Monkees fans will get at least one shot at a 50th anniversary performance by the group’s three surviving members, as guitarist, singer and songwriter Michael Nesmith has confirmed he will join band mates Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork at the act’s tour stop Friday in Monterey.
Nesmith recused himself from the full tour when it was announced earlier this year, saying he’s in the middle of writing a book. But he told followers of his Facebook page on Thursday, “I am ahead of schedule on my book ‘Infinite Tuesday’ … and they sent me a nice invitation to come play at the State Theatre with them — and so I am.”
The show will coincide closely with the 50th anniversary of the release of the Monkees’ debut single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” on Aug. 16, 1966. It was the first of the Monkees’ three No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and one of half a dozen Top 10 records.
“The Monkees” TV series debuted the following month on NBC and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. On the basis of the show’s popularity and its segments spotlighting different Monkees recordings each week, the group sold more records than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in 1967.
“I haven’t played in a while — hand’s a little stiff — but I can do a couple or three songs with them that I would really enjoy,” Nesmith wrote. “I changed the strings on my Gretsch this afternoon — tuned it up — gave it a polish.”
He referred to this appearance as “One time only for now — still have to deliver the book, but the delivery is getting closer faster than I thought.”
The book is subtitled “An Autobiographical Riff” and is due to be published April 18.
Nesmith concluded his post with a quote from his song “Papa Gene’s Blues,” from the Monkees’ debut album: “‘No heartaches felt, no longer lonely, Nights of waiting finally won me happiness, that’s all rolled up in you.’ See you there I hope.”
As was the case in 2012 when the trio toured together, the act assembled a show that incorporated footage from the TV series, allowing the presence of singer Davy Jones, who died earlier that year.
Rhino Records, the catalog specialty label that has released Monkees reissues over the last two decades, also issued the 50th anniversary album, “Good Times!,” which combined recently completed Monkees tracks from the vaults along with new songs written for the band by latter-day Monkees fans including Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard and the album’s producer, Fountains of Wayne bassist-songwriter Adam Schlesinger.
“The Monkees” complete TV series was reissued in July in a new 4K restoration limited edition Blu-ray box set through the group’s official web site.
The Monkees tour reaches Los Angeles for a Sept. 16 date at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
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