In his latest piece for Rolling Stone, senior writer Andy Greene goes behind the scenes of the Monkees Farewell Tour and reveals his last interactions with Michael Nesmith:
*** UPDATE 1/10/2022 ***
Hello readers of the Monkees Live Almanac,
I understand the passion that surrounds a variety of topics discussed in Mr. Greene's article linked above, and the public comments left on this blog post to date reflect those passions. However, it is my desire to keep this forum from becoming overly personal in comments made about one person or the next. As a result, I deleted several comments.
Thank you for your consideration and understanding.
The Monkees Live Almanac is very sad to report the death of Michael Nesmith. Nez passed away this morning. He was 78. A statement from the Nesmith family has been posted on Michael's website, Videoranch:
"With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes. We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us."
Please join the Live Almanac in keeping Michael, his family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you, Nez, for everything.
In an intriguing conversation with Andy Greene from Rolling Stone published today on the magazine's website, Andrew Sandoval discusses his upcoming book, The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story, how is understanding of the group, particularly their struggles with Don Kirshner, changed after extensive new research, the likelihood that Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's fall tour could act as a "farewell," and more:
For years, Micky Dolenz has spoken about his admiration for Michael Nesmith, including his song catalog stretching from the Monkees era all the way through Nez's varied solo output. And their well-known camaraderie was on full display during the recent "Mike & Micky Show" tours. "Way back in the day when we were in the recording studio, Nez and I fell into this wonderful harmonic vocal blend I called 'The Everly Monkees,' as exemplified by the beautiful song 'Me & Magdalena,'" Micky wrote in the liner notes of the The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show. "On the set of The Monkees TV show, we would fall into some ad-lib riff and totally crack each other up. We often joked about one day having 'The Mike & Micky Show'!"
Those 2018-2019 dates were a critical and commercial success, performing to audiences in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Although Micky and Michael's most recently scheduled tour has twice been postponed due to COVID-19, Rolling Stone delivered some welcome news today that Micky Dolenz will record an album covering the works of his longtime friend and musical partner Michael Nesmith. "I've always been a huge fan of his songs,” Micky told Rolling Stone. "He's just so prolific."
According to Rolling Stone, recording has not commenced for Dolenz Sings Nesmith and there's no firm track listing, but Christian Nesmith, Michael's oldest son, will be producing the project while Monkees manager and historian Andrew Sandoval will be handling A&R duties. 7a Records, the British-based label fronted by Glenn Gretlund and well-known to fans for its Monkees-related releases over the last several years, will issue the album.
Read more from Rolling Stone: Dolenz Sings Nesmith will be packed with songs Nez wrote throughout his long career, including Monkees classics
UPDATE 11/23/2020: Micky is currently recording the album in Los Angeles, and 7a's Glenn Gretlund has informed the Live Almanac that a tentative release date is set for March 2021.
UPDATE 2/13/2021: Christian Nesmith posted the following on his Facebook page regarding the latest update about Dolenz Sings Nesmith:
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith's upcoming summer tour has received a high recommendation in the April 2020 issue of Rolling Stone in a section titled "Rolling Stone Recommends," featuring their top pop culture picks, including films, music, podcasts, and documentaries:
Micky and Michael'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 coronavirus.
"To create their 50th-anniversary LP Good Times!, the Monkees turned creative control over to lifelong fans of the group, like producer Adam Schlesinger and songwriters like Rivers Cuomo, Paul Weller, and Noel Gallagher. The result is, improbably enough, the greatest album of the 2010s by a Sixties band, highlighted by the achingly gorgeous love ballad 'Me & Magdalena,' by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. The voices of Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz blend together as perfectly as they did in the Sixties. And now with decades of wisdom and tough loss underneath their glossy exterior (beloved members Peter Tork and Davy Jones are no longer with us), they somehow mean more than ever." —Andy Greene
UPDATE 12/24/2019: Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield placed "Me & Magdalena" on his personal "Best Songs of the 2010s" list:
"The Monkees had a beautiful resurgence with Good Times — their first record written and produced by actual Monkees fans, which must be why it was their best since the Sixties. 'Me and Magdalena' is a country-roads ballad, written for them by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard: Mike Nesmith flexes his weathered Texas twang, in Magnetic South mode, while Micky Dolenz hits the high harmonies. They sound like they’ve waited years for this moment — and they’re not the only ones."
Earlier this afternoon, Rolling Stone magazine's website published an interview with Michael Nesmith conducted by Andy Greene. In it, Nez speaks openly about a wide array of topics and people, including the post-Monkees days with Red Rhodes, his relationships with Peter Tork and Davy Jones, touring with Micky Dolenz in early 2020, the scope of The Monkees' legacy today, the recently issued Cosmic Partners live album from 7a Records, and much more:
UPDATE: Rolling Stone followed-up their interview with Nez by putting the spotlight on the opening track of his 1972 album, And the Hits Just Keep on Comin':
"It Was Fifty Years Ago Today," a tribute to The Beatles' White Album and co-starring Micky Dolenz, Christopher Cross, and Todd Rundgren, will be on tour this September and October. Tickets in most markets go on sale Friday, June 7! Rolling Stone covered the announcement of the tour:
September 21: Golden Nugget / Atlantic City, New Jersey
September 24: Ruth Eckerd Hall / Clearwater, Florida
September 25: Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center / Fort Lauderdale, Florida
September 26: MSU Riley Center / Meridian, Mississippi
September 28: Akron Civic Theatre / Akron, Ohio
September 29: Norton Center/ Danville, Kentucky
October 1: Arcada Theatre / St. Charles, Illinois
October 2: Pabst Theater / Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 3: Muriel Kauffman Theatre / Kansas City, Missouri
October 5: The Cabot / Beverly, Massachusetts
October 6: Capitol Center for the Arts / Concord, New Hampshire
October 7: Collins Center for the Arts / Orono, Maine
October 8: Ridgefield Playhouse / Ridgefield, Connecticut
October 10: St. George Theatre / Staten Island, New York
October 11: Berklee PAC / Boston, Massachusetts
October 12: NYCB Theatre at Westbury / Westbury, New York
October 13: Mayo PAC / Morristown, New Jersey
October 15: Keswick Theatre / Glenside, Pennsylvania
October 17: Count Basie Center for the Arts / Red Bank, New Jersey
October 18: Garde Arts Center / New London, Connecticut
October 19: Wind Creek Event Center / Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
October 20: Warner Theatre / Washington, D.C.
UPDATE: A second leg of the tour has been added!
November 30: Palace Theatre / Greensburg, Pennsylvania
December 1: Aronoff Center / Cincinnati, Ohio
December 2: Arcada Theatre / St. Charles, Illinois
December 4: Verizon Wireless Theatre / Grand Prairie, Texas
December 5: Paramount Theatre / Denver, Colorado
December 6: Celebrity Theatre / Phoenix, Arizona
December 7: Westgate Las Vegas Casino & Resort / Las Vegas, Nevada
December 8: Magnolia Performing Arts Center / El Cajon, California
December 11: The Wiltern / Los Angeles, California
December 15: Jackson Rancheria / Jackson, California
The latest episode of our Rolling Stone Music Now podcast celebrates the life and music of Peter Tork, with previously unheard interview audio and more. Andy Greene and Rob Sheffield join host Brian Hiatt to discuss Tork’s place in music history, while also tracing the Monkees’ broader story and making a case for their greatness.
Flashback: The Monkees’ Peter Tork Sings a Gleeful ‘Your Auntie Grizelda’ in 2015 by Angie Martoccio
"The Christmas Song," the classic holiday standard performed by Michael Nesmith on The Monkees' new album Christmas Party, debuted in music video form today on RollingStone.com. Produced, directed, and animated by Jonathan Nesmith and Susan Holloway, the clip features newly recorded dialogue by both Michael and Micky Dolenz.
A new Rolling Stone article examining this season's holiday albums finds The Monkees' Christmas Party clocking in at #8:
Video for "Unwrap You At Christmas" debuts (UPDATED with vinyl release date for "Christmas Party" album and more)
The holiday season continues to deliver for Monkees fans as the brand new lyric video for "Unwrap You At Christmas," the debut single from the group's first-ever holiday album, Christmas Party, has premiered on the official Monkees YouTube channel, and in a brand new single mix to boot! Join the Watch Party in real time now (on the right side of the video).
UPDATE: The chat revealed that the vinyl release for Christmas Party is currently slated for September 2019.
UPDATE #2: Rolling Stone - Watch the Monkees’ New Cartoon Video ‘Unwrap You at Christmas’
UPDATE #3: "Unwrap You At Christmas" (Single Mix) now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and YouTube
(Video credits: Art by Michael Allred / Colors by Laura Allred / Directed by John Hughes)
Micky Dolenz speaks to Rolling Stone about "Christmas Party," Michael Nesmith’s heart surgery, touring, and Peter Tork
Rolling Stone makes it official: The Monkees to release first holiday album, "Christmas Party," on October 12 (UPDATED X2)
Two years after the triumph of Good Times!, The Monkees are set to release Christmas Party, their first-ever collection of holiday music. The album, produced by Adam Schlesinger (who also oversaw Good Times!), will feature newly recorded versions of classic Christmas songs including "Silver Bells," "The Christmas Song," and "Wonderful Christmastime" along with brand new songs written for the group by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo ("What Would Santa Do"), Andy Partridge of XTC ("Unwrap You At Christmas"), R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 ("Christmas Party"), and Schlesinger with novelist Michael Chabon ("House of Broken Gingerbread"). Covers of Wizzard's yuletide classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Big Star's "Jesus Christ" will also be heard on the album.
Christmas Party includes new vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, plus the late Davy Jones’ voice - taken from vintage recordings - also appears on two songs. It will be available for purchase on compact disc and as a digital download on October 12. A vinyl edition is in the works but will not be issued until early 2019. The first single, set for an October release, will be Andy Partridge's "Unwrap You At Christmas," and a lyric video will be produced to promote the track.
Along with producer Schlesinger, Cuomo and Partridge are returning to the Monkees fold as they were the songwriters responsible for the two lead singles from Good Times!, "She Makes Me Laugh" and "You Bring the Summer." Two of Michael Nesmith's sons also acted as co-producers (Christian on "The Christmas Song" and Jonathan on "Snowfall").
Davy's tracks on Christmas Party were originally recorded in 1991 with former Monkees producer Chip Douglas. Schlesinger worked with the master tapes as given to him by Douglas, creating new instrumentation around Davy's vocals.
Target will carry an exclusive bonus tracks edition of Christmas Party on October 19 (a week after the release of the standard edition), featuring two additional songs:
1) "Ríu Chíu" (group version as heard on the 1967 "Christmas Show" episode with improved audio from its previous CD appearance on the 2007 deluxe edition of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.)
2) "Christmas Is My Time Of Year" (the one-off 1976 Christmas single recorded by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork and produced by Chip Douglas - this will mark its first official appearance on a Monkees album)
Here is the official track listing of Christmas Party, and you can listen to the LP's executive producer John Hughes (of Rhino Records) and Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval breakdown each song on the latest episode of Zilch.
"Unwrap You At Christmas" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"What Would Santa Do" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Mele Kalikimaka" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"House Of Broken Gingerbread" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"The Christmas Song" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Christmas Party" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Jesus Christ" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Silver Bells" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"Wonderful Christmastime" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Snowfall" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Angels We Have Heard On High" (Lead vocal: Peter)
"Merry Christmas, Baby" (Lead vocal: Micky)
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for all the latest news and information surrounding Christmas Party and more!
Micky Dolenz Live
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart returns