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)
This Friday, Dolenz sings Nesmith, the highly anticipated new release from 7a Records, will be available worldwide on CD, vinyl, and as a digital download. The album features Micky Dolenz reimagining select tracks from the songbook of his longtime friend and bandmate, Michael Nesmith. Pre-orders are now available, and be sure to take advantage of the great prices being offered by Import CDs.
Collected below are recent articles and interviews with Micky about this long-simmering project, along with some early (and glowing) reviews!
"Dolenz sings Nesmith" Press Coverage and Interviews
Micky Dolenz Finally Gets His Wish; Singing Michael Nesmith Songs on New Album (New York Independent)
Micky Dolenz on Why the Monkees Are Doing a Farewell Tour and His New 'Dolenz Sings Nesmith' Album (Variety)
Monkee Time: Micky Dolenz Album of Mike Nesmith Songs Unexpectedly Sells Out at Amazon, Reorders Coming (Showbiz 411)
Micky Dolenz sings the songs of Monkees bandmate Michael Nesmith in latest solo album (Cleveland.com)
Andrew Sandoval and Micky Dolenz From The Monkees Talk New Album "Dolenz Sings Nesmith" (Music Vibes with DC Hendrix podcast)
I’m Still Standing: Micky Dolenz on 'Dolenz Sings Nesmith,' the Monkees Farewell Tour & More (Rock Cellar)
Reviews of "Dolenz sings Nesmith"
An Unexpected Career Highlight – "Dolenz Sings Nesmith" by Micky Dolenz Surpasses All Expectations And Gives 7a Records Its Crown Jewel (Records, CDs and Music)
Micky Dolenz album instills Monkee Mike Nesmith's songs with new relevance in age of Covid-19 (New York Independent)
And if that's not enough to get you excited about the album, a pre-release party was held this past weekend on Zoom where hosts Tim Powers and Jodi Ritzen welcomed 7a's Glenn Gretlund, Christian Nesmith (who produced the album), Circe Link, Andrew Sandoval, and Micky himself! Check out the entire session below, which also features samples from each track on Dolenz sings Nesmith.
UPDATE 6/7/2021: More great news about Dolenz sings Nesmith from 7a Records:
Dolenz sings Nesmith, a brand new album by Micky Dolenz comprised of songs written by Michael Nesmith throughout his career, will be released by 7a Records worldwide on May 21. Listen to a recent interview with Micky conducted by Steven Rainey of BBC Radio Ulster where he talks about the album, working with Christian Nesmith, and more:
This week, fans will get a preview of Micky Dolenz's forthcoming solo album when "Different Drum"/"Propinquity" debuts as the lead single from Dolenz sings Nesmith, a collection featuring Micky singing the songs of Michael Nesmith.
While you wait for this Friday's single release, take a listen to the latest episode of Zilch where Glenn Gretlund of 7a Records is joined by the album's producer, Christian Nesmith, and the two chronicle the project with host Ken Mills, along with exclusive track samples to boot!
For years, Micky Dolenz has spoken about his admiration for Michael Nesmith, including his song catalog stretching from the Monkees era all the way through Nez's varied solo output. And their well-known camaraderie was on full display during the recent "Mike & Micky Show" tours. "Way back in the day when we were in the recording studio, Nez and I fell into this wonderful harmonic vocal blend I called 'The Everly Monkees,' as exemplified by the beautiful song 'Me & Magdalena,'" Micky wrote in the liner notes of the The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show. "On the set of The Monkees TV show, we would fall into some ad-lib riff and totally crack each other up. We often joked about one day having 'The Mike & Micky Show'!"
Those 2018-2019 dates were a critical and commercial success, performing to audiences in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Although Micky and Michael's most recently scheduled tour has twice been postponed due to COVID-19, Rolling Stone delivered some welcome news today that Micky Dolenz will record an album covering the works of his longtime friend and musical partner Michael Nesmith. "I've always been a huge fan of his songs,” Micky told Rolling Stone. "He's just so prolific."
According to Rolling Stone, recording has not commenced for Dolenz Sings Nesmith and there's no firm track listing, but Christian Nesmith, Michael's oldest son, will be producing the project while Monkees manager and historian Andrew Sandoval will be handling A&R duties. 7a Records, the British-based label fronted by Glenn Gretlund and well-known to fans for its Monkees-related releases over the last several years, will issue the album.
Read more from Rolling Stone: Dolenz Sings Nesmith will be packed with songs Nez wrote throughout his long career, including Monkees classics
UPDATE 11/23/2020: Micky is currently recording the album in Los Angeles, and 7a's Glenn Gretlund has informed the Live Almanac that a tentative release date is set for March 2021.
UPDATE 2/13/2021: Christian Nesmith posted the following on his Facebook page regarding the latest update about Dolenz Sings Nesmith:
Since 2015, 7a Records and its proprietors Glenn Gretlund and Iain Lee have been producing Monkees-related projects, most recently issuing vintage and brand new live recordings by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Michael Nesmith. Earlier this week, 7a announced their latest release, Cosmic Partners: The McCabe's Tapes, a previously unreleased concert recorded on August 18, 1973 at McCabe's in Santa Monica, California. Featuring Michael Nesmith and a group of supporting musicians, including his longtime friend and musical partner, legendary pedal steel player Red Rhodes, the recording has been remastered by Christian Nesmith.
This long lost performance originates from a mini-concert tour that was in support of what was to be Nesmith's final album for RCA, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash. Nez is accompanied during this one-of-a-kind show by a rhythm section featuring Danny Lane on drums and Colin Cameron on bass, along with Rhodes on pedal steel, and they deliver performances of an array of Nesmith classics including "Joanne," "Silver Moon," "Some of Shelly's Blues," and "Grand Ennui."
Cosmic Partners is being issued this November on compact disc with a 24-page booklet featuring previously unseen photographs and liner notes by Michael Nesmith. It will also be available as a limited edition 12" vinyl picture disc (1,000 copies).
And now, thanks to 7a Records, you can listen to the very first audio sample from Cosmic Partners! A big thank you to both Glenn and Iain for providing this exclusive preview to The Monkees Live Almanac. US customers can pre-order the compact disc from Amazon and Deep Discount, while UK customers can pre-order the CD from Amazon or Keymailrecords. The picture disc vinyl LP is also available to pre-order in the US from Amazon and Deep Discount, and in the UK from Keymailrecords.
Now, enjoy the sounds of Nez, Red, and company from Cosmic Partners: The McCabe's Tapes, from 7a Records!
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE BY 7A RECORDS FOR "COSMIC PARTNERS: THE McCABE'S TAPES"
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:
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:
Last night, "The Mike & Micky Show" stopped at The Paramount in Huntington, New York. Thanks to Monkees archivist and tour producer Andrew Sandoval for sharing the evening's set list!
Micky Dolenz also happened to be celebrating a birthday yesterday. Prior to the performance of "Randy Scouse Git," Andrew presented Micky with a cake and a special birthday gift. He shared a photo of the gift and the story behind it on his Facebook page:
Gemma "Coco" Dolenz (Vocals)
John Billings (Bass Guitar)
"As it always does, news like losing a friend and coworker always hits you from out of nowhere and leaves you stunned. In the end, I remember he and Pam taking me to breakfast in 2013 at the end of a long run on the road, us 3 praying together when the food arrived. I had not seen Peter do that before, so it was a real comfort to me then and it is especially now.
Here's what I like to remember:
He loved busting me on my bass parts, but also would take time to listen to my headphones I had nearby, with that iso'd bass track cue'd up. He'd smile and say "Oh yeah, it does go that way." Then he'd walk off and smile at me during the show when that part would pop up live.
He was always kind to me. Yeah, all of us on that stage had our moments with each other in this band, but he was a gentleman. Always.
Great hugger. Always greeted you with one.
In San Francisco, I had had a particular rough morning trying to return a rental car, running uphill to the hotel, pack to leave on the bus...everything conspiring against me to not be on time and feeling not so pleasant. Amy Don Billings was saying good bye to me to return home, it was chaotic and I was throwing suitcases under the bus...not one of my finer moments....Peter grabbed Amy, looked after her and brought her over to me. She still talks about that simple kindness he showed her to this day.
He wasn't The Clown, but he loved to clown around.
Loved, and I mean LOVED the blues.
Great smile. Just real.
Always quick to sign things for me whenever I asked. Always.
Didn't mind me being a goofy photographer and snapping his picture whenever. Never once said "no".
Loved his woman and did not mind PDA. That dude showered Pam Grapes with so much affection. They could be like teenagers. It was sweet.
Loved his kids. Treated his step children like his own. That of course spoke volumes to me, made him even more of a good man.
Knew more about music theory than I did. I just pretended to know and nod when he'd start lecturing me on the finer points.
Goodbye Peter. I hope you see all our friends and family now that you're home."
(Courtesy of John Billings on Facebook)
Rich Dart (Drums)
Christian Nesmith (Guitar)
Circe Link (Vocals)
Sandy Gennaro (Drums: 1987, 1996-1997, 2001-2002)
A look inside the vinyl edition of "Live at The Troubadour" by Michael Nesmith & The First National Band Redux
This August, the ever-prolific 7a Records issued Live at The Troubadour by Michael Nesmith & The First National Band Redux as a limited edition 2LP gatefold on 180g opaque gold vinyl. The set also happens to feature a special bonus performance of the song "Rio." A compact disc version was also released.
And now, thanks (as always) to Ben Belmares, you can take a look at the LP version of Live at The Troubadour below. Thanks, Ben!
Before you do, don't forget to order your copy of Live at The Troubadour on Amazon US or Amazon UK!
EXCLUSIVE! 7a Records announces the release of "Michael Nesmith and The First National Band Redux Live at the Troubadour" deluxe CD and 2-LP gatefold vinyl
The Monkees Live Almanac is happy to share the official press releases from 7a Records announcing their latest project: a live recording documenting Michael Nesmith's historic return to the Troubadour in Los Angeles with the First National Band Redux! Thank you very much to 7a co-founders Glenn Gretlund and Iain Lee for passing along all of the details. Don't forget to follow 7a Records on Facebook and Twitter. And you can read more about 7a's past releases in the archives of the Live Almanac.
THE PRESS RELEASE
2-LP GATEFOLD VINYL DETAILS
COMPACT DISC DETAILS
OFFICIAL PREVIEW VIDEO
With a more robust band, fresh arrangements, Micky being Micky and a rejuvenated Nez, "The Mike and Micky Show" turned out to be the ultimate Monkees concert many have been waiting on for decades.
The set list was perfect! Early/middle/late periods of the Monkees era were covered (and Good Times!, too). All of the Nez songs you wanted to hear were played. Songs that have been aired frequently during recent tours were dropped, while other warhorses were reinvented in ways that made them feel like new releases. The deep cuts were dynamic, rewarding, and ultimately delivered on pre-tour expectations.
The band was tight. The addition of Paul Kramer's fiddle and Pete Finney's slide guitar breathed new life into the arrangements. Circe Link and Christian Nesmith added relative youth and energy. The re-worked arrangements of many of the songs on the set list added so much soul to nearly every song. Both Wayne Avers and Christian deserve accolades for their work in this department.
The Monkees themselves were at the peak of their craft, which is quite an accomplishment considering their age. Micky and Mike's harmonies were beautiful, as always. Nez looked engaged and happy. His voice sounded as rich today as it did in 1968. That being said, it can never be forgotten that Micky is the consummate entertainer and a wonderful singer. There was so much energy in their performance, and if you closed your eyes, the whole show felt like 1968. Furthermore, the camaraderie between the band appeared authentic. It looked like everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves. Christian and Mike; Mike and Micky; each had special moments.
A paragraph could be written about every song that was performed at the concert in Chicago. I will highlight just a few:
The performances of "Listen to the Band," "You Told Me," "Sweet Young Thing," and "Sunny Girlfriend" were infinitely superior at these shows. The arrangements, background vocals, and Mike’s ability to hit higher notes made it truly special.
I was so happy to see the return of "As We Go Along." This is Micky at his finest and one of the best songs in The Monkees' catalog.
It was also gratifying to witness "Accidental Hipster" being played. A fully contemporary sounding song, and a great match for Micky and Mike.
The Monkees as a whole have cemented their place as one of the greatest bands of all time. What other group with multiple #1 hits in the 1960s ever produced more pleasing, contemporary music 50 years later and achieved this type of longevity?
We can now all retire as happy and satisfied Monkees fans.
In this video, Circe Link, Christian Nesmith, Alex Jules, and Coco Dolenz harmonize on the Beatles classic "Nowhere Man" before the show at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton, California on June 8. They are joined for some comic relief by John Billings:
Michael Nesmith & The First National Band Redux have announced that they will return to the road in September 2018!
This past January during a 5-date jaunt throughout California, Nez brought new life to his initial post-Monkees outfit. Originally consisting of Nez, Red Rhodes, John London, and John Ware, the group released three albums between 1970 and 1971, but their live performance history was fairly limited. Ignored and almost shunned by audiences and peers during their heyday, the music of the First National Band has since been cited by critics and contemporaries as a pioneering influence in the country rock genre.
In one of the more unexpected moves of Michael's career, a reconstituted First National Band hit the road in early 2018 with Christian Nesmith (guitar), Jonathan Nesmith (piano/guitar/vocals), Circe Link (vocals), Christopher Allis (drums), Jason Chesney (bass), Amy Spear (vocals), and Pete Finney (pedal steel). Sadly, original members Rhodes and London have passed away, but Ware gave his blessing to the project and wished everyone well. The limited run of concerts by the First National Band Redux, as they were dubbed, were ultimately a critical and commercial triumph.
Here are the dates for the group's September tour. Half of the shows go on sale this Friday, June 8. Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for future on sale dates as they are made available.
September 7: The Heights Theater / Houston, Texas
September 8: Paramount Theatre / Austin, Texas
September 9: The Kessler Theater / Dallas, Texas
September 11: CMA Theater / Nashville, Tennessee
September 13: Old Town School of Folk Music / Chicago, Illinois
September 14: Royal Oak Music Theatre / Royal Oak, Michigan
September 15: The Kent Stage / Kent, Ohio
September 17: The Birchmere / Alexandria, Virginia
September 19: Somerville Theatre / Somerville, Massachusetts
September 20: The Concert Hall at New York Society for Ethical Culture / New York, New York
September 22: The Colonial Theatre / Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
September 23: The Ridgefield Playhouse / Ridgefield, Connecticut
UPDATE 7/13/18: Videoranch has confirmed that despite Michael's recent illness that postponed the final four dates of "The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show" tour, the September concerts with the First National Band Redux are indeed happening:
Nez can be seen below playing a Gretsch sunburst guitar that Andrew Sandoval gave to him in 2013 to have as an alternate to Michael's blonde Gretsch. He'll be playing both on the upcoming tour! Photos of today's rehearsals are courtesy of Videoranch and The Monkees Tour Facebook page.
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith