When Michael Nesmith passed, I couldn't process it. He's so much more than anything you'll ever see him described as. Yes, some of us Nez-heads really do feel that he's not far off from being a deity, almost an avatar on earth. Or? If you understood *him*, the influence would never leave you, and almost everyone touched by him went on to do something that was clearly influenced by him; only we aren't usually aware until we're told. You can't intentionally do anything like Michael Nesmith did, and that's the first thing to learn about him.
I couldn't bear the idea of watching social media tributes from people that didn't really care, the skimpy obituaries that would miss the point. Within seconds of the news, I logged out everywhere, eventually grabbed my guitar, and this is the result.
Went into the session with zero plan other than "play whatever Nez-penned song naturally comes out of you". If the take *felt* good, I had to keep it. If I thought of something that could be over dubbed, it had to be done in one take or it would not be allowed. What I needed to do was capture that moment in time, the way it felt, the joy of singing his songs, the sadness inherent in so many of the tunes, and any emotion that came to me with them. It needed to be as honest as the songs are.
Well, I plugged in the microphone, and I'd just gotten a bunch of nifty things hooked up to it. I wasn't letting myself "dial in" a tone. Whatever it picked up was going to be what I could work with. Ditto for the guitar - it's hooked up through a bunch of pedals, so if I wanted distortion, I had to accept whatever distortion was already "dialed in". It went this way for each overdub, and the *only things I was allowed to change*? I would mix the session days later and could apply anything I wanted through only EQ and panning, and I could simply decide to *not* use a song if I didn't think the mix was an improvement. The result is this 8-song EP.
All of these songs are by Michael Nesmith, but seasoned Marc With a C listeners may recognize this as "the most Marc has sounded like Marc With a C in about 12 years". The influence of his solo records was, frankly, accidental. I didn't hear them until much later in life, but it was so emotional for me to hear myself singing "Keep On", knowing that I've written songs just like it for the same reasons without knowing that Nez had at the time that I was initially following in his footsteps.
I wouldn't dare say that Marc With a C (or my writing in general) is even 1/6294th of the quality that Michael Nesmith was capable of effortlessly. And I'm under no delusions that he was my dad or anything - but I, like so many other kids in the 1980's, saw him in the Monkees reruns as a father figure, the way that he could be strong, sharp tongued, but would also hug Peter if he was sad and no one found it weird. He probably didn't mean to, but he showed me over and over through his actions after the TV show what a mortal male-presenting human is capable of, and how you can continue to grow for the better even when few people are looking.
There's a reason his nickname is Papa Nez. I feel like the spiritual surrogate father of Marc WIth a C left this mortal coil on 12/10/21. This is the sound (for better or worse) of me, Marc Sirdoreus, processing the loss as my body is ravaged with cancerous illness - and if it helps bring the hope, the light, and the goodness of Michael Nesmith to even a single extra soul ever? It was all worth it. Here's to hoping I'll make my Papa proud.
released December 22, 2021
all songs written by Michael Nesmith. all sounds created by marc sirdoreus.