oh nez

Michael Nesmith on SiriusXM
John Fugelsang and Frank Conniff
Michael Nesmith on SiriusXM

Here is audio of an interview that Nez gave on SiriusXM Radio on May 18th, covering a variety of topics from the Good Times! album, Monkees concerts back in the ‘60s, his new book, and more. Click above to listen! (With thanks to Todd Nemphos for recording the audio.)

Personal favorite quote:

Interviewer: “Did the other guys take offense, that you wanted to do this [”I Know What I Know”] in the studio on your own?”

Nez: “Oh, no, no. It was all very good-natured. They said, ‘Why don’t you want me in there?’ I said, ‘Because, Peter, you bother me.’” 

Thinking about that quote from Michael Nesmith that we posted yesterday…it’s so interesting how Nez always seems to focus more on his (perceived) failures and missteps than on his successes. This goes all the way back to the Monkees screen tests, when he’s asked what he did before coming to L.A. and doing music, and his answer is, “I was a failure.”

Nez seems to concentrate most on this side of himself–a side no doubt augmented by his perfectionist tendencies. He could’ve said “I almost contributed to the score of Easy Rider, but they decided to go in a different direction” and left it at that. But instead he underplays his abilities and places a strong (negative) emphasis on the idea that what he came up with was “terrible” and would’ve screwed up the entire movie. Nevermind that the compositions/things Nez tends to think are “bad” about his work tend to be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone else.

It is true, though, that we are all our own harshest critics…but Nez is hard on himself to the point of not believing that people actually wanted to see him perform (as evidenced by a conversation he had with Micky a few years ago, that Micky hilariously retold at the Monkees Convention in 2013–starts at the 4:53 mark):

It can’t be easy to hold yourself to such high standards, or to exist mentally in a space where memories of (again, perceived) failure from a young age create an insecurity that never fully goes away. Especially when said insecurity is telling you that you have to keep working, that nothing you’ve done is quite good enough or exactly right. His is a mind that never rests.

Michael Nesmith has been described as a “genius” and “visionary,” and while his numerous accomplishments do speak to that, at his core he is a man like any other. His music and role in the Monkees mean so much to so many of us, even though for him, they are small pieces of an ever-growing whole. Nez is a flawed human being searching for answers, just like the rest of us. 

HEAD Audio Commentary
Michael Nesmith
HEAD Audio Commentary

So, for those who don’t have the BBS “America Lost and Found” boxed set, HEAD is included in the set, complete with an audio commentary from all four Monkees. The commentary is, as might be expected, intermittently hilarious. One standout moment is this here, from Nez during the “As We Go Along” sequence. Nothing else can be said to describe this, so just click Play and enjoy the ridiculousness…

nezclaw replied to your link: Former Monkee Michael Nesmith explores it all in a…

i would call davy cute too, not because *i* find him particularly attractive, but because by many peoples standards he is. he appeals to the 60’s teenage girl demographic. mike on the other hand is very attractive.

he appeals to the 60s teenage girl demographic”

Which is exactly why Nez calling him cute is so hilarious/amazing, because Nez is neither a teenager nor a girl. Haha. It’s like when he’s talking and, out of nowhere, drops a swear word. It’s like finding a little turtle that’s slowly poking around suddenly wearing a tutu while sprinting down the highway at breakneck speed. Oh, Nez…