“Theater is life. Cinema is art. Television is furniture.”
― Michael Nesmith, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
I saw today that Michael Nesmith had passed away at the age of 78 of natural causes.
For people of my age, one of the hallmarks of youth was picking your favorite Monkee. Most people chose Micky Dolenz, a log of girls chose Davy Jones and I had one friend that was very proud of his iconoclastic nature and he chose Peter Tork. I favorited Mike Nesmith – we shared a first name (I was “Mike” at the time, most of the time, switching to “William” then “Bill” at a greater age) plus I liked his dry humor.
And then I moved to Dallas (and the suburb Mesquite) where Nesmith grew up. His mother invented Liquid Paper, by the way, and is a legend in these here parts.
But, over a decade later, I discovered Nesmith’s pioneering television show, Elephant Parts. My friends and I were huge fans and obtained VHS tapes of the thing. So when I think of Michael Nesmith I don’t think of the Monkees, I think of Elephant Parts.
My VHS tapes are long gone, and I looked around to see if it was streaming anywhere – it isn’t.
Luckily there are a lot of clips at Michael Nesmith’s Videoranch Youtube Channel
Michael Nesmith came up with is arguably (very arguably) the first music video, RIO
And here is the well-known “One Ton Tomato”
Some selections from Elephant Parts:
Mike was my favourite when I was at school, I liked the strong silent type of chap! I didn’t know much about him after that, but their music still puts me in a good mood.
He was the most serious musician of the group – his contribution to the music video as an art form was really underappreciated.