Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement of the More Of The Monkees super deluxe edition by Rhino Records, Michael Nesmith has unveiled his first concert engagements for 2018 with a brand new lineup of The First National Band.
The First National Band was Nesmith'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. The 2018 edition of the First National Band will consist of 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).
In January, for two dates in California, Nesmith will bring the music of The First National Band back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his early 1970s RCA recordings, including a concert on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. A press release on Monkees.com reported the following: "Songs like 'Different Drum' (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), 'Listen to the Band' (re-recorded by the FNB in 1970), 'Some of Shelly’s Blues' (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and 'Silver Moon' will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as 'the greatest music that you never heard.'" It is expected that dates will be added nationwide.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval confirmed on Twitter that he will be involved in these concerts, and that he hopes live recordings will become a reality. "For me personally, this is the music of Michael's that I always come back to - revelatory, heartfelt and transcendent," Sandoval wrote on Facebook. "The albums - Magnetic South, Loose Salute, Nevada Fighter, Hits Keeps Coming, Ranch Stash & Tantamount - are brimming with brilliance. Those of you who have followed his story know that 'Papa Nes' became Nez, and went in new directions after this phase of his solo career. For these shows he will at long last call back to these records with full-blown country-rock backing and I am so excited to hear the results." Sandoval also noted on Facebook that John Ware is contemplating a cameo appearance.
Tickets for the California shows will go on sale on Friday:
January 23, 2018: The Coach House / San Juan Capistrano, California
January 25, 2018: The Troubadour / West Hollywood, California
Here is the full press release about the new activities surrounding the First National Band, courtesy of Monkees.com:
Almost fifty years ago, in May 1968, Michael Nesmith ventured to Nashville to record a series of groundbreaking sessions with local musicians. What they produced is now recognized as the foundation of the country-rock and alt-country movements.
"I could just feel this happening, that there was this 'thing,'" recalled Nez. "So, I headed off to Nashville to see if I couldn't get some of the Nashville country thing into the rock'n'roll or vice versa."
Nez's intuition was correct; he was on the leading edge of a new genre. His exploratory work caught the attention of legendary RCA A&R man Felton Jarvis who had produced the Nashville sessions with Nez. In February 1970, Jarvis signed Nez and his new band, the First National Band (pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes, bassist John London, and drummer John Ware), to a deal with the venerable imprint and produced their first record, Magnetic South.
Despite the eight innovative country-rock LP's Nesmith created between 1970 and 1978, he is one of the less heralded architects of the genre. The First National Band's three classic albums -- Magnetic South, Loose Salute, and Nevada Fighter -- spawned four charting singles, including "Joanne" which reached #21 on the Billboard Top 100. However, live success for the fledgling band was harder to come by and the musicians Nez collected to bring his country-rock dream to market soon scattered. Nez played out his remaining RCA albums with Red Rhodes and toured with him throughout the '70s. Yet the full-blown sounds of the First National Band were never to be heard on the concert stage again.
In January 2018, Michael Nesmith will bring this music back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his RCA recordings, including a show on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. Songs like "Different Drum" (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), "Listen to the Band", "Some of Shelly's Blues" (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and "Silver Moon" will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as "the greatest music that you never heard."
UPDATE 11/8/2017: Michael's Videoranch3D website has taken a moment to look back at the First National Band:
The Original Band
"[John] Ware wisely pointed out that if he and John [London] were my band, we could not only record but could tour in support of the records we made, something the Nashville first-call session guys seldom did for a new band. We would be a real band rather than a pure studio effort. ... [John] wondered who I might like to approach, and my first choice was Red Rhodes. I had no hope of him accepting, but he was my first choice. A pedal steel guitar player -- especially a magical-reality player like Red -- was critical-path for the music in my head."
-Michael Nesmith, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
Pedal Steel Guitar
Nez first came across Red at The Palomino Club, a popular country western spot in North Hollywood, where Red was in the house band. Red played with Nez throughout the 1970s. It is impossible to imagine Nez's music without Red's playing. Red's final performances before his death were with Nez on his ...tropical campfires... album and tour in 1992.
John began working with Nez as a duo before they left San Antonio for Hollywood in the mid-60s. After joining The Survivors with Nez, he was Nez's stand-in on The Monkees. He met John Ware while working as a bass player for Linda Ronstadt.
Prior to joining the First National Band, John attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and met John London while playing in Linda Ronstadt's touring band. Years after the First National Band dissolved, he joined Nez for Live at the Palais, recorded at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia, in 1977.
UPDATE 11/21/2017: The concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood sold out in less than an hour, and as of November 21, there are no longer tickets available for the performance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
Just announced! Michael Nesmith will be making a guest appearance with Micky Dolenz at two of Micky's upcoming solo shows while also taking part in meet and greet activities after each event. You can see the duo together this Friday, October 20 at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, California and on Saturday, October 21 at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Tickets for the meet and greet session after the shows are also available, but quantities are limited and to participate, you must have a ticket to the concert that night. A portion of the proceeds collected from the meet and greets will be donated to the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund.
If you are planning on attending these special shows, please feel free to share your pictures and reviews with the Live Almanac!
UPDATE 10/16/2017: Nez talked about the upcoming appearances with Micky earlier today on Facebook.
UPDATE #2 10/17/17: Members of the Monkees family will be present with Micky and Michael at the California shows, including Christian Nesmith and Circe Link, Ami Dolenz, Davy's daughters Talia Jones Roston, Sarah Jones, and Annabel Jones, Davy's first wife Linda Haines Jones, along with members of Harry Nilsson' s family.
On October 21, Peter Tork will perform at NYCB Theatre at Westbury in Westbury, New York as part of the "Hot Autumn Nights" concert series. Joining Peter on the bill are Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, and The Buckinghams. To date, this is Peter's only announced solo concert for 2017. You can purchase tickets online starting on Friday, May 12, and be sure to see the Facebook post below for pre-sale information.
July 14: Humphreys Concerts By the Bay / San Diego, California
July 27: Mayo Performing Arts Center / Morristown, New Jersey
July 28: NYCB Theatre at Westbury / Westbury, New York
August 25: Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino & Hotel / Bossier City, Louisiana
October 7: Grand Casino Hinckley Event Center / Hinckley, Minnesota
October 13: The Family Arena / Saint Charles, Missouri
October 15: Genesee Theatre / Waukegan, Illinois
November 3: Ameristar / Kansas City, Missouri
Micky is also starring in '50 Summers of Love,' a joint tour with Mark Lindsay and The Fab Four.
For the concert dates listed below, VIP meet and greet tickets are available at select venues.
Please note that more solo dates are likely to be added to this itinerary. Keep checking back for updates!
January 20: Golden Nugget / Las Vegas, Nevada
February 11: Arcada Theatre / Saint Charles, Illinois
February 20 - 25: Busch Gardens / Tampa Bay, Florida
February 27 - March 4: Flower Power Cruise
March 10: The Warburton RheneyPalooza JAM / Palm Desert, California
March 24 - 29: "A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll" @ 54 Below / New York, New York
April 1: The Kent Stage / Kent, Ohio
April 2: City Winery / Atlanta, Georgia (6pm show)
April 2: City Winery / Atlanta, Georgia (9pm show)
April 15: Rice Auditorium / Monmouth, Oregon
April 20: Avalon Theatre / Easton, Maryland
April 21: Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center / York, Pennsylvania
April 23: Sellersville Theater / Sellersville, Pennsylvania (3pm show)
April 23: Sellersville Theater / Sellersville, Pennsylvania (8pm show)
June 3: Newton Theatre / Newton, New Jersey
June 4: Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center / Old Saybrook, Connecticut
June 10: The Care Concert, Benefiting Los Angeles Homeless Charities / Los Angeles, California
June 13: City Winery / Chicago, Illinois
June 14: City Winery / Chicago, Illinois
June 16: The Englert Theatre / Iowa City, Iowa
June 18: City Winery / Nashville, Tennessee (6:30pm show)
June 18: City Winery / Nashville, Tennessee (9pm show)
July 4: Town Hall Campus / Greece, New York
July 8: Island View Casino Resort / Gulfport, Mississippi
July 15: The Coach House / San Juan Capistrano, California
July 16: The Rose / Pasadena, California
July 25: California Mid-State Fair / Paso Robles, California (2 shows)
August 4: "A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll" @ Feinstein's / San Francisco, California
August 5: "A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll" @ Feinstein's / San Francisco, California
August 13: Down By The Riverside @ Mayo Park / Rochester, Minnesota
August 19: Marquee Theatre / Tempe, Arizona
September 7: B.B. King Blues Club / New York, New York
September 8: Suffolk Theater / Riverhead, New York
September 9: The Cabot / Beverly, Massachusetts
September 28: Concert for Hurricane Relief @ El Portal / North Hollywood, California
October 20: The Canyon / Agoura Hills, California with Special Guest Michael Nesmith
October 21: Saban Theatre / Beverly Hills, California with Special Guest Michael Nesmith
November 5: The Joint: Tulsa / Tulsa, Oklahoma
November 27: Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square / New York, New York
December 7: Clearwater Casino / Suquamish, Washington
December 16: The State Theatre / Bay City, Michigan