(C. Proxmire, April 16, 2013)
While he may not ever be able to divorce himself from his image as a Monkee, Michael Nesmith tries. Currently touring solo, the singer appeared at The Magic Bag on April 7, sharing folk songs with the Ferndale area folk who came to see him.
For those who don’t remember, the Monkees was a band put together for the purpose of a television show which grew to fame in the late 1960s and was a shared love with children who grew up in the 1980s watching re-runs with their parents.
General Jabbo of Cinema Sentries did his homework on the artist Jabbo writes of Nesmith’s return “His last Monkees shows had been the European leg of the 1997 tour for Justus, while his last solo tour came in 1992. Fans clamoring for a live appearance by “The Wool Hat,” had learned to temper their expectations.
Then, in late 2012, Nesmith decided to hit the concert trail again, beginning with some solo shows in England and later reuniting with the surviving Monkees (Davy Jones died last February) for a reunion tour.”
According to Jabbo, Nesmith played only one Monkees song, Papa Gene’s Blues. The rest were stories told in song. A fan brought the Monkee mobile – a large red car with the group’s logo on the side – to the show and parked it in front of the Magic Bag, surprising the musician and giving passers-by a chance to reminisce. Emily Murray, a Ferndale resident and owner of Modern Natural Baby, had attended a Monkees concert at Pine Knob in 1987. Though she wasn’t able to attend the Nesmith show, she did get a picture of the Monkee Mobile to share with Facebook and The Ferndale 115.
Nesmith later posted a note about his visit to Ferndale on his Facebook page:
“Fun in Ferndale.
‘The present owner of the Monkeemobile parked it in front of the theater much to the delight of the fans and the confusion of the residents.
‘The Monkeemobile is bizarre to say the least — not quite a work of art — but a cultural icon for a few. On the street it looks as if a cartoon has come to life. I hear the present owner paid 360 K for it. Wow! I suppose on some level it’s worth it.
‘But it’s not really a car. Sure it drives and honks and flashes it’s turn signals — but they are all sort of part of the mystique. Like the joke about the guy who was asked to help determine if the turn signals worked and repeatedly said OK they’re fine. Nope! Wait they’re off. Oh — They’re OK now. Nope. Off again. Etc.
‘The Monkeemobile provides a little twist of the screw into ordinary life via the Monkees TV show POV.
‘I was happy to see it there. I gave it a shout out from the stage but when someone shouted back that I should sign it I responded “we will always have Paris”. A Fitting non-sequitur IMO.
‘The show was sideways goofy as well — seconds after we walked onstage all our monitors failed — and we were flying blind for the most part. Chris had to play like he was in his living room. It turned out great — but it was spooky action — music magic.
‘I point out during the show that I think Chris may have the Red Rhodes mantle by now — Buddy Holly glasses and all. Chrs has appropriated the deft touch that was Red’s and made it his own and he adds so much to shows with his solos. All the band guys are stepping up with more and more astounding levels of contributions. I’ll tell you more as we start down the back side of the Tour Mountain. We are past the halfway point now.
‘I am having a wonderful time meeting and greeting all who were able to get passes and the pictures and the stories make me love all of you even more.
‘I am especially touched by the gifts for Dale. [his dog]
‘I told Dale about them and she said “Yeah, right”. She gets cynical when she is hanging with the wildlife but she will see the light when I bring home the bounty.
‘Pittsburgh tonight — day off and an unplugged rehearsal — show here tomorrow — then on the road again with fresh laundry and new food. Right now we have a basket full of Izzard bananas that we will toss — and refill and let spoil anew.
‘Eastward. Onward. Music. Life. Love. Laughter.”
For more on shows at the Magic Bag, check out their website at http://www.themagicbag.com/.