Micky Dolenz Sings Melodic Gold on ‘Dolenz Sings Nesmith’ [Interview]

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Micky Dolenz
Image by Paul Undersinger Courtesy of Dis Company

Micky Dolenz singing Mike Nesmith songs on the just-released “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” is a true treasure of melodic memories mixed with new joy. Dolenz shows a magnificent range as he sings the beautiful songs written with heart by the wonderful Nesmith.

The well-recognized performer is hailed for his leading role as a vocalist and the drummer in the 1960s series “The Monkees.” The group was a huge hit with its recordings selling more than 65 million albums worldwide. They outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones from 1967 to 1968.

Dolenz Continues Harmonizing with Nesmith

Dolenz and Nesmith have stayed “family” even after losing their Monkees bandmates Peter Tork and Davy Jones. Keeping their love for harmonizing going the two are now sharing it with the world once again. The album is Dolenz’s first new solo LP in nine years.

The idea for the album was initiated by Dolenz ages ago as he recalls:

“I think I first mentioned it to Nez years ago, I don’t know where the idea came from, maybe from my friend Harry Nilsson and his “Nilsson Sings Newman” album. I thought to myself, Wow, “Dolenz Sings Nesmith.”

Nesmith has spent a long career of songwriting amazing hits. His music resonates beyond the Monkees and his critically acclaimed Michael Nesmith & The First National Band. Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys made “Some of Shelly’s Blues” and “Different Drum” hits.

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The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The Greenbriar Boys also sang Nesmith winning melodies. In addition, he has shared writing credits on a few of his songs with the famed likes of Linda Hargrove, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Roger Atkins. His music has been covered by numerous well-known bands as well. Nesmith’s beloved bandmates Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones share songwriting credits on “Zilch.”

Dolenz Brings Music magic to a New Century of Fans

Recorded from September 2020 and February 2021, “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” is filled with reimagined songs of the wonderful music that Nesmith has written during his lifetime so far. The beautiful album is so amazing that it is already begging for a sequel. Longtime fans will certainly be pleased with the song styling and newfound fans will flock to give Dolenz reignited star status for a fresh generation.

Micky Dolenz
Image Courtesy of Dis Company

First song up, “Carlisle Wheeling,” is reminiscent of Beatles Lennon/ McCartney style of amazing lyrics that fit perfectly together with music that moves fluidly in composition as Dolenz sings it in impeccable melodic harmony. Calming lyrical styling comes to mind at several points – especially with the song “Tapioca Tundra.”

Keeping their newest endeavor a family affair has Nesmith’s son, Christian Nesmith, making musical magic as the album’s producer. “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” is now available via 7A records.

An Interview with Dolenz

Carol Ruth Weber: I remember your stint as a DJ on NYs CBS radio – loved listening to you come into your own as a DJ and was upset when WCBS abruptly ended that format. What was the hardest part of doing the CBS radio show and any thoughts about doing a satellite radio show of your own?

Micky Dolenz: Well, the hardest part by far was getting up at four in the morning – that was tough.

I will tell you what the challenge was – I had done stints as a guest host on other people’s shows. What I realized quickly was you have the use of all your senses, using your gestures, visual things, and communicating when performing, but in radio, there is only one thing used – just the sound of your voice. Everything you have to do is only through your voice.

It was a challenge after using all of my expressions in acting and then trying to perform radio with just my voice. it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. It gave me a brand-new respect for radio personalities. I loved it – it was great and I was very sorry to see it go.

I would have done a few things differently looking back. Maybe I tried to do too many new things all at once. I really wanted to impress. I really wanted to have made it work. I am pretty pleased with the feedback that I got then and still do even to this day. I have thought about doing something again.

CRW: You have kept your down-to-Earth persona – how do you stay humble after having early life success and what keeps you reinventing yourself?

MD: I must be honest; I have not always been completely down to earth the past 60 years.

But I do contribute it to my parents. They were both in showbiz and met doing a play. So, I was always around the business from day one but we did not live that Beverly Hills lifestyle. We lived out on a ranch in the Valley with chickens. When I would come home from doing “Circus Boy” [the 1950s TV show] my father would tell me to go clean the pool.

They were never the type of pushy parents about showbiz – never tried to get me to show off. I’ve had my moments but most of the time I have stayed down to Earth.

After “The Monkees” I moved to England for 15 years. I was on the other side of the camera directing, writing, and producing and had lots of people working under me – and I had a boss. I learned a lot about dealing with creative people so when I came back to the states that allowed me to be understanding of others – and family kept me balanced.

CRW: I have written several articles about the highly recognized Romeo Delight Van Halen Tribute band that you are such a champion of – what is it about this band that affects you to be so supportive? Must make you proud to see them make a name for themselves performing at iconic venues, such as the Cutting Room in NYC on Saturday, June 19.

MD: Basically, the lead guy, Buddy Blanchard, is a very good friend so when I go back to the Philly area I always go and see him. I am proud and am going to try to make it to the show at the Cutting Room.

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CRW: What does the future hold for you after your tour with Michael [Nesmith] – what will your next album be after this amazing release?

MD: After the tour with Nez I don’t know frankly. The pandemic has afforded me the ability to enjoy my time. I do not know – I have not looked that far ahead. Every time I have done an album it has not desperately been preplanned. I was approached by 7A [Records] asking if I had any ideas for a project and I told them about “Dolenz sings Nesmith.”

CRW: “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” has been long in your heart – did the pandemic play into you finally finding time to make this dream album happen?

MD: It might have. These things just happen. 7A came to me a few years ago but when the pandemic hit Christian Nesmith, who produced the album, came to me and said we had to change things around because we could not be in the studio with a lot of band members.

Fans will be pleased that Dolenz and Nesmith will be touring set to begin Sept. 10, 2021, in Spokane, Washington. Their tour is set to end on Nov. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles at the Greek Theater. The surviving Monkees will be playing mostly their 1960s hits with a hope of a few new versions with Dolenz singing from “Dolenz Sings Nesmith.” Consistently showing the same pure talent that made Dolenz a fan favorite is what keeps his star shining.

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