Dolenz & Nesmith to join forces on concert stage in 2018; Nez to revive music of First National Band (UPDATED)
This past weekend, Michael Nesmith signed autographs and posed for pictures at the Chiller Theatre convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. Fans, including Scott Catton, who relayed details about his conversation with Nez at the event to the Live Almanac yesterday, have been reporting that Michael was informing everyone of his touring plans for 2018, which include spotlighting the music of the First National Band and pairing up with his fellow Monkee, Micky Dolenz. Jodi Ritzen, event coordinator for both Nesmith and Dolenz, confirmed the buzz on Facebook:
The First National Band was Michael's initial post-Monkees outfit that consisted of Red Rhodes, John London, and John Ware. The group released three acclaimed albums between 1970 and 1971, but their live performance history was fairly limited. Sadly, both Rhodes and London have passed away, but Nesmith has discussed in recent interviews the idea of reviving the music of the FNB, noting that he was encouraging his son, Christian, to put together a band for such a project.
Both Dolenz and Nesmith have performed for fans in recent weeks with Nez joining Micky at two of his solo shows in California. The duo has taken the stage together only two other times as an act, in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, during The Monkees' 50th Anniversary tour when Michael subbed for Peter Tork. Nesmith has discussed touring with Dolenz as far back as the 1990s.
Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for more details as they become available. Since these events are seemingly in the earliest of planning stages, no official announcements have been made and details about dates and venues for both projects are not available at this time.
Michael Nesmith's memoir, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, arrived earlier this year with a companion compact disc from Rhino Records, which featured highlights of Michael's musical career. As always, a big thanks to Ben Belmares for providing scans of the CD to the Live Almanac!
In an August 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Peter spoke about the origins of The Monkees' 1996 album, Justus, and one of the tracks he wrote for it:
"Michael was becoming involved with [his future wife] Victoria [Kennedy] at the time. He played her the soundtrack to Head. She asked who was playing bass and he said, 'That's Peter.' Then she said, 'Who wrote that part?' And he went, 'Oh, that was Peter too.' Then he had the idea that the theme song to Friends sounded exactly like Headquarters. He just caught a charge and wanted to see it through, so he asked me and Micky to come jam with him. It was the first time we'd played together like that since 1969.
"I played bass. Micky was on drums and Michael was on guitar. We sounded just the same. It was really amazing. We had a jam, and as a result we brought in Davy and did Justus. I think the whole album is entirely under-appreciated. Nobody else was in the studio besides us and the engineer. I wrote 'Run Away From Life.' It's about fantasists. It's sarcastic as all hell, really pretty nasty. But with the album, I think we were operating under some limits we didn't need to. Mostly, I think it was a big mistake for me to not play more guitar. Micky's drumming is just ferocious on that record though."
Michael Nesmith performed Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover" during his solo spot in The Monkees' stage show, beginning with the first Monkees live concert in Hawaii in December 1966 and throughout the group's summer 1967 tour of the United States and England. The Sundowners, one of the opening acts for the '67 summer concerts, backed Nez (and Davy, Micky, and Peter) during their individual segments.
Listen to Peter Tork introduce Michael Nesmith, with a little inspiration from The Beatles:
The Live Almanac broached this topic last year - what are your choices?
An Evening With The Monkees 2020