The Monkees guitarist and songwriter Mike Nesmith always had a bit of imposter syndrome. He never felt quite like he fit in among castmates Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, or Davy Jones. However, he admitted that a lot of that persona was a shield. Nesmith reportedly felt like a “misfit” among his co-stars due to his southern roots.
‘The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith was born in Texas in 1942
Nesmith was born in Texas in 1942. Per Military.com, Nesmith remained in the Lone Star state after dropping out of high school in 1960 to join the Air Force. He did basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and aircraft mechanic training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.
Nesmith finished out his Air Force career stationed at Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base in Oklahoma. After an honorable discharge in 1962, he briefly attended San Antonio College. Nesmith then headed to Los Angeles where he began a career in the entertainment industry as a songwriter and entertainer.
He once said he felt like a ‘misfit’ among his co-stars due to his southern roots
Back in 1967, shortly after the release of HEADQUARTERS, The Monkees visited England and had this press conference. If you had the opportunity to ask them a question, what would you ask?— The Monkees (@TheMonkees) November 14, 2022
Photo by Mike McLaren pic.twitter.com/7SNcpX8fh7
Nesmith addressed his concerns in his autobiography titled Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff. He shared his confusion over how the casting for The Monkees television series would work. Each member was so distinctly different.
“I was not clear from the first meeting with Micky, Davy, and Peter how it was all going to work as a band. Peter I knew as a solo folksinger who sang Pete Seger-type folk protest songs and played the banjo. Davy I knew was the Broadway star of Oliver who could dance and belt a song from a stage. Micky, I knew as a tv star from his days in circus boy,” Nesmith penned.
“Being from the south and being drawn to blues and country music I felt like a misfit from the beginning. It seemed the differences were going to have to be managed somehow if we were going to be a band,” he continued.
Mike Nesmith later came to a stark realization about ‘The Monkees’ future
After some reflection, Nesmith came to stark realization about the future of The Monkees.
He questioned, “who would play what and who would sing? Who would write and who would produce the records was of keen interest to me. What would be my part and contribution?”
“I was unprepared for the idea that the four of us would have nothing to do wtih any of that. It seemed as odd as it was disappointing. I had seen the opportunity arise to make music in a band, but it appeared it was slowly slipping away.
“It occurred to me. Perhaps, we might be able to become a band of actors who played the part of musicians who were struggling make a living together as band,” he continued. “It was becoming clear I had not been hired to play music or to write it. That was OK with me, except at this moment of insight I didn’t know exactly what I had been hired to do.”
Nesmith would go on to produce two songs and sessions for The Monkees eponymous debut album. Only on his two tracks did one of his fellow Monkees members (Peter Tork) get to play an instrument (guitar). He also wrote two songs, “Papa Gene’s Blues” and “Sweet Young Thing.”