In late 1980, Peter formed a band called The New Monks. On February 13, 1981, they recorded a single, "Steppin' Stone"/"Higher and Higher." The 45 was eventually released on the Claude's Music Works label, named after Peter's then-manager Claude Hayn. Thanks a lot to Ben Belmares for sharing the scans of his single!
Fred Velez has uploaded rare video clips to YouTube, including Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart live at the Riverboat Cafe in New York City in 1976, along with footage of Micky and Davy at the Riverboat in 1977 (featuring their supporting band, The Laughing Dogs). Also featured is Peter Tork & The New Monks live in 1981. Thanks, Fred!
After forming The New Monks in late 1980, Peter Tork recorded several demos in 1981 for Sire Records (a venture that was ultimately unsuccessful in landing the group a recording deal). "Since You Went Away" was written by a friend of Peter's, Michael Levine, and was one of the tracks demoed. Check out the New Monks' take on it below, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel.
Peter tackled the song again later in the 1980s, this time for release on the 1987 Monkees album, Pool It!
In late 1980, Peter formed a band called The New Monks. On February 13, 1981, they recorded a single, "Steppin' Stone"/"Higher and Higher." The 45 was eventually released on the Claude's Music Works label, named after Peter's then-manager Claude Hayn.
The New Monks later conducted a tour of Japan in August 1981, taking advantage of the resurgence of The Monkees that was happening there at the time. The set list for the shows generally comprised the following songs: Higher and Higher/Cripple Creek/Last Train to Clarksville/A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You/Daydream Believer/Pleasant Valley Sunday/Lucille/Hi Hi Babe/Shades Of Gray/Valleri/Tender Is/Your Auntie Grizelda/I’m a Believer/Steppin’ Stone.
This is the front and back cover of the program made available at the Japanese shows:
The New Monks consisted of Nelson Bogart (guitar, trumpet), Paul Ill (bass, music director), Vince Barranco (drums), Phil Simon (guitar), and Peter on guitar and lead vocals. After touring Japan, the group performed in the United States before disbanding in early 1982. Peter would start fresh with a new band, The Peter Tork Project, in 1983.
Interview with Wayne Avers