Producing the Monkees / Open Lines

Producing the Monkees / Open Lines


HostIan Punnett

GuestsOpen Lines

Ian Punnett (Twitter) was joined by American songwriter and musician Chip Douglas, who discussed his work producing some of the Monkees' biggest hits, including "Daydream Believer" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday," as well as his time as the replacement bass player in the Turtles. "I look back on my bass playing now and I think, 'oh, too many notes,'" Douglas joked, adding he played a lot more notes back then and has since transitioned into a mellower bass player. The "Happy Together" demo had been shopped all over Hollywood and every record label and their groups had passed on it, he continued. The song in its current recorded form was the result of playing it on the road and trying new things to make it better prior to recording it, Douglas noted. "We all contributed something to that... each guy played his own part," he said.

Douglas recounted his sessions with the Monkees on their third and fourth albums, Headquarters and Pisces. "They really wanted to pull together on the Headquarters album... they were determined to be their own band," he explained, pointing out they had disagreements but mostly got along, including singer/guitarist Michael Nesmith and keyboardist/bass guitarist Peter Tork. Douglas described Tork as argumentative and revealed "he never wanted me to be producer, he wanted Stephen Stills." Douglas took over bass playing duties to free Tork to play keyboards, which allowed them to record songs as a 4-piece band in the studio. He also talked about meeting with John Stewart of the Kingston Trio about his song "Daydream Believer," which became a hit song for the Monkees. "The thing that grabbed me about that song was the way he hit the low notes in there," he recalled.


Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Frank from Hollywood, Maryland, phoned in to share his favorite Turtles' songs, "It Ain't Me Babe" and "Elenore," and to lament the loss of his CD collection. Frank explained he had been in an accident which left his car totaled and his music CDs shattered. "I went into a deep depression and to get out of the depression... I listened to music and drank iced tea out of a mason jar," he said. A caller named Mark claimed to personally know the late Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. According to Mark, Lee was one of the oldest living World War II veterans before his passing. "From the years 1961 to 1971 Mr. Lee toiled at his typewriter and wrote virtually every single Marvel comic published," he asserted. Mark also revealed he has an original manuscript of Fantastic Four #1. Bryan from California called to ask the name of the musician who played the acoustic guitar intro and solo on the Monkees' song, "Valleri". Ian identified the player as session musician Louis Shelton from The Wrecking Crew. Bryan told Ian he sometimes works with Denny Tedesco, who produced and directed a documentary on The Wrecking Crew.

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