When the Monkees Farewell Tour landed in Knoxville, Tennessee on October 7, Christian Nesmith and Circe Link, both longtime members of The Monkees' touring band, were noticeably absent from the stage. The duo were also not present for subsequent shows in Atlanta, Georgia and Orlando, Florida.
Tonight on Facebook, Christian addressed the situation with the message posted below:
As you may have noticed, Circe and I are no longer on the tour.
The Live Almanac wishes Christian and Circe all the best. They will most definitely be missed on the road with Micky, Nez, and the rest of the band. In the meantime, Christian is acting as musical director for an upcoming Hollywood stage production of Hair, and Circe and Christian's new album, Cosmologica, is coming soon!
Every night on the Monkees Farewell Tour, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith are supported onstage by a host of superb musicians and singers. Let's take a moment to shine the spotlight on each member of the touring band, including Micky's sister Coco, Michael's son Christian, and Wayne Avers, who first played with Davy Jones in the early 1990s.
Coco Dolenz (Vocals / Percussion)
Micky's sister, Coco, has a long history with The Monkees. She provided harmony and background vocals on such Monkees tracks as "Shortly Blackwell," "Little Girl," "Midnight Train," and "Mommy and Daddy." Coco wrote for teen magazines in the 1960s at the height of her brother's fame, and in the late 1970s, she toured with Micky and Davy after the dissolution of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart.
In 1987, Coco released her own album, One Voice. She has been touring with The Monkees since 2012. You can also hear Coco at Micky's solo shows, where she often duets with her brother on "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Crying in the Rain" while taking over on lead vocals for Michael Nesmith's own "Different Drum."
Follow Coco on Facebook, Twitter and visit her Etsy store!
Wayne Avers (Guitar / Vocals)
Wayne Avers is no stranger to Monkees fans. He has been a part of The Monkees' family since the group's 30th Anniversary Tour in 1996, acting as musical director through the years and handling lead guitar duties.
Wayne has performed onstage with all four Monkees in London at Wembley in 1997, appeared twice on The Tonight Show with the group (1996 and 2001), and took part in The Monkees' massive 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2016. Residing in Nashville, Wayne is an ardent collector of guitars. "I play the guitar because I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964," he told the Live Almanac in an interview several years ago.
Absent during initial dates on the current Monkees Farewell Tour, Wayne joined the band once again in Austin, Texas on September 23.
Christian Nesmith (Guitar / Vocals)
Christian Nesmith is Michael's eldest son and first appeared in The Monkees' touring band upon his father's return to the group in 2012. Christian's songs have been heard in both film and TV (Blades of Glory, The Hills Have Eyes, Lionheart) and he has composed commercials for companies ranging from AOL to ESPN to Starbucks. His theater credits include being the musical director for the first ever production of Hair in Moscow, Russia. Christian was also musical director for Hair in Los Angeles in 2007 (which also featured Circe Link), and that production was awarded Best Musical of the Year by LA Weekly. In 2016, Christian contributed greatly to the arrangement of "Birth of an Accidental Hipster," a highlight from The Monkees' album Good Times! and a set list staple ever since.
Christian joined his father in a revival of the First National Band in 2018 and produced a live album for 7a Records of the group's triumphant appearance at the Troubadour in Hollywood. Most recently, Christian stewarded Micky Dolenz's latest solo album, Dolenz sings Nesmith, featuring Micky singing the songs of Michael Nesmith.
Christian and his wife, Circe Link, continue to produce and perform music. Visit Christian on the web, download music on Bandcamp, and stop by his YouTube channel.
UPDATE: Christian Nesmith announced his departure from the tour on Facebook on October 12, 2021.
Rich Dart (Drums)
Rich Dart met Micky Dolenz in 2006 when Micky was starring in a stage production of Pippin and Rich was the house drummer. Four years later, Rich started playing drums for Micky during his solo performances. He joined The Monkees' backing band in 2012 when Micky, Michael, and Peter Tork delivered a series of concerts after the passing of Davy Jones.
Rich has had an eclectic career as a free-lance percussionist. He has played with various symphonies, jazz groups, theater troupes, rock and country bands, and percussion ensembles. Rich also played drums for Avenue Q on Broadway and for its first national tour.
Follow Rich on Instagram and on Facebook as he posts about his travels on the "Monkees Farewell Tour."
John Billings (Bass Guitar)
John Billings was brought into the Monkees family by Wayne Avers and first performed with the group in 2012. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he owns a recording studio. When performing with The Monkees live in concert, John received some good advice from Avers on how to approach the songs. "Wayne gave us a fundamental direction," John said. "Go back to the records." John has also played with Donna Summer and Wynonna Judd.
In the summer of 2019 John and his wife, Amy, opened Wine Down Nashville, a boutique wine bar in Nashville. Follow John on Instagram as he documents the "Monkees Farewell Tour" and more.
Pete Finney (Pedal Steel / Guitar)
Pedal steel extraordinaire Pete Finney became a member of Michael Nesmith's First National Band Redux in 2018 and later accompanied Nez for a series of shows that celebrated Nesmith's classic 1972 album, And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'.
"I first met Nez in the spring of 2014, when I filled in for Chris Scruggs on pedal-steel and guitar for the last few weeks of the Movies of the Mind tour. The '70s albums Nez made with Red Rhodes and the First National Band had been long-time favorites of mine, so of course I really enjoyed the experience musically, and also really enjoyed the hang and the conversations that ensued during our travels."
Michael brought Pete into the band for the inaugural "Mike & Micky Show" concerts. He has also performed and toured with the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and many others throughout his career.
Alex Jules (Keyboards / Vocals)
Alex Jules is a New York born and raised singer/songwriter who, along with Pete Finney, debuted in the band on the "Mike & Micky Show" tour in 2018. He now serves as vocal director on the current "Monkees Farewell Tour." Residing in Los Angeles, Alex has also performed with Michael Nesmith's First National Band Redux.
Sample some of Alex's work on SoundCloud and follow him on Instagram, where he often shares photos from the road.
Circe Link (Vocals / Percussion)
Circe Link joined The Monkees' band in 2014, performing backing vocals with Coco Dolenz. She has also appeared in concert with Michael Nesmith's First National Band Redux.
A singer, songwriter, and musician in her own right, Circe has previously described her music as ranging from "Cowboy Jazz to Alternative to Americana." She has recorded several albums, including a live CD from a successful tour of Japan. Circe writes, records, and performs with her husband, Christian Nesmith.
You can download Circe's music on Bandcamp, and don't forget to check out her YouTube channel, too!
UPDATE: On October 12, 2021, Christian Nesmith announced that he and Circe Link had both departed the tour.
Emeen Zarookian (Guitar / Vocals)
As a teaser for the upcoming concert album The Mike & Micky Show Live, a brand new video dropped today on The Monkees' official YouTube channel. Watch Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and their band as they perform The Monkees' 1966 chart-topper, "Last Train to Clarksville," recorded live in 2019. The performance has also been issued as a digital single and is available via streaming services like Spotify.
If you are in the area, join Coco Dolenz, her brother Micky, Monkees keyboardist Alex Jules, and guitarist Peter Andrews as they take the stage at The Coffee Gallery in Altadena, California this Saturday, November 16. Check out the link below for more information and how to obtain tickets to the show!
Congratulations to Amy and John Billings on the opening of Wine Down Nashville, a new music and event-based establishment in Nashville, Tennessee. John has been The Monkees' bass player since 2012 and also performs with Micky Dolenz. He resides in Nashville with Amy, who has long dreamed of opening a wine restaurant.
"Wine Down Nashville is a boutique wine bar created by musicians but made for all," John relayed to the Live Almanac this weekend. "It reflects both of our histories, some of our adventures, and especially our love of wine. We are open for all walks of life, but we're putting an emphasis on local events, corporate meetings, parties, and Amy's favorite pet project: meet and greets by some of our favorite musical artists, creatives of all walks, and a glimpse into Nashville's musical studio and touring force. Stay tuned!"
John also alerted the Live Almanac that a special treat awaits Monkees fans inside Wine Down Nashville. "I'm displaying and selling some of our favorite behind the scenes photography [of The Monkees] that I've taken over the years. I haven't previously displayed or presented any of it, but with Amy's help, it's going to be part of our boutique wine bar." John shared photos of his work that currently adorns the walls of Wine Down Nashville:
Stopping in at Wine Down Nashville to give his seal of approval was Wayne Avers, longtime Monkees guitarist and musical director:
Wine Down Nashville is located at 2720 Old Lebanon Road #111 in Nashville, Tennessee. Be sure to like the Facebook page and visit the website. And best of luck to Amy, John, and their staff from The Monkees Live Almanac!
Melbourne, Australia Set List: Nez delivers on promise to perform "Grand Ennui" during return to the Palais
In a post on Facebook yesterday, Michael Nesmith talked about The Palais Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, site of the recording of his 1977 live album and the current stop on his tour with Micky Dolenz. Nez ruminated about his band then and now, the slide guitar work of son Christian, and one of his best loved solo cuts, "Grand Ennui."
Long ago memories include the "Live at the Palais" album I made here on the stage of the Palais. Quite a different venue it was in 1977. It has been remodeled and from the pictures I see is now a stunning reincarnation of the original. When I go to soundcheck I will listen for remnant noise of that concert -- although I doubt I will hear anything, really. Just see a low smoke from a dying fire burning my eyes.
Here is the set list from last evening's performance by Micky, Michael, and the band, which included "Grand Ennui" in the second act, at The Palais Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, courtesy of Andrew Sandoval:
Monkees photographer extraordinaire Sherri Hansen has shared with the Live Almanac her photos from Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's performance at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan on March 12, 2019. As many of you know, Sherri's photos are first-class and they have appeared on this website and many, many other outlets over the last several years. You'll also see pictures of the band in this slideshow - enjoy!
Last evening Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and their band brought "The Mike & Micky Show" to a packed house at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. Thanks a lot to Renny Simno for sharing his photos from the show:
Here's a photograph of the merchandise table at the Beacon. Most of the items that were previously sold during the June 2018 shows are still available:
Thanks also goes to Wis Byron for sharing his video and photos from New York City with the Live Almanac:
The set list:
And here's a sampling of videos from last night's performance in New York City:
Recap: Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith