Tag Archives: nez

Michael Nesmith and The America Gene

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Michael just posted this on his Facebook page. It’s about his latest book, The America Gene –

Thanks for all the interest in and orders for The America Gene. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I decided to self-publish but the response has been great. I have been down at the studio signing away so we can get all the orders out. We are not quite caught up, but we are working hard every day and expect to be sometime next week. I’m spending all my days signing books and writing a new one. Life is good.

I’m not sure how to describe the new book I am writing. It is non-fiction and is a kind of cross between memoirs and a catalog raisonne. It has given me a chance to go back over many of the ideas I explored when I was doing some of my early work and brings me right up to the present.

Right after the Monkees TV show closed down I started the First National Band with John Ware, Red Rhodes, and John London. I got a deal from RCA and the first album we recorded was Magnetic South, the first of a trilogy that included Loose Salute and Nevada Fighter.

Fortunatley for me Chet Atkins and Harry Jenkins were running RCA at the time so they were happy for me to be doing this type of music. It was the first time I was able to record it since I had written it because it didn’t fit with any of the Monkees shows or LP’s.

One of the many albums I was listening to during the writing and recording of the trilogy was Sweet Moments by the Blue Velvet Band. It had a big effect on me because it gave me courage to go ahead. They were all about my age – sort of – and they were playing great traditional music that was just like the title of their album.

The BVB was Eric Weissberg, Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, and Richard Greene. There is almost nothing out there about them that I can find now. I did find a single vinyl copy of Sweet Moments on Amazon and bought it. I lost mine years ago, and anyway it was worn out.

There are some very good copies of the music posted on You Tube. Here is a link to the title cut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gos6VLcD–M

I don’t imagine this music is for many of the Monkees fans since it is very traditional and the band is full on acoustic except for the Pedal Steel. The steel player was – dare I say it – almost as good as Red, but Red had a surreal quality that put him in a farther orbit than most of his peers and made his playing deep and rich with unique harmonies and motion — that made Red sui generis.

Sweet Moments is the way a traditional bluegrass band plays and sings ballads and slow swing dances. I loved this record. It’s great morning music, all daylight and flowers and lilting light on a rippling water. Nice for these tough times – nice for any time.

Thanks again for the support of America Gene.

Michael Nesmith still amuses me

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So, I may have spoken of my incredible love for Michael Nesmith once or twice. Have you read my post about my first meet and greet with him? No? Here you go, I’ll wait. See, I wasn’t kidding.

Anyway, he’s been working on a live CD from his Fall 2013 Movies of the Mind Tour. They’ve been working on putting all the packages together. His son, Christian, just posted this picture on his Facebook page with the simple caption “The aftermath.”

Jessica, Christian and Michael Nesmith

This just makes me smile.

Michael Nesmith on the Return of the LP

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Michael Nesmith just posted this to his Facebook page.

I have been busy finishing up the collector’s edition CD’s of my Movies of the Mind concert live album. It’s been a long time since I have worked on releasing a CD. It seems odd. Weirdly old fashioned. Things have changed so much.

I think the three Editions are coming along well and they look nice. They are signed and numbered like an artist’s run of prints, beautifully packaged with collector’s goodies and they are priced like first editions are – which is to say expensive — but there are only a few hundred of each.

The landscape of recorded music is such unusual territory these days it is hard to know what to do. For instance part of the Super Deluxe Edition – sold out, thank you for that – has a vinyl LP in the set.

I put it there because of the advice I was getting from Andrew Sandoval, the producer of the Editions, as well as collectors and fans who said it would be a good addition.

It’s a puzzle to me.

I remember how happy I was when the CD came along and made the LP obsolete. No more pops and scratches – no more hiss – no more distorted highs and muddy lows. I was thrilled.

Then software started popping up to reintroduce all those things digitally and finally the LP itself knocked at my back door.

“Who’s there?” I wondered.  “You!!?? I thought you left.”

“No” said the LP, “I have been hanging out in the back yard with the compost pile until I saw the light from your computer inviting me back in. It really smells out there. I don’t belong with all that garbage. Can I come in?”

What could I say? I let him in. (The LP is male – figures)

So there is a 12” inch LP in the Super Deluxe Edition of 200. I put songs on the LP that I have been sketching for a while and some performances from the Spring Tour.

The “new” songs have been around for awhile. They are part of a section of my music garden I have been working on and are still fragile buds – tiny – I’m not even sure what species – maybe a fruit – maybe a vegetable – some kind of plant, in any case. They are pretty little things and have a good aroma and they are attractive.

The first song-bulbs are split and now repotted in the LP but still in the download section of Videoranch. The Videoranch files are digital of course – they don’t sound like the LP. Nothing does, actually.

As I say there are three collectors’ Editions and the Super Deluxe and Deluxe are sold out. There are around 200 of the Standard Edition still available.

I will bring those last 200 with me to the Monkees convention. They don’t have the vinyl LP but they are a lot cheaper than the other two.

I worry, too, about bringing my solo merch to the Convention. I figure Monkees fans want Monkees stuff and not my solo work. My Monkees fan friends assure me this is not the case so I am bringing Nez stuff — but I have real trepidations about it.

Those same trepidations apply to my solo show and the Q&A Session that are set up for the Convention. I’ll do the Movies of the Mind show like I wrote it but I decided at the last minute to throw in an extra Monkees song.

The Q&A session was a bit of a problem to solve. I didn’t know quite what the Convention hosts wanted but they gave me pretty much free reign to set it up however I wanted so I took it.

I thought a long time and finally decided to invite Rachel Rosenfelt Publisher and Editor of The New Inquiry magazine to ask the questions. She is bringing another editor from TNI with her; Rob Horning. I gave Rachel and Rob the permission to ask me anything.

The three of us will be talking about all things Monkees from what I hope is a high and interesting perspective. Both Rachel and Rob are wicked smart, both are young – Rachel is 28 and just recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the brightest and best “30 under-30’s in the U.S.” – both are deep thinkers and avid Monkees fans. I think it will be a good session.

I hope they don’t ask me about LP’s though. I am clueless as to the appeal. If they do maybe I will just bust into a crazy non-sequitur song like “Shrimp Boats are A’Comin”. That makes as much sense to me as a vinyl LP.

Still, overall I am happy to be working hard on this Editions release and the Convention. I am getting more and more excited to be going – the LP mystery notwithstanding. See you there.

Nesmith Mind Movies

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Michael Nesmith posted this on his Facebook page just a bit ago.

His caption? “Coming soon to a mind near you. Fall 2013. Rated Infinite”.

This is an excellent way to describe one of his shows – he talks about the story that goes with the song as if it were a movie.

 

Michael Nesmith – Notes from the road

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Michael just posted this on his Facebook page –

Notes from the road — summer 2013 Monkees tour

Austin

A friend of mine out here told me a story I found interesting so I thought I would pass it on.

A famous composer and wife — along in years — recently applied for life insurance for him. They expected it would be expensive given his age.

The agent asked what he was doing these days and the composer shyly dodged the question, but she spoke up and said they were traveling quite a bit. They were going from city to city by invitation to attend performances of his works and accolades from his fans.

The agent hardly skipped a beat and said “Oh, then we can add ten years to his life expectancy. We call it the “applause” factor”.

It made sense to me. Applause is appreciation and appreciation is increase.  I think it is one of the reasons gratitude is such a powerful and happy state of mind.

I’ve certainly been getting my share on this tour. The crowds have been fantastic — singing along and shouting and clapping. They seem to be having the best time. I see huge smiles everywhere we are playing — young and old. I’m trying to give back as much as I get but its hard. I don’t think I have ever been on the receiving end of so much joy. Appreciation, indeed.

It makes me very happy, too — and it makes me feel good — physically feel good. Sometimes I find myself spontaneously laughing with delight in the middle of a song. I look out at the crowds and they are beautiful. I tell them so — but the comment pales in comparison to what they give to us.

It is a nice touch.

We are in Austin starting the Texas leg of the tour. Lots of friends here and lots to look forward too.

Austin is also the “hump” for us — the point in the tour when there are fewer dates before you than there are behind you — the halfway point.

We will celebrate with Aaron Franklin’s barbecue and a friendly hang at the Hotel tomorrow — a traditional “over the hump” road party. Just the band and crew and a few friends.

Another nice touch.

Mike Nesmith is Home Again

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This is Mike’s Facebook post from earlier today.

Home again Home again.

Beautiful weather lovely lawns fragrant flowers — the pastures of heaven – or so Steinbeck had it.

A slow dawn walk reveals the perfect food.

A sugar cookie.

I gave Dale four this morning.

I can hear the rustling of the anti-sugar faction and the anti-gluten faction and the anti-butter faction – I have also seen recipes that include cream of tartar and a little vanilla and some almond flavoring – and I suppose there is a faction somewhere for or against each of those.

I appreciate everyone’s concern but ever since Joanne did not win the Pulitzer I have started to treat most of these concerns as a matter of opinion and look elsewhere for Principle.

My opinion is that the sugar cookie is one of nature’s perfect foods. Better even than an avocado which is clearly one of nature’s greats. Or the tomato – now redeemed from its long dark night as a toxin.

There are some among us who taste soap for cilantro and some who cannot eat meat or nuts or shellfish. I feel their pain. There are probably some things I cannot eat — I have not found them – but I can imagine it would be a drag to perceive something good as forbidden.

I am – to my everlasting joy — an omnivore which gives me a huge advantage on the road. Just the variations from burger to burger are minute but non-trivial.

The only barrier I have to food is the process of eating. Turning it from a wonderful thing to see and smell into a wonderful thing to taste and feel.

Food ergonomics are an enormous problem for me– especially on the road.

Paul and I went to the Carnegie in NYC and the two toothpicks in his sliced sandwich were almost twelve inches long. He had bratwurst – or maybe it was liverwurst – that came in a tower on the plate that was so high it wiggled when the server set it down. Hence the foot long tooth picks. It was hard to get on the table in one piece and impossible to eat by hand. The Earl of Sandwich would have been seriously honked off.

Paul tried to eat it with a fork.

I looked up from my Rueben a couple of times to see how he was doing – and he was muddling through with the help of tools – but the Rueben had me in a food ergonomics head lock so confusing that I couldn’t pay too much attention to Paul’s sandwich battle.

The Rueben was a messy mass of edibles that looked like a lake on my plate. The melted cheese had bonded all the ingredients in a clump and any rye bread was lost underneath a mountain of pastrami, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing — or in this case Billion Island dressing. (I ordered a Pastrami Rueben just for a little variation.)

I had to use a knife and fork and spoon and both hands and twelve napkins – more to defend myself than to beat the Rueben into submission. Finally the Rueben won. I only ate about a third of it – which is to say about four pounds. It cost 30 dollars.

Back here in my sylvan glen I gaze out upon nature’s order with refreshed eyes and a new appreciation for the simple and profound. As far as I know there are no car chases going on or sirens or lockdowns, threats or panic in these quiet woods — the awful stuff of opinion and struggle.

It is simple here.

Birds sing songs. Stinks eats Toots food she leaves in the bowl. Toots eats the sugar cookies I buy at the Safeway.

There is truth in nature. It is simple and ever present. It calms me. She provides things I can eat with one hand and one or two bites. She gives me ingredients and gentle persuasions about how to combine them. A little of this and a little of that — then taste it – eat it or don’t. It is always up to me and it is always a gift from the natural order.

Like sugar cookies.

I truly loved being on the road and meeting people and playing for them. I loved the people I was on the road with — Sam and Brock and Jessica and Tori and Boh and Paul and Joe and Chris and Cowboy — all traveling together in our merry caravan exploring the countryside and its friendly folks.

And now I am glad to be home. The place I live.

Michael Nesmith is the Awesome

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So, the hubster and I had tickets to the Michael Nesmith show that was at the Birchmere last night.

He was in top form, performing loads of solo stuff that spanned his 50 year career. He started the show by explaining that all his songs are like mini movies in his head. Before each one, he’d explain the vignette to us. So cool – it totally puts you in the right frame of mind for the song. One of my favorite songs from the setlist is Silver Moon. When I knew he was coming up to that point, I shot video of the explanation. (I absolutely adore his speaking voice. He could read a dictionary to me and I’d be spellbound.)

We also had passes to the Meet & Greet after the show. Strict rule – 1 Monkees item only, unlimited solo stuff. My husband was in line ahead of me. I shot video of his time with Nez. The beginning of it amuses me – his handler, Tori, asked why I was so serious, I whispered my response – “Because that’s Michael Freaking Nesmith.”

Notice that I didn’t drop the camera or squee like a fangirl when he smiled and waved at me…

When it was my turn, I had him sign the Monkees poster that I had in my room in the late 1980’s. Per my somewhat unusual request, he personalized it with “Listen to the Band”.

I explained that years of thought had gone into a tattoo decision and that I’d had an epiphany earlier in the day – the phrase / title “Listen to the Band” pretty much sums up everything in regards to music for me. Having that phrase written in his handwriting would allow me a very personalized tattoo that would really never go out of fashion.

**Updated 5/24/13 – here’s the tattoo a month later. I smile every time I see it. (The “Nez” was copied from our autographed Elephant Parts DVD.)**

The final wonderful moment of the night? I hate having my picture taken. At my brother in law’s wedding a few of years ago, my husband got a shot of me that has become my favorite. It’s been my FB profile pic for 4 years.

I pulled out my phone, showed Michael the picture and asked if he minded if I stood like that in the picture with him. I then said he could stand with his back to the camera as well. Guess what? HE TOTALLY PLAYED ALONG. He was even concerned that he wasn’t positioned like me.

How AWESOME is he? This is now my FB cover picture and I’ve cropped myself a new Profile shot.

He is absolutely gracious and kind. If you get a chance to meet him, please do. Make sure you treat him as personably as he treated us.