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The Monkess’ Mike Nesmith Underwent Quadruple Bypass Heart Surgery

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The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith revealed that the health crisis that sidelined his recent Monkees tour with Micky Dolenz resulted in him undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. Nesmith broke his silence to Rolling Stone where he explained, “I was using the words ‘heart attack’ for a while. But I’m told now that I didn’t have one. It was congestive heart failure. It has taken me four weeks to climb out of it. If anybody ever comes up to you on the street and offers you (bypass surgery) for free, turn them down. It hurts. I was getting weaker and weaker and I couldn’t get my breath. When we got to Lake Tahoe and then the high altitude of Denver, I couldn’t get out of bed and I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t agonizing. It was just the business of wanting to take a big, deep breath and not being able to do it.”

He shed light on the events that led to him being hospitalized in Philadelphia back on June 21st, after sucking down oxygen during the previous shows when Dolenz took a vocal spotlight: “I didn’t collapse to the ground or anything like that. But I couldn’t breathe, so I sat down until I got my breath and then I realized the breath wasn’t gettable. That marked the end. People knew I couldn’t keep on like this. It was a road to hell.”

Nesmith, who is set for a string of fall shows with his First National Band, will make up the four Monkees dates with Dolenz in the new year, admitted, “It’s frightening. There’s also a lot of pain involved and I didn’t like that. You can’t cough and you can’t walk and you can’t get up. And you’re hooked to these gadgets that are annoying. I didn’t even know where I was for a couple of weeks. I think, candidly, I’m back to 80 percent. I feel like I’m increasing exponentially daily, or at least by orders of five or six percent at a time. I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My thinking is clear and I know who I am and where I am. It all feels like a natural healing process.”

“The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show” setlists featured a top-heavy deep dive into the band’s latter-day catalogue, leaning heavily on the Mike Nesmith-written favorites. We asked Nesmith to give us the back-story on writing one of his earliest and still most beloved Monkees songs: “‘Papa Gene’s Blues’ I wrote in my apartment that (my wife Phyllis) and I were living in the San Fernando Valley. And typically what I would do in those days — which is pre-Monkees — was write a song a day. Take the guitar, get the chords worked out, do a quick turn around the chord, then sing the lyrics that I understand and then the nonsense lyrics, I go ‘nom-nom-nom-nom-no’ and then start crafting from there.”

Photo Courtesy of Colepix

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