about four years in England, I was just looking after horses and taking care of stuff, and I thought, “I can do this. I’ve got to go there and do this.” And so I did. And then we did the ’86 Monkees reunion tour, which was the biggest tour of the year. And basically I’m just trying to incorporate my enthusiasm into my performance. And I feel better, my voice is better, I’m singing better, I’m feeling better about my life.

AX: Are there acting roles you’d still like to do?

JONES: I would like to do Joel Grey’s [Emcee role in] CABARET. I would like to be Tony Newley in STOP THE WORLD, I’d like to do Tommy Steele in HALF A SIXPENCE. Just those things that would match my personality. As a sixty-five-year-old man, I can’t be doing BARNUM, balancing on a high wire. It’s got to be sensible and it’s got to be something that I’m going to enjoy. An actor takes whatever is happening at the time and then once they’re tired of doing it and it doesn’t feel good to them and they’re not good doing it, then they leave. It’s not everybody’s choice. You hear from many, many people who say the same things I did. As you get typecast into a certain thing, people only see you as that. But my Fagin [in the musical OLIVER!] was as good as any Fagin, as good as Alec Guinness or as good as Ron Moody or as good as Clive Revill or any of these people. You just have to see that to believe what I’m saying.

AX: A lot of people who came up in the Sixties who are still around have a kind of longevity that a lot of people who’ve come up since then haven’t had. Do you have any theories as to why that is?

JONES: It’s attitude. It’s attitude. If you want to have longevity, you’ve got to have the attitude and desire. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing at the Holiday Inn, or you’re playing at the Ritz. As long as you feel good about what you do, that’s who you are. I don’t have to prove anything any more. I only have to have to say to myself, “Am I having a good time? Yeah. Do I feel healthy? Yeah. Am I enjoying everything that I should be enjoying? Am I comfortable in what I’m doing? Yeah. I am comfortable in what I’m doing.” I don’t care what anyone says about my performance or whether I’m good, bad or indifferent. I’m who I am and I can’t change that.

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Article: Interview with Monkees member Davy Jones on MUSIC: 60s POP ROCK

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