While you won’t hear Tork and Dolenz...singing their hits, Wizard World offers you the chance to enjoy the Monkees in their natural habitat, entertaining an audience. According to the event’s website, www.wizardworld.com, “A Conversation with Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork of the Monkees” will take place March 19 at 11:30 a.m.
Peter Tork on his fellow Monkees:
“Well, I’ve never been really close with Michael [Nesmith] for some reason. You know, I have a lot of respect for him and admiration. But somehow we’ve never integrated. We’ve never been warm with each other. We worked together and did pretty well at it really. But Micky on the other hand, I enjoy hugely. We have some very good times together. We laugh a lot. We pay attention to what each other is doing on stage and so there’s communication there. Micky’s always been a lot of fun.” Tork then shares a warm sentiment on his late friend, Davy Jones, who passed away at age 66 back in 2012. “Who I miss is Davy of course. Davy is the guy who…I’ve always said I loved, liked and respected [the band members] in different proportions but Davy actually kinda got my heart.”
Micky and Peter talk about their friendship with The Beatles, and Ringo Starr in particular:
Both Monkees seem to agree on their favorite Beatle: “I would say by far the person I spent the most time with probably would have been Ringo,” Dolenz shares. “He moved out to L.A. and spent a lot of time there in the 70’s and we had a lot of mutual friends like Harry Nilsson, the singer/songwriter. I also spent time with John and Paul.” Tork is quick to share on his affection for good old Ringo: “He is my favorite Beatle. It truly was Ringo that I found to be the most open and human.”
One of several songs Peter wrote and recorded during sessions for The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, "Tear the Top Right Off My Head" was relegated to the vaults in the late '60s, finally receiving an official release in 1991 on the Listen to the Band box set. I've always liked this song and feel it should have made the cut for the Birds album in 1968.
Lance Wakely, who played guitar and harmonica on the track, was a friend of Peter's from his days in Greenwich Village before The Monkees. He was also featured as a session musician on some of Peter's other early 1968 recordings, contributing guitar and bass to "Lady's Baby" and "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again." Dewey Martin, who drums on "Tear the Top," was a member of Buffalo Springfield at the time.
Micky Dolenz also took a turn with a lead vocal for this song:
Andrew Sandoval discussed "Tear the Top Right Off My Head" in the liner notes of the 2010 deluxe edition release of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees by Rhino Handmade:
"Tear The Top" was first previewed on the second season episode, "Hitting the High Seas."
It made its live debut during Micky and Peter's brief run of shows in 2015:
The Monkees performed at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on January 15, 1967. Flip later reported that Michael Nesmith tossed his green wool hat into the audience during this performance.
Here's Peter and Micky photographed in the studio during sessions for "Ditty Diego" in July 1968:
The Monkees performed in front of a sold-out audience of over 17,000 at the historic Hollywood Bowl on June 9, 1967. Just five days earlier, The Monkees had attended the 19th Primetime Emmy Awards where the group's television series took home two awards, including 'Outstanding Comedy Series.'
After this concert, The Monkees recorded "Pleasant Valley Sunday" in the studio, which became their smash hit during the Summer of Love.
This illustration is courtesy of Sandra Schock, who shared several pieces of her work with the Live Almanac late last year. Thanks, Sandra!
Despite a lack of Monkees concerts this year, both Micky and Peter will be making personal appearances (and Micky already has a series of solo concert dates booked). Keep checking back for updates!
A big thanks to Daniel Coston for sharing his Monkees concert photos with the Live Almanac. Here's three from Micky and Peter's appearance in Atlanta, Georgia on May 21, 2016.