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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 09:07:19 AM



Title: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 09:07:19 AM
I was going through some albums and found the compilation Apache Inca by Craig Vincent Smith (Satya Sai Maitreya Kali), and had a listen to his song Salesman on that set. Salesman of course was recorded by the Monkees and Mike Nesmith on the Pisces Aquarius album in late 1967, but the version on Apache has Mike Love in the studio talking with who I assume to be Craig Smith into an open mic as the track plays in the background.

If this has been covered before, I apologize for repeating it, and just to bring anyone who hasn't heard this up to speed, a little background:

Craig Smith was a Los Angeles musician and one of those guys who seemed to have all the right connections. He was in a group called "Chris and Craig", and had a project called the "Penny Arkade". With his various groups, he got the ear of Mike Nesmith from the Monkees who was looking for groups to produce outside the Monkees. Obviously he had the clout and the backing to afford these side projects, especially at the height of The Monkees in 67. So he invited Craig and the band to live at his house and rehearse and write the music which he would produce. Mike recorded "Salesman" and had it on the Monkees TV show which put a nice chunk of change into Smith's pocket.

Smith also had connections with Nick Venet and Steve Douglas who had power at Capitol, as well as access to the studio scenes...and I think it was Venet, Douglas, or both who eventually pitched Craig's songs to Andy Williams and Glen Campbell, who recorded them. The money he made from those songs enabled him to travel and explore his spirituality, which led to the name change and the rest of the story which can be found online. It's most likely Nick Venet and/or Steve Douglas had the connection to the Beach Boys and got Smith into a working relationship with them.

What I want to know about is that tape of Salesman. Again, it's Mike Love and who I think is Smith discussing the track as it plays over the monitors in the studio, somewhat hard to hear. It's a heavier and dirtier sounding version than the one Nesmith later sang, which had a definite Sir Douglas "She's About A Mover" groove holding it together. At one point the conversation starts on adding parts:

Mike Love says this after backing vocal parts are mentioned: "You and I and Brian can do it...when he gets back from Big Bear in, like, two days, and tonight or tomorrow we'll put on the flute with Charles Lloyd..."

Does he mean Brian Wilson? Was Smith or any of the bands he had around that time a part of Brother Records' stable of artists along the lines of Redwood, which Brian had brought in?

The timeline confuses me - Salesman was released by The Monkees in late 1967, and Smith and other band members say Nesmith put them up in his house in 1967 as well, if I remember. So can anyone date this Salesman tape with Mike Love? Was it in fact a Brother records project with suggestions from Nick Venet? Did anything further happen with the overdubs being discussed for the song on that tape?

I hope I'm not repeating what has been covered before, but a tape like this fascinates me especially coming from the time I think it dates from in 1967, and featuring some of my favorite musicians. I want to know more! :)


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Andrew G. Doe on February 21, 2011, 09:22:59 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971 (Apache - Apache/Inca, is a 2fer reissue of those two albums in 2000) which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Also, the version of "Salesman" on Apache is in reality the Penny Arkade version, produced by Nesmith in 1967 or thereabouts, so the possible connection with Brother falls apart pretty much right there.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 09:38:28 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971, which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Interesting! It was released in '71 but the album was apparently music Smith recorded between 1967 and 1971, so unfortunately for Salesman there was no firm date for the track - it could be anything. One thing to consider is how Craig Smith was somewhat "normal" by LA music standards when he was working with Nesmith and the rest, and after he funded his spiritual trips with his songwriting money, he came back and was so different he was unrecognizable to some people who knew him as Craig instead of his new name. Would he have re-recorded an old song about a drug dealer with Mike Love in 1971 after all of his personal changes?

The Charles Lloyd reference does suggest a definite time, yet it feels like a demo from before the Monkees recorded the song. A tough one without more documentation.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 09:54:32 AM
Just adding a bit more fuel to this, I can't find a single source for a date on this recording and it seems the Charles Lloyd reference may be the clincher for an approximate date. The album was originally sold by Smith himself in 1971-72 on the streets after he had returned from Peru, so they say on other places, yet no information beyond the fact that they are recordings from 1967 up to the time he was selling the record in 1971 seems to exist. There are tracks from when Nesmith was producing the Penny Arkade in 1967 on the same album as Salesman, to further confuse this.

The Nick Venet connection bothers me a bit, time-wise. Pure speculation, but after the 60's and their contracts with Capitol had expired, just how involved was Nick Venet with the Beach Boys? Yet the suggestion was made that Venet was the connection between Smith and the band which led to the recording of Salesman.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Andrew G. Doe on February 21, 2011, 09:56:10 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971, which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Interesting! It was released in '71 but the album was apparently music Smith recorded between 1967 and 1971, so unfortunately for Salesman there was no firm date for the track - it could be anything. One thing to consider is how Craig Smith was somewhat "normal" by LA music standards when he was working with Nesmith and the rest, and after he funded his spiritual trips with his songwriting money, he came back and was so different he was unrecognizable to some people who knew him as Craig instead of his new name. Would he have re-recorded an old song about a drug dealer with Mike Love in 1971 after all of his personal changes?

The Charles Lloyd reference does suggest a definite time, yet it feels like a demo from before the Monkees recorded the song. A tough one without more documentation.

Hello ?  I did date the track - it's the Penny Arkade recording from 1967, just as "Country Girl" on Inca is.  Smith recycled a lot of the Arkade's unreleased material on those two albums.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Andrew G. Doe on February 21, 2011, 10:00:05 AM
Just adding a bit more fuel to this, I can't find a single source for a date on this recording and it seems the Charles Lloyd reference may be the clincher for an approximate date. The album was originally sold by Smith himself in 1971-72 on the streets after he had returned from Peru, so they say on other places, yet no information beyond the fact that they are recordings from 1967 up to the time he was selling the record in 1971 seems to exist. There are tracks from when Nesmith was producing the Penny Arkade in 1967 on the same album as Salesman, to further confuse this.

The Nick Venet connection bothers me a bit, time-wise. Pure speculation, but after the 60's and their contracts with Capitol had expired, just how involved was Nick Venet with the Beach Boys? Yet the suggestion was made that Venet was the connection between Smith and the band which led to the recording of Salesman.

By November 1969 Venet had left Capitol for MediArts, where he was head of A&R.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 10:04:08 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971, which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Interesting! It was released in '71 but the album was apparently music Smith recorded between 1967 and 1971, so unfortunately for Salesman there was no firm date for the track - it could be anything. One thing to consider is how Craig Smith was somewhat "normal" by LA music standards when he was working with Nesmith and the rest, and after he funded his spiritual trips with his songwriting money, he came back and was so different he was unrecognizable to some people who knew him as Craig instead of his new name. Would he have re-recorded an old song about a drug dealer with Mike Love in 1971 after all of his personal changes?

The Charles Lloyd reference does suggest a definite time, yet it feels like a demo from before the Monkees recorded the song. A tough one without more documentation.

Hello ?  I did date the track - it's the Penny Arkade recording from 1967, just as "Country Girl" on Inca is.  Smith recycled a lot of the Arkade's unreleased material on those two albums.

Right, right, I get that but then is the tape in question Mike Love talking over the old Arkade track from '67 dating from 1971 or thereabouts based on the Lloyd reference? I'm curious how and where Mike and possibly Brian got involved with Smith, and if it was 1971, by several reports Smith was pretty far out there even by LA standards. I'm trying to make sense of the thing and it's tough!


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Andrew G. Doe on February 21, 2011, 10:07:55 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971, which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Interesting! It was released in '71 but the album was apparently music Smith recorded between 1967 and 1971, so unfortunately for Salesman there was no firm date for the track - it could be anything. One thing to consider is how Craig Smith was somewhat "normal" by LA music standards when he was working with Nesmith and the rest, and after he funded his spiritual trips with his songwriting money, he came back and was so different he was unrecognizable to some people who knew him as Craig instead of his new name. Would he have re-recorded an old song about a drug dealer with Mike Love in 1971 after all of his personal changes?

The Charles Lloyd reference does suggest a definite time, yet it feels like a demo from before the Monkees recorded the song. A tough one without more documentation.

Hello ?  I did date the track - it's the Penny Arkade recording from 1967, just as "Country Girl" on Inca is.  Smith recycled a lot of the Arkade's unreleased material on those two albums.

Right, right, I get that but then is the tape in question Mike Love talking over the old Arkade track from '67 dating from 1971 or thereabouts based on the Lloyd reference? I'm curious how and where Mike and possibly Brian got involved with Smith, and if it was 1971, by several reports Smith was pretty far out there even by LA standards. I'm trying to make sense of the thing and it's tough!

No idea, and I doubt Brian was ever in the same room... but yes, they're talking over a 1967 tape in 1971.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 21, 2011, 10:14:50 AM
Well, the album it was on was released in 1971, which would tie in with Mike's reference to Charles Lloyd, who played on Surf's Up. Lloyd certainly wasn't involved with The Beach Boys in 1967, so I feel the dating of the tape to that era is very questionable.

Interesting! It was released in '71 but the album was apparently music Smith recorded between 1967 and 1971, so unfortunately for Salesman there was no firm date for the track - it could be anything. One thing to consider is how Craig Smith was somewhat "normal" by LA music standards when he was working with Nesmith and the rest, and after he funded his spiritual trips with his songwriting money, he came back and was so different he was unrecognizable to some people who knew him as Craig instead of his new name. Would he have re-recorded an old song about a drug dealer with Mike Love in 1971 after all of his personal changes?

The Charles Lloyd reference does suggest a definite time, yet it feels like a demo from before the Monkees recorded the song. A tough one without more documentation.

Hello ?  I did date the track - it's the Penny Arkade recording from 1967, just as "Country Girl" on Inca is.  Smith recycled a lot of the Arkade's unreleased material on those two albums.

Right, right, I get that but then is the tape in question Mike Love talking over the old Arkade track from '67 dating from 1971 or thereabouts based on the Lloyd reference? I'm curious how and where Mike and possibly Brian got involved with Smith, and if it was 1971, by several reports Smith was pretty far out there even by LA standards. I'm trying to make sense of the thing and it's tough!

No idea, and I doubt Brian was ever in the same room... but yes, they're talking over a 1967 tape in 1971.

Now if only we could narrow it down to when Brian was away at Big Bear Lake, we'd have the date!

I'm kidding, really... :-D


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Steve Mayo on February 21, 2011, 05:21:38 PM
speaking of the monkees, uk fans can look forward to this..

 http://www.cinemablend.com/celebrity/Monkees-Reunite-British-Tour-30202.html#

but no papa nez.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on April 07, 2012, 12:17:03 PM
Hi folks,

I know this is an old thread, but hopefully I can fill in some blanks...

Around 1963-64, Craig Smith was part of a folk-music group called The Good Time Singers, which put out some LPs and singles on Capitol and appeared regularly on The Andy Williams Show.   He left that group and in 1965 auditioned for a role as part of a folk-singing trio  on a TV show called 'The Happeners'.  A pilot episode was filmed, but the show didn't get picked up.  However, Craig and one of the other singers, Chris Ducey, hit it off and decided to continue making music.  They cut one single on Capitol in 1966 as Chris & Craig - it was produced by Steve Douglas, backed by the W-Crew (with Glen Campbell on guitar). 

They made the rounds on the LA scene and struck up a friendship with Mike Nesmith while making appearances at the hootenannies at The Troubadour, which, by mid-'67 led to Nesmith's taking Chris & Craig under his wing, renaming them Penny Arkade and recording their songs to shop around for a deal.  By mid-'68, with no record deal in sight, Craig left the band and went on his journey, funded by royalties from recordings of his songs (Heather MacRae, The Robbs, Andy Williams, The Monkees, Glen Campbell).  Penny Arkade continued on without him until mid-'69. 
Craig (now known as Maitreya Kali) self-released the LPs 'Apache' and 'Inca'  in '71-'72, using some of the Penny Arkade recordings, solo  acoustic recordings, and a few recordings with an unknown backing band (he did have a band around this time, but its longevity and recording output is unknown).   Some of the solo numbers are his older compositions, and one is a Penny Arkade tune with rewritten lyrics - as Arkade bass player Don Glut said, "it's like he hadn't gotten too far off the beaten track to realize that some of the old stuff he did was really good".

As far as 'Salesman' in particular, I would venture to say that the version in question was recorded after the Penny Arkade days - all of the PA recordings known to exist were released on the excellent Sundazed release in 2004, and 'Salesman' isn't on there.   The recording on 'Pisces Aquarius' seems to predate the existence of Penny Arkade;  Nesmith said that he liked its similarity to 'She's About A Mover', while on 'Apache' it clearly has a different style. 

As an aside: the Penny Arkade release is really, really good.  And, if you see a double-album version of 'Apache/Inca' at a garage sale, snap it up - an original copy (it's said that Craig pressed 30 copies total) went for over $10k last December.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Pretty Funky on April 07, 2012, 12:25:15 PM
speaking of the monkees, uk fans can look forward to this..

 http://www.cinemablend.com/celebrity/Monkees-Reunite-British-Tour-30202.html#

but no papa nez.

That story is over a year old. Try googling Davy Jones for an update!


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: rogerlancelot on April 07, 2012, 01:55:40 PM
speaking of the monkees, uk fans can look forward to this..

 http://www.cinemablend.com/celebrity/Monkees-Reunite-British-Tour-30202.html#

but no papa nez.

That story is over a year old. Try googling Davy Jones for an update!

It's an old thread. And don't be picking on Davy!


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on April 07, 2012, 03:48:01 PM
I do have the Sundazed release, and it's interesting. The story/saga of Craig Smith is almost as interesting as the records he made! The actual songs are not quite as musically great as I had expected but definitely worth having.

His story reminded me a bit of Eden Ahbez who came up this week as well - another guy who took the royalties he made from having his song recorded by a major pop artist and basically dropped out of society.

Just a point to add - Nesmith must have believed in Craig Smith and the Arkade quite a bit because not only did he mentor them and offer to work on their music, he also put them up at his house and let them practice and stay there for a time...from what I've heard, that is. Imagine a guy with Nesmith's stature as a pop star in 1967 opening his house for you. Pretty cool.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on April 08, 2012, 10:34:40 AM
I wonder if Mike Love is even aware that the 'Salesman' recording/demo/conversation was actually released.   I'd love to know what if/what he remembers.   So many questions!

(http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff185/theincrowdband/apacheside1.jpg)



Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on May 05, 2012, 09:37:43 AM
Just wanted to add...Craig Smith was well-acquainted with both Mike and Brian, so the familiar tone during the 'Salesman' recording makes sense. 


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: SG7 on May 05, 2012, 10:11:18 AM
Is Craig Smith still around? This is interesting history.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Jason Penick on May 05, 2012, 12:23:39 PM
I'm laughing right now at the thought of Mike Love hanging out with a guy who had a spider tattooed on his forehead.  :lol

The mention of Charles Lloyd dates the overdub session to 1971, but Mr. Mike is right in saying that there is no Penny Arkade version of "Salesman", or it would have been on the Sundazed comp.  I'd love to be able to hear the track sans overdubs someday, but most likely it is lost to history.

Apache and Inca are both amazing, by the way.  Some of Smith's later acoustic stuff is on par with Forever Changes.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on May 29, 2012, 08:12:33 AM
Is Craig Smith still around? This is interesting history.

Craig is still around, but not doing 'well'.  He's homeless, living on the streets of LA, the last I heard...


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on June 28, 2012, 09:22:48 PM
So,  just the other day, a message was posted on Craig Smith-related page of a blog I frequently read.   Here's what it says:

I too met him in 1972, I think in Santa Monica. He gave me a ride back to my dorm at UCLA and after that would randomly show up at odd hours. My roommate was not too thrilled by his scary appearance even then. I knew he was the “real thing” as he took me to his record company to pick up something and then we dropped by to visit Brian Wilson at his house. Mrs. Wilson came home with the kids while we were there and I could tell she was not happy to see Matreya in her living room (not to mention me). Brian was friendly enough. Matreya gave me one of his albums which I loved but somehow misplaced. He talked about the Manson crowd too and at some point I had to insist he not show up anymore as he was scaring the lovely co-eds on my floor! I have read about him on-line and have also wondered if he is still out there on the streets somewhere. So sad.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Mr. Mike on October 17, 2012, 09:20:58 PM
Sad news to report...it's been discovered that Craig Smith died this past March, at age 66.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Les Garçons de la plage on February 16, 2019, 05:08:02 PM
I know this is an old topic, but I have not posted here for a while or have been familiar with Craig Smith's music back in 2012...

Having read about Craig Smith's recording sessions (from Mike Stax's excellent book  and other articles and interviews) it would not be impossible for this track to have been recorded in 1970. To my memory, the tracks Revelation and Love Is Our Existence were recorded back then, and Salesman sounds quite similar in terms of instrumentation (acoustic guitar, bass and a tiny bit amateurish drums), though unlike the two aforementioned tracks Salesman has no vocals fed through a Leslie speaker. After the release of the book, more recordings, writings etc. from Craig Smith have been recovered; some collected on the album Love Is Our Existence but apparently there will be more to come - so I hope you folks do not mind me sharing pure speculation before some actual info comes up.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: “Big Daddy” on February 16, 2019, 06:30:43 PM
Mike Stax’s book is fascinating and highly recommended. Some interesting Beach Boys connections for those curious.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Custom Machine on February 16, 2019, 11:50:33 PM
I'd never heard of Craig Smith until GF's post seven years ago. Here's an interesting article, from Sept. 2016, reviewing Mike Stax's book. When Craig Smith left for a trip on the Hippie Trail in 1968 Mike Love threw a going away party at his house. Unfortunately, Mike declined to be interviewed for the book. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7bmxzx/swimming-through-the-darkness-the-hunt-for-craig-smith-psychedelic-messiah


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Fall Breaks on February 17, 2019, 07:56:48 AM
I'd never heard of Craig Smith until GF's post seven years ago. Here's an interesting article, from Sept. 2016, reviewing Mike Stax's book. When Craig Smith left for a trip on the Hippie Trail in 1968 Mike Love threw a going away party at his house. Unfortunately, Mike declined to be interviewed for the book. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7bmxzx/swimming-through-the-darkness-the-hunt-for-craig-smith-psychedelic-messiah
I also sought out the book and the music after reading this thread. Truly fascinating story (and the Penny Arkade version of Country Girl is a 10/10).


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: joe_blow on February 17, 2019, 10:22:15 AM
https://youtu.be/056X8C0YBnY?t=753


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 17, 2019, 04:39:40 PM
I know this is an old topic, but I have not posted here for a while or have been familiar with Craig Smith's music back in 2012...

Having read about Craig Smith's recording sessions (from Mike Stax's excellent book  and other articles and interviews) it would not be impossible for this track to have been recorded in 1970. To my memory, the tracks Revelation and Love Is Our Existence were recorded back then, and Salesman sounds quite similar in terms of instrumentation (acoustic guitar, bass and a tiny bit amateurish drums), though unlike the two aforementioned tracks Salesman has no vocals fed through a Leslie speaker. After the release of the book, more recordings, writings etc. from Craig Smith have been recovered; some collected on the album Love Is Our Existence but apparently there will be more to come - so I hope you folks do not mind me sharing pure speculation before some actual info comes up.


I'd never heard of Craig Smith until GF's post seven years ago. Here's an interesting article, from Sept. 2016, reviewing Mike Stax's book. When Craig Smith left for a trip on the Hippie Trail in 1968 Mike Love threw a going away party at his house. Unfortunately, Mike declined to be interviewed for the book. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7bmxzx/swimming-through-the-darkness-the-hunt-for-craig-smith-psychedelic-messiah


A very big THANK YOU for reviving this thread and putting new information out there! Has it really been almost 7 years since I posted that initially? Wow, seems like a different era entirely.

At that time, I had been doing some very basic digging around and researching Craig Smith, but obviously there was not much available, and what was available was in dribs and drabs. Thanks for the tip on the book about him, I've been out of the loop as far as Craig Smith's saga for many years and didn't know there was a book. I'll be picking that up, and hopefully even more new information will surface.


The connections were, for me, the points of interest. For one, flash back to 1967: If you were a songwriter, and you scored a track that was released by The Monkees, it was literally like hitting the lottery, the Golden Ticket. And that's how it was for Craig Smith, who chose to fund his wanderings and travels along with other trips that ended up radically changing his path in life.

But it was the fact that when I began really getting deeper into the Monkees, and getting to the realities versus the media's surface-level stuff, I kept wondering who was this guy Craig Smith, and how did he get on a Monkees album as an unknown? More on that later, beyond his connection to and the generosity of Mike Nesmith.

Then, beyond that, here was this bizarre track featuring Mike Love...Seriously, a true WTF type of situation. Further enhanced by the new (since the last posts in 2012) details of Mike Love throwing Craig a party before he embarked on his travels. I did not know that previously.

OK, a few questions:

Was it Mike Love, or Mike Nesmith who refused to be interviewed? Or both Mikes? Either way, I'm kind of disappointed and want to know why the refusal, unless it gets into stuff with Manson and the like. Any details?

Was Craig Smith involved with Manson and the family?

I have not read the book yet, but when I was digging years ago I got the impression that Craig Smith was not only assaulted in some way on his Hippie Trail wanderings, but that it may also have been a case of a sexual assault. Is this true, or was it just rumor blown out of proportion?

I also had not heard - as far as I remember *anywhere* - that he spent time in an Afghan insane asylum. All the accounts I remember prior to 2012 were that Craig was traveling, that he ended up out of the US, and when he came back he was pretty much gone...not himself, not even a shadow of himself.

So I'm curious to read and hear what has been turned up since 2012, and thanks again for rebooting this topic.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: rn57 on February 17, 2019, 07:19:12 PM
Not long after Mike Stax’s book about Craig Smith/Maitreya Kali was published I read it and discussed it in this thread:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,16126.0.html

Stax did a phenomenal amount of research and the book went a long way toward explaining how Craig’s life took such tragic turns. One disadvantage he had when writing the book was that he was unable to interview any of Craig’s relatives but after it came out Craig’s brother read it and then provided Stax with the demos that made up the Love Is Our Existence album and also
provided reminiscences of the musician for its liner notes - so those supplement what’s in the book, which is one of the better rock biographies I’ve ever read.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 17, 2019, 07:29:07 PM
Great, thank you for the heads-up and the link! I totally missed that the first time around.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: rn57 on February 17, 2019, 07:56:55 PM
Also of interest is this interview with Mike Stax from last year, about the book and CD:

https://pleasekillme.com/craig-smith/


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: guitarfool2002 on February 18, 2019, 08:46:02 AM
Also of interest is this interview with Mike Stax from last year, about the book and CD:

https://pleasekillme.com/craig-smith/

Fantastic - Thank you again for posting! So much new info has come down the road since 2012, it's great to be catching up with all of this.

I liked Stax's comments on how he became interested in who this Craig Smith was, and what led him to the research and eventually the book (with more releases to come). For me it was squarely, 100% the song "Salesman" on what was and is one of my all-time favorite albums by The Monkees. PAC&J.

The lead track, track 1 on side 1...so who was this Craig Smith listed as the writer? It's an album full of tracks written by names who were known or who would be known, but Craig Smith?

It was also part of getting deeper into the backstory of The Monkees, and peeling off layers of what the media or common knowledge might say versus what was bubbling under the surfaces of their music.

So here's a song about a salesman, pushing his copper kettles, different kinds of tin...but it's about a drug pusher. And it's getting broadcast on NBC prime time to kids, pre-teens, and teens watching at home. Then even further, that outtake surfaces where the fade-out of the song is Nesmith doing a spoken-word rap about rolling joints.

Put that on an album released in Fall 1967 that has a song written by Harry Nilsson about a girl getting gang-banged at a Hell's Angels party, a song written about the mass media's failure to catch on to what was happening with the "kids" who were protesting on the Sunset Strip and who were there on camera as Pandora's Box went up in flames, a song about the groupie subculture where girls and guys would do anything to "collect" their conquests with various celebrities, and a song about the frustrations and hypocrisy of living in the wealthier suburbs of the 50's and 60's "creature comfort goals...they only numb my soul...I need a change of scenery..."

And then tracing backwards...Their first #1 hit was about a guy grabbing a train to be shipped off to Vietnam and saying "I don't know if I'm ever coming home" after exchanging coffee-flavored kisses and a bit of conversation at the goodbye meeting with his girl. And one of the highlights of their 3rd album was Micky's travelogue that described smoking pot with a Beatle and meeting his future wife on a trip to the UK.

Heavy stuff for a so-called bubblegum pop, manufactured pop band. So again it came back to who was this Craig Smith guy, and what happened to him?

Then that track with Mike Love shows up, "Salesman" from the Monkees album, and how did all of that go down?

What is fascinating is that Craig's eventual saga kind of unfolded similar to another LA musician - a *brilliant* drummer - who drummed on many of the Monkees' best tracks and who backed the Mamas & Papas at Monterey among other high-profile gigs...then proceeded to all but disappear off the face of the Earth, only to have various sightings and supposed spottings and rumors of people finding him on the street or something...

Fast Eddie Hoh. Look up that story for the details and outcomes, but like Craig Smith, Hoh was all over the credits to high-profile albums and projects, then promptly disappeared from public view.



Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: stinkynimrod on February 18, 2019, 01:16:11 PM
I actually just finished Stax' book last week, amazing read. He clears up a few things in the book that have been asked about so far in this thread. The version of Salesmen on Apache is an unknown band recording with Mike Love and Craig talking in the studio control playback room, discussing vocal overdubs but obviously nothing else has surfaced.

Mike Love's management (I think Brian's too) didn't answer to being interviewed about Craig. I think this falls in line with them generally trying to distance themselves these days from Manson, drugs, anything potentially controversial.

There is a funny anecdote recounted by a brief acquaintance of Craig's where he and Craig were at a laundromat around 1969 I believe and Mike Love pulls up in a white hearse and takes them for a perilous ride. The mental image of Mike in all white and a cowboy hat in a white hearse driving to TM class and health food restaurants in late 60s LA makes me like him a lot more lol

It's really a great book, Craig was tied up in a lot of facets of 60s LA culture. Mike Stax revealed recently that Apache and Inca are in the works to be properly reissued for anyone interested


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: “Big Daddy” on August 19, 2019, 11:31:17 AM
Saw on Facebook that the preorder is up for the official reissue of Apache & Inca (mastered from vinyl sources according to other posts). CD & LP versions will be available, each limited to 500 copies. https://www.facebook.com/swimthroughthedarkness/photos/a.1732923400305143/2309173699346774/


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Fall Breaks on August 19, 2019, 12:24:13 PM
Oh that would be so nice to have. But 31.25 dollars including shipping to my faraway overseas country just isn't affordable for me right now. Although "Country Girl" alone is worth that.


Title: Re: Salesman 1967: Craig Smith, Mike Nesmith, and Mike Love...and Brian?
Post by: Don Malcolm on August 20, 2019, 09:14:34 AM
There is a funny anecdote recounted by a brief acquaintance of Craig's where he and Craig were at a laundromat around 1969 I believe and Mike Love pulls up in a white hearse and takes them for a perilous ride. The mental image of Mike in all white and a cowboy hat in a white hearse driving to TM class and health food restaurants in late 60s LA makes me like him a lot more lol

What we know...generically...is that Mike was a much wilder and "hipper" guy in the 1968-73 time frame than he would currently care to admit, and that much of what he was doing in those days was probably motivated by trying to get back to some form of the original "arrangement" of the band, where he was more centrally involved in the creative decisions. It seems as though he was throwing stuff up against the wall to see what would stick throughout this period, doing whatever he could not to get run over by the creative freight train that was built and being operated by Carl and Dennis. That helps to explain the hostility and pushback against Jack Reiley, who'd sized things up in late 1970 that it was the Wilson brothers who were the prime movers of what he wanted to achieve with the group.

"Salesman" may have been something that Mike seized upon as a way to get a "leg up" with Brian as they came down the home stretch of the SURF's UP sessions, but that never materialized. It sounds as though he was hoping it might fit into a "dreamier" second side of the LP, somehow dovetailing with "Feel Flows" (which prominently features Charles Lloyd). Getting a cover song onto a Beach Boys LP, however, was a tricky proposition: aside from 20/20, which was a grab-bag of material tossed together, these were few and far between.

We are getting a better sense of the wider net cast by the band as the details of this reaching beyond its internal "creative combustion" continue to emerge, and this appears to be another oddball manifestation of that effort. Some kind of weeding out process was taking place during the first year of Reiley's tenure as "guidance guru," and the fur was flying. It eventually came to pass that Carl's approach prevailed--ironically "aided" by Dennis' hand injury, which tipped the scales toward adding Blondie and Ricky. We have yet to hear the exact details of how that process went down, but the decision clearly came about in stages--and Mike's casting about for material such as "Salesman" fits into what was clearly a volatile situation surrounding the band in the SURF'S UP/SO TOUGH era.