MONKEES in the ROCK & ROLL HALL of FAME? YES, WE WANT MONKEES in the HALL of FAME!
Bradley Mason Hamlin interviews Sandy Jacobson, Producer of
For those who haven’t heard yet, the Monkees have been recently nominated for a highly deserved position in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But according to Peter Tork, the Monkees may not get their due respect. Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone Magazine has apparently blocked their nomination.
BRAD: How can our readers help with this situation?
SANDY: By signing the Monkees Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Petition at:
If that doesn’t work, there’s a direct link on the BackStage:Los Angeles T.V. show website at http://www.backstagelosangeles.net/
We’ve received the support, and signatures of Tommy Boyce’s widow, Caroline Boyce, and Robert Hegyes (best known for his role as “Juan Epstein” on Welcome Back, Kotter!) among the celebrity signatures.
BRAD: Were the Monkees actually nominated before getting blocked?
SANDY: They actually were nominated, but blocked by Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, according to articles printed by Joseph Dionisio at Newsday, April 18, 2007 article, and the Los Angeles Times, May 4th articles. This is the Monkees 40th Anniversary, and the fans think it would be really nice for the guys to get in, while they’re still here to appreciate it.
BRAD: It really is ridiculous, if the argument is that the Monkees didn't initially play on their albums. The Monkees should be awarded for the simple fact that they FOUGHT to have the right to play on their albums, write the songs, and maintain control of their output. Who would do that? That took a tremendous amount of guts. AND--it was only the first two albums that primarily used studio musicians--a process still is use with most bands today! Even the Beach Boys used hired musicians for quality control. The Beatles had all sorts of musicians sit in on their sessions. This really is a case of "urban legend" gone out of control.
Okay, enough ranting. I'm preaching to the choir here. We want to know more about you personally. Please give us some background on Backstage:Los Angeles:
SANDY: BackStage:Los Angeles is a music interview television show for REAL musicians and artists. It’s designed to showcase their work, discuss their careers, share experiences with other artists, and introduce new artists to the public.
(NOTE: Here's a third person breakdown of the show provided by Sandy):
Sandy Jacobson is the producer and creator of BackStage:Los Angeles is passionate about music and is part of the Independent Music movement. Sandy has become part of a community of real musicians, some who have inspired her since childhood. These are the main ingredients that she brings to her show...which is designed to be a celebration of REAL music talent, an educational experience for up and coming artists, and an opportunity for fans and would-be fans to get to know the artist on a deeper level. "Talented" is the key word to describe her guests ... whether they are famous or "almost" famous. Guests have included Peter Tork (originally with “The Monkees”), John McEuen (one of the founding members of “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band”), James Lee Stanley, John Batdorf (originally with Batdorf & Rodney), and recently helped introduce Chelsea Williams - a bright young artist whom we see really going places.
The website http://www.backstagelosangeles.net/ covers the T.V. show, "BackStage: Los Angeles," Guest Musician News Articles, the Talent, and the Community of Artists (in front of and behind the cameras), whose combined contributions make this multi-media project possible!
BRAD: And how have the Monkees personally affected your life?
SANDY: At age two, I began tap-dancing lessons. At age four, I had won a Beauty Pageant, acquired an agent, and begun doing some local television work in Los Angeles. At age six, I was in a life-threatening car accident, sustaining a skull fracture, loss of the skeletal floor and ceiling above and below my right eye, my cheek bones were pulverized, and I sustained a cracked collarbone. With head trauma victims, eighty to ninety percent of people who sustain the type of head injuries that I did, die. Of the ones that live, eighty to ninety percent are left brain-dead, and kept alive with life support. I remained in the hospital, initially for three months. The first time that I saw myself in a mirror, after the accident, I knew that my dreams of being an actress and/or professional dancer when I grew up, were over. That was all I wanted to do with my life. When I came home that first time, my two much-older half brothers, took their life savings and bought me a color T.V., so that I’d have something to do, as I was going to be housebound for the next two years, recovering. The Monkees television show began airing at that time, and it was the only thing that made me laugh and forget about what I was going through. My favorite older brother “got” how much the show helped me, and bought me every album that The Monkees released, and bought me teen magazines with articles about them, every time I went into the hospital for additional reconstructive surgeries. Many of their songs gave me hope that “someday” my life “might” get better again. The most significant one, written by Carole King was “Take a Giant Step.” Others included “Hold On, Girl,” “When Love Comes Knockin’ At Your Door,” “I Wanna Be Free,” and countless others. My interpretations and connections were different than the intent of some of the lyrics, as I knew they were love songs even at age six ... but they helped.
Six years ago, I was rear-ended and diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, from my childhood accident, and suffered flashbacks, nightmares, and short-term memory problems. At that time, I re-lived my childhood accident worse than I’d ever lived it the first time. I worked with a specialist to get through it ... and 4 weeks into sessions, I also had the opportunity to finally see Peter Tork perform live, for the first time in my life. He was always my favorite Monkee, because as a child, I identified with his T.V. character who acted like my favorite brother acted with me, even though my brother was in fact very smart. In 2001, I also got to see The Monkees Reunion Tour, and was given backstage passes. My specialist said that meeting The Monkees and see them perform did more for me than modern medicine could ever have done. I was in sales at the time, with my monthly points averaging about 900 ... the lowest in the office. After meeting The Monkees, doing nothing differently, except having a major attitude adjustment my points jumped from 900 to over 120,000 ... and I remained the top producer in the office until I left nine months later.
I continued going to see Peter Tork’s blues band “Shoe Suede Blues” play around Los Angeles, and literally ran into Peter in random places around the city. We had a couple of professional exchanges, and Peter has contributed directly and indirectly to many positive changes in my life. At one point, when I was between jobs, it was suggested that I go on a movie audition. I laughed until I cried, and remembered something that Peter had taught me, about looking at things differently, and I decided to go so that I could at least tell the person who made the suggestion, that I had taken their suggestion.
That was my first audition, since my childhood accident, and I was one of ten women, out of 20,000 submissions that cast as a Wench, in Pirates of The Caribbean II . I’ve since worked in eight feature films, 4 television episodes, and two music videos ... and am currently producing my own music interview television show.
BRAD: Despite this recent conflict concerning Rolling Stone Magazine and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—all of the original Monkees are still active and making positive contributions to the world of music. Are there any current plans for new Monkees projects?
SANDY: Peter is currently touring with his blues band “Peter Tork & Shoe Suede Blues.” There are no plans at this time for any new Monkees concerts or tours, although it’s not unusual to catch an act with Micky, Davy, and/or Peter either solo, or any combination of the three.
BRAD: Please update us on Peter Tork. We love Shoe Suede Blues. They have a new album out, right?
SANDY: Yes, they recently released their third CD, Cambria Hotel earlier this year. It’s their best CD ever, and has some great, tight tracks on it, including “I Know Love” and a bluesy version of “Last Train To Clarksville.”
BRAD: Any funny Monkees anecdotes you would like to share?
SANDY: I can’t think of any really funny moments ... but would like to say, that I have immense gratitude for the music they’ve made over the last forty years, and the time that they individually and collectively gave me during the 2001 tour, in response to learning of my story. Peter has taught me some valuable life-lessons that have made a permanent and powerful impact on my life, and while many other people may have tried to teach me those things, because of my circumstances, I think he was the only person whom I was able to hear it from. The most important thing he’s taught me, is to not apologize for myself (unless I REALLY have done something that needs an apology), and to show up for and go for my dreams ... without “expecting” things to go the way “I” think they should go. I’ve been pleasantly surprised beyond my wildest dreams, when I do that.
BRAD: Your favorite Monkees song and why:
SANDY: “Take A Giant Step” ...
“Though you’ve played at love and lost,
(for me it was “played at life and lost.”)
and sorrow’s turned your heart to frost,
I will melt your heart again.
Remember the feeling as a child,
when you woke up and morning smiled ...
it’s time you felt like you did then.
There’s just no percentage in remembering the past,
it’s time you learned to live again at last.
Come with me, leave yesterday behind,
and take a giant step outside your mind.
You stare at me in disbelief,
you say for you there’s no relief ...
But I swear I’ll prove you wrong.
Don’t sit in your lonely room,
just staring back in silent gloom ...
that’s not where you belong.
Come with me,
I’ll take you where life is green
and every day holds wonders to be seen ...
Come with me leave yesterday behind,
and take a giant step outside your mind ...
That song made me believe that somewhere, there was still a life ahead, even though I couldn’t imagine one or see one at that moment. The first night I saw Peter perform, he DID that song ... which sent chills up my spine ... and tears to my eyes. Today, with all of the changes that have happened in my life, most days I DO wake up, like I did before my childhood accident, feeling like the morning IS smiling at me, and I look forward to each day. THAT is priceless.
Here's a clip of the Monkees "Unplugged" (take that unbelievers!) in the Netherlands (4.21.89) performing: "When Love Comes Knockin' (at Your Door)" and "Take a Giant Step."
BRAD: Your favorite Monkees episode and why:
SANDY: I hadn’t seen a Monkees episode, since my childhood, and I had a collage-memory of what I thought were several different episodes. During the 2001 reunion year, I was given a video of four Monkees episodes titled Our Favorite Episodes . What I’d held in my childhood memories, were three of those episodes ... and in order of importance, “Monkee vs. Machine,” “Fairy Tale,” and “The High Seas.” The first two are favorites, mostly because they featured Peter, who was my favorite Monkee. Secondly, being six years old, I could relate to the toy theme of "Monkee vs. Machine," and the whole “Fairy Tale” themes. The theme of that show resonated with me also ... good winning out over evil. The only two things that I remembered from "The High Seas" episode, was Peter saying “The Jolly Roger!” and his short scene with the “wench” ... and wishing when I watched it as a child, that I “had been old enough” and hadn’t had my injuries, so that “maybe” I could have played opposite Peter IN that scene. I find it incredibly ironic, that my first adult acting role, was as a wench in Pirates of the Caribbean II . THAT was a gift to me on many levels, and during the shooting of it, I remembered thinking that “even if I NEVER get another acting job in my life ... the childhood wounds are healed.”
BRAD: Please tell us why Americans should band together to put the Monkees in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
SANDY: If a rap group, can get into the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame, then why shouldn’t one of the major bands that contributed to Rock & Roll get in? Please see the petition for all of their stats. The Monkees had five albums go Platinum on the same day, Mike Nesmith practically invented MTV, and their first few albums were beat out at the number one spot, by THEIR OWN next album ... at a time when “global presence” could not be attained instantaneously through MySpace.
Sandy Jacobson, Producer
BRAD: Thank you very much, Sandy. I hope we can all refer back to this moment soon when the Monkees stand on that stage and accept their much deserved honor.