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Episode 117 : Holly George-Warren on Janis Joplin + the Monkees + Michael Nesmith

20 December 2021

In this episode we invite Holly George-Warren — beamed in from upstate New York — to tell us about her long and distinguished career as a journalist, author and editor.

Holly revisits her North Carolina childhood and early infatuation with pop radio, then talks about her move to New York City in the early '80s, her East Village bands Clambake and Das Fürlines, and her long tenure at Rolling Stone Press. Barney, Mark and Jasper ask her about the latest of her many books — her acclaimed 2019 biography of Janis Joplin — and tie this in with two clips from a 1984 audio interview with Peter Albin of Big Brother & the Holding Company, including his account of Joplin's impact on the band in 1966.

Conversation turns to the passing of Michael Nesmith, the Monkee who walked away from pop fame to commence life as an eccentric country singer-songwriter. We hear a clip of the lugubrious Texan speaking about the Monkees in 1974, then discuss "America's Beatles" [sic] and Nesmith's own singular musical legacy.

Mark and Jasper talk us out with their reflections on new library pieces about John Peel (1969), the Cockettes (1971), Ronnie Scott (1975), Daft Punk (1997) and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (2000).

Many thanks to special guest Holly George-Warren; please visit her website for details about her books, including Janis: Her Life and Music.