That is only really true of their first two albums, which despite being mostly produced on their behalf by studio professionals are pretty lightweight on the whole. Third album, Headquarters, saw them trying to be a self-contained band for the first time, and as a result has some amateurish moments but many highlights. Fourth album Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd is a compromise between doing it themselves and working with session musicians again and is a more solid set. After that they each went off in their own direction, self-producing a huge array of essentially solo material that would then get picked from for Monkees albums. So, yes, they did start out as an entirely manufactured band, but the paths they subsequently took (notably Nesmith's pioneering fusion of country and rock) are so interesting that the 'revisionism' is wholly justified.