You never know when you enter the Monkee set how you’ll find Mike Nesmith. One day he may be “hiding out” in his dressing room away from the hustle on the set. The next day you may find him eagerly greeting you as you walk through the heavy door and he may sit and gab all morning.
This is the mood he was in the other day when we asked Mike some questions for a story on his car collection. We had several things to start with—first, we knew he had six cars; second, we knew he loved to work on the cars; and third, we knew he loved to drive them, fast. What we didn’t know about the whole situation was that Mike had added a new dimension to his happy, talkative mood—a dimension of zaniness that we’d never heard or seen before.
The following interview, as we shall call it for lack of a more accurate description, may sound like it should belong to the next century, but believe us, it took place only weeks ago. So, we’d like to share these few moments of insanity with you. Please join us on a trip to the wonderful world of Mike Nesmith.
When did you first become interested in cars?
I became interested in cars when I first saw one. I was 13 years old. I got hit by one, so I figured I better start driving in self defense.
How did you first learn to work on cars?
I remember distinctly what it was. I had a 1949 Hudson Terraplane in my garage and I blew it up, so I had to put it back together.
How did you get your Hudson?
I stole it. I blew it up and put it back together, but I put it together all wrong. It ended up looking like a ’59 Chevrolet Impala, because I had put in six of one and half a dozen of another, right?
Is the Hudson the first car you ever had?
The Hudson Terraplane was one of the first cars I had. I had one before that, but actually the Hudson was the first car I had. The one I had before that was sort of pre-Hudson. I date everything from the Terraplane. Like right now, I’m in 0012 A.T. (After Terraplane). You know, my calendar is all together different because of the Terraplane. I celebrate Christmas on November 12. It’s groovy, because I avoid the rush and don’t get caught in the commercialism.
Will you tell what cars you now own?
I have six of them and I’d be glad to tell you what they are. I have a Buick Riviera. I have a Mini-cooper. And I have a 1956 Dodge pick-up truck and I have a jeep and I have a Cadillac limousine and I have a GTO.
How do you decide which car to drive in the morning?
Well, it’s hard, but I know this lady who reads cards. You might not know that. She reads cards and she tells me. I remember one time when she came screaming in to the living room saying, “For Goodness sake, whatever you do, don’t take the Riviera today!” I said, “What car should I take.” She said, “You choose, but don’t take the Riviera.” And it was a good thing I didn’t because Phyllis needed it to go shopping that day.
Why do you have a driver if you like to drive so much?
I have a driver because I am lazy most of the time, as you know. And it’s hard for me to navigate the city streets. However, when I feel sort of devil-may-care I blast off down the road and it’s times like that that I don’t really need a driver. But if I go some place that I’ll need to be carried home, it’s nice to have a driver. Coupled with the fact that it’s nice to have a driver drive the car. That’s what drivers are for mostly, driving cars. I have cars to drive and he drives them. It’s his function, primarily.
With all the cars you own, do you still have a dream car?
I think I’d like to have a 1949 Hudson Terraplane.
Well, there’s nostalgia about that car.
What happened to the Hudson Terraplane you had?
My Hudson Terraplane ascended. I know that’s kind of hard to believe, but it had a mind of its own. My Hudson Terraplane had an indomitable spirit and one day it just ascended. I came out and it was gone. My mother tried to tell me that somebody stole it, but I couldn’t buy that. I knew the car had ascended, because I’d been having long conversations with it on the musical and spiritual nature of its personality.
What is your favorite car of all those you own?
I think, of all the cars I own, I probably like my Dodge the best because I don’t have that car. I don’t own a Dodge, but that’s my favorite.
But that doesn’t make sense.
Well, none of it does, does it?