Micky Dolenz Talks The Monkees' Canceled Concerts Due to Mike Nesmith Illness: 'We're All Praying for Him'
Dolenz also talks about a possible live album from the tour, his new grandson & more.
The Monkees' Micky Dolenz says he doesn't know the full details of the health problems that caused his fellow Monkee Mike Nesmith to call off their tour close to its end, but he says Nesmith felt very badly about having to end the trek, which got raves from fans.
“Frankly, I don't know,” he says in a phone interview with Billboard when asked about further details. “But I talked to him the day he left. He sounded a little bit under the weather, a little weak. He was obviously apologizing profusely. And I said, 'Hey, buddy. Don't worry about it. We'll adjust.'”
The Monkees issued a statement June 21 that the remaining four shows on The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Tour were to be rescheduled for January. “Michael Nesmith had a minor health issue today in advance of his tour date in Philadelphia tonight. He visited a local medical facility and, although the issue was not serious, was advised to rest for the next week.” Nesmith flew back home to his home in California. The four shows were in Philadelphia, New York City, Huntington, N.Y., and Red Bank, N.J. Nesmith also has a series of First National Band Redux dates lined up beginning in September. The dates are still listed on Nesmith's Videoranch website.
“He tends to be quite private about that stuff,” Dolenz said. “I do intend to call him and check up on him. But knowing him, he's such a pro. It must have been enough of a concern that he had to bail on the show, because ordinarily he's a trouper and he would never do that. We're just all praying for him, keeping our fingers crossed.” And, Dolenz says, “I'm glad he made the choice he did because he needed to get home and deal with it at home where he lives.”
Dolenz said he's also experienced a sudden illness that forced a show to be canceled. It was when he was to tape a DVD with Davy Jones and Peter Tork. “I woke up one morning and I couldn't speak. They had an EMT come in. And [they said] it was acid reflux laryngitis. I didn't even know I had acid reflux laryngitis. I found out then and I've been treating it ever since.”
When the tour picks back up in January, he says there could be additional shows besides the four that remain. “We were already talking about other dates. We got such great reviews and such great reactions from the fans that absolutely, we were already talking about it because we missed a whole lot of markets." But he also cautioned, "We're trying to take it easy. We're not getting any younger.”
One thing that could likely come out of the already completed dates of The Mike & Micky Show tour is a live album. “We recorded a bunch of shows. I think every show. And these days, you know, that's pretty easy to do on your frigging laptop. So I do know that it's in hand. I was thrilled with the reviews and the reaction that we got. And the music sounded wonderful. And Nez was actually in very good voice. I was too, frankly, if I do say so myself. So hopefully it's going to sound pretty cool.”
Besides the tour, Dolenz has other things on his mind -- like becoming a granddad again. He recently posted on social media, “Introducing my new grandson Huxley Elliott Brenner! Born Tuesday June 19th at 1:38am. 5lbs 14oz, 19in. Congratulations To my daughter Emily Brenner and husband William!”
“It's my second within one year, so I'm catching up,” Dolenz says proudly. “And he's absolutely adorable.”
Dolenz will be busy in coming weeks. On July 1, he'll be singing the national anthem before the Washington Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. “It scares the poop out of me,” he says. “You're out there all by yourself in front of God knows how many thousands of people a cappella. The toughest thing is the echo. You get this incredible echo like two or three seconds later from the speakers in the stadium. And it's hard to kind of keep your concentration.” But he says he's looking forward to it. His wife hails from Philadelphia and family members will be in attendance. He'll also appear at the NorthEast ComicCon & Collectibles Extravaganza show July 6-8 in Boxboro, Mass.
He'll also be paying tribute to Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Neil Diamond at the special Grammy Salute to Music Legends on July 14 at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Diamond was the composer of “I'm a Believer,” a No. 1 hit for The Monkees for seven weeks on the Billboard singles chart in 1966. “I am very flattered and honored to be doing that,” he said. That was such a huge song for us and, of course, a huge song for Neil.”
Dolenz, who is on the road regularly with solo shows, says more will be coming up, though “I didn't want to overload myself because I wasn't sure what was going to happen with Nez and I,” since the tour might have been extended. He also says he's been discussing doing more theater and musicals. Plus he has his Dolenz and Daughters Fine Furniture business, which just made a deal to sell product to the Sam Ash music stores. “But also now with two new grandkids and everything going on, I'm thinking of taking a little bit of time off.”
He says he might also cross off one of the things on his bucket list this year and travel to Switzerland and visit the CERN laboratory, called the world's biggest machine, where the super conductor collider of particle physics is located. “I'm into quantum physics and I know that most people aren't,” he explains. “CERN is the home of the big collider where they examine the fundamental structure of the particles and atoms and all that.”
With all of the buzz that the Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke segment with James Corden has received, would Dolenz be interested in doing one? “I've heard about it,” he said. “And, yeah, I probably would. Absolutely.”