March 8, 2012

From the Editor: Remembering Davy Jones, the Monkee and the man

By ROD HARMON Deputy Managing Editor

(Continued from page 1)

"There's always been the fear that somebody, at some point in my life, was going to pat me on the head. And I was going to have to slug 'em."

Once considered a serious actor with a bright career, Jones was considered old news by the age of 27. It often drove him to depression.

"This is affecting my children," he told me. "It's affected my marriages. It's certainly affected me. It has driven me -- it's total mood-swinging sort of occasions, where I have to hide, go get away and be alone. And that's interesting. I find myself riding in Pennsylvania in the mountains, seeing black bear and deer and badgers and squirrels, and I'm thinking, 'Oh, I wish everyone could see this. This is me, this is what I want to be. This is the guy I am -- riding my horse, my trusty steed.'

"Well, that don't sell records. What sells records is a little guy jumping about singing and dancing to the familiar tunes and these other two clowns that everybody knows."

Still, Jones said he had come to peace with that, especially since The Monkees' revival of the 1980s had endeared them to a new generation. Instead of an albatross around his neck, he came to view the group as a meal ticket, something he could rely on to provide financial security for himself and his children. He referred to participating in Monkees reunions as "protecting my investment."

But it wasn't just a job, either. Jones seemed to genuinely love performing onstage, whether it was singing "Valleri" in front of screaming fans or playing Jesus nailed to the cross in "Godspell." And he referred to the female adoration that continued into his 50s with that classic Monkees humor firmly intact.

"I go for the best-looking ones -- as long as they don't outweigh me too much, it doesn't matter," he said with a laugh. "They no longer throw panties, they throw Depends. That's why I like these older women -- they don't yell, they don't tell, and they're grateful."

The one passion that trumped everything else, though, was training and riding horses. Jones was training to be a jockey when the joined The Monkees, and owned his own horse farm in Florida. I find it fitting that the last day of his life was spent riding horses with his family, because it brought him the escape from being Davy Jones that he craved.

"You find that other life that's far away from that stuff, and that's what my horses do for me," he said. "I'm not that guy when I go pick up horse s--- in the mornings, when I get on my thoroughbred I don't go around singing 'Daydream Believer,' you know what I mean?"

In the end, Davy Jones left this world doing the things that he loved, and he made other people happy in the process. We all should be so lucky.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

rharmon@pressherald.com

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