Did you know that The Jimi Hendrix Experience was once the opening act for The Monkees, not once, but seven times? It’s true.
I remember as a very young kid watching the monkees on TV. I used to love watching the misadventures of this rock and roll band trying to make it in the music business. It wasn’t until years later that I first heard Jimi Hendrix.
The Monkees TV show aired once a week from 1966 to 1968 and looked very different from most other TV shows at the time. The scenes were typically edited in short clips that cut from one camera angle to another quickly. This was most evident during the selected song the band performed in each episode. Although it was not a style that was used by any TV shows the followed it, the video style became a precursor to many of the first wave of music videos on MTV in the ’80s.
Many people thought back then that the Monkeys on TV were merely actors and none of them could really play their instruments. That wasn’t true. Both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork could play multiple stringed instruments, Micky Dolenz could play guitar and David Jones was an accomplished drummer. The producers felt Jones would make a better frontman, so he was handed a microphone and tambourine, and Dolenz had to learn the drums.
While it is true in the early days of the Monkeys, they did not play the majority of the instruments on their first record, they did play on some of it, and they could have played it all. The problem was that filming a TV show back in the ’60s – especially one as time-consuming as The Monkees was, with the complex editing and camera angles – made it impossible to have the time to be in both the recording and filming studios. After about of year of the band protesting they were eventually given more liberty to write their own songs and play the instruments themselves.
The Monkees went on their first live tour during the final year of the show and continued to record and tour until 1971. In one of the biggest mismatches ever in the history of rock and roll, a new up and coming band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was chosen to open for the Monkees on their 1967 tour. After seven shows, it was decided that the combination was bewildering audiences and not benefiting either group, so the team-up was cancelled.
No harm, no foul … except possibly to the concert promoter who set it up.