THE MINUS 5: Michael Nesmith

An epic ode to the Monkee Most Likely To Wear A Ski Cap. From the new forthcoming Minus 5 album, possibly called Forthcoming. Michael Nesmith plays World Cafe Live on April 15th.


BY JONATHAN VALANIA There are two kinds of people in this world: people who love The Monkees and sanctimonious assholes who fancy themselves the arbiters of authenticity. Whatever that is. Never trust anyone who tells you they don’t like the Monkees has always been my motto and it’s served me well. As just about everyone of a certain age knows, from 1967 to 1970 The Monkees were Hollywood’s answer to The Beatles circa Hard Days Night.  These fab four pop primates — Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork — were chosen more for their looks and personalities than their musical chops by show producers and put in front of TV cameras where they portrayed a band called The Monkees who lived together in a groovy pad, drove around town in their badass Monkeemobile, slapsticking their way from one campy California-in-the-high 60s adventure to another, always too busy singing to put anybody down. Faintly trippy hilarity ensued.

In between all the stoner hijinks they would have weird-beard friends like Frank Zappa and Tim Buckley over to the house to perform for a national television audience. On their first national tour they took Jimi Hendrix along as their opening act, simultaneously blowing the minds and ruining the panties of an entire generation of babysitters. All their early and most enduring songs were written by Brill Building pop adepts like Boyce & HartCarole King, Gerry Goffin and Neil Diamond and performed by The Wrecking Crew, which explains why those song still sound deathless.

Recently I got Peter Tork on the horn to advance his appearance at the Sellersville Theater on June 8th with Shoe Suede Blues with one of our award-winning, life-saving, game-changing, prayer-answering Phawker Q&As. Discussed: Dropping acid; jamming with Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison;  seeing The Who at Monterey Pop; why Stephen Stills was too ugly to be a Monkee; WTF they were thinking when they made Head, their psychedelic box office bomb; WTF Jack Nicholson was thinking whenhe  wrote Head; getting busted for three grams of hash in El Paso and doing Federal time; his last words to Davy Jones; and why Mike Nesmith is such a goddamn stick in the mud. Enjoy. MORE