The Monkees are back in action with their first tour in five years and a collaboration with a 21st-century version of themselves.
The '60s hitmakers will head into a Florida studio next week to record new versions of their hits accompanied by up-and-comers Natural, the latest from boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman, the man who helped kick-start the careers of 'NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
The super-boy-band is expected to record three songs, "Daydream Believer" (RealAudio excerpt), "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "Valleri," Natural's publicist said. Like the Monkees, Natural play their own instruments.
The songs will be packaged along with live tracks to be recorded during the Monkees' upcoming joint tour with Natural on an album due later this year via Pearlman's EMG label. The tour's Atlantic City, New Jersey, stops on March 16 and 17 will be filmed for a planned concert video and DVD.
The Monkees will kick off the five-week trek on March 1 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida, with Natural opening the show. Dates run through a seven-night stand at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Original members Davy Jones (vocals), Peter Tork (bass) and Mickey Dolenz (drums) are aboard for the tour and recording sessions; guitarist/songwriter Michael Nesmith is sitting out.
"We are honored to be working with such legends of pop history. The Monkees have served as a model and an inspiration for all our Trans Continental artists," Pearlman, who runs the Trans Continental management company and label, said in a statement.
Rhino will release the four-CD box set The Monkees Music Box on February 13. The set will include some previously unreleased alternate versions of Monkees tunes.
The Monkees last reunited for a tour in 1996. The group members continue to tour solo between reunion treks.
Monkees/Natural tour dates:
3/1 - Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
3/2 - Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
3/3 - Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
3/4 - Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theater
3/6 - Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage Theatre
3/8 - Easton, PA @ State Theatre
3/9 - Lowell, MA @ Lowell Memorial Auditorium
3/10 - Wallingford, CT @ Oakdale Theater
3/11 - Westbury, NY @ Westbury Music Fair
3/14 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
3/16-17 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Trump Taj Mahal Casino
3/18 - Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Casino
3/21 - Verona, NY @ Turning Stone Casino
3/22 - Chester, WV @ Mountaineer Gaming Resort
3/23 - Columbus, OH @ Palace Theatre
3/24 - Tunica, MS @ Sam's Town Casino
3/25 - Merrillville, IN @ Star Plaza Theater
3/29-4/4 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Hollywood Theater