“Hey Hey I’m A Monkee”


It appears that Mike Nesmith, formerly of the Monkees, made a more significant impact on our culture than anyone imagined. It’s said that he invented the music video format and country-rock, two massive contributions to our video and audiophile obsessed society. He was a fellow Texan, so he gets a 10 in my book for that alone. Mickey Dolenz, the remaining Monkee, will most likely hang it up and enjoy the renewed interest in his former band and maybe make a few bucks. God Bless ole’ Mike Nesmith, and may he keep playing music in his heavenly venue.

I was a fan of the show; how could a teenager in 1966 not be? Rock music, comedy, and a groundbreaking video music format were the perfect show for that time. I played in a rock band, so I felt the show was made for us musicians. The public had no idea that the boys didn’t play their music. Super Beatle amplifiers, Gretsch guitars, and drums, a Vox Continental organ, top-of-the-line gear, and these guys were as famous as the Fabs or any of the English bands.

I don’t recall when I discovered the band was not a real band, but only four funny guys. It wasn’t a devastating blow, but it pissed me off that the television producers had put one over on young people. Don Kirshner likely leaked the truth when he was fired from the show as a music producer. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote the tunes, and the famous Wrecking Crew provided great music. We were duped, but it was a good duping.

My younger sister was a huge fan, so she and I attended a Monkees live show in 1967. They were playing their own instruments and were rumored to be quite good by then. The show was at Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas, the best venue for a large crowd but terrible acoustics for music. The crowd was teenage or younger boys and girls, their mothers, and guys like me bringing a sibling too young to drive.

The warm-up act, a local band, Kenny And the Kasuals, put on a solid show. The promoters and the Monkees were likely afraid of being outplayed. As it turns out, they were, but the crowd was there to see the Monkees, not a local act, so it went unnoticed.

When the Monkees took the stage, the screaming began. I could hardly hear their first two songs. Mike Nesmith was playing a 12 string Gretsch guitar and couldn’t keep the beast in tune, so like any good musician, he proceeded to tune up for ten minutes. All music stopped. The crowd grew restless, and folks started to leave. No music and three Monkees standing around smiling and waving at the attendees did not make a good show. He got his instrument tuned, and the music proceeded, but the excitement in the room was gone. The band did an encore, performing “Last Train To Clarksville,” and the show ended. It wasn’t the Beatles, but my sister saw the Monkees live, so it was a good night.

4 Replies to ““Hey Hey I’m A Monkee””

  1. Mike Nesmith was my first…well “rock” hero. I was in the second generation of fans in the mid-seventies to catch the re-runs…I was 7 and thought they were still together. They made it look like being in a band was fun…it stayed with me and I credit them for getting on that path.

    I think Nesmith would have made it without the Monkees…super talented guy.

    I have a Danelectro electric 12 string…I would rather be horse whipped than tune the damn thing at times.

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    1. It was a year before any of us found out they werer’t allowed to play. All but Dolenz could play an instrument and Nesmith was already a talented musician. I can see the tv producers point, spending big money on a series, you want the best studio guys to do the music so the thing is a hit. It’s better that the Wrecking Crew did play on the albums or I’m afraid they would not have sold well. When I took my sis to see them live in 67, they sounded pretty good, from what I could hear over the screaming young fans. I have all of their albums that my sister donated to my collection. Gonna spin them this week.

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  2. Sent from my iPhone

    The Monkees came to the Three Thieves after this show in ‘67. All but Nesmith. He went to see his mother. Davy Kones was too young to drink, so he sipped on a coke. Peter Tork sat on stage and played thru Kohn Talley’s amp and his guitar. Somehow during their time plAying with our equipment they managed to do a couple of hundred bucks worth of damage to our stuff. Mostly John’s amp I think. Jan and Dean were traveling with them. One of them had suffered a brain injury from a car accident. I can’t recall which one, but he was rather slow.
    Just one of the many groups who stopped in after their concerts.

    
    Phil Strawn posted: ” It appears that Mike Nesmith, formerly of the Monkees, made a more significant impact on our culture than anyone imagined. It’s said that he invented the music video format and country-rock, two massive contributions to our video and audiophile obses”

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    1. Now that is cool stuff. I wonder why Jan and Dean were with them? I think the one with the injury was Jan. How in the world can a guy trash someones amp like that and just leave. I have been to the Three Thieves many times back in those years. Thanks for chiming in..

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