His thoughts on the Beatles
Will he leave the Monkees
Why he hates Mod
It was evening on the Strip and I was waiting where Mike Nesmith said he would meet me. He was late and I was nervous. The kids were pressing the curfew and the fuzz were strutting around in their hard hats just waiting for the magic hour to pass. I wanted to get out of there; things were starting to look ugly. Just as the pushing, shoving, and chanting began, Mike roared up on a big black bike.
“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” he said.
“I’ll do anything to get away from all this bopping,” I answered as I hopped on in back of Mike.
We roared off, and I was on my way to the most unusual interview I had ever had. Mike’s been written to death in all the mags, and I wanted to get an unusual story for the fab gang at HULLABALOO. So Mike consented to be interviewed on a speeding motorcycle. This is how it went:
Q. Do you have to go so fast?
Q. No, just frightened.
A. Well, you can relax. I’ve never spilled one of these things yet.
Q. Tell me Mike, why are you hung up on bikes and speed?
A. I like to feel the wind smacking into me. It reminds me that I’m human.
Q. You mean you feel like an animal until you get on your bike?
A. Hell, no. Sometimes this Monkee business gets so out of hand that you feel you’re more like a product instead of a person. When I’m riding, it’s just me, this big ol’ machine, and Mama Nature puffin’ in my face. It’s the one thing I used to do before Monkeeing overcame me.
Q. Do you wish that you never were a Monkee, that you were still Mike Blessing, a slow strummer from Texas?
A. Do you think I’m crazy! I was starving then. Now life is great—money, fame, money, cars, money, travel, and more money.
Q. I take it then that it’s the money you dig most.
A. Look, success in this business is money. That’s how everybody measures you. It’s the American way.
Q. What about the kids?
A. If it weren’t for kids like your readers, the Monkees—and me—would be nothing. It was the kids that made us. You don’t think Mom and Dad (bless them) tuned us in because THEY wanted to see us. Kids rule the world—the part of it that matters to us anyway.
Q. Hey, watch out for that… ZOOOOOOOOOOM!
A. I can’t stand slow trucks.
Q. Why are you always in such a hurry?
A. I spent a lot of time kicking around at the bottom. Once I had a good trio going in Los Angeles, but the Army broke it up by drafting the other two. Now that I’ve finally made it, I’ve got no patience for foot-draggers, people going nowhere. I’ve got a lot of living to do to make up for the lean years.
Q. You know Monkee Mania can’t last forever. What do you think of Dave Cardwell’s prediction that you’ll only be a top group for two years?
A. Dave’s a good publicist, but I can’t vouch for him as a soothsayer—you know, a guy who predicts the future—because how long we last on top depends a lot on how good the next group coming up is.
Q. Does it really matter how good a group is? You guys had a TV show and big build-up.
A. All that’s worthless if you’re no good. You can always tell how good a group is by the way their records sell. Kids may not know everything—yet—but they know the good sounds. You can’t fool the kids when you open your mouth and start wailing.
Q. The Beatles had five really good years. Do you think you can do the same?
A. Our case is different from the Beatles. They were around for more than a year and had three hit records before their greatness came across to the public. So far, we’ve moved faster than the Beatles because we had a TV show from the beginning. Maybe Dave meant that because we came up so fast we wouldn’t last as long as the Beatles, who had a slow buildup.
Q. How will you feel when it’s all over?
A. It could end tomorrow and I would have no regrets. Not many people come as far as we have already. But I think we’ve got some time to go yet.
Q. What will you do when it’s all over?
A. I’ll just sit down with my scrapbooks and cry all the way to the bank.
Q. Now that you are practically a millionaire, what would you like to do most?
A. Race cars and own a racing track. So far, I’ve only managed to race motor bikes.
Q. Is there anything personal you would like?
A. I’d like another son. Phyllis and I would like to enlarge our family as soon as I settle down from this hectic life. I can’t get to see my boy (Christian Duval) regularly, so I’ll wait until I can enjoy the next one.
Q. Right now I’m looking for a way to get off this bike. All this weaving is getting me seasick.
A. Well, if you’re going to do anything, don’t face into the wind.
Q. Can I get off now?
A. Don’t you want me to ride you back to your hotel?
Q. Hell, just get me offa here. I’ll grab a cab.
A. Did you ever try to hail a cab on the Freeway?
Q. Did you ever ride a wet bike on a dry day?
Author: Mario Secondari
Editor: Gerald Rothberg
Publisher: YAM Publications, Inc.