The Film: Head
The Guests: PJ Finn & Elbee
The Monkees TV show was a phenomenon when it was first aired in 1966. Hot on the heels of The Beatles and The British Invasion, The Monkees were a band that didn’t initially write their own songs, but performed hit after hit in segments on their show. The show itself was a sublimely silly screwball adventure series wherein the band would get mixed-up in various absurd situations, inter-cut with music videos of those aforementioned hit songs.
But as beloved as they were by the American youth, the band just couldn’t hang with being corporate shills, studio puppets, or pre-fab counterculture spokesmen after a while. So as rebellious kids do, they kicked against their earlier more innocent image by starring in the film Head.
Written by Jack Nicholson and directed by The Monkees creator Bob Rafelson, Head co-stars Vic Mature, Annette Funicello, and Sonny Liston. Head is not the Monkees we are all familiar with. Oh, Mickey, Davey, Mike, and Peter are all there, but this film is very subversive. It’s symbolic of what was going on at the time in the both cast’s lives and the lives of so many in America during the Viet Nam conflict. In a way, Head was a form of surrealist, non sequitur protest.
But to understand and unpack this film, I needed a bit of help. Enter Vincent Price’s Laugh co-host (and one time radio DJ) Elbee and her radio days mentor, current-and-always radio DJ PJ Finn from WMVY Radio on Martha’s Vineyard, MA. My two guests really dig in and try, and succeed, I think, to get to the core of what Head is all about. So, have a listen!