In 1994, James Lee Stanley's Beachwood Records released Peter Tork's first ever solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, featuring several notable guest musicians and friends including Stanley, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Laurence Juber (Paul McCartney & Wings), Mackenzie Phillips, and Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles).
And now, in 2020, 7a Records has announced its first-ever Tork-related project as it will reissue Stranger Things Have Happened on compact disc and vinyl this December. The CD version includes a whopping 9 bonus tracks and a 32-page color booklet with sleeve notes by Mark Kleiner, who hosts the Nesmith, Tork, Goffin & King podcast and has written numerous superlative liners for previous 7a releases. The vinyl, limited to just 600 copies, features 6 bonus tracks and will be pressed on 180 gram Neon Magenta Splatter vinyl. The album cover has also been updated from its original pressing.
Dolenz and Nesmith provided backing vocals on "Milkshake," and Nez can also be heard on "MGB-GT," which was initially performed by Micky, Peter, and Davy Jones during The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Davy was present at the recording session for "Milkshake" with his fellow Monkees, but never got around to putting his vocal on tape. James Lee Stanley recalled the comedic circumstances that caused Davy to leave the session during this interview (at 27:30).
Bonus tracks on 7a's compact disc reissue of Stranger Things Have Happened include Peter's 1981 single with his band The New Monks, "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"/"Higher and Higher."
7a Records is also currently producing another highly anticipated release, Dolenz Sings Nesmith, featuring Micky Dolenz covering the songbook of Michael Nesmith, produced by Christian Nesmith with Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval handling A&R duties.
Stranger Things Have Happened arrives December 4 in the United Kingdom and December 11 in the United States. UK fans can pre-order from Amazon while those in the US can pre-order the compact disc or vinyl from Deep Discount.
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for further updates!
UPDATE 10/13/2020: Read another preview of this latest 7a release courtesy of The Second Disc.
* The CD Track Listing *
Exhausted by the events of 2020? Fear not. Monkees fans have something to anticipate in the new year! Andrew Sandoval, Monkees archivist, author, and producer, has confirmed that an updated edition of his 2005 book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation, is set for publication in spring 2021. Long considered the ultimate source for the most complete story of The Monkees' television, theatrical, recording, live concert, and public appearance career, the book has not been simply updated, it has been thoroughly rewritten! Andrew spoke with the Live Almanac this week to provide insight into his latest project.
"In 2019, I decided to revise my book: The Monkees Day-By-Day Story. I began the process of working on the years from 1971-2019, filling in details and researching the eras I did not cover in the original book. I had hoped to make some corrections and updates in the original book text and move forward." But then Andrew revealed a tidbit that will be sure to pique the interest of Monkees fans worldwide, one that ultimately altered the vision of the project itself.
"My plans changed dramatically with the discovery of more than 2,000 pages of documents covering the years 1965-1970. When I approached integrating these into the original text, I realized the book would need to be completely rewritten. So much of what I understood in my original research about The Monkees' formation and struggle for musical independence was completely changed through my new discoveries."
Andrew continued to expound on just how different the revamped edition of his tome will be upon its release. "New recording information, shooting dates for the series, personal appearances, and literally hundreds of unpublished images will be included. A special emphasis is placed on the later years from 1969-1971. However, the biggest expansion of information is in the year 1967 (as well as the pre-Monkees years). I look forward to sharing more when I have definitive details."
Since the publication of Andrew's book fifteen years ago, Monkees fans have often expressed a desire to see an updated version that dives into the '70s all the way through the current day. Andrew explained why the initial era of the group remained his first priority. "I began rewriting the entire text from Peter's birth in 1942 through The Monkees' final contractual movements in 1971. What has developed is the most unique picture of their original incarnation. I had to make a choice timewise if I should be chasing celebrity tennis match dates of the 1970s or documenting how the Monkees became a group. I felt the latter was more important in the long run."
But rest assured, telling the complete story of The Monkees through the ensuing decades remains on the horizon. "I will tackle the later years in a separate volume sometime in the future," Andrew told the Live Almanac.
Andrew's first Monkees-related project came to fruition in 1990 when he acted as co-producer (along with Bill Inglot) for 1990's Missing Links Volume Two collection, which also featured liner notes penned by Sandoval. Since then, he has produced numerous Monkees releases for Rhino Records, including CD reissues, multiple box set treatments of Monkees music, and DVD and Blu-ray collections of the group's 1960s television series and feature film, Head. He is responsible for The Monkees' triumphant return to the concert stage in 2011 and went on to produce subsequent tours for the group throughout the last decade, as well as the "The Mike & Micky Show" that was a hit at venues in North America, Australia, and New Zealand in 2018 and 2019. Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz were set to return to the road in the spring of 2020, but COVID-19 altered those plans.
When speaking with the Live Almanac, Andrew also relayed details about the proposed layout of the book, his plan for publishing it, and more. "The book will be completely redesigned with all new photos and graphics. The original book's photos will mostly not be carried over. I am currently completing the text and it will go into print sometime in November. Printing will likely take three to four months, so the book will be available in early spring."
And this time around, readers will be able to purchase the finished product directly from Andrew, rather than at your local bookstore or online outlet. "The book will only be available directly from me via mail order. I do not know of the price yet because the book is still growing in size. There will be no digital version of the book. It will not be available through Amazon. I will be shipping internationally. The books will be deluxe hardbacks, numbered, and signed."
"I am aware that a lot of people enjoyed my original book and were able to find it used or at a reduced price," Andrew said. "I am not presently in a position to offer my work in this way, though I do know it limits my audience. The new book will be available for pre-order when I have a definitive page count, price, and delivery date."
While we all anxiously await Andrew's book, be sure to listen to his wonderful internet radio show, Come to the Sunshine, and check back with The Monkees Live Almanac for future updates!
Vote now for expanded deluxe vinyl edition of Monkees' debut album (UPDATED: The Monkees win the vote!)
Monkees fans have the opportunity to vote for the group's multi-platinum #1 debut album to be issued as an expanded deluxe edition double LP featuring previously unreleased songs and mixes, courtesy of Run Out Groove, a vinyl only label that, according to its website, "caters specifically to music fanatics, pressing limited edition titles made by music fans for music fans."
Run Out Groove provided more details about the proposed release, noting that Monkees producer and archivist Andrew Sandoval would be a part of the project:
[Mastering engineer] Kevin Grey and Andrew Sandoval would cut lacquers for the original album from the analog stereo tapes for the first time since original release in 1966!
Proposed Track Listing:
The Monkees won the vote for Run Out Groove's latest promotion, and just like that, an exclusive transparent yellow color vinyl has sold out!
But good news! Fans can still order the black vinyl edition, which features the same packaging and content, through November 9, 2020.
Read More: Dolenz Sings Nesmith will be packed with songs Nez wrote throughout his long career, including Monkees classics
Recording has yet to begin and they haven’t even picked out the exact songs yet, but the record will be produced by Nez’s son Christian Nesmith with Monkee manager/historian Andrew Sandoval tackling A&R duties. The British label 7a, which specializes in Monkee-related albums, is releasing it. “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Dolenz says, slipping into a Marlon Brando accent. “They’re a nice, little company that really do good work. They do their homework and do these real nice packages.”
Micky Dolenz speaks with Forbes.com about Frank Zappa, playing drums, missing Davy & Peter, and more
And listen to Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund from 7a Records as they discuss their latest project on the Zilch podcast. Click the image below to listen!
Have you heard the latest episodes of Mark Kleiner's podcast Nesmith Tork Goffin & King??? Mark's series on The Monkees' 1987 album Pool It!, as highlighted in a previous post on the Live Almanac's blog, continues below, along with much more!
Listen: Monkee Wash, Donkey Rinse
Mark is in conversation with New York Times writer John Leland about The Monkees in the 1980s, and Keith Allison recalls writing and recording "Auntie's Municipal Court" and explains why he's often uncredited. This episode also features a rare Peter Tork live performance of "Lady's Baby" from 1979, as well as a live rendition of "Right Now" as performed by Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart at the Cleveland Agora on June, 10, 1976. Finally, Mark talks to Matt Harris, who provided background vocals on Pool It!
In this episode, Mark continues his retrospective of Pool It! featuring exclusive interviews with producer Roger Béchirian and music supervisor Lou Maxfield, along with two integral musicians on the sessions, Mark Christian and Michael Egizi.
And, Rhino Records legend Bill Inglot offers insight into the podcast's ongoing inquiry of the "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" remix mystery. You can also hear a rare live "50s Medley" as performed by Davy Jones and Peter Tork during their 1986 Sounds of the Monkees Australian Tour.
Enjoy the third installment of NTGK's profile on Pool It! featuring never-before-revealed studio moments from producer Roger Béchirian, music supervisor Lou Natkin, session musicians Mark Christian and Michael Egizi, plus the world premiere of the demo for "The Weight of Love," an original Bobby Hart/Dick Eastman composition submitted for consideration for inclusion on the Pool It! album.
1980s Arista Records executive Roy Lott shares a behind-the-scenes perspective on the alleged second single from Then & Now ... The Best of the Monkees ("Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere") that threatens to rewrite the entire historical record, and culminates in a party at Quincy Jones' mansion for Whitney Houston.
On April 3 Rhino Records issued The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show, featuring performances from the duo's concerts recorded throughout March 2019, on compact disc and via streaming services. A 2-LP vinyl edition will be available on July 10. The Live Almanac highly recommends this very worthwhile document of a unique era in Monkees history, and a big thanks to longtime site contributor Ben Belmares for sharing the scans of the CD package seen below!
"The primary purpose of the SoCal Music Hall of Fame is to honor, promote and commemorate California's musical heritage. Micky Dolenz of The Monkees is more than worthy of this coveted recognition."
The former Monkeesmixography website, which classified every Monkees track by mix/master/remaster, and more, is being converted into a book by Craig Smith and Derek Miner. Mixing Links: The Monkees on Disc doesn't have a release date, but fans can now review another excerpt that was recently revealed on their website! Featured in this update is "Goin' Down," originally issued as the B-side to "Daydream Believer" in October 1967. And don't forget to follow Mixing Links on Facebook!
"Goin’ Down" started life as a jam following a take of "She Hangs Out" on June 21, 1967. Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork played electric guitar with a rhythm section of "Fast" Eddie Hoh on drums and producer Chip Douglas on bass. The original tracking was recorded to 4-track tape, though it is most likely the recording was transferred to 8-track for later overdubs. The brass parts were recorded September 15, 1967, both a 12-piece accompaniment (which may have been recorded to just one mono track!) plus saxophone and trumpet solos. It is unclear if the vocals were added before or after this instrumentation.
Thanks to John at Monkee45s.net for the images seen above!
Earlier this year, San Francisco's Sketchfest paid tribute to The Monkees by hosting Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, who took part in a panel discussion with author Paul Myers. First held in 2002, Sketchfest has grown into a nationally recognized comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites, and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up, and alternative comedy. Micky and Michael's conversation with Myers from January 12 at Marines' Memorial Theatre will be available to rent online later this month.
According to Sketchfest, proceeds will go toward "helping to keep our small business afloat, to the performers featured, and to select charities and fundraisers for fellow independent artists and venues in our comedy community."
Watch the trailer below, and a big thanks to Neil D. for alerting the Live Almanac about this opportunity to watch Micky & Nez!
Pandemic forces second postponement of Nesmith/Dolenz tour; summer shows are rescheduled for spring 2021 with additional dates expected
In late 2019, it was announced that Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz would return to the concert stage for a tour dubbed "An Evening With The Monkees," with dates scheduled to be played throughout April 2020. But when the coronavirus pandemic landed on the shores of North America, the April tour was postponed until summer 2020.
And now, with the pandemic continuing to uproot people's daily lives and much more, "An Evening With The Monkees" has once again been delayed, this time until the spring of 2021. But good news! Additional dates will be added to the tour in the coming weeks.
Below you can find the revised tour schedule along with links to purchase tickets. The Monkees Live Almanac hopes everyone stays safe and healthy!
March 18: Commodore Ballroom / Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
March 21: Moore Theatre / Seattle, Washington
March 23: The Crest Theatre / Sacramento, California
March 24: San Jose Civic / San Jose, California
March 26: Fox Performing Arts Center / Riverside, California
March 27: The Magnolia / El Cajon, California
March 28: Celebrity Theatre / Phoenix, Arizona
April 1: Tobin Center For The Performing Arts / San Antonio, Texas
April 2: Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater / Austin, Texas
April 3: Majestic Theatre / Dallas, Texas
April 12: Schermerhorn Symphony Center / Nashville, Tennessee
Here is the official announcement posted a couple of hours ago on The Monkees Tour Facebook page:
The following venues and cities, which were previously scheduled dates on the tour, are no longer listed as part of the current itinerary:
Verizon Theatre / Grand Prairie, Texas
Iron City / Birmingham, Alabama
(The Monkees Tour Facebook page says the following about Birmingham: "It is possible that show will be rescheduled in 2021; we are awaiting word from the venue of our new date.")
IP Casino Resort & Spa / Biloxi, Mississippi
(The Monkees Tour Facebook page says the following about Biloxi: "It is possible that show will be rescheduled in 2021; we are awaiting word from the venue of our new date.")
Golden Nugget Grand Event Center / Lake Charles, Louisiana
Peter Mills, author of The Monkees, Head, and the '60s, recently reviewed The Mike & Micky Show on his blog, Pete Sounds:
Adam Schlesinger, who produced The Monkees' 2016 album Good Times! along with the group's first-ever holiday collection Christmas Party (2018), passed away on April 1, 2020 at age 52 from complications of COVID-19.
"As many of you are aware, Adam had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and although he had been making some small improvements over the last few days, Adam's condition was critical and he was ultimately unable to recover from COVID-19 complications," read a statement on April 2 provided to CNN. "He was truly a prolific talent and even more so, a loving and devoted father, son and friend."
Adam was a member of the bands Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, along with the supergroup Tinted Windows, whose song "This Is The Day" was featured in There's Something About Mary. His notable achievements also included TV and film songwriting, which stretched from That Thing You Do to Music and Lyrics to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Fountains of Wayne was perhaps best known for the early 2000s hit single "Stacy's Mom," which was nominated for a Grammy. Schlesinger was also an Emmy-winning songwriter for the CW musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a show for which he composed more than 100 songs. He received an Oscar nomination for writing the title song to That Thing You Do, directed by Tom Hanks, as well as two Tony nominations for his work on the musical adaptation of John Waters' film Cry-Baby in 2008. In addition to his songwriting, Schlesinger produced recordings for such musical artists as They Might Be Giants, America, and Robert Plant.
Good Times!, The Monkees' first album of all new material since 1996's Justus, was produced by Schlesinger and included his own composition, "Our Own World," along with a song co-written with Micky Dolenz, a send-up of an oft-used phrase utilized by Dolenz over the years, "I Was There (And I'm Told I Had a Good Time)." The album peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 in June 2016.
Schlesinger appeared onstage with The Monkees in New York City during the group's 50th Anniversary Tour, performing "I Was There" and "Steppin' Stone."
Micky Dolenz remembered Adam in an interview with WCBS FM. "He was such a great guy, a gentleman, and funny, and so smart. And obviously an incredible producer, writer, performer. I wrote a song with him on Good Times! I just can't believe it. That's by far the closest person to me that's been affected [by COVID-19] and I think about him all the time. What a loss."
Schlesinger was effusive in his praise of Dolenz in a 2016 interview with Fast Company when talking about the recording sessions for Good Times! "Micky was a real workhorse, and I think he did more hours in the studio than all the other guys, in total, because he sang most of the songs. He was a real trooper, and his voice is incredible – in most cases, when you’re working with older singers, you’re having to transpose things lower, and in Micky’s case, we’re actually having to transpose things higher, because he’s got this incredible range."
Adam's collaboration with The Monkees on Good Times! was seemingly a high point in his career. "They were all incredibly easy and fun to work with," he told Fast Company. "Everybody has the attitude of 'let us know what we can do to help - here are some ideas, take them or leave them.' They're very collaborative."
The Monkees' official website paid tribute to Adam Schlesinger after the announcement of his death, while also highlighting his work on Good Times! "Even the most optimistic Monkees fan couldn’t have guessed just how wonderful an effort Schlesinger would help put together. It wasn't just a comeback album, it was an instant classic that was – without question – the best thing the band had released since the '60s."
Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab For Cutie, whose song "Me & Magdalena" proved to be a highlight from Good Times!, also commemorated Adam.
"I never got to meet Adam," Gibbard relayed during an at-home live stream concert after Schlesinger passed. "We had a lot of connective tissue - a lot of friends in common - but we never had a chance to meet. But I owe him a huge debt of gratitude because he was integral in picking 'Me & Magdalena' for The Monkees to record four years ago."
"I always thought as one does in life that you have plenty of time to say thank you, or I love you, or to give somebody a compliment or what have you, but that day obviously did not come," said Gibbard. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so grateful to him for helping me realize a lifelong dream, which was to write a song that would be recorded by The Monkees, a band I grew up listening to."
Adam Schlesinger returned to the producer's chair for The Monkees on Christmas Party in 2018. Schlesinger co-wrote one of the standout tracks on the holiday collection, "House of Broken Gingerbread," with novelist Michael Chabon.
Adam was survived by his two daughters, Sadie and Claire, his girlfriend Alexis Morley, his parents Barbara and Stephen Schlesinger, and his sister Lauren.
Listen to the latest podcasts from Rhino, NPR's Fresh Air, Zilch, Nesmith, Tork, Goffin & King, and Rolling Stone as they honor the life and accomplishments of Adam Schlesinger.
Michael Nesmith's Videoranch is now taking pre-orders for the upcoming 2-LP vinyl release of The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show, and as an added bonus Nez will personally sign your copy of the album!
Michael will also be chatting live with Jodi Ritzen on Sunday, May 17 at 8 pm ET. Tune in live on Jodi's Facebook page for this special event!
Live in 2021