- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (September 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1562828479
- ISBN-13: 978-1562828479
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 77 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,608,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I'm a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness Paperback – September 1, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
In this sophomoric exercise 48-year-old Dolenz looks back at his life, concentrating on his years as the drummer for the Monkees, a late '60s rock band prefabricated for television. There are several irritating sections written in screenplay format, and the authors often indulge in lame puns. Dolenz admits he is "girl-crazy" to this day, and claims his access to women through fame was like being "a kid in a carnal store." Dolenz's point of view about that period vacillates constantly. On one hand, he appears to feel that he was a part of the authentic '60s experience: he describes the afternoon he smoked a joint with Paul McCartney; his attendance at the Monterey Pop Festival; and Jimi Hendrix's opening for the band on one summer tour. Then Dolenz changes gears, making fun of the hippie ideology of bandmate Peter Tork, whom he portrays as ranting about "fat-cat, big business fascist pigs!" In similar fashion, he insists that seeing the Monkees as a rock group is like thinking Leonard Nimoy really was a Vulcan, but he also takes pride in their growing creative control that peaked with the album "Headquarters," the first that the band recorded without studio musicians. Bego is an entertainment writer. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A good-natured, superficial show-biz bio by the drummer of The Monkees, written with veteran rock-'n'-roll chronicler Bego (Aretha Franklin, 1989, etc.). From the start, Dolenz rode life like the Last Train to Larksville. In the 50's, as a ``hyperactive boy's boy,'' he snared the title role in the smash sitcom Circus Boy. A decade later came the Monkees, four zany young lads--from Hollywood, not Liverpool- -who answered the British rock invasion with their own American TV series. Producer (and future film director) Bob Rafelson knew what he was doing: The Monkees zoomed up the Nielsen ratings, and the group's early releases, penned by Neil Diamond (``I'm a Believer'') and other great songwriters, bumped the Beatles off the top of the charts. Why the clamor? Because, says Dolenz, The Monkees was the first TV show ``to depict young people on their own'': It was ``My Three Sons without Fred MacMurray.'' The show also gave birth to a new method of record promotion, through national TV rather than local radio--the first glimmer of the MTV revolution. For Dolenz, the series led to a magic sleigh ride: smoking hashish with Paul McCartney; starring in Head, a movie scripted by Jack Nicholson; bedding every starlet in sight. When the group split up, Dolenz hit the rocks--divorce, depression--but, more recently, spearheaded the Monkees' ``incredibly successful'' reunion (the top-grossing tour of 1986); he now works as a British TV director. Monkeyshines, nothing more, but it makes you want to hear those tunes again. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Where he possessed pride for his career, he stood up and made note of it and had no problem telling his critics where to go. It was a refreshing take because so many people in this industry write books to amplify experiences or underplay the effects on them personally. I thought Mickey really gave a honest and heart-felt review of his life in the entertainment industry and did so in a manner that almost felt like he was sitting down to talk to you personally about it just to pass the time. It felt genuine and grounded. I also respected his decision not to do a name call of people for whom he had relationships with or otherwise spent time partaking in the experience. I've always felt people who needed to call out those who were once confidants or family members are saying more about the deficits they possess than those I guess they feel the need to diminish publicly to inflate their own sense of self-worth. None of that was present here. His reflections on personal matters between family and friends were quite detailed for context purposes to show you the extent of fame's impact and what kind of issues it can create in the best of homes. It was both insightful and heartening. So glad to hear he had a solid home governed by a strong mom and what appeared to be a solid step dad after he lost his own. That explains so much about why he comes across so well acclimated to the events of his life.
I think one of the takeaways I get from this book that is well worth remembering is the man has a tremendous work ethic. That seems to be a common thread with anyone who is successful in life. Opportunity can knock in a number of different ways for all of us and how prepared we are and how much conviction we give to the effort often determines whether we take full advantage of those opportunities or let them go by the wayside. Mikey seem to have a good knack for learning from his experiences instead of letting them weigh him down. This explains why he is such an accomplished professional in so many venues of this industry. It was no accident. This man worked hard and earned everything he accomplished. You won't hear him say it quite in that fashion because he doesn't need to. But he is a prideful man that can see the arc of his life and appreciate the road he has built for himself and his family that continues to grow to this day.
The Monkees television series, while short lived, was the petri dish that cultivated one of the best selling and long lived musical acts of the common era. Still rocking after 45 years, George Michael Dolenz is, and always has been, proud to be a Monkee. His career started when he began acting as a young lad in the 50s in the, also short-lived, television series Circus Boy. Born from entertainers, Dolenz puts his heart and soul into everything he does and knows how to truly put on show. And oh my my, a darned good one at that!
A show is what he gives you in his biography, I'm a Believer. While the title is a bit corny (I'll be shunned by Monkees fans across the globe for admitting that), the book is filled with heartfelt tales, wit and humor. Long time fans of Dolenz may be familiar with some of the stories within (if you cannot bear the Vulcan comparison even once more - reader be warned!!), but there are surprises for even the most well versed of Monkees followers.
Chronologically, the book bounces around as you are lead through a timeline of tales which weave themselves in a sharp, clever way that keeps the reader interested. This won't put you to sleep. I found myself finishing the entire book in just two sittings and left wanting more.
Admittedly, Dolenz skims the surface of particular points in his life, but on the flip side, reveals a part of himself that isn't altogether flattering - and that takes a lot of courage to admit that you experience low points and failings, just like everyone else in the human race.
The "updated" version contains expanded discography and television appearances, which are no longer up-to-date as this man just CAN'T STOP! Nor would I want him to!
Micky Dolenz is a tried and true entertainer and his Words are a pleasure to read!
All of the classic one-liners and side-comment humor you've come to expect from Mickey Dolenz is present on the page in this autobiography. There a lot of great stories involving The Monkees and other major pop stars of the 60's, but nothing is covered in incredible (or credible for that matter) depth. Dolenz doesn't claim to know all the facts, just that he is telling the story from his point of view, but it is very tongue in cheek re-telling, not a lot of emotions are presented.
This is a light read, but Dolenz tells us that is the point and that we should go out and do something meaningful after being entertained by his book. I was entertained, mission accomplished.
The "Updated" portion of the book is really just a quick synopsis of Mickey and the Monkees' careers after the original published date of the book as recounted by the co-author, so don't expect any insight into the "Justus" reunion from Dolenz.
I say buy it for a quick read at the beach or a rainy day.