Hey, hey, it's The Monkee.
Micky Dolenz will perform Friday, Aug. 3, at the Benton County Fair in Corvallis.
Pop culture and music fans likely know Dolenz as one of The Monkees.
He joined Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork to star in "The Monkees," a late 1960s music-comedy TV series that followed the misadventures of a struggling band.
"The Monkees was not a band or group in any traditional sense of the word," Dolenz told The E in a recent interview. "It was a TV show about an imaginary group that wanted to be The Beatles."
The four young men found more success recording music as The Monkees, though it was always meant to be associated with the show, he said.
"The producers of the show must've had it in mind that we were eventually going to record and go on the road and perform, or they wouldn't have bothered to hire actors, musicians, and singers who could play," Dolenz said.
Dolenz sang lead vocals on The Monkees' theme song, "Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees," as well as "I'm a Believer," "Steppin' Stone," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and more.
He will perform many of band's hits at the Benton County Fair. Fate 55, a mid-valley rock 'n' roll band, will open the concert.
For Dolenz, a Los Angeles native, performing music and appearing on television was a part of his life for as long as he can remember.
"It started so young I don't ever remember making the conscious choice to do it," he said.
His parents, George Dolenz and Janelle Johnson, were both actors in the TV and film industry. His earliest memories were of being on set with his father.
"I actually thought everybody's father was an actor," he said. "My first screen test I was 6. My first series I was 10. 'Circus Boy' it was called."
On the 1956 children's show, Dolenz, under the name Micky Braddock, played Corky, a 12-year-old kid, who is adopted by the circus to serve as a water boy for a baby elephant.
Dolenz had to travel with his dad across the country by train to perform press junkets. The baby elephant traveled via freight car.
The series introduced him to playing music in front of an audience. The producers asked him to learn to play a song on his guitar.
"I got up on the bandstand with my little guitar, and I sang "Purple People Eater," and then the elephant came out and did tricks," Dolenz said. "So basically, my first gig was opening for an elephant."
His parents kept him out of acting during high school. He learned to play Spanish guitar, which he says evolved into a love of folk music, followed by rock 'n' roll.
After graduation, Dolenz recalls, he and a friend were interested in becoming architects, because they enjoyed building things.
Dolenz attended college at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, but would do guest appearances on TV to make summer money.
"My plan was to be an architect, and if I couldn't make it as an architect I was going to fall back on show business," he said.
Then, in 1965 the audition for a pilot of "The Monkees" came along.
"I wasn't stupid. I knew the power of a television series, so I went to the auditions and I got the pilot. I didn't even quit school. I took classes a few days a week, because I knew most pilots don't sell," Dolenz said.
For the audition, in addition to showcasing his acting ability, Dolenz also had to sing and play an instrument. More than 400 applicants came to audition for four parts.
People were trying to get two or three shows about music on the air that pilot season. Dolenz felt "The Monkees" was different than the others, and he remembers thinking, "I'd really like to get this one."
He had already been the lead singer of his own rock cover band, Micky and the One-Nighters. For his audition, Dolenz played "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.
Dolenz was cast as the band's drummer, even though he wasn't one (he apparently had to take lessons to mime correctly). And "The Monkees" got picked up by NBC, he said.
The band's debut single, "Last Train to Clarksville," which featured Dolenz as lead vocalist, hit No. 1. Two days later the show made a successful debut.
The series aired 58 episodes for two seasons from 1966-68. Ultimately, The Monkees found more success as recording artists, selling more than 65 million records. Their first five albums went gold, with the first four all reaching No. 1 on the charts. They had three consecutive No. 1 singles.
Dolenz said he had already experienced having a fan club and signing autographs with "Circus Boy," but wasn't prepared for Monkeemania.
"I don't think anything can prepare you for that kind of success," he said. "When we went on the road and started playing concerts it got pretty crazy. The four of us, we couldn't leave the hotel room."
After The Monkees parted ways in 1971, Dolenz said he had more opportunities to sing and record. He eventually moved to England to direct, produce and write for television and films. He lived there for a dozen years.
He came back to the United States when The Monkees had a reunion in 1986.
"And then I got lucky, and I got asked to do some Broadway musicals," he said.
Dolenz has performed in productions of "Grease," "Pippin," and "Aida," the Tony Award-winning musical with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. His last musical performance was "Hairspray" at the West End Theatre in London, he said.
Members of The Monkees have played together for several reunions over the years, including a 30-year reunion in 1996. Dolenz has toured separately with Tork, Nesmith, and Davy Jones, before he died of a heart attack in 2012.
In 2016, Dolenz and Tork toured, with Nesmith joining them on occasion to mark the band's 50th anniversary.
Dolenz and Nesmith began to tour as a duo in June, but it was cut short when Nesmith fell ill. Dolenz said the hope is for the two to play four more dates back East in January, though nothing is official yet.
For now, the 75-year-old will perform solo concerts.
"So, it's been pretty consistent for the past five decades," Dolenz said.
He also recently sang as part of a tribute to Neil Diamond for the "Grammy Salute to Musical Legends," which will air on PBS in October.
"Neil Diamond wrote probably our biggest hit, "I'm a Believer," which I sang, and they very graciously invited me to come and sing it. He joined me in the song, and it was just an unbelievable wonderful thrill," Dolenz said.
Diamond also wrote "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" and "Love to Love."
"I do all of these things in my solo show," Dolenz said. "I always give the audience what they want, and that is those big Monkee hits."