Michael Nesmith loved watching Jimi Hendrix on the Monkees tour


Monkees star Michael Nesmith was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix from the moment he heard his music, although fans of his own band did not share his enthusiasm.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience joined pop-rock sensations for seven shows in the summer of 1967, marking one of the strangest double projects in rock history.

The Monkees’ teenybopper fans weren’t quite ready for the hustle and bustle of Hendrix’s psychedelic, grandiose hard rock. But Nesmith, who died yesterday at the age of 78, loved watching the trio in action.

The musician touched on the ill-fated tour in a recently recirculated 1986 interview with MTV’s Martha Quinn, which took place around the time of the Monkees’ 20th anniversary reunion.

“Once it was me, [Eric] Clapton, [Paul] McCartney and [George] Harrison sitting in a restaurant in England, ”Nesmith recalls. “It was in the 60s and everyone was psychedelic, we had funny glasses and weird shirts. And John [Lennon] came in, and he had a tape recorder. He said, ‘You must hear this.’

“He played me ‘Hey Joe’ by Jimi Hendrix, and everyone was just reverent,” Nesmith continued. “I mean, the guy did.”

Watch Michael Nesmith discuss Jimi Hendrix in a 1986 MTV interview

That night, Nesmith returned to his hotel to tell teammate Micky Dolenz about Hendrix, only to find that Dolenz had seen Hendrix play at a club that night and had hired him there to do the opening act. of the Monkees on their American tour. Suffice to say that the twinning did not last long.

“Well he got to Forest Hills [Tennis Stadium in New York City]Nesmith said to Quinn. “And then there was a sea of ​​waving pink arms saying, ‘We want the Monkees.’ And he finally returned the bird to everyone and muttered a curse and walked away. Bless his heart. “

The icy reception from Monkees fans didn’t stop Nesmith from admiring Hendrix. “I used to sneak up before the show and just go [watch them], he recalls.[It was] the first time I saw a Marshall stack. The first time I saw him was in North Carolina. It was the trio. These guys came out, their hair was about 9 feet in diameter, and everything was backlit, so it looked like they were on fire. And Jimi turns the guitar over and starts playing the opening lines of “Foxey Lady”.

“I had never heard anything like this in my life,” Nesmith added. “It got me on my knees, made me fall back a yard. So every night I would sneak up on stage and sit and hide with all these people screaming, ‘We want the Monkees! Listening to that elated music this guy was doing. Hendrix was something, I’ll tell you.

Dolenz shared similar memories of the admittedly “strange” confrontation in his autobiography, I am a believer. “Jimi would take the stage, turn on the amps and go into ‘Purple Haze’, and the kids in the audience instantly drowned him with, ‘We want to. Daaavy [Jones], “he wrote. Nonetheless, Dolenz told UCR that he and Nesmith” were absolutely fascinated by [Hendrix] and its performance. He was a great guy. “

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