Monkees’ Michael Nesmith Recovering from Heart Surgery
Michael Nesmith's shared dates with fellow Monkees star Mickey Dolenz weren't suddenly postponed because of a "minor health issue," despite label assurances. Instead, Nesmith was suffering from congestive heart failure, which required quadruple bypass surgery. He is currently recovering.
“I was getting weaker and weaker and I couldn’t get my breath,” Nesmith told Rolling Stone of his physical condition on the tour. To compensate, he had a chair and oxygen available to him on the side of the stage during performances.
Things deteriorated until the tour got to the Keswick Theater in Philadelphia, when Nesmith realized he could not go on. “I didn’t collapse to the ground or anything like that,” he said. “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 flew back home to California, where his cardiologist diagnosed his issue as congestive heart failure, and scheduled him immediately for the invasive bypass surgery. “It’s frightening,” Nesmith said. “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.
“If anybody ever comes up to you on the street and offers you [bypass surgery] for free,” he added, “turn them down. It hurts.”
Though Nesmith is still recuperating, he is nevertheless planning to embark on a two-week tour with his First National Band in September, in support of the band’s recently reissued back catalog. He will also make up the missed dates with Dolenz next year.