Thomas Jefferson High School grad Michael Nesmith met Jack Nicholson in the late 1960s because actor Peter Fonda was a motorcycle-riding buddy. The Monkees’ lead guitarist, singer and songwriter described the moment in his 2017 memoir, “Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff.”
“Peter and I met at a local Topanga Canyon music gathering put on every so often by the musicians and artists who lived in the Canyon; everyone would hang out, play music and socialize,” Nesmith wrote. “Peter and I hit it off because of our motorcycles. I had a Triumph Bonneville and he had a Harley, and we started riding around the canyons soon after he had his Harley chopped but before he got the Captain America Helmet.
“Dennis Hopper came into those circles as a friend of Peter’s,” Nesmith added, “and Jack was a part of an even bigger concentric circle that slowly drew us all together by various means.”
“Because I was friendly with Peter and Dennis, I also knew about ‘Easy Rider,’ ” Nesmith recalled. “The story of the movie changed a bit each time Peter told it to me, so I couldn’t get my head around it completely. It seemed to me that a movie with Fonda riding a motorcycle was a good commercial idea in any case. A Monkees movie did not sound like a good idea to me.”
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