Published on August 19th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.0
The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Monkees: The Unlikely Tour
The 1960s musical landscape gave birth to some of the most influential acts the world has ever known. At the heart of it all were The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Monkees. While Hendrix is celebrated for revolutionizing guitar music and dragging it into the future, The Monkees resonated with teens everywhere, captivating audiences with their TV series and making Davy Jones an international heartthrob. Both acts defined a generation, albeit in radically different ways.
How The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Monkees Ended Up Touring Together?
Against the backdrop of their varied musical styles and aesthetic appeal, it’s intriguing that these two iconic groups ever shared a stage. The genesis of their collaboration was rooted in admiration – at least from The Monkees‘ side. Before Hendrix achieved stardom with The Experience, some members of The Monkees had already been jamming to his tunes. But the appreciation was far from mutual. Hendrix openly expressed his lack of enthusiasm for The Monkees in interviews, highlighting a clear distinction between the two.
Both Hendrix and The Monkees were under the same overall management structure. The idea was that Hendrix, who was relatively unknown in the U.S. at that time, could benefit from the massive exposure of The Monkees’ young audience. Conversely, having the edgy Hendrix as an opening act might give The Monkees a bit more credibility among rock aficionados.
Mickey Dolenz: The Link Between Monkees and The Experience
The unlikely union of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Monkees was largely influenced by Mickey Dolenz’s fascination with Hendrix’s artistry. Reminiscing about his first encounter with Hendrix, Dolenz told Forbes, “I first experienced his magic when he was Jimmy James [and the Blue Flames] in New York’s [Greenwich] Village. His guitar-playing prowess, notably using his teeth, was simply unforgettable.”
A later rendezvous at the Monterey Pop Festival rekindled Dolenz’s interest. Witnessing The Jimi Hendrix Experience live was a game-changer. Dolenz realized that this guitar prodigy, formerly known as Jimmy James, had evolved into a formidable force, presenting groundbreaking music that was incomparable to anything Dolenz had ever heard. This epiphany inspired Dolenz to pitch the idea of Hendrix’s band opening for The Monkees. Both camps, seeing potential benefits, agreed. As Dolenz nostalgically remarked, “We were about to tour, and were looking for an opening act.”
The Ill-fated Tour: Mismatched Expectations and Realities
However, the magic Dolenz spoke of didn’t fully translate to their combined audience. The tour is often recalled as a mismatched venture. The partnership took place in the summer of 1967, with Jimi Hendrix and The Jimi Hendrix Experience opening for The Monkees’ American tour. This short-lived venture began on July 8, 1967. However, by July 17, after only seven shows, Hendrix opted out.
While Monkees’ fans predominantly clamored for the charming Davy Jones, Hendrix remained true to his unique style, undeterred by the lukewarm reception. The blend of Hendrix’s groundbreaking music with the pop sensation of The Monkees was a gamble, and for many, it didn’t pay off. Echoing this sentiment, Hendrix once candidly commented on The Monkees, stating, “Oh God, I hate them! Dishwater….You can’t knock anybody for making it, but people like the Monkees?“