Mike Nesmith Admitted This Monkees Bandmate Was the Group’s Unofficial Leader: ‘We Were His Sidemen’
Mike Nesmith, the lead guitarist, and songwriter for The Monkees, once admitted this bandmate was the group’s unofficial leader. He stated, “we were his sidemen” throughout the group’s record-breaking career. This milestone included four number one albums in a row in one year, a feat that has yet to be replicated on the Billboard charts.
Mike Nesmith joined The Monkees in 1966
Nesmith responded to the following ad in a showbiz trade paper.
“Madness. Auditions, folk and rock singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running parts for four insane boys ages 17-21,” it read.
“Want spirited Ben Frank’s types. Have courage to work. Must come down for the interview,” the ad concluded.
The youthful patrons that frequented the popular 24-hour West Hollywood restaurant inspired the producers of the Monkees TV show to request that type of person in the ad.
Cast first, Davy Jones was followed by 437 applicants who tried out for the show, wrote The Hollywood Reporter.
Peter Tork, Nesmith, and Micky Dolenz all made the cut. Nesmith was the only one who saw the ad placed in both Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Nesmith claimed one member of the band was the unofficial leader
In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Nesmith claimed one member of the band was its unofficial leader.
That member was Davy Jones. Nesmith was interviewed after Jones’ untimely death at the age of 66.
“For me, David was The Monkees. They were his band. We were his sidemen,” Nesmith shared.
“He was the focal point of the romance, the lovely boy, innocent and approachable. Micky was his Bob Hope. In those two – like Hope and Crosby – was the show’s heartbeat.
Nesmith said Davy had strong advice when it came to life as a Monkees member
In the same Rolling Stone interview, Nesmith recalled that during a particularly heated debate over creative control, Jones gave him some sage advice.
“David continually admonished me to calm down and do what I was told,” claimed Nesmith.
“From day one. His advice was to approach the show like a job, do my best, shut up, take the money, and go home. Micky said the same. I had no idea what they were talking about at the time or why. My punching a hole in the wall [in response to learning the band would have no input regarding music bearing their likeness] was the release of an angry reaction to a personal affront.”
“That this became a bone of contention seemed strange to me, and I think to some extent to each of us – sort of “what’s the big deal – why won’t you let us play the songs we are singing?” Nesmith explained.
“This confusion of course betrayed an ignorance of the powers that were and the struggle that was going on for control between the show’s producers in Hollywood and the New York-based publishing company owned by Screen Gems. The producers backed us, and David went along,” he concluded.