BY JAIME FOUNTAINE
When I was younger, one of my favorite arguments to start with people was that the Monkees were better than the Beatles, because they started out as a fictional band and then became real.
I have only gotten more fun at parties with age, trust me.
Another thing I did when I was younger was work in a coffee shop for somewhere between six and one hundred years. This coffee shop, which no longer exists, was a mere block away from Jerry Blavat’s Geator Gold Studio on 6th and Market. I mention all of this because on Leap Day, 2012, Davy Jones passed from this world.
Before the local radio legend Blavat's book, You Only Rock Once, came out, and he got even busier, he would come in just about every day. He’d order a soy latte with “honey, honey,” park his bike, and flip through the paper while he made phone calls at the counter. He’s a great tipper, and possesses a singular charisma, one that is so regional and so personal that I find it difficult to explain, so all of this was charming.
It was especially fun to get Jerry talking, because he has a seemingly infinite memory for old records and old friends. We would Google things to ask him questions about, like his guest spot in on The Monkees episode “Some Like it Lukewarm.” He remembered all his lines.
“Do you still talk to Davy Jones?”
“Oh, yeah! Do you want me to call him? I’ll call him right now.”
“You really don’t have to -- “ but he had already dialed.
“Hey, Davy! It’s Jerry! I got a little lady here who’s a big fan! Call me back!”
Davy Jones must have been screening his calls that day, because he called right back.
My celebrity encounters have been few and distant and mostly It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-centric. There’s nothing thrilling about seeing Keenan Thompson smoking a cigarette in the rain. But hearing a voice as distinctive as Davy Jones's, with its sweet, British accented buzz, even over the phone, is something else. I could hear my heart beating in my ears.
“Hi, Davy Jones,” I said. “This is surreal.” And it was. He laughed and launched into a spot-on Geator impersonation. I could not fathom a single thing to follow that, so I said thank you and gave the phone back to Jerry.
I have no idea what Jerry Blavat and Davy Jones talked about after that, because I was bright red and buzzing. All I can say for sure is that, at some point, Jerry wanted Davy’s email, and asked me to write it down for him. So he handed me the phone again, I collected myself, and Davy Jones politely dictated his email address to me. I like to respect the privacy of the dead, so I won’t tell you what it was, only that it was a hotmail account.
Jaime Fountaine is a writer living in Philadelphia, where she co-hosts the Tire Fire reading series at Tattooed Mom, and hosts Excuse My Dust, a monthly reading/performance series at Good Good Comedy Theatre.