Peter Mills is a longtime Monkees fan and author of The Monkees, Head, and the 60s. Back in September, Peter and his publisher, Jawbone Press, were kind enough to share an exclusive excerpt from the book with the Live Almanac. It's both a scholarly and entertaining work that fans of The Monkees are certain to enjoy. If you haven't checked it out, it's available in paperback and as a Kindle download. I've had the pleasure of exchanging several emails with Peter and I'm happy to give his book an enthusiastic endorsement!
Click on the image below to listen to Peter's interview with Ken Mills from the Zilch podcast:
"Nesmith may be most remembered for his role as the stoic guitarist in the Monkees, but his brilliant, candid, and humorous new autobiographical musings give readers a much clearer picture of his originality and inventiveness."
Long Title: Good Clean Fun; Examining the Monkees Songs, One By One by Michael A. Ventrella and Mark Arnold, is scheduled to be published (digital and paperback) in early 2018 by BearManor Media and will provide commentary and analysis of The Monkees' recorded work. The authors are encouraging fans to visit their website and provide input on various Monkees songs for potential use in the book.
You can visit the book's site by clicking on the image below, and don't forget to follow their Facebook page. A big thanks to co-author Michael A. Ventrella for providing the Live Almanac with a heads-up about this great project!
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 8pm
An Evening with Michael Nesmith
Ann and Jerry Moss Theater
Santa Monica, California
Discussing his upcoming memoir, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
$45 General Admission seat + a copy of Infinite Tuesday
$50 Reserved Section Seat + a copy of Infinite Tuesday
Here is a description of the event, courtesy of Live Talks Los Angeles on Facebook:
Michael Nesmith's career in music and television took him from starring in The Monkees to a celebrated run of albums as a solo artist and in the First National Band. He created the TV show Popclips, a forerunner of what would become MTV, and produced the films Repo Man and Tapeheads. He is the author of two novels and the founder of the Pacific Arts Corporation, which produces projects in the worlds of audio, video, and virtual reality, including Videoranch 3D.
The long, strange journey of Michael Nesmith is as fascinating as it as was fraught--from fleeing Dallas as a young man with his pregnant girlfriend, to gaining international fame as a member of the Monkees, to falling deep into the grips of what he calls Celebrity Psychosis, to finally achieving inner peace and finding a creative wellspring in the teachings of Christian Science. Influenced in equal parts by the consciousness-expanding ambitions of Timothy Leary and the cerebral humor of Douglas Adams, in Infinite Tuesday, Nesmith spins a spellbinding tale of an unexpected life, in which stories about meeting John Lennon, or recording with Nashville greats, or inventing the music video trace an arc from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, illuminating a remarkable mind along the way.
The Monkees, Head, and the 60s by Peter Mills will be available in print and electronic editions from Jawbone Press on October 25 in the United States. You can read an exclusive excerpt here on the Live Almanac's blog, and for those in the United Kingdom, the book is already on the shelves!
The Monkees, Head, and the 60s by author Peter Mills will be available in print and electronic editions from Jawbone Press on October 25 in the United States. (It is already for sale in the UK.) You can pre-order at both Amazon US and Amazon UK.
The Monkees Live Almanac would like to thank both Mr. Mills and Tom Seabrook of Jawbone Press for allowing fans to have an early glimpse at the book!
The following is an advance look at The Monkees, Head, and the 60s by author Peter Mills. It will be available in print and electronic editions from Jawbone Press on September 13 in the United Kingdom and October 25 in the United States. The Monkees Live Almanac would like to thank both Mr. Mills and Tom Seabrook of Jawbone Press for allowing fans to have an early glimpse at the book! You can pre-order at both Amazon US and Amazon UK.
CHIMES OF FREEDOM, OR EVERY LAST STINKIN’ LITTLE NOTE: HEADQUARTERS (1967)
The Beverly Hills Hotel opened in 1912, just as the cogs of the cinema industry began turning, and it is partly responsible for turning the surrounding area into the fabulous adjunct to the Hollywood Life it became, with its elegance, exclusivity, and rows of bungalows later used by legendary writers or actors or lovers or all three. Reclining in lush, water-sprinkled languor just off Sunset Boulevard, its walls are rightly famous for their easiness on the eye: flamingo pink on the outside, wedding cake iced-white within. I got to visit it one hot August evening at sunset and it was like passing through a portal to paradise; life could be a dream, sweetheart. So closely is it associated with the idea of California and Hollywood in the popular imagination that it became symbolic of that life long before it appeared, looking mysterious and not a little Hispanic, on the sleeve of the 1976 Eagles album Hotel California. Yet that image isn’t the hotel’s only claim to pop music fame; as the taproot of the very idea of Hollywood, it is somehow appropriate that it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel on January 25 1967, at a meeting to decide who controlled the music of The Monkees, Michael Nesmith put his fist through a wall in one of those exclusive bungalows (‘$150 a day’, according to TV Guide’s report of the incident later that year) and began the ‘palace revolution’ in such palatial surroundings.
Later Mike told his ‘angel of peace’, the ever-conciliatory [Bert] Schneider, ‘I blew it. I shouldn’t have lost my temper. But it’s horrible to be the number one group in the country and not be allowed to play on your own records.’ Schneider said, ‘Well it’s rewarding to see you guys act as a group rather than four egotists who don’t pull together.’ To which Mike replied, ‘It’s the first time we’ve had a wagon to pull.’
His mixed feelings are laudable, his advocacy of the strength of the group remarkable. Once that $150 a day wall was broken through, a special kind of freedom lay on the other side. For The Monkees, in the short term, that meant shutting down the TV show and prioritising the music. So even though they had started to work on their own material in advance of Kirshner’s formal dismissal later in the year, that declaration of independence in a cool and moneyed room unlocked a huge store of energy and ideas – to whit, Headquarters. It was recorded in a flash of white-hot activity between Micky returning from London on February 23 and the band’s next live gig in Winnipeg, Canada, on April Fool’s Day.
It was a little rough at first because we had never worked together. As things developed and Headquarters evolved there came a kind of camaraderie, and we were all pulling together to make this album that was supposed to be only them playing on it. In fact maybe my best contribution to The Monkees was that I wanted to see them doing everything on their records, with nobody in the background who wasn’t a Monkee. So if you hear a vocal part, you’re gonna hear Micky or Davy or Peter or Mike, and nobody else.
The album is the sound of liberty itself. The count-in at the opening of the first track, ‘You Told Me’, is a playful nod to the squonky equivalent on Revolver’s opener, ‘Taxman’, but also a gleeful little shout of autonomy, followed by those opening chimes of freedom on a 12-string guitar. Likewise, the reclamation of Nesmith’s second number on side one, ‘You Just May Be The One’, from the ‘TV version’ is complete, as the track does indeed feature just them – the four Monkees. Chip Douglas handled the bass on some of the tracks to allow Peter to add extra colours on keyboard and guitar but on this tune, already played in on a dozen gigs between New Year and February, it was the quartet alone:
Peter did play bass on a couple of songs – in fact he played on ‘You Just May Be The One’, and he really did a great bass part on that too. He played in a little different style to me, playing with a flat pick and I don’t. Maybe you can hear that on the record, I don’t know.
The album showcases Nesmith’s flourishing songwriting styles – pop-folk (‘You Just May Be The One’), country-pop (‘You Told Me’), a sound greatly assisted by Tork’s banjo, and pure ’67 pop with a gloss of psychedelia (‘Sunny Girlfriend’, complete with backward cymbals). It also allowed Peter Tork to expand his musical contributions many fold – playing guitar, banjo, and keyboards, arranging for cello and French horn (‘Shades Of Gray’) and writing ‘For Pete’s Sake’ (with his flatmate Joey Richards) which became the end-title theme for the second series, signalling the changes in the TV show as well as in the studio. It is a freedom song for the group as well as a claim on the rights of a whole generation. As Tork’s lyric declares, ‘We gotta be free!’, echoing sentiments of the first album’s ‘I Wanna Be Free’ while remaking and expanding it, exchanging the individual wish for the collective assertion. In spring ’67, youth culture was on the threshold of the Summer of Love, and this song, with its bluesy guitar picking, washes of organ, and effortlessly soulful vocal from Dolenz, chimes perfectly with that. The Monkees’ apparent escape from their gilded cage is a fine metaphor for a cultural transformation and a flight into freedom.
© 2016 Peter Mills / Jawbone Press
Thanks a lot to Tom Seabrook from Jawbone Press for sending along the official press release for the upcoming book by author Peter Mills entitled The Monkees, Head, and the 60s. It will arrive on September 13 in the UK and October 25 in the US, and it's available for pre-ordering at both Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Michael Nesmith's latest book, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, is scheduled to be released on April 18, 2017. It will be available in hardback, as a Kindle and audio download, and on compact disc. Nesmith has previously published two other works: The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora (1998) and The America Gene (2009).
Fans have been kept informed about Michael's newest project through his Facebook page, where Nez has posted about its progress, including a working title. "I’m about a third to half way through my new book, 'Listen to the Band,'" Nesmith wrote on January 24, 2015. "Don’t jump to any conclusions because of that title. The book is non-fiction and non-what you think. I do think you are going to like it — I am loving writing it." In July 2015, he elaborated further:
"It’s not a memoir but is sort of chronological. It follows my life as different bands come together and break up – all kinds of bands. Groups of extraordinary people who sweep into our lives, we play along with them for a while, then we all move on. This bandology, as I call it, has always impressed me, whether I am listening or playing."
Visit the stories below for more history about the development of Infinite Tuesday and Michael's comments on it:
Monkee Magic: a Book about a TV Show about a Band, is available in both Kindle edition and paperback. In it, author Melanie Mitchell (who also appears on the Zilch podcast) examines The Monkees' TV show, Head, and much more. Amazon reviewers have praised Monkee Magic, and the Live Almanac would like to recommend Melanie's book as the perfect accompaniment for the upcoming Monkees Blu-ray set.
Amazon.com provides the following description of Monkee Magic:
Monkee Magic: a Book about a TV Show about a Band provides insightful commentary about all 58 episodes of the original Monkees television series, as well as the feature film Head and the group’s two stand-alone TV specials. With a wry sense of humor and just a little bit of affectionate snark, the author notes comedy highlights, running gags, nitpicks, obscure cultural references and inside jokes. It’s a fresh view, a provocative analysis and a whimsical journey for dedicated Monkees fans and nostalgic boomers alike.
Gary Strobl is a longtime Monkees collector and confidant of the group. Fans will remember his efforts in organizing Monkees conventions and, for a brief time in the '80s, contributing to the short-lived Monkees West fanzine.
Gary has been compiling a book on The Monkees since 1983, conducting research and amassing numerous interviews through the years. Strobl, in collaboration with Henry Diltz and Harvey Kubernik, announced in 2013 that a deal had been signed to publish their work.
This evening, Live Almanac reader Brian found the following listing on a Belgium-based website that specializes in illustrated books:
The publication date listed above (October 2015) could be an error, or perhaps the book was due to be released last fall and experienced a delay. All things considered, this could be a good sign that the book will finally see the light of day, and just in time for The Monkees' 50th Anniversary. Keep checking back with the Live Almanac for additional updates.
The Monkees invented a new kind of TV, gave a new model to the music industry, and left behind one of the most enigmatic movies of the modern era, Head. This book is about all that and more. Beginning by exploring the origins and personalities of the four Monkees before looking in depth at their work together on screen, on stage, and on record, Listen To The Band is the first serious study of the band and the first to fully acknowledge their importance to the development of pop as we now know it.