Monkees fans set to gather in Connecticut to honor Peter Tork (UPDATED with convention schedule & Governor's proclamation)
The Peter Tork Memorial Convention for Monkees Fans will take place on Saturday, February 8 in North Haven, Connecticut. Check out this previous Live Almanac blog post for more details and to purchase tickets!
UPDATE 2/1/2020: Thanks to convention producer Charles Rosenay for sharing the official schedule of the event with The Monkees Live Almanac:
UPDATE 2/3/2020: The Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, has officially proclaimed the date of the convention, February 8, as "Peter Tork and The Monkees Day" in the State of Connecticut:
SF Sketchfest, a comedy festival currently underway in San Francisco, paid tribute to The Monkees yesterday afternoon as Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith participated in a Q & A session led by author Paul Myers:
After a flurry of albums with the First and Second National Bands in the early 1970s, Michael Nesmith began to broaden his artistic scope. In 1972, Nez formed Countryside Records, a subsidiary of Elektra Records, to produce and promote country and western artists including Red Rhodes, Tom Holbrook, Steve Fromholz, and Garland Frady. One of Michael's most noteworthy projects from this era included his collaboration with British musician and singer-songwriter Ian Matthews on the album Valley Hi. Matthews had previously been a member of the folk rock band Fairport Convention, and Nez acted as producer for his 1973 LP on Elektra.
Valley Hi is noteworthy for Matthews' version of "Seven Bridges Road," a song later made famous by The Eagles on their 1980 album Eagles Live. Rhino Records highlighted the track earlier this week in an article entitled "5 Things You May Not Have Known About Mike Nesmith" while celebrating Michael's recent birthday:
He produced, sang, and played on Ian Matthews’ version of "Seven Bridges Road." Written by Steve Young and arguably made most famous by the Eagles, Nesmith recorded Matthews’ version of the song in 1973 for Matthews’ VALLEY HI album, and if you listen to that version first and then listen to the Eagles’ version, what you will notice is that the tempo and arrangements are pretty much identical. Like, to the degree that Nesmith later said of that similarity, "Son of a gun if Don or somebody in Eagles didn’t lift [our] arrangement absolutely note for note for vocal harmony. If they can’t think it up themselves [and] they’ve got to steal it from somebody else, better they should steal it...from me, I guess."
Matthews also covered Nesmith's classic "Propinquity" on Valley Hi.
And now, this period of Michael Nesmith's career and his work with Ian Matthews has been examined in much greater depth by Peter Mills, author of The Monkees, Head, and the '60s, in his new blog Pete Sounds. Peter relayed to the Live Almanac that he had to leave an abundance of material for his book on the cutting room floor, but now fans can enjoy his research about this often overlooked period of Nesmith history. Click the image below to visit Peter's blog!
Thanks to Brian Marchese for alerting the Live Almanac about his latest podcast, featuring a unique interview with Michael Nesmith:
"Episode 23 of Where's That Sound Coming From? has been a long time coming, basically due to life getting a bit derailed. But I hope you'll agree that it was worth the wait. What we have here is not your average interview with Michael Nesmith. This is sort of grad-level Nez. Spirituality. Metaphysics. Creativity. Psychedelics. Turning away from the darkness of that era. Not a word about The Monkees. No MTV. No Country Rock Pioneer. No Liquid Paper. Have you noticed that most bios and interviews with Nez seem to gloss over The Prison (1974) and his life at the time? As a long time fan of Nez, The Prison for a long time was this mysterious work that I kept trying and failing to get into. Eventually I realized I wasn’t hearing the original work - I was hearing the touched up version Nez released in the 90s. A few years ago I finally heard the 1974 original, and it all came together. Plus, I sensed a psychedelic influence which turned out to be accurate. In this podcast, my long-winded intro is followed by Nez onstage in 1975 telling the plot of The Prison, and finally, the main course: my conversation, recorded in April 2019. Stuff gets very deep, very spiritual, puzzling, funny and always fascinating. Enjoy."
In the May 2019 issue of Uncut, Kristin Hersh, singer-songwriter and musician best known for her time in the alternative rock band Throwing Muses, revealed some of her favorite music selections. At the top of Kristin's list is the platinum album, Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees, issued at the height of The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Tour in 1986. Thanks to Live Almanac contributor Renny Simno for sharing!
Thanks a lot to David Lillicot for sharing some clippings and articles from his personal collection, all centered around The Monkees' tour of Australia in September 1968.
These ads promote The Monkees' appearances at Sydney Stadium on September 21 and 28, 1968:
David also had the opportunity to interview Davy Jones in a piece published in UK music magazine NME in 1968. Davy talks about the movie Head, songwriting, and more:
Monkees fans are likely to recall the name Paris Stachtiaris, co-host of Headquarters ("The only radio show in America dedicated to The Monkees") that originally aired on 90.3 WBAU-FM, the radio station of Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, from 1987 to 1990. Cassette tapes of the program, which featured interviews with Monkees luminaries like Chip Douglas, Ward Sylvester, Jim Frawley, Coco Dolenz, Lester Sill, Monte Landis, Gerry Goffin, the individual Monkees themselves, and others, were frequently traded among fans in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Paris is back in 2019 with co-host Ben Brown, and the duo produced a special in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock that aired on Labor Day Weekend on HCS internet radio. Most recently, Paris and Ben spoke with Bobby Hart:
Along with his songwriting partner Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart is responsible for penning some of The Monkees' most enduring songs, including "Last Train to Clarksville," "Steppin' Stone," and "Valleri." Arriving with determination and drive to the nascent Monkees project, the duo wrote and produced the soundtrack to the pilot episode, including singing the lead vocals, which were later replaced once the show was formally cast with Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter. Despite conflicts with Don Kirshner, the show's music supervisor, Boyce and Hart were retained, and with the help of their backing band, The Candy Store Prophets, Boyce & Hart went on to produce many of the early Monkees recording sessions. Their influence eventually waned once Kirshner was sacked and The Monkees gained control over their musical output in early 1967. However, each original Monkees album, with the exception of Head, contains Boyce & Hart tunes.
Tommy and Bobby went on to have a successful recording career on their own, making guest appearances on television shows and contributing scores to movie soundtracks. In the mid-1970s, they teamed up with Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, a project which led to concert tours, new music, and a television special. Boyce & Hart were celebrated with a full-length documentary in 2015 (co-produced by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval), and that same year, Bobby published his autobiography. Paris and Ben intend to have Bobby back on their program to discuss more about The Monkees, Boyce & Hart, the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart era, and much more.
Thanks to Paris for keeping everyone informed about his latest projects, and be sure to check out the archives of the Headquarters radio program here at The Monkees Live Almanac!
"To create their 50th-anniversary LP Good Times!, the Monkees turned creative control over to lifelong fans of the group, like producer Adam Schlesinger and songwriters like Rivers Cuomo, Paul Weller, and Noel Gallagher. The result is, improbably enough, the greatest album of the 2010s by a Sixties band, highlighted by the achingly gorgeous love ballad 'Me & Magdalena,' by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. The voices of Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz blend together as perfectly as they did in the Sixties. And now with decades of wisdom and tough loss underneath their glossy exterior (beloved members Peter Tork and Davy Jones are no longer with us), they somehow mean more than ever." —Andy Greene
UPDATE 12/24/2019: Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield placed "Me & Magdalena" on his personal "Best Songs of the 2010s" list:
"The Monkees had a beautiful resurgence with Good Times — their first record written and produced by actual Monkees fans, which must be why it was their best since the Sixties. 'Me and Magdalena' is a country-roads ballad, written for them by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard: Mike Nesmith flexes his weathered Texas twang, in Magnetic South mode, while Micky Dolenz hits the high harmonies. They sound like they’ve waited years for this moment — and they’re not the only ones."
Earlier this afternoon, Rolling Stone magazine's website published an interview with Michael Nesmith conducted by Andy Greene. In it, Nez speaks openly about a wide array of topics and people, including the post-Monkees days with Red Rhodes, his relationships with Peter Tork and Davy Jones, touring with Micky Dolenz in early 2020, the scope of The Monkees' legacy today, the recently issued Cosmic Partners live album from 7a Records, and much more:
UPDATE: Rolling Stone followed-up their interview with Nez by putting the spotlight on the opening track of his 1972 album, And the Hits Just Keep on Comin':
Zilch host Ken Mills welcomes Videoranch's Ed Heffelfinger and 7a Records co-founder Glenn Gretlund as they talk about 7a's Cosmic Partners - The McCabe's Tapes, available this Friday on CD and vinyl. And, a special guest turns up - Michael Nesmith himself!
"Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion" podcast interviews Jerry Blavat, Bob Rafelson's son in latest episode
Al Bigley and Alan Williams are back with a packed episode, speaking with Jerry Blavat, who guested on the second season episode "Some Like It Lukewarm," and Peter Rafelson, son of Monkees co-creator Bob Rafelson. Plus, the duo catch up with Jodi Ritzen who talks about the upcoming Dolenz/Nesmith 2020 tour, along with much more!
Last year, The Monkees released Christmas Party, the group's first collection of holiday songs. This past September, the album made its debut on vinyl. And now, an official trailer for the LP was just uploaded on The Monkees' YouTube channel!
And here's some footage from the recent run of concerts by Nez and the First National Band Redux at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California, thanks to Lisa Duclo:
Micky Dolenz recounts watching "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" with daughter Ami while paying tribute to iconic TV show personality
"It Was Fifty Years Ago Today," a tribute to The Beatles' White Album, co-starring Micky Dolenz, Christopher Cross, and Todd Rundgren, is currently in rehearsals and will debut this Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The articles linked below take a closer look inside the presentation of the upcoming tour, songs you can expect Micky to sing, along with notable quotes about potential future projects and releases. And if you are attending one of these special shows, be on the look out for longtime Monkees touring guitarist and musical director, Wayne Avers, who will be playing in the band!
Will 'The Monkees Present the Mike & Micky Show' return? Absolutely, Dolenz enthuses, although there’s "nothing on the books" at the moment.
New York Independent: Micky Dolenz, Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross to Slay Beatles White Album in 50th Anniversary Tour
This is Dolenz’s second high-priority project this year.
The first was his first-ever teaming with fellow Monkee Michael Nesmith on a worldwide tour last year. The trek was interrupted after Nesmith suffered health issues, but resumed this year.
Before the end of the year expect to see a live recording via Rhino Records.
Following the [White Album] tour, look for a Dolenz-fronted reprise of his 'A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll' show in New York City.
Bettors Insider: Monkee-ing around with the Beatles: Micky Dolenz and friends rock ‘White Album’ tribute
Dolenz added that as far as he’s concerned, when it comes to rock drummers, no one supersedes [Ringo] Starr.
"Ringo was the greatest," he insisted. "I mean, my God, he almost defined rock drumming in the ‘60s."
Dolenz isn't giving away his selections yet and will only say "I'm very happy with what I ended up with." His own view of The White Album meanwhile, is it "was pretty unique in many ways. It was very diversified, as you know, so it's hard to say. There was so much good stuff. Frankly I was just always a big Beatles fan. I loved every album and listened to them religiously."
"The Monkees were preparing to go on tour in England in 1967, and I went over by myself, first, to do some early press junkets," says Dolenz. "One of the publicists who worked with both us and the Beatles thought it might be great to get a photo of me together with them, as there had been some bullshit competition between us that never truly existed. Something stupid."
McCartney must have caught wind of this, and wound up calling Dolenz personally, and invited him over for dinner. "Just he and I — and our handlers — having a casual chat. I ran into him a few years ago during his rehearsal for Coachella, and he remembered everything about the dinner… down to watching television."
Micky Dolenz "really looking forward to" White Album tribute tour with Todd Rundgren and other stars
Among the White Album songs Dolenz will be performing are “Rocky Raccoon” and “Yer Blues,” plus two or three more. He says “Rocky Raccoon” stands out for him because it was “one of the songs I would sing my little kids as a lullaby.” As for his own songs, he says he’ll probably be singing the Monkees hits “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”