The Monkees couldn't play their instruments?
Actually, there's more to the story. They were furious at this
criticism, and learned how to play instruments.
They performed live on stage, and two decades later Rhino records even
a live album of one 1967 concert.
The studio still preferred using hired musicians, but let the
Monkees perform on their third album,
On the back of the album, the four Monkees put
the following note.
We aren't the only musicians on this album, but the occasional extra
bass or horn player played under our direction, so that this is all
Each one of us has some musical thing, from Manchester to Texas,
from the East Coast to the West, and when four people just go with their
thing, what comes out is a whole. Don't ask "a whole what?", just
listen. If only the smallest part of how much fun it was to make this
record gets heard, it was all worthwhile.
Mike, Davy, Mickey, Peter
The controversy still haunts them. A 2002 reunion tour
reviewer note that "it's mainly a Monkee sing-along to
the sounds of a
large generic backup band."
But even then, he concedes that "Peter really does play a variety of
instruments here (and quite well),"
and "There is one song where Mickey plays the drums... And Mickey's
drumming is great on that song, for me it's one of the
highlights of this DVD.