You could say that Mike Nesmith has had a charmed life. His mother invented and patented Liquid Paper and made her fortune, so one imagines a not too deprived childhood. Then, when in his early twenties, he answered an ad and auditioned for and became one of the Monkees. At the time they were corny as hell, a sort of comic version of the Beatles, but somehow, maybe by just very clever casting and natural talent they became quite good. Originally they never played on their own records, although Mike could play guitar proficiently. They had to fight to record any of their own material and eventually one or two of Mike’s songs made the grade.
The Monkees split in the late sixties, and the least likely to succeed was Mike. But he came up with a unique take on country music, and with his quirky songs he became a minor success. But only a minor one. He made a few eclectic albums that hardly anyone bought and then came Rio in 1977; a massive worldwide hit with its infectious Latin rhythm and cryptic words.
Well all of this seemed to affect Mike not in the least, he continued issuing the occasional album when he felt like it – and apart from a couple of soundtracks nothing since 1992.
So, a wasted talent, or just happy being his own self. I am not sure, but there is no denying his talent, and the almost nonchalant way he has pursued his own particular muse. Financially I doubt he has to make music at all, and has always seemed to do it for the heck of it. He occasionally joins up with his former Monkees for a concert or two. He has his own record company and seems to enjoy producing other artists as much as putting out his own stuff.
I have almost all his records, but one or two are very hard to find on CD these days, but I still hope he might release some new stuff. You never know, the fancy might just take him one of these days.