Goodbye, Monkee


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I’m not saying that what Mike Nesmith contributed to the world wasn’t important. I’m just saying it wasn’t really important to me.

Sometimes, for a political cartoonist, you draw a cartoon to commemorate the life of a public figure that didn’t really have any impact on you, but you are recognizing the impact it had on others. I’m not even doing that here. The thing is, I had no interest in doing a Mike Nesmith cartoon. Sure, I care about people but I care about Mike Nesmith about as much as I care about anyone I don’t know. The music of Mike Nesmith never affected me. Hell, I appreciate The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” more than I can appreciate “Day Dream Believer” or “Last Train to Clarksville,” and Nesmith didn’t write either of those songs.

So, why did I do this cartoon if I don’t care about Mike Nesmith? I thought it was funny and it’s Sunday.

For the most part, The Monkees were not a band. They didn’t write their songs and they didn’t play on their own albums. They were pre-Milli Vanilli. They did not contribute to “their” music until their very last album. I know Mike Nesmith was a songwriter and he had hits after The Monkees, but if you’re my age, you can’t name any of them. Ringo probably wrote more hits.

I have seen a lot of Monkee cartoons this weekend but unlike this one, they were nice.

I saw one friend post on social media that Mike Nesmith was a huge part of his childhood which puzzles me since we’re the same age. The Monkees were in reruns by the time I was old enough to notice anything that wasn’t cake or balloons. The Monkees being a huge part of someone’s childhood who is in their 50s today, would be like growing up with Green Acres and Gilligan’s Island. Sure, I paid attention to that stuff along with the Partridge Family and the Brady Bunch, but I wasn’t hit hard when Gilligan died. Maybe more so with Mary Ann.

So if anyone my age says Mike Nesmith was a huge part of their childhood, they’re probably his kids.

But it’s possible my friend grew up with The Monkees because I grew up with The Beatles, but I didn’t start paying any attention to them until John Lennon was murdered. It was a few months later when a friend introduced me to their music…and I’m still listening to it. But if you grew up listening to The Monkees, there’s something wrong with you.

Listening to The Monkees over the Beatles would be like reading Cracked Magazine instead of Mad.
It would be like watching Deep Impact over Armageddon.
It would be like rocking out to Dokken over Van Halen.
It would be like drinking Pepsi over Coke. Or, just let your Coke go flat and drink that.
It would be like going to Long John Silvers instead of Captain D’s.
It would be like going to Atlantic City instead of going to Las Vegas.
It would be like eating a duck on Thanksgiving instead of a turkey. Who wants leftover duck sandwiches?
It would be like going on a beach vacation in Florida instead of a beach vacation in Hawaii.
It would be like casting Ben Affleck over Matt Damon.
It would be like watching a Kevin Smith film instead of one by Steve Speilberg. Kevin Smith has NEVER made a good movie.
It would be like watching Twilight instead of Interview With A Vampire.
It would be like using ketchup instead of mustard. Fight me.
It would be like eating North Carolina BBQ instead of Memphis or even the BBQ at Arby’s.
It would be like eating Cincinnati chili over any other kind of chili, including Wendy’s chili.
It would be like listening to Nickelback instead of Nirvana.
It would be like jamming to Candlebox instead of Pearl Jam.
It would be like listening to Avril Lavigne over Amy Winehouse.
It would be like playing a Squier over a Fender.
It would be like eating a Mounds over a peanut butter cup.
It would be like going to Burger King instead of Five Guys.
It would be like any chicken sandwich instead of Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwich. I saw Jesus after my first bite.
It would be like watching Futbol instead of hockey. I still don’t know what’s going on out there.
It would be like watching Lord of the Rings instead of Star Wars.
It would be like watching DC’s Justice League over the Marvel Avengers movies.
It would be like picking Aquaman over Wolverine.
It would be like watching Sex in the City over Die Hard.
It would be like watching Brad Pitt’s World War Z over Shaun of the Dead.

It would be like choosing Paul over John.

The Monkees were a fake band. Some fake bands are cool, like Gorillaz, Sex Bob-omb, the Clash at Demonhead, The Wonders, etc. What’s your favorite fake band?

Music note: I didn’t listen to The Monkees. I did listen to Colin Hay and Coheed and Cambria.

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Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 18 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

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15 comments

  1. Speaking of Interview with a Vampire, Anne Rice also died; much more creative than Mike Nesmith, altho I think she copied Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, whom I much preferred.

    As with President Kennedy’s assassination, I can remember clearly where and when I heard my first Beatles song. Can’t say the same ’bout the Monkees.

    Like

  2. You forgot to mention Mike’s mommy invented Whiteout. Once upon a time it was the most used product in some company offices. Made both of them millionaires.
    Actually, I kinda liked Mike, and Mickey too. They were actors, and they acted quite silly, not like John Wayne who took himself totally seriously. Of course, the Monkees did have sillier scripts than Wayne had. But still…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Haven’t had the pleasure, but maybe someday. I don’ t mind fake bands when they admit their “fakenicity.” But when they try to pass a band off as real when they aren’t, that bothers me.
        There was a girl group in the 50s, cannot remember the name anymore, but they had one hit. When they did not showup for the next recording session the producer grabbed three girls hanging around the studio, and had them sing for the record. That song became an even bigger hit, but it was not till years later the switch was admitted to. The “unknown” singer also recorded another hit under the name of the original group which was also a big hit, but I don’t think we ever found out who they were. Or if they got the royalties they deserved. The tricks that the recording industry used in those days were dirty. If there were other such instances we may never know.

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  3. Au contraire mon frère

    ‘ During an interview with Rolling Stone, Nesmith discussed how The Monkees became a band. “People think it was amazing that four guys hired for a TV show could actually form a band, but I don’t see it that way,” he said. “It’s not that amazing when you think of the tenor of the times. You put any four guys in a room in the 1960s and you had a band, all the way from the Grateful Dead to Buffalo Springfield.” ‘

    https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-monkees-mike-nesmith-reveals-why-wrote-1-biggest-songs.html/

    https://www.denofgeek.com/culture/the-best-mike-nesmith-monkees-songs/?amp

    Aside from his role as part of the prefab four Nesmeth had a great impact upon the entertainment industry and young people particularly in America but also around the world, as did/do many entertainers who quickly become controlled by corporate individuals.

    https://www.billboard.com/music/rock/mike-nesmith-songwriter-best-songs-1235008259/amp/

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    1. Yes, he did. Clay is overlooking the pioneering things Nez did. He was the catalyst for MTV. I mean the 1981 origins, not the 16 and Pregnant bullshit MTV. He was a talented songwriter and a music video visionary. He also was in on the joke that was The Monkees. The man had a great since of humor and a great vision. He was way more interesting than the other 3 guys combined. I feel as if Clay should’ve taken more time to look into who he was and what he did. Hopefully that has happened after he posted this misguided blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had copied Linda Ronstadt’s lyrics and later learned she had changed the word boy to girl. When I sent out the lyrics to others I told them I changed linda’s girl to boy…which it turns out is the original way Mike Nesmith had written it. I like all kinds of music and some of the Monkees songs were easy to like. But I like AC/DC, Adele, Def Lepard, ABBA, the Grassroots, some of Jackson 5, and John Denver …all over the music pendulum. I enjoy Clay’s blog…but boy did I know he was in for it with the Nesmith piece. He’ll weather the storm and I look forward to his next blog…

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  4. Clay, I am huge music and Beatles’ fan, but one thing The Monkees had going for them was some pretty good song writers, Neil Diamond, for one. Yes, it was a contrived band, but they did have some memorable tunes. The funniest story I heard is someone had the bright idea that a young guitarist should open for them on tour – his name was Jimi Hendrix, maybe the world’s finest guitarist. It did not last long. Keith

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  5. Clay, I think this cartoon was rather mean-spirited. And your explanation doesn’t really make it better. Okay so Mike Nesmith wasn’t important to you, but he was important to a great many people whose opinions are just as valid as yours, given that we’re dealing the the subjective issue of personal taste. Also, just someone listened to the Monkees doesn’t mean they didn’t listen to the Beatles.

    Moreover, they weren’t a fake group to the extent that you indicated. Both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork were accomplished musicians before they joined the Monkees. David Jones could play the drums, but the producers gave the drums to Mickey Dolnez, because they feared the diminutive Jones would disappear behind the drums. And Dolnez could play the guitar before the group formed.

    The Monkees always provided their own singing voices, so in that regard, they were also more of a real group than, say, Milil Vanilli or the Partridge Family.

    Finally, just become someone’s career and oeuvre wasn’t important to you personally, isn’t really a reason to dump on him. Al Unser wasn’t personally important to me. No race car driver is. But on the event of Mr. Unser’s death, I wouldn’t have prepared a cartoon suggesting that A.J. Foyt was a better driver than Mr. Unser. It would have been tacky.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good call! Dolenz was actually asked by Frank Zappa to join the Mothers, as a guitarist. Dolenz declined because of his Monkees contract. If anyone should know anything about Zappa, he was a talent scout like no other. There was no slouches in ANY version of his bands. Ever!

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  6. “But if you grew up listening to The Monkees, there’s something wrong with you.” If you have to negate The Monkees just because The Beatles existed, then there’s something wrong with YOU.

    Like

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