The Troubadour sold out in less than an hour. I am amazed and grateful thanks to all of you.
The Troub has 500 saleable seats and it was at the Troub that I was Hootmaster for the first year I was in LA. I hung out there while working around LA, and it was the place of a very important event in life.
I write about it in Infinite Tuesday.
I had struggled along as a singer/writer and was wondering if I had made the right choice for my life -- and consequently my wife, then pregnant with Christian.
I had returned from a weird trip playing high school assemblies across Texas -- to a crooked manager who stole my money -- so Phyllis was broke and starving and I was too. I went into a kind of meltdown, where everything I thought was up for grabs, and reconsideration. I was also physically sick, with what I will never know, so sick I couldn't get out of bed.
Slowly I pulled back together, and by the inspiration of Love, Phyllis for me and me for Phyllis, and a Life force beyond the veil, I lifted up enough to write, to think, and to pray.
When I was well enough I went down on a Monday night to the Hoot, met the new hootmaster, and secured a spot on that evening's roster.
I played four songs: Different Drum, Papa Jean's Blues, Nine Times Blue, and Propinquity. In IT I describe , in some detail that night, but the gist of it was to experience the elements of a live performance I had not known existed.
The audience gave me a rising approval throughout the set, each round of applause louder and more appreciative than the last, until by the end of that short set they were screaming for more -- but I had no more, so I bowed low and walked off stage grateful -- and as a changed man.
That show made me sure I was on the right path toward a distant light, gave me and Phyllis hope, led me to the events that followed, and has since guided me in the arts.
Those 500 people in those 500 seats, on that night, opened a door for me.
500 seats does not seem like a lot in the scheme of stadium rock, but as a friend said to me yesterday, the same who gave me the news of the rapid sell-out, those are a special 500 seats, the "right 500" seats.
I can't wait to see you there and play those four songs one more time and to thank you yet again for what has been given to me.
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.
Dolenz & Nesmith to join forces on concert stage in 2018; Nez to revive music of First National Band (UPDATED)
This past weekend, Michael Nesmith signed autographs and posed for pictures at the Chiller Theatre convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. Fans, including Scott Catton, who relayed details about his conversation with Nez at the event to the Live Almanac yesterday, have been reporting that Michael was informing everyone of his touring plans for 2018, which include spotlighting the music of the First National Band and pairing up with his fellow Monkee, Micky Dolenz. Jodi Ritzen, event coordinator for both Nesmith and Dolenz, confirmed the buzz on Facebook:
The First National Band was Michael'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, but Nesmith has discussed in recent interviews the idea of reviving the music of the FNB, noting that he was encouraging his son, Christian, to put together a band for such a project.
Both Dolenz and Nesmith have performed for fans in recent weeks with Nez joining Micky at two of his solo shows in California. The duo has taken the stage together only two other times as an act, in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, during The Monkees' 50th Anniversary tour when Michael subbed for Peter Tork. Nesmith has discussed touring with Dolenz as far back as the 1990s.
Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for more details as they become available. Since these events are seemingly in the earliest of planning stages, no official announcements have been made and details about dates and venues for both projects are not available at this time.
Michael Nesmith's memoir, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, arrived earlier this year with a companion compact disc from Rhino Records, which featured highlights of Michael's musical career. As always, a big thanks to Ben Belmares for providing scans of the CD to the Live Almanac!
Michael Nesmith performed Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover" during his solo spot in The Monkees' stage show, beginning with the first Monkees live concert in Hawaii in December 1966 and throughout the group's summer 1967 tour of the United States and England. The Sundowners, one of the opening acts for the '67 summer concerts, backed Nez (and Davy, Micky, and Peter) during their individual segments.
Listen to Peter Tork introduce Michael Nesmith, with a little inspiration from The Beatles:
Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues performed live in concert last evening in Westbury, New York at NYCB Theatre. The group opened an evening of entertainment dubbed "Hot Autumn Nights" on a bill that included Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, and The Buckinghams. This marked Peter's first concert appearance since the conclusion of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour last December, and his first public event since early May, where he took part in Wizard World Comic Con in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Peter and the band performed the following songs:
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
Bring It With You
Cross Cut Saw
I’m a Believer (with Peter Noone)
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Jennifer Winkle was in attendance and shared her photos on Facebook, along with audio of Peter's set:
Peter Noone made a surprise appearance and performed "I'm a Believer" with Peter:
And here's more footage from Westbury courtesy of YouTube:
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Micky Dolenz welcomed Michael Nesmith and friends back to the stage during his concert at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Previously on Friday night, Nez had joined Micky at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, California for their first concert appearance together since September 2016.
Jodi Ritzen shared video from the show on Facebook, which includes the duo's performance of "Me & Magdalena" and the encore selections of "Listen to the Band" and "I'm a Believer."
Kiefo Nilsson, son of Harry, once again joined Micky for "Good Times" just as he had during Friday night's debut of the song at the Agoura Hills show.
Mary Cherry posted this video of "I'm a Believer" and final bows:
Last night at the The Canyon in Agoura Hills, California, Micky Dolenz took the stage with his sister Coco and special guests Michael Nesmith, Christian Nesmith, Circe Link, and Kiefo Nilsson. Micky and Nez performed "Me & Magdalena," a highlight from The Monkees' 2016 album, Good Times!, and later sang both "Listen to the Band" and "I'm a Believer" during the encore.
Jeffrey Sherman posted video of Micky, Michael, Christian, and the band performing "Me & Magdalena":
Joining everyone onstage was Micky's longtime touring group, who have also backed The Monkees in concert since 2012: Wayne Avers (guitar/musical director), Rich Dart (drums), John Billings (bass), Dave Alexander (keyboards), and Coco Dolenz (backing vocals).
Davy Jones' daughters Talia Jones Roston, Sarah Jones, and Annabel Jones, along with Davy's first wife Linda Haines Jones, were also in attendance.
April Hayes shared her photos from the concert on Facebook:
And Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild posted this photo on Twitter of Michael and Micky singing "I'm a Believer":
Family members of Micky's longtime friend Harry Nilsson were also present, and Harry's son, Kiefo, accompanied Micky for the debut live performance of "Good Times." The song, originally demoed by Harry Nilsson for The Monkees in the late '60s, was revived last year after Micky added his vocal to the track, allowing for a modern day duet that ultimately inspired the name of The Monkees' 2016 album. You can watch Kiefo join Micky in the video below, courtesy of Dyana Levinson:
Kiefo Nilsson commented about his guest appearance with Micky on Facebook and posted a picture of the two onstage:
"Had the great privilege of getting to sing my dad’s part to 'Good Times' alongside Micky Dolenz tonight at the Canyon in Agoura Hills. Will be doing it again tomorrow at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills — come hang if you can!"
Thanks to Andrew Sandoval for sharing a photo of the set list with The Monkees Live Almanac:
Videoranch3D on Facebook posted photos and a few short videos of Michael with fans during the post-show meet and greet session. A portion of the proceeds collected from the meet and greet is being donated to the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund.
Stay tuned for more updates, and remember that Micky, Michael, and company will be doing it all again at this evening's show in Beverly Hills, California at the Saban Theatre!
In 1985, Micky Dolenz directed a segment for Michael Nesmith's Television Parts, a short-lived series that aired on NBC. In these videos, featuring the Spitting Image puppets, the Royal Family searches for a solution to their financial troubles.
Micky also directed this spoof of Princess Diana for Television Parts:
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.