Larry Saltis is the kind of guy
parents dream their daughter will bring home. The daughter
probably wouldn't mind it much either. He is genuinely nice,
caring and sincere. If Ozzie and Harriet were to have had another
son -- it would have been Larry Saltis.
Larry, the youngest member of NEW MONKEES
(Coca-Cola Telecommunications' new half-hour, first-run syndicated
series), was born in Columbus, Ohio on March 25, 1968. After seven
years, the family moved to Wisconsin where Larry's father, a
doctor, completed his residency in neurology.
Music was and is Larry's first love (sorry
girls). "I took my first guitar lessons in Wisconsin -- on an
acoustic guitar -- I learned 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' and
'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.' "After a move back to Akron, singing
lessons and classical guitar training followed. Inevitably, Larry
started his own band with "anybody I could find to play with."
Eventually this laissez-faire arrangement boiled down to a tight
group of local musicians (including brother Heath on keyboards)
who toured the Cleveland/Akron circuit, playing programs, dances,
parties and club dates.
Throughout school, sports ran a close second in
Larry's affections. "I loved sports as a kid and played basketball
and baseball -- but soccer was my favorite."
After his freshman year in high school, Larry
decided to cut out all sports, except soccer, and concentrate on
school and music. He was a varsity letterman for three years and
team captain in his senior year.
"I worked real hard learning Tae Kwan Do. My
parents wouldn't let me go to concerts until I got my Black Belt.
The first concert I went to was U2."
After high school Larry planned to attend Kent
State University, and major in music composition and minor in
business. "My parents had seen the audition notices for NEW
MONKEES on MTV. I came home one afternoon after work and found two
plane tickets on the table. My mom and I flew to New York the next
day. We stood in line for hours. I had a 30 second interview with
Matt (Fassberg -- co-producer). I never thought I'd get a call
back. They called. Dad had to send my guitar out Federal
"The next day I played for the producers. I
don't know which made me more nervous -- the people from NEW
MONKEES , or Marc Goodman (MTV D.J.) and Aldo Nova (guitar hero)
-- they were in the area and stopped in to listen."
The next step in the audition process was
acting improvisation. "I was supposed to sell a watch to another
person. I made it a Rolex ... had it in my trenchcoat...I was a
total sleazeball. After the audition they told me, 'don't call us
-- we'll call you...'
"I never thought the call would come," recalls
Larry. But it did, and Larry Saltis joined Dino Kovas, Jared
Chandler and Marty Ross as members of NEW MONKEES.
"My biggest goal is to keep all this in
perspective. I want my real self to stay separate from my stage
self. I had great parents who taught me the value of life, as well
as how to be responsible and still have a lot of fun at the same
time. Hopefully I won't change."
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When NEW MONKEE star
Jared Chandler, 20, is on the set
of Coca-Cola Telecommunications new fall half-hour, first-run
syndicated series, he can feel right at home. Like fellow band
members Larry, Dino and Marty, the set representing Jared's
bedroom has been designed to reflect both his interests and
One look at Jared's room tells it all. It's
more a grotto than a bedroom. Fish tanks, surfboards and surfing
paraphernalia are everywhere. It is also filled with various
1950's memorabilia -- from a souped-up vintage radio to the front
end of a 1950 Chevy mounted prominently on the wall.
Jared's style and tastes may seem
contradictory. Look once, and he's a 50's loner/rebel with musical
tastes grounded in that era's rockabilly sound and stars such as
Elvis, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. Look again and you'll see the
quintessence of the California "surfer dude" who loves to boogie
to the sound of The Ventures and Chris Isaak.
For Jared, the son of a career military officer
and the youngest of four children, music, surfing and acting have
always served as important outlets. And his fascination with the
1950's has never been restricted just to the music, but also
extends to the great stars of that decade: Marlon Brando,
Montgomery Clift and especially James Dean.
"When I was a little kid I saw 'Rebel Without a
Cause,'" Chandler recalls, "I couldn't really understand what the
movie was all about, but I thought James Dean was so cool. When I
was a little older, I saw the movie again and understood it more.
He was not just acting, but he was saying something with his
acting. He was getting a message through. I was totally blown away
that this guy could change something with his acting."
In his own way, Jared has grown to become a
contemporary reflection of Dean's rebel image as well as an
accomplished actor and musican in his own right, yet he hardly
shares Dean mid-western roots. Born in Belgium, Jared had traveled
the world by the time he was nine years old. During that time,
home was a U.S. Army base in Germany.
Before his tenth birthday his family had moved
back to the U.S., eventually settling in north San Diego County.
Though Jared would soon blend with the California style, the
initial adjustment was rough. "I'm sure I seemed kind of
different," he says. "My mom is French. My Dad's from Texas and
I'd grown up in Germany, so I had developed a real questionable
accent. Everyone thought I was a little wierd at first."
Jared credits his older sister, Carol, as the
one who helped him cultivate his interest in acting. As a drama
student in both high school and college, she used to take her kid
brother to plays and acting competitions.
Later, while attending San Diego's Vista High
School, Jared appeared in high school and local stage productions,
including musicals such as "Grease" and "Bye, Bye Birdie." In
addition to the notice he was receiving for his acting skills, he
was also gaining a reputation as the lead singer for a local
rockabilly band called "The Jailboys."
After entering and winning numerous acting
competitions, and receiving the encouragement of many industry
professionals who recognized his talent, Jared set his sights on
acting as a career.
He now admits- that his parents were
somewhat upset that he passed up college and a drama scholarship
at San Diego State University to follow that well-beaten path to
Hollywood. "I satisfied them by enrolling in Santa Monica City
College," he notes. "I had to drop out after three weeks. I just
couldn't work, surf, try to establish an acting career and go to
school at the same time. But they understood."
Bolstered by an unusual blend of talent and
determination, opportunities have developed fast for Jared. Two
weeks after arriving in Hollywood, he was accepted into the ABC
Television Comedy Workshop under the direction of noted acting
coach, Bill Hudnut. One week later, he was signed by an agent.
Supporting himself with a series of odd jobs
from bus boy to bar boy, Jared eventually landed his first acting
role, a featured part in the current theatrical motion picture
comedy, "In The Mood" starring Beverly D'Angelo and Patrick
Dempsey. The part came exactly one year to the day after he had
arrived in Hollywood, and was immediately followed by a part in a
low budget thriller titled "Blood Diner." "I finished one gig and
started the other the next day," says Chandler. "'In The Mood' was
just the best. It was very professional and everyone was very
'Blood Diner' - although I had lines in it -
was two weeks in a dingy night club and they treated all the
actors like cattle. It was awful. "Nonetheless, he was "stoked"
because he had made it to the ranks of the working actor.
In September, 1986, Jared auditioned for NEW
MONKEES producers Matthew Fassberg and Victor Fresco. They had
seen Jared at the ABC Workshop and invited him to audition. The
audition was followed by a screen test and soon Jared was one of
How does he feel about being a NEW MONKEE? "I
love it. The guys are great, the music is really happening, and
it's supporting my surfing habit."
Jared currently lives in Pacific Palisades,
California, and in his spare time, is a team rider for Zuma Jay
Surfboards, in Malibu.
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If Dino Kovas,
who stars in the NEW MONKEES (Coca-Cola Telecommunications'
new half-hour, first-run syndicated series) were a car, he'd be a
'57 Chevy, road hard, street smart and quick. At first glance Dino
is gruff and rough with a strong personality and plenty of very
definite ideas. But look again, under that tough exterior beats
the heart of a warm and caring mushball.
Dino, 21, was born in Ohio on July 1, 1966 and
raised by his mother in Dearborn, Michigan. "My mom and dad are
Greek -- when they split up, we moved back to Greece and lived
with my grand-parents for a few years. I remember moving back to
America and starting kindergarten -- that first day in school I
didn't want to speak English -- I just sat at my desk and didn't
budge. I was stubborn even then."
Dino's childhood was spent getting into
anything and everything possible. "Abandoned buildings, tree
forts, you name it -- we did it. I seriously loved adventure." He
grew up on the streets, hanging out with a tight circle of what
would become life-long friends.
The close camaraderie of the NEW MONKEES is
very important to him. "I'm a 'bunch' kind of guy. I like doin'
things with the guys. When I was growing up -- I was always
playing sports or playing in bands."
In between baseball and football seasons, Dino
was a member of numerous Dearborn groups. "My first band was
called 'The Destroyers,' and our first concert was in the
basement. The next band was called 'Speed.' Our first gig in front
of people was a sixth grade talent show. I was yelling (singing)
away and forgot the words, my best friend Stiv just grabbed the
microphone and yelled 'Don't Speed' to end the song. That's how we
got our name."
The next couple of bands never made it out of
the basement, until Dino met local guitar wizard Steve "Caz"
Cascardo. "He brought his amp down and started playing. He had
this wild punk rock haircut and was jumping all around. He jumped
up onto an amp and all the wires fell out of his guitar, but he
just jammed them back in and kept playing. That's my kind of guy."
It was in the summer before 10th grade that
music had a serious rival for Dino's affections. "My friend Stiv
was taking a video class at Dearborn High. We decided to make a
take-off of 'Rocky, which we called Jockey.' I was this old boxer
... well you know the story ... we made it a comedy. They showed
it on the public access channel in Dearborn. It was great! We left
it open for 'Jockey II' and 'Jockey III!"
Conflicting class schedules and a maturing
son's desire to help out the family finances forced some choices
to be made. "It was either video or football ...I wasn't going to
be a professional football player, so I signed up for video
classes at the other high school across town. I worked on a video
show. We did three and four camera shoots and I learned a lot. But
school really wasn't for me and I wanted to help my mom." A series
of odd jobs, from delivering pizza to apprenticing with a cook,
"I was having this caged feeling. I wanted to
do something with my life." Dino read about the NEW MONKEES
audition in the newspaper, but if it hadn't been for two freak
accidents, he might have been just another kid dreaming of a big
break. "My car was hit twice in six days. I couldn't believe it. I
thought it was just my luck. If it hadn't happened, I wouldn't
have had the money to fly to New York and audition for the show.
"We waited in line for four hours. The first
thing they asked was could I sing. I can't (WRONG - HE CAN). I did
an old Elvis tune and they called me back. I played the drums and
improvised a skit, but I didn't think I made it."
But the call from Executive Producer Steve
Blauner came. Dino had given up the pizza delivering, etc. and was
playing the drums with the band, "Snake Out." "We were on tour in
Kentucky, living in the van and sleeping on the floor with one
blanket for five of us. They flew me to California for a screen
test, then, sent me back home. I thought this time -- maybe!"
Dino's fate was not in Dearborn. The call came
and Dino Kovas became a New Monkee along with Larry Saltis, Jared
Chandler and Marty Ross.
In ten years, Dino, a naturally talented young
man with an 'oh, yeah?' look in his eye, would still like to be
working in the medium. "I don't want to follow in anybody's
footsteps; but if I'm still acting, I'd like to do Belushi type
comedy. I also want to do cinematography and direct some day." I
wanted to do that before I got the NEW MONKEES gig."
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As the oldest member of the NEW
MONKEES, Coca-Cola Telecommunications' new half-hour, first run
syndicated series, Marty Ross, 28,
sees himself as a leader of men. The problem is, Marty usually
leads these men straight into trouble.
Fellow band members Dino, Jared
and Larry still tend to look up to Marty, not only because he is
more worldly and experienced, but because he exudes the most
confidence around girls. What they don't realize is that, although
Marty seems to "know it all," underneath that brash exterior is a
very soft heart.
In addition to his interest in
girls, girls, girls, Marty loves to collect bizarre works of fine
art and rare, unusual toys. But nothing is as important in Marty's
life as his music. Music has always been his means of expressing
Born June 5, 1959 in Eugene,
Oregon, and raised by his college professor parents, he lived in
Europe during his childhood rarely staying in one place.
Reflecting on his childhood, Marty says, "At the time, I hated
moving around so much, but now I can appreciate the fact that I've
traveled. I now have a much better understanding of the world."
Because he was so often the stranger in a foreign land, Marty was
extremely shy, and he found his escape in music. Music, especially
his guitar, was a friend Marty could always count on.
Marty started his first band at
age nine with his sister, Lesley. Known as "The Insects," they
performed in front of neighborhood kids in their backyard. He was
also developing a business sense, charging 50 cents admission fee
for each performance. "The Insects" never made a lot of money, but
the experience taught Marty how music could transform him -- he
could overcome his shyness when performing.
When he was 14, Marty and his
family moved back to the United States. Settling in Rockford,
Illinois, Marty hit the city like a tornado! No longer was shyness
a problem. Hey! He had been around the world! He had seen and done
things that few kids his age had experienced, and he was filled
with confidence. Most of the teachers at Rockford High loved Marty
for his wild creativity. "I was never destructive in school," he
recalls, "but I was wacky and imaginative. Instead of reciting an
oral report, I would stand up with my guitar and sing the report."
Upon high school graduation,
Marty enrolled in Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, but
before the end of his sophomore year, the lure of a music career
had taken over. "I decided I wanted to be on stage rather than
behind a desk," says Ross. He next moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
to begin his music career and eventually joined up with a band
called "The Wigs." After not only becoming the local rage but also
cutting an album, Marty decided to make his move to the big time.
Marty and "The Wigs" moved to
Hollywood. Once there, Marty struggled, reuniting with a few group
members for occasional appearances in local clubs. Marty's first
big break came when "The Wigs" landed a role performing in the
theatrical motion picture, "My Chauffeur." They also wrote eight
of the songs for the film. Being involved with motion pictures
opened new doors for Marty. He sang a song for the Charles Bronson
movie "Murphy's Law."
It was his association with "The
Wigs," that brought Marty to the attention of the producers of the
NEW MONKEES. The producers had seen one of the group's audition
tapes and decided to ask the entire band to try out for the new
series. Recalls Marty, "I knew there was no way that I could be
chosen for the part of a 'NEW MONKEE.' I was 27 years old and the
talent scouts were looking for guys between the ages of 18 and
21." After seven auditions, two screen tests, and over 5,000
applicants, Marty was selected. "Knowing that they wanted a much
younger guy just meant that I had to work harder at proving my
abilities," he recalls.
Discussing the future, Marty is
both candid and secure. "Becoming a NEW MONKEE has not changed me
at all ...I won't let it. I haven't lost any of my old friends --
I've just added some new ones. My heroes are still the same, guys
like Ringo Starr, Ray Davies, Peter Townshend and Little Richard.
It's important to have heroes in life and these people will always
He listens mostly to 50's and 60's music
because of its innocence, vibrancy and energy. Marty tends to draw
off of the 60's when he's writing music. "I enjoy writing all
types of music as long as it's gutsy, and emotional, and
everything else that should be wrapped up in a song." He'll tell
you the challenge is "to always think up new ways of creating
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