By Christina Fuoco-karasinski
Micky Dolenz hits the nail on the head when he calls his catalog of songs “feel-good music.”
But Dolenz, best known as the vocalist/drummer in The Monkees, also hits the nail on the head – literally – in the furniture-building business he runs with his daughter, Georgia. In addition to crafting catchy choruses and designing artisanal tables, Dolenz has also worked as an actor, television director, radio personality and theater director.
Diversity fuels the fire of the 72-year-old, who brings his solo show to the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Saturday, Aug. 19. The show is partially seated, with standing-room tickets also available.
“It’s hard not to enjoy shows like that,” he says about his concerts. “There are sometimes three different generations there.
“It’s feel-good music. Frankly, the audiences are so enthusiastic that I liken it to someone throwing me a birthday party every night. It’s fun. That’s why they call it ‘playing.’”
Dolenz quickly adds there are downsides, too.
“There are aspects of it that are grueling, like the traveling,” he says. “It’s become so horrible with everything that’s going on. The planes are getting smaller. The seats are getting closer together. The food is terrible. The security.
“Like we say in the business: ‘They pay us to travel. We sing for free.’”
In 2016, The Monkees celebrated the band’s 50th anniversary with a successful world tour and an album called Good Times!, produced by Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger. The collection came out in May 2016 and reached No. 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
“That tour was huge,” Dolenz says. “Then the album went Top 20, of all things. It made all the big Top 10 lists. We’ve been riding the wave on that for at least a year now.”
The Marquee performance will feature songs from Dolenz’s solo and Monkees catalogs, with him backed by a full band that includes his sister, Coco.
“It’s the same band who backs up The Monkees,” Dolenz says. “If you saw The Monkees’ 50th anniversary shows, you’re going to get much of the same thing. I sang most of the hits – not all, mind you. I always do all The Monkees’ hits. I play some non-Monkees material, too. Mostly they are songs that have stories attached to them.”
A tune special to Dolenz is Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
“I tell the audience that I do it because it was my audition piece for The Monkees,” he says. “It’s the song that got me the gig.”
Dolenz looks forward to a peaceful rest of the year, spending it touring as a solo artist, tending to his vegetable garden and designing and building furniture with Georgia, as Dolenz & Daughters. Founded in 2013, the company uses high-quality materials and traditional woodworking techniques to build furniture. (Visit dolenzanddaughters.com.)
“I’ve always been into building stuff,” he says. “I was going to be an architect. All my life, my father was very, very handy with tools. He was always fixing stuff and he was always building stuff around the house. His theory was, if you can build it, don’t buy it.”
As a child, Georgia joined Dolenz in his shop and messed with his tools. When she pursued a theater degree, she learned how to build and design sets.
“She’s a better welder than I am,” he says with a laugh. “We were in my shop here a couple years ago and she asked if we could build a coffee table as a birthday gift for a friend.
“I said jokingly that we should start a business, Dolenz & Daughters Fine Furniture. She ran with it. I was kind of kidding. The next day, we had a website, license and business cards.”
The company has been inundated with orders.
“We do as much as we can and we want,” he says. “Occasionally, Georgia puts a note on the website that we can’t take any more orders because daddy is on tour. A lot of people didn’t think we were actually making the stuff. But we are.”
for more info
What: Micky Dolenz with special guest Jam Now
When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19
Where: Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Info: 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com