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Michael Nesmith is 'channeling Mike the Monkee' for reunion tour

November 08, 2012|By Randy Lewis
  • Surviving original members of the Monkees embark on a short reunion tour, starting Nov. 8 in Escondido.
Surviving original members of the Monkees embark on a short reunion tour,… (Michael Ochs Archives /…)

Members of the Monkees may be closing in on 70 years old, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still ready and willing to Monkee around.

Lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Michael Nesmith, who is joining Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork for a 12-city reunion tour, recently set Monkees fans abuzz when he wrote on his Facebook page that Jimmy Fallon was begging to sing “Daydream Believer” in place of Davy Jones on the upcoming tour, which opens tonight in Escondido.  (The Monkees also perform Friday in Santa Barbara and make a hometown stop in Los Angeles on Saturday at the Greek Theatre.)

Nesmith elicited more confusion, outrage and sympathetic approval with a subsequent post in which he teasingly wrote that fans were threatening to boycott the tour unless the group consented to let actor Kevin Spacey handle that task.

Nesmith’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion? Bono.

“I like Facebook because of that,” Nesmith told me during a recent interview for a feature that will appear in Saturday’s Calendar section. “You can get in there and fool around and create fictional events. It was fun.”

At the heart of the matter, however, is the very real issue of how the group’s three surviving original members will acknowledge the passing of Jones, and how to present his signature hit with the Monkees.

Without revealing the answer, Nesmith said, “We very early on had decided how we would handle David’s absence, especially ‘Daydream Believer.’ That was all settled before I started all my tomfoolery."

These shows will be Nesmith's first with the other Monkees since a short run in the U.K. in 1997, and his first full-fledged U.S. tour with the group since 1969. In preparation, he had to reconnect with his old role within the group as the smart/witty Monkee.

“I think I was just channeling Mike of the Monkees, reconnecting with his impish self,” he said. “These two personas -- Mike the Monkee and Michael Nesmith the singer-songwriter -- live in separate drawers in my closet. They’re completely different mind-sets. . . The Monkees was an important part of my life and holds an important place in my mind, but it’s off in the margins. It’s not the central focus of my life like it was for David, and for Micky and Peter, who have spent so many years doing it on the road."

As for his “Daydream Believer” pranks on Facebook, Nesmith said, “I started to see from the feedback of [fans] responding to the notion about who should sing ‘Daydream Believer’ where it fit into so many people’s lives.

"It’s so important that this close up in the right way.”

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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