Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Difficult Monkee 

The other day in the mail I found a DVD from Jake Tison, who made a video documentary of the 2003 San Diego Comicon. He refers to it as a video sketchbook since it's not in-depth, but it does give a nice overview of what to expect from the show for someone who's never been. Jake was nice enough to send all of us who spoke on camera a copy, and I'm going to review it before the next show I attend. The filmmaker gave me an opportunity to tell what Interman is about, so I took it. Man is it painful to listen to my own spiel. I'm going to use this dvd like locker-room play footage to clean up my game and streamline that summary. With some work I should be able to improve that, but I don't know that there's anything I can do about my accent. In North Carolina people always asked why I didn't have one, but that's because we were all surrounded by thick barbecue-sauce dripping dialects, and comparitively I came off like a tv news anchor. But in the rest of the world I have a weird from-the-south-then-moved-around-the-west-coast thing going on when I speak. Then I realized who I sounded like.

If I had to sound like a Monkee, I would have certainly picked Mike Nesmith over Jones, Tork or Dolenz, so I won't complain. This got me onto thinking about Nesmith, the really talented one of the group arranged by Screen Gems. Mike could play guitar well and had cut a couple of records before the call went out to create a rock band for television. He was also the one who made the most trouble on the show, always pushing for more creative control, which put him in constant fights with music director Don Kirshner. You aged types might remember Don Kirshner's Rock Concert from the 70's, that Foghat-loving show that was the competition for The Midnight Special. Don was kind of this little lump in a chair introducing the bands, and even as a kid I knew that he probably shouldn't have been hosting his own show. Maybe I'll talk more about those shows later, I'm already two asides deep here. Kirshner may have launched Neil Diamond's career by using I'm A Believer, which also established first that all Diamond songs are better sung by other acts.

From what I can tell, the rest of the Monkees were just glad to have a big break and be celebrities, while Mike was concerned with being an artist. It's neat that his mother also became successful at around the same time he did. Bette Nesmith invented Liquid Paper, and until we all switched to these electronic marvels you're reading this blog on, that sold really well (3 asides deep now). I think Mike is the prototype for alt-rock kids, sporting the sideburns and wool cap that I see all over Portland still. He should have a lifetime supply of cred for producing Repo Man, too.
Writing about this makes me want to get a copy of Head, the pyschedelic movie the Monkees made at the end of their show to reinvent themselves. Jack Nicholson did a lot of the writing on it, and it's pretty bizarre from what I remember.
Favorite Monkees songs? Steppin' Stone and Your Auntie Grizelda.


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