When you think of the Monkees, one of the last names that might come to mind is Jimi Hendrix. But believe it or not, the iconic guitarist once opened for the Monkees during their 1967 tour. In a recent interview with OnMilwaukee, Micky Dolenz reminisced about the unexpected pairing and how he played a key role in recruiting Hendrix for the tour.
The Monkees’ 1967 tour was a massive event, attracting fans from all over the country. The band was riding high on the success of their hit TV show and chart-topping music. It was during this time that Dolenz, a member of the Monkees, saw Hendrix performing in New York City as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Dolenz was captivated by the theatrics of Hendrix’s performance, which he compared to other legendary acts such as the Who and Alice Cooper.
While searching for a suitable opening act for their tour, Dolenz pitched the idea of bringing on Hendrix to the tour producers. He was taken by the young musician’s talent, style, and stage presence. As it turned out, the collaboration proved to be a game-changer for Hendrix’s career.
During his time on the road with the Monkees, Hendrix recorded his first album. This experience not only allowed him to showcase his incredible musical prowess but also helped him gain the exposure and momentum he needed to eventually headline his own shows.
When asked how Hendrix became the opening act for their 1967 tour, Dolenz answered:
“Believe it or not, that was my idea [Laughs]. I saw him in New York City when he was Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. When he played at the Monterrey Pop Festival, the whole band was very theatrical, like the Who or Alice Cooper. The music was great, their clothes were great. When we were looking for a warm-up band, I suggested Hendrix to the tour producers. Jimi cut his first record while he was on the road with us, and pretty soon, he was headlining his own shows.”
In retrospect, the pairing of the Monkees and Jimi Hendrix may seem unlikely, but it’s the power of music to bring together diverse artists and create unforgettable moments. Dolenz’s vision and intuition played a crucial role in giving Hendrix a platform to share his groundbreaking talent with the world. And for that, music lovers everywhere are eternally grateful.