Tuesday, August 6, 2013

John Ware, Drummer of The First National Band reviews the 2013 Tour

The reviews about the 2013 Tour keep pouring in.  Mostly just random fan ravings, excited bubbles about which songs they put in ("Door Into Summer") and which they took out ("Daily Nightly").  The Boys are full of energy and as great as ever, etc, etc...

So when I happen across a genuine and completely unique take on a concert, I pay attention.  And so should you. Not just because it is from a contemporary of The Boys.  Or because he's a musician.  Or even that he's played with Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band (which included member's of Elvis' band, TCB).  Or even because he's from Nez's First National Band.  Or because he's really interesting, as this rare interview from WheresThatSoundComingFrom .  To help you get situated, there's also connections to Red Rhodes (Nez's Pedal Steel Player) and the Flying Burrito Brothers, who famously scoffed at the former Monkee and his Alt-Country pet-project. Just because you have 2 former Byrds, doesn't mean you should throw stones at glass houses . . . (or whatever metaphor you'd like to use)

Read John Ware's take on things: a positive review for an entirely different set of reasons.  You don't have to be a fanatic from the '60's craze, or just another appreciative musician.  You just have to GET IT.  He got it.

From John Ware's Facebook post, 8/6/13, 5pm Eastern Time:

OK...we all know the truth. It was a goddamn television show. It stole it's look from Richard Lester's HARD DAY'S NIGHT...wholesale. Three of the four principals were actors with modest skills beyond clowning and frowning, and Michael Nesmith didn't get the gig because he could write memorable songs. He got it because he was funny and showed up at auditions wearing a $2 knit watch cap...a gimmick. It "HAPPENED" because the time was right. The POP music business has always been a squirrelly bitch. The public knows what it likes, and it quite often likes garbage. The public especially likes garbage fed to them regularly on a TV screen, and THE MONKEES were a banquet for the masses. I barely knew they existed. I was in college, and television was not my drug. I also didn't listen to much pop music radio. I had my own recorded stash, and I DID inhale. Mainly I blissed on a band from "back home." It was the backing band for a white devil named Ronnie Hawkins. My college classmates HATED the shit I had - not that any of them were glued to pop radio. I discovered Mike Nesmith quite circuitously. I got a job right out of grad school playing drums for the Stone Poneys (a logical progression if ever one were offered), and Mike wrote Linda Ronstadt's hit single, DIFFERENT DRUM. He was "around" the band, because we were working his material. Over a period of months Mike and I became friends, and (this is well documented) we eventually made music TOGETHER. I had nothing to do with the MONKEE-shines. I certainly became aware of his part of the TV boy band, but it wasn't the music THEY promoted. It was the music that HE wrote. I missed what had been produced to capitalize on the synthetic fame of the group, and, by that, I mean I missed the complexity of the songs "they sang." It's easy to dismiss the MONKEES and yet very hard to deny that the records (the radio assault) were exceedingly well crafted fare. That fact was hammered home to me at the Monday night show the "boys" presented at the Paramount Theatre in Denver. It was a sensory BLAST in keeping with the TV heritage. The entire "concert" was accompanied by a non-stop jumbo screen montage (sometimes synched to the show and sometimes NOT), and the 100 running minutes was also non-stop. There was no room for daddy...no coming up for air in the backseat of my Chevy. Those guys WORKED HARD FOR THEIR MONEY, and, whether one likes the tunes or no, it was a recitation of perfectly sculpted POP MATERIAL. I'm here to say there were no ONE/FOUR/FIVE songs on the playlist, and, if you have to look that up, do so now. Onstage the players looked like a gathering at a neighborhood bake sale, including the moms and your strange uncle, Bob. They may have looked bizarre, but the ensemble played a tight, musical, exuberant (bet you're surprised by THAT one), and memorable tunestack that deserves a STANDING O.

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