Notes on The Monkees, Slovenia, Micky Dolenz, and furniture making

Monkees 2013Here’s a link to my latest piece for the Austin American-Statesman, an interview with Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (they’re playing Austin’s Long Center on Wednesday, 7/31). It’s premium content, but now that the first-publication-rights clause has expired I’ve put the entire article up on this blog.

It’s not in the article, but I did note that I had a couple of odd geographical coincidences with the congenial Mr. Dolenz or, rather, his parents. Dolenz, an actor since childhood, is a native Angeleno, but his late mother Janelle grew up in Austin, my current city, and his late father, George Dolenz, was born Jure Dolenc in Trieste, a member of that city’s large ethnic Slovene community (I lived in Ljubljana, the Slovene capital, for several years). Micky Dolenz has never been to Slovenia, but, he told me, “It’s on my bucket list.” We talked a bit about how he inherited the handyman gene from his dad.  ” I think he worked a lot as a carpenter around town while he was waiting to be an actor, so he passed that on to me and then over the years of course I kept it up, and I’ve always been a huge do-it-yourselfer kind of guy,” he told me.

Today, when he’s not Monkee-ing around, Dolenz and his daughter Georgia operate a popular sideline custom furniture business. They were busy making hope chests on the day we spoke. “She’s coming over in a few minutes and we’re cuttin’ and rippin’ and planing and joining, making dovetail joints; we’re having a great time. I’ve always been very, very handy, always had a workshop, and it started with my dad. He said there was an old Slavic saying, ‘Don’t buy it if you can build it yourself.’

Which is, I confirmed, a very Slovene thing to say.

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