Growing up in the 80’s and limited to broadcast TV, I was accustomed to watching a lot of reruns of classic shows from the 60’s and 70’s. There was Star Trek, Bonanza, I Dream of Jeanie, Gilligan’s Island, and, of course, The Monkees. In fact, Star Trek reruns were so popular, it inspired the series Star Trek: The Next Generation which went on to great success. Looking to find that same type of lightning in a bottle, producer Steve Blauner created The New Monkees.
The New Monkees were never meant to replace the classic foursome of The Monkees. Rather, the show was created to continue the legacy. At one point the idea was that the characters were going to be the children of the original Monkees. While the idea of the New Monkees being the children of the original Monkees was eventually scrapped, Jason Nesmith, son of original Monkees star Michael Nesmith did audition to be in the new band.
Whereas Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork were hired for the original Monkees as actors who were later taught their instruments, for The New Monkees Blauner sought musicians who would be taught to act. The final selections for The New Monkees were Larry Saltis on lead guitar and vocals, Marty Ross on bass and vocals, Jared Chandler on guitar and vocals, and Dino Kovas on drums and vocals.
These were the days before DVRs, On Demand viewing, and Hulu. If you missed a show, you were plain out of luck. I tried to watch as many episodes of The New Monkees as I could, but it was a syndicated show so each station airing it had discretion as to when. The station airing it in my neck of the woods kept switching the day and time that it aired, typically without announcing it.
The series only lasted one season, but it produced an amazing album. The self-titled New Monkees album had tracks produced by some of the best producers of the time. Classified as AOR (Adult Oriented Rock), the synthpop sound was largely credited to Carol Carmichael Parks and Dean Parks, with additional productions credits going to Steve Barri, Tony Peluso, Matt Wallace, Joe Curiale, and Mike Slamer. The radio-friendly sound is often compared to Mr. Mister and Glass Tiger of the same era.
I loved the album then, and I still listen to it today. When my ex-wife kept my copy in the divorce, I bought a new one on ebay. I’m telling you, it is a great album. My favorite two tracks are I Don’t Know by Michael Cruz and Corner of my Eye by Saltis, Slammer, and Charlie Mitchell.
On a whim, I decided to see what had ever become of my favorite New Monkee, Saltis. I was very pleased to find out that he is still making music with his band Colorvine. Based out of Ohio, Colorvine consists of Larry Saltis on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Heath Saltis on drums and vocals, and Kurt Reed on bass and vocals. They are one of the most popular bands in the Midwest, having opened for acts like Foreigner. They have a killer album available titled Wake Up that was released in 2019.
On Friday, April 16 at 3 PM Central, you will be able to hear me interview all three members of Colorvine on my radio show It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. Larry will start us off with some interesting facts about The New Monkees, then Heath and Kurt will join us for discussion about Colorvine. And we’ll make sure to play some great cuts.
To listen to the interview locally you can tune in to 101.5 FM. You can also listen via streaming by going to www.HuntleyRadio.com and selecting the Listen Live icon.
Over the course of this little radio show I’ve had the chance to interview a number of my idols. I feel very lucky for that. Thanks to streaming and podcasts, It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee now reaches around the globe. I hope these interviews are enjoyable for you to listen to. If they are, spread the word about our little radio show. There’s always room for more listeners.
For additional information on Colorvine, please visit: www.ColorvineBand.com. They are a great band with a catchy, upbeat sound. I hope you’ll give them a listen.
To listen to past episodes of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee visit: https://huntleyradio.com/hcr/its-showtime-with-rikki-lee/.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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