On October 1, 1968, The Monkees were greeted rapturously as they arrived in Japan to perform a series of live concerts in that country for the very first time. One of these historic shows was filmed (most likely during the two day, three-concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) has long existed as a bootleg (complete with Japanese voice introductions before each song), but much to the chagrin of Monkees fans, the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System] in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
I first acquired a cassette tape of this particular concert in the late 1980s that ultimately relayed a sprightly and resolute performance by The Monkees, exhibiting just how far these four individuals with disparate musical backgrounds had come to achieving a "group" sound in a relatively short amount of time.
For years, Monkees fans have clamored for some sort of official release of this concert, even if it was just the audio portion as it seems the video footage has seemingly been lost to time. In the latest twist of this long-sought after piece of Monkees history, Live Almanac contributor Justin Rakowski has commenced a project to restore the original Japanese concert bootleg. In an effort to present the cleanest audio possible while also removing the invasive voice introductions before every song, Justin has "demixed" the audio. For those that aren’t familiar with "demixing," Justin relayed some details to the Live Almanac. "It’s essentially the process of using specific programs that can run a algorithm on a mono track and separate out individual signals like vocals, guitars, bass, and drums," Justin said. "The inherent problem with the Japan concert is not only the mono mix but the narrator that talks over the beginning of each song."
Justin talked more about the challenges of his project. "Obviously the parts where the announcer talks is the hardest area to fix. It's easier when the announcer is not talking over The Monkees' performances. Even when there is commentary over the instrumental beginning of each song, I can remove the announcer, but the music underneath sounds like someone is playing with the volume knob so the music cuts in and out, leaving some bars with no recoverable information. So what I’ve done is flown in other parts of the song in to fix those areas."
And now, here are the initial results of Justin's experiment! While we're all doing our best to hunker down during this international health crisis, take a listen to Justin's work and keep your fingers crossed that the video of this concert finally emerges!
UPDATE 4/16/2020: Justin has completed this project and has uploaded the entire 1968 Japanese concert. Thanks again, Justin! (Individual clips still appear below.)
The Monkees Live in Japan 1968 - Complete Show (Stereo Demix)
"Last Train to Clarksville" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I Wanna Be Free" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"D.W. Washburn" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"It's Nice To Be With You" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I'm a Believer" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Salesman" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
For "Salesman," Justin has offered up something special:
"Enjoy this 'what if' video using my newly demixed track of 'Salesman' synced up with edits of the 8mm Australia tour footage posted by Iain Lee's RareMonkees YouTube page."
Earlier this month, a teaser from the upcoming concert album The Mike & Micky Show Live arrived when "Last Train to Clarksville" was issued on YouTube, as a digital download, and via streaming services. And now, a live version of "The Door Into Summer," a classic track from The Monkees' fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., has been released on all platforms. You can watch video of the performance below!
The Mike & Micky Show Live will be issued on compact disc and via streaming and digital services on April 3. A 2-LP vinyl edition is slated for release on July 10. You can pre-order now! And don't forget, in most markets, every ticket purchased for Michael and Micky's summer tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live.
In this sequel to Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees Songs, One By One, authors Michael A. Ventrella and Mark Arnold look at the careers The Monkees had outside of the TV show and the band: From Micky’s early appearances as "Circus Boy" through Peter’s financial and legal problems to become a respected performer with his band Shoe Suede Blues, to Davy’s frustration with record labels and his many solo albums for his fans, to Michael’s evolution from country rock founder to the creator of MTV and video technology ahead of many others. They look at the various reunion concerts, the movies and plays, and the ups and downs of their varied careers, all with insight and humor.
Below is commentary found on the back cover of Headquartered: A Timeline of the Monkees Solo Years, courtesy of Dean Friedman:
"Some people are so ignorant as to imagine that The Monkees are not a 'real' band. That’s crazy! That’s like saying that lemon meringue pie is not 'real' food. They’re both an inspired synthesis of disparate wholesome, delicious, natural ingredients combined, orchestrated and executed with expert skill and sublime results. What this book makes irrefutably clear is that all four Monkees were consummate professionals – talented musicians and skilled performers, all – producing strong, creative, original, yet inexplicably unheralded, music recordings and video content before, during and after their frenzied 'Monkees' moment. Never underestimate a 'pop star.' There’s always more to them than you could ever imagine. This book proves it. I will always love lemon meringue pie. And I will always love The Monkees."
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's latest concert tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," originally set for April 2020, has been rescheduled for this coming July and September as a result of the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. The new dates are listed below. Please note that updated information for a few of the stops on the tour are still awaiting confirmation.
Every date previously scheduled for the tour will be played and no dates will be canceled. All previously purchased tickets and VIP soundcheck packages will be honored for the new dates. If necessary, refunds are available at your point of purchase. In most markets, every ticket purchased includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live.
Here is the new tour itinerary:
July 11: Moore Theatre / Seattle, Washington
July 12: Commodore Ballroom / Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
July 14: The Crest Theatre / Sacramento, California
July 15: San Jose Civic / San Jose, California
July 17: Fox Performing Arts Center / Riverside, California
July 18: The Magnolia / El Cajon, California
July 21: Celebrity Theatre / Phoenix, Arizona
July 25: Verizon Theatre / Grand Prairie, Texas (Venue change from Majestic Theatre / Dallas, Texas)
July 26: Tobin Center For The Performing Arts / San Antonio, Texas
July 27: Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater / Austin, Texas
July 30: Schermerhorn Symphony Center / Nashville, Tennessee
September 10: Iron City / Birmingham, Alabama
September 11: IP Casino Resort & Spa / Biloxi, Mississippi
Golden Nugget Grand Event Center / Lake Charles, Louisiana (CANCELED)
Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino / Bossier City, Louisiana (CANCELED)
UPDATE 3/24/2020: The Bossier City, Louisiana date cannot be rescheduled and has now been officially canceled. Refunds are available at your point of purchase.
UPDATE 4/10/2020: The Lake Charles, Louisiana date has now also been officially canceled. Refunds are available at your point of purchase.
A global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has precipitated numerous consequences ranging from personal health issues to economic losses and the cancellation or postponement of sporting and music events. Live Nation and AEG Entertainment, two of the world's premier concert promoters, have suspended all current tours through March amid fears over coronavirus.
The Monkees Tour Facebook page has confirmed that an official announcement regarding the status of "An Evening With The Monkees," this April's concert tour featuring Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, will be made on Tuesday, March 17. Ticket holders for certain dates have already been alerted about postponed events, including the Dolenz/Nesmith concert scheduled for April 26 at the Nashville Symphony.
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for all of the latest updates, and be safe!
Pre-order "THE MIKE & MICKY SHOW LIVE" on CD, vinyl, digital, and streaming services (UPDATE 4/3/2020: Now Available!)
Produced by The Monkees' archivist Andrew Sandoval & mixed by Christian Nesmith, THE MONKEES – THE MIKE & MICKY SHOW LIVE was recorded live in March and June 2019. The collection includes performances of all three of the band’s #1 hits: "Last Train To Clarksville," "I'm A Believer," and "Daydream Believer."
In addition to those hits, the live album also spotlights many of Nesmith's finest compositions, including several songs that were never performed live during The Monkees' heyday, like "St. Matthew" and "Auntie's Municipal Court." Other Nesmith-penned tunes on the collection include live versions of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," "Listen To The Band," "Papa Gene's Blues," "You Just May Be The One," and "You Told Me."
Dolenz takes the spotlight singing hits like "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Randy Scouse Git," "Mary, Mary," "Goin' Down," "For Pete's Sake," and "As We Go Along." The collection also features live versions of "Me & Magdalena" and "Birth Of An Accidental Hipster" from The Monkees' most recent studio album, Good Times! (2016).
(Courtesy of Monkees.com)
The Mike & Micky Show Live will be released on compact disc and via streaming and digital services on April 3. A 2-LP vinyl edition arrives on July 10. In most markets, every ticket purchased for Michael and Micky's summer tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live.
Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval stopped by Zilch to speak with host Ken Mills about The Mike & Micky Show Live. The podcast, featuring audio samples from the album, is linked below!
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.
On April 3, Rhino Records will issue The Mike & Micky Show Live on compact disc just as Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz return to the road in Vancouver, British Columbia. (A 2-LP vinyl edition will be available on May 15.) Featuring live performances from the duo's concerts recorded throughout March and June 2019, both the CD and vinyl releases will feature the same 25 tracks.
In most markets, every ticket purchased for Michael and Micky's April tour, "An Evening With The Monkees," includes your choice of a CD or digital copy of The Mike & Micky Show Live. (UPDATE 3/18/2020: The tour has been rescheduled for Summer 2020.)
The Track Listing:
Last Train to Clarksville
You Told Me
For Pete's Sake
The Door Into Summer
You Just May Be The One
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
Birth Of An Accidental Hipster
As We Go Along
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Papa Gene's Blues
Randy Scouse Git
Me & Magdalena
Auntie's Municipal Court
Sweet Young Thing
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
Listen To The Band
I'm A Believer
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval is the author of The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation and has overseen the group's concert tours since 2011. Today on Facebook, Andrew talked about his latest production, a live album highlighting Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's current show, recorded in March and June 2019:
On April 3, Rhino Records will release The Mike & Micky Show Live on compact disc just as Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz return to the road in Vancouver, British Columbia. Featuring live performances from the duo's concerts in 2019, the CD edition is currently available for pre-order, but only in the United Kingdom.
Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for more updates coming soon!
UPDATE 2/22/2020: John Hughes of Rhino Records has confirmed that the track listing seen on the Rhino page linked above is incorrect and will soon be updated. He also noted that both the CD and vinyl editions of The Mike & Micky Show Live will feature the same 25 tracks with no variants.
And as of today, customers in the United States can now pre-order The Mike & Micky Show Live on Amazon.
UPDATE 3/8/2020: Rhino's website linked above has been amended and now reflects the proper track listing.
This past Saturday, Liverpool Tours and Charles Rosenay sponsored "The Peter Tork Memorial Convention" in New Haven, Connecticut to commemorate Peter's birthday month and the one year since his passing. Michael Nesmith remembered Peter in a special video that was screened at the event and published on the Videoranch YouTube channel:
An official tribute video was also produced for the convention, featuring appearances by Micky Dolenz, Bobby Hart, Valerie Kairys Venet, Wayne Avers, John Billings, Sandy Gennaro, Fred Velez, Ed Reilly, Rich Dart, and many more:
No! I don't think we belong in the R&R HOF. Never have --- and never will --- until the curators change their markers.
SF Sketchfest, a comedy festival currently underway in San Francisco, paid tribute to The Monkees yesterday afternoon as Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith participated in a Q & A session led by author Paul Myers:
After a flurry of albums with the First and Second National Bands in the early 1970s, Michael Nesmith began to broaden his artistic scope. In 1972, Nez formed Countryside Records, a subsidiary of Elektra Records, to produce and promote country and western artists including Red Rhodes, Tom Holbrook, Steve Fromholz, and Garland Frady. One of Michael's most noteworthy projects from this era included his collaboration with British musician and singer-songwriter Ian Matthews on the album Valley Hi. Matthews had previously been a member of the folk rock band Fairport Convention, and Nez acted as producer for his 1973 LP on Elektra.
Valley Hi is noteworthy for Matthews' version of "Seven Bridges Road," a song later made famous by The Eagles on their 1980 album Eagles Live. Rhino Records highlighted the track earlier this week in an article entitled "5 Things You May Not Have Known About Mike Nesmith" while celebrating Michael's recent birthday:
He produced, sang, and played on Ian Matthews’ version of "Seven Bridges Road." Written by Steve Young and arguably made most famous by the Eagles, Nesmith recorded Matthews’ version of the song in 1973 for Matthews’ VALLEY HI album, and if you listen to that version first and then listen to the Eagles’ version, what you will notice is that the tempo and arrangements are pretty much identical. Like, to the degree that Nesmith later said of that similarity, "Son of a gun if Don or somebody in Eagles didn’t lift [our] arrangement absolutely note for note for vocal harmony. If they can’t think it up themselves [and] they’ve got to steal it from somebody else, better they should steal it...from me, I guess."
Matthews also covered Nesmith's classic "Propinquity" on Valley Hi.
And now, this period of Michael Nesmith's career and his work with Ian Matthews has been examined in much greater depth by Peter Mills, author of The Monkees, Head, and the '60s, in his new blog Pete Sounds. Peter relayed to the Live Almanac that he had to leave an abundance of material for his book on the cutting room floor, but now fans can enjoy his research about this often overlooked period of Nesmith history. Click the image below to visit Peter's blog!
Thanks to Brian Marchese for alerting the Live Almanac about his latest podcast, featuring a unique interview with Michael Nesmith:
"Episode 23 of Where's That Sound Coming From? has been a long time coming, basically due to life getting a bit derailed. But I hope you'll agree that it was worth the wait. What we have here is not your average interview with Michael Nesmith. This is sort of grad-level Nez. Spirituality. Metaphysics. Creativity. Psychedelics. Turning away from the darkness of that era. Not a word about The Monkees. No MTV. No Country Rock Pioneer. No Liquid Paper. Have you noticed that most bios and interviews with Nez seem to gloss over The Prison (1974) and his life at the time? As a long time fan of Nez, The Prison for a long time was this mysterious work that I kept trying and failing to get into. Eventually I realized I wasn’t hearing the original work - I was hearing the touched up version Nez released in the 90s. A few years ago I finally heard the 1974 original, and it all came together. Plus, I sensed a psychedelic influence which turned out to be accurate. In this podcast, my long-winded intro is followed by Nez onstage in 1975 telling the plot of The Prison, and finally, the main course: my conversation, recorded in April 2019. Stuff gets very deep, very spiritual, puzzling, funny and always fascinating. Enjoy."
Live in 2021