Earlier this evening, Michael Nesmith was live on Facebook with his son, Christian, as Nez signed copies of the recently released paperback version of his 2017 book, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff.
During the airing, Christian confirmed that Nez and Micky Dolenz have rehearsed Michael's "St. Matthew" for this upcoming June's concerts, and Christian said there was a good chance it could make the set list for the show. "St. Matthew" was recorded during Michael's famous 1968 Nashville sessions but remained in the Monkees vault until 1990, when it appeared on Missing Links Volume 2.
A little later on, Michael's assistant at Videoranch answered a question from a fan about whether or not the First National Band's albums will ever be remastered. She responded, saying "I think that Sony is doing that as we speak."
For years, fans have been clamoring for the First National Band trilogy to be remastered and repackaged, and it now appears this project is closer to becoming a reality. Sundazed Music is currently taking pre-orders for the albums on colored vinyl, but orders are on hold due to manufacturing delays.
In an October 1978 interview with Blitz, Michael Nesmith recalled The Monkees' performance at Detroit's Olympia Stadium on their 1967 summer tour. The group was originally scheduled to appear there on July 29, 1967 but the show was canceled due to rioting. The Monkees played a rescheduled concert in Detroit on August 13, 1967.
"I look at the Olympia stop as being one of the high points of that tour. We walked into Olympia the morning of the show, and I recall being amazed at the vast size of the building. I looked at the high ceilings and wondered how we would sound with acoustics like that. Someone told me that 20,000 people were coming and that was all I had to hear! We really played well that night."
A big thanks to Jeff Gehringer for sharing his personal photos of The Monkees receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 10, 1989, along with some shots from the post-ceremony press conference at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel.
Michael Nesmith's book, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, was issued in April 2017 in various formats, including hardback and Kindle editions, on iTunes, and as an audio download via Penguin Random House and Audible. And now, on April 17, 2018, Infinite Tuesday will arrive in paperback with a brand new cover:
The Monkees performed their very first concerts between December 1966 and May 1967, appearing at such venues as the Cow Palace in San Francisco and Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The photos below document their late 1966 rehearsal sessions.
These great color photos below are courtesy of Iris' Little Monkees Corner, and were originally published in the September 1967 issue of the German publication Teenbeat. Iris has a wonderful Monkees website featuring clippings and photos from German publications, and much, much more. Iris and I communicate via Twitter and the Live Almanac gives her website a full endorsement. Do be sure to swing by and give it a look!
In 2000, after issuing Michael Nesmith & The First National Band's first two RCA albums on compact disc, BMG/Camden continued to highlight Michael's solo career when they released both Nevada Fighter and Tantamount To Treason as a two-in-one CD package:
The BMG/Camden reissues of Michael's RCA albums are readily available on Amazon:
Magnetic South / Loose Salute
Nevada Fighter / Tantamount to Treason
And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' / Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash
Michael Nesmith's 11th studio album, The Garden, was issued in 1994 by Rio Records and is meant to act as a companion release to 1974's The Prison. Both The Garden and The Prison are written to have the music complement a novel included with the release (written by Nez) and to read the novel simultaneously while listening to the recording. In their review, AllMusic delved into the inner workings of the album:
The Garden (1994) is Michael Nesmith's companion release to The Prison (1974). Both works are a departure from his more traditional releases, as the music is specifically designed to aurally complement an equally engaging written novella/short story -- included in the extended liner notes booklet. The idea is for consumers to commence reading Nesmith's prose while simultaneously listening to the recording. The concept may at first seem unusual, although the results are nothing short of profound. No special speed-reading skills are required. Rather, the most useful thing that a potential enthusiast can bring to the multimedia project is an open mind, sense of adventure, and respect for the infinite possibilities inherent within such an subtly demanding correlation . As Nesmith is quick to point out in his preface, The Garden is not a sequel in the strictest sense of the term -- meaning that there isn't a true continuation of the narrative which began in The Prison. Instead, they are correlated thematically and stylistically as both are presented in a linear and consecutive approach. Each of The Garden's seven chapters are also visually enhanced, if not somewhat inspired by a series of Claude Monet paintings. There is a much more subtle connection between the prose and these unqualified masterworks, yet he is able to relate them in a contextual sense. The music retains Nesmith's inimitable and signature sound, yet compared to his most concurrent effort, Tropical Campfires (1992), The Garden is exceedingly ethereal and more often than not instrumental. There are vocals that feature not only the artist, but also his children Jason -- who is likewise the central character in the short story -- Christian, and Jessica. The backing band also includes Christian Nesmith as well as most of the musicians the senior Nez had collaborated with on the aforementioned Tropical Campfires, most notably Desert Rose Band string man John Jorgenson (guitar/sax/bassoon/mandolin/oboe/bandurila/mandocello), Joe Chemay (bass), and John Hobbs (keyboards), as well as studio maven Sid Page (violin).
Earlier today, it was announced that The Garden is once again available on compact disc courtesy of Videoranch, packaged as a 2-CD set with accompanying booklet.
L.A. Turnaround is the ninth album by Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch. Issued in 1974, it was produced by Michael Nesmith, who also contributed guitar work. First National Band alum Red Rhodes played pedal steel. The album is being reissued as a part of Record Store Day 2018, available in limited quantities on blue vinyl.
A short film was produced in conjunction with the LP which features intimate footage of Michael, Red, Bert, and company from this period. Thanks to David Cox for reminding the Live Almanac about this unique video now on YouTube!
Elephant Parts is a collection of comedy skits and music videos made in 1981 by Michael Nesmith. Nez produced and distributed the one hour long video through his company Pacific Arts. In 1982, Michael was the first to be awarded a Grammy for Video of the Year for Elephant Parts. The award was reserved for "video cassettes or discs in any format created specifically for the home video market."
Videoranch announced on Facebook today that Elephant Parts will soon be restocked featuring a new digital video transfer from the master tapes, along with new bonus features. Videoranch is taking a poll on Facebook asking fans which format is preferred: DVD or Blu-ray. Take a minute to vote in the poll below!
Michael Nesmith has just posted a new message on Facebook where he talks about meeting with Micky Dolenz tomorrow to begin production for their June concert tour. Here what Nez had to say:
Heading to LA tomorrow for meeting and a hang with Mick. Have to cook up the M&M shows. Right now no clue what to do other than Monkees songs -- which are of course a lock.
I didn't expect to go out again singing Monkees songs -- but here I am looking at dates with Mick for the month of June -- the beginning of Summer, I think -- dates are posted at most of the Monkees sites and here -- but the set list doesn't exist yet.
M and I will sit around and sing, try to find out what makes sense with the two of us -- maybe the occasional guest.
As I write this I put on Chris Smither's "Live as I'll Ever Be" and its lifting me up into the skies of songs -- opening up settlements where we might perch and gaze out for miles and miles and sing and play the Music.
If all goes as planned I think we will put together a fine show.
I love singing with Mick -- this will be the first time an M&M show will be realized -- after all these years.
As I say I suppose we will play the deep cuts from the Monkees catalog -- and songs M&I have written over the years -- and as we are blessed we will find the space that the great live players find over the years -- those deep and real places that are undeniable, that leave no question unanswered -- and to me that is a definition of Smithers concert and his magic acoustic guitar. So I am listening closely to him-- learning what I can.
Maybe M&M can "Kill the Blues" like Chris --
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the trip and to seeing Mick appear singing along beside me in the same room. One of my life's gifts and blessings.
In September 2017, 7a Records released Michael Nesmith at the BBC Paris Theatre on compact disc and as a limited edition picture disc LP. And now, the album is available on orange vinyl in limited quantities. A big thanks to Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of the orange vinyl issue with the Live Almanac!
In the latest Live Almanac poll, fans have selected Magnetic South as their favorite album by the First National Band.
Sessions for the album began on February 10, 1970 at RCA Hollywood. Felton Jarvis (Elvis Presley, etc.) was credited as producer, but in reality he rarely attended the sessions, which lasted through late March. Jarvis, however, did sign Michael to RCA Records, and Magnetic South became a showcase for Michael's unique blending of country and rock. Magnetic South was the first in a trilogy of albums by the First National Band. Loose Salute (1970) and Nevada Fighter (1971) would follow.
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