It's funny, or maybe sad, that the Monkees themselves have been left out. The corporate owners of the rights to this music, according to Long Play's Steve Pilon, were less than enthusiastic, demanding their royalty payments while grimacing at Johnson's concept. And Johnson hasn't heard a word from Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, or David Jones. Well, maybe a word. For the recent release party, Long Play contacted all four, Johnson says, but the only two offices that responded were Jones's and Dolenz's. "Davy wanted $3500, a first-class flight, room service in a first-class hotel, plus expenses," Johnson says. "Mickey wanted $7500, and we didn't even get around to the perks. That's just to come and do the show. Maybe they were thinking we wanted them to perform, but all we wanted was for them to stand around and announce the bands, maybe sign a few autographs. Maybe they didn't understand."
Their loss -- they missed a shot at some exposure. People are locking into Here No Evil, as they should. "Yeah, and I'm as surprised as anybody," Johnson says with a laugh. "Who's gonna lay out thirteen bucks for this? You have to really want it." Older listeners aren't likely to be hip to these younger bands, younger listeners might not even remember the Monkees -- that dilemma crossed Johnson's mind, but his goal was never to make a million bucks anyway.
"I was in a band that opened for Mike Nesmith at the beginning of the summer," Johnson notes. "Afterwards I got to meet him. He was very cordial, very nice. But no more or no less than that. He said, `Nice to meet you, but now I have to go.' I gave him the tape and told him some of the songs he wrote or sang were on it. He said, `Okay, thanks,' turned to the guy next to him, said, `Put this in my bag, would you?'"
Davy Jones, like Nesmith, remains active, releasing new material and continuing to tour. Johnson went to one of his shows, too. "His manager wouldn't let us backstage. I was with a radio guy who was set up to interview him, but somebody said no. It was like, `No! Go away!'"
The Monkees' music is better for the fact that Jim Johnson wouldn't go away.