Let’s Read TeenSet, September 1967!

TeenSet was a short lived (1965-1969) music magazine that offered a disconcerting mix of puppy-love teen idols and clear-eyed journalism on the LA underground music scene. A name change to AUM (America’s Under-thirty Magazine) and last-ditch attempt at becoming a serious magazine on the music business quickly ushered in the magazine’s doom, and the editors quickly moved on to work for more successful magazines like Rolling Stone.

WCFL was an AM radio station in Chicago, and at the time it appears that it was the only radio station in Chicago that was playing Top 40 hits, making them the hippest station in the midwest. Radio DJs like Jim Stagg increased the station’s rock’n’roll cred by hanging out with The Beatles on their US tours. WCFL sponsored TeenSet for a span of months in the summer of 1967, coincidentally – or not – the Summer of Love.

Skip to the five minute mark for what may be the prettiest-sounding Pepsi commercial ever recorded.

The sensitive eyes of Davy Jones beckon from the cover, with an expression bordering on “You gonna eat that, mate?”

This magazine addresses “The Sun Set” a lot without actually defining what exactly the Sun Set is. The Sun Set referred to WCFL’s listeners, a pet name for the grooviest and coolest kids left behind in Chicago from the great Youth Migration to San Francisco. It was probably also a reference to the Sunset Strip Scene happening in Los Angeles, where The Doors and The Byrds were tearing shit up at the Whisky A Go Go.

It’s ok to be a little dumb, as long as you’re hot!

In which the wardrobe department head for The Monkees spills the tea on Davy Jones. Davy is nice! Davy is athletic! Davy sorta plays the guitar! Davy lives alone with his cat! Davy is so lonely, you guys!

Founding Editor Judith Sims went on to be a journalist for the LA Times and Rolling Stone. You can read an essay she wrote about her flower-power adventures while working on TeenSet here. I like her eloquent apology to readers who were incensed over the lack of promised Paul Revere and the Raiders pinups, although I have to admit I was expecting a lot more Monkee pinups from this issue’s cover and received just one centerfold of Peter Tork wearing some fetching tights. I don’t think they quite learned their lesson.

Since this was a nationwide publication, I’m sure there were kids across the US who were like “Who gives a crap about some radio station in Chicago? This is taking up my precious Neil Young pinup poster space!”

It always throws me when a corporate logo shows up in a magazine that hasn’t changed in probably a century, like the Dad’s root beer logo. And check out that calendar of events, which reads like an “On this day in 1967, Joan Baez’s Civic Opera House concert in Chicago made history”, but actually had yet to happen.

So many Grape puns!

Some quick seen-and-heard with the beautiful people on the Sunset Strip scene. I applaud Mike Nesmith on his own branding and self-promotion skills.

Details on Donovan’s comeback after getting arrested for weed possession. Donovan sounds 1000% not high for this interview, right? Sober people sure love to rhapsodize about the beauty of seagulls!

There’s already a word for that and it’s just “conformity”, you bleedin’ twit. And damn, writer, you thirstay.

It’s a little weird to have a “Best Of” album when their best-known hit “Georgy Girl” hit record stores at probably the exact same time as this.

This advice is surprisingly prescient today. Teenage girls will be teenage girls. That is to say, teenage girls are terrifyingly obsessive psychopaths. And uh, yeah, please refrain from telling your parents over dinner about the third sex dream you had this week about Paul McCartney. Unless your parents are super cool with that.

Talking with Jane Asher, whom I’m sorry to say did not exactly become the Defining Shakespearean Actress of Her Generation but seems to have done fine in her own way over the years. I have a lot of thoughts on the choice of photo that they published to go with the interview, namely – did concealer not exist in 1967? Was this a petty plot by a scheming Paul McCartney fangirl working at TeenSet to make Jane Asher, the proverbial English rose, look exhausted and patchy? Or was it just the style at the time to only put on twenty pounds of mascara and false eyelashes and say to hell with it on everything else? At least her hair looks good.

Our promised Monkee centerfold, with Peter Tork flashing some leg and not looking terribly happy about it. My seventh grade English teacher was a dead ringer for Peter, and with all due respect to Mrs. King I just haven’t found him attractive since.

Davy naps! Peter eats some chips! Mickey wanders off to go bang an extra! Mike called in sick! This is a TERRIBLE interview!

This would be extra fun to figure out while under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

Some bracingly honest and actually very good advice on making it as a musician and breaking into the music business from Terry Kirkman, who was in a band that appears to have imploded and reformed every year since 1965.

I thought I knew quite a bit about 60’s pop, but I think I can answer maybe two of these without looking them up. How good did you do?

Oh thank god, Paul McCartney is cute again! He shaved his mustache off because he died around this time, obviously.

Let’s use our power of the magic time machine to figure out what happened to all these bands!

  • The Yellow Balloon: released a song called “The Yellow Balloon”. Broke up immediately afterwards.
  • The Bee Gees: one hit wonders that made a desperate attempt at relevancy again during the disco era, haven’t heard from them since.
  • Engelbert Humperdinck: cemented his legacy forever with Generation X by covering a song about LGBTQ seagulls for Beavis and Butt-Head.
  • The Grassroots: did that “shalalalalala live for today” song, now tour retirement homes with other third-string pop bands that everyone forgot about by 1972.
  • Scott Mackenzie: wrote “Kokomo”. Seriously!
  • Kim Fowley: was a very busy man in the 70s.

Of course Harpo is still single! Harpo is saving himself for the perfect girl, namely me, Shirley Ford of Cleveland, Ohio! Don’t listen to that lying tramp Tina Weatherby! Harpo wouldn’t lie to us! Harpo is pure! Harpo is true! HARPO LOVES ONLY ME!

I’m just picturing Connie Livingstone having a meltdown in her bedroom and probably screaming at her parents to leave her alone because Mike Nesmith was wearing a blue hat instead of his signature green one, and she’s already been fighting with her friends all day because they couldn’t agree on whether he was wearing a blue hat or if TeenSet just printed it wrong.

John’s kind of hot in Lurchy way, don’t you think? And I’m sad to say, like many of the bands in this magazine, none of them went on to have much success solo.

Enjoy this very weird article on Mama Cass, written by Michael Vosse who was instrumental in organizing the Monterey Pop Festival.

Cowboy shows, spy shows, variety shows, and the floating heads of The Monkees all acting out the five stages of grief.

The Seeds, providing an incredibly dumb interview to an incredibly dumb person. I’m fairly certain that “Daffodil” did not go on to win a Pulitzer in journalism. Also, I’m really sorry, but no one in this band is remotely attractive. If you see these men hiding in a field as you walk past, run the hell away. However, their one lasting hit “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” is a sleazy masterpiece.

Should a Christmas song be included on a greatest hits collection, even if that song remains an obnoxiously unkillable holiday radio staple to this day? It’s very jarring.

60’s mod makeup was really not big on blending eyeshadow into the soft, smoky gradient that makeup wearers strive so hard to perfect these days, and it’s really weird to see these harsh clashing lines of color just laying stacked on top of the eyelid like that.

Thanks for reading another week! Next week we will ponder the hazy future of Star Wars with the fanzine Comics Feature from February 1984.