Micky Dolenz Of The Monkees' Fame To Release R.E.M. Covers EP

15 September 2023 | 2:47 pm | Mary Varvaris

“This is the pinnacle of wow for me. I love the Monkees, and I love Micky Dolenz.”

Micky Dolenz & R.E.M.

Micky Dolenz & R.E.M. (Source: Supplied)

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Micky Dolenz, the drummer and one of two primary vocalists in The Monkees, has announced his latest musical project: releasing a covers EP honouring one of the greatest bands to come out of Athens, Georgia: R.E.M.

Dolenz Sings R.E.M will be released on Friday, 3 November, via 7A Records.

The EP is a four-track collection, including Dolenz’ take on Shiny Happy People (from 1991’s Out Of Time), Radio Free Europe (from 1983’s Murmur), Man On The Moon (1992’s Automatic For The People) and Leaving New York, from R.E.M.’s 2004 album, Around The Sun.

The first taste from the new EP, Shiny Happy People, is below. On Dolenz’s version of the track, he slows things right down and gives it a bluesy twist, with a piano and chimes leading to bouncy, cheerful vocals.

More Beach Boys than the original track, which features The B-52’s Kate Pierson, Dolenz’s version of Shiny Happy People is entirely original – which was his intention all along. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Dolenz revealed that the last thing he wanted when embarking on this project was to come off as a karaoke singer.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute. I do not want to make a karaoke version of this music,’” Dolenz told Rolling Stone, “’If I listen to these songs over and over, it’ll be very difficult to not just do somebody else’s vocal.’ That was my overall approach. I didn’t listen before going to the studio.”

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On a more personal note, Dolenz revealed that he wanted to pay respect to R.E.M. to honour the band: “I’ve heard through the grapevine that the band were fans of The Monkees,” he said. “I found that incredibly flattering.”

In response to the announcement about Dolenz Sings R.E.M., vocalist Michael Stipe wrote on his Instagram Stories, “This is the pinnacle of wow for me. I love the Monkees, and I love Micky Dolenz.”

Stipe added in a statement, “These songs are absolutely incredible. Micky Dolenz covering R.E.M. Monkees style, I have died and gone to heaven. This is really something.”

You can pre-order Dolenz Sings R.E.M. here.

In December 2022, Stipe said that his first solo album “should come together” throughout 2023. The Losing My Religion singer was quiet for years following the group's amicable disbandment in 2011.

In October 2019, he quietly returned with his first glitchy solo single, Your Capricious Soul. He followed the song with another single, Drive To The Ocean, which was released on his 60th birthday on 4 January 2020. He released another track that year, No Time For Love Like Now, recorded with Big Red Machine (aka Bon Iver and The National's Aaron Dessner).

Also, in 2022, Stipe released the world's first ever commercially available bioplastic vinyl.