Michael's "Good Clean Fun" was played early on the '87 US tour and featured Peter on banjo and lead vocals. This is an audience recording from an unknown location and date.
"Vagabond John" was written by Derek Lord, who was the drummer for the Peter Tork Project in the early 1980s. The song has remained a part of Peter's repertoire for years. In the video below, Peter performs it at a solo stop in 2012, while the audio file features a live version from a Project show at The Jetty in 1983 (with Lord on lead vocals). Thanks to Kevin Schmid for passing along the Project live version!
You might recall that the late Jerry Renino was a member of the Peter Tork Project. He also toured with The Monkees between 1989 and 2002. After the 1989 US Monkees tour, Jerry's band, Breakaway, became Davy’s road band in the early 1990s. Breakaway consisted of Steve Avitabile (keyboards), VJ Riccitelli (drums), and Rory Gordon (guitar). The group later added sax player Steve Barlotta, along with Wayne Avers (guitar) and VJ's brother Jimmy Riccitelli (keyboards). Monkees fans, of course, know Wayne Avers as the veteran guitarist in The Monkees' backing band. (The Riccitelli's have also toured with The Monkees through the years.)
According to longtime Monkees fan Helen Pantuso (who also was largely responsible for the campaign to get The Monkees a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame), the Avitabile's in both the Peter Tork Project (Scott was the lead guitarist of the Project) and Breakaway are not related! (What are the odds?!)
Helen talked more about Breakaway with the Live Almanac. "Scott and Jimmy were in a band called Rush Hour. I think VJ was in it, too, before joining Breakaway (there were 2 other drummers in Breakaway before VJ). They were all good friends and hung out together and even lived together. I think that Steve and Scott and maybe Jimmy shared a house at one point before Steve got married. I know VJ lived in the downstairs apartment in the house Jerry lived in for a while. I'm not sure how they all connected with Wayne (Avers)."
Helen continued. "Steve was found by Wendy Kaye. She was a booking agent with the Mars Agency. They handled Gary U.S. Bonds. Steve was Gary's sax player and musical director. Mars had just started booking Davy Jones so when Davy decided he wanted to add a sax player to Breakaway, Wendy recommended Steve."
A big thanks to Helen Pantuso for all of the information in this post about Breakaway, as well as Fred Velez, who helped facilitate this conversation about Davy's former backing band. Fred recently published a book, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: The Monkees From a Fan's Perspective. You can download the electronic version of the book, and a hard copy is also now available. (Thanks, Fred!)
Thanks again to Helen for also providing some pictures of members of Breakaway:
Who else had this bootleg that was released by Bird Brain Records? An audience recording with an undesirable sound quality, Live In Los Angeles could be found in record shops that would carry less than official merchandise. Though the tape source is dubious, the boot does capture a near exuberant audience throughout the duration of the show, especially when Nez showed up for the encore that night.
As someone who is generally a fan of live recordings, I've always been frustrated by the lack of official live albums by The Monkees. We had the '86 live album, the two 1967 releases, Live Summer Tour (an incomplete documentation of the 2001 show on the King Biscuit label), and that's been about it. There were others, like the ones sold at the concert merchandise booths on the 2001 and 2002 tours, but those were not Rhino sanctioned official offerings. (The 2001 live CD is especially horrendous, featuring, of all things, canned applause!)
Take a moment to refresh your memory of the 1987 setlist. And how about the 1989 shows that featured an unplugged set? What about the Justus shows with all four Monkees in the UK in 1997?! It would have been great for these tours to have been officially documented. (And by the way, who dropped the ball when it came to having the ultra-successful 1986 tour filmed for video release? I still can't figure that one.)
Perhaps at the top of my list would be live recordings from the previous three tours, which fans have widely praised as some of the group's best performances. How about a box set for this request, Rhino? We'll be ready to purchase. Drop them an email and let them know you're interested.
The Monkees performed at the Poplar Creek Music Theatre on August 7, 1986. This one's been floating around for some time now but was just uploaded on YouTube. Thanks to Al Bigley for the heads up!
Thanks to Scott Erickson and Monkee Bootlegs for these live audio files. They are in FLAC format, and you can download Winamp to play them.
Thanks to Bill Shinn and Iain Lee at Monkee Bootlegs for this very rare 1986 performance of "Sometime in the Morning" recorded at Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh, New York on July 17, 1986. It's unknown exactly how many times "Sometime in the Morning" was performed on the 20th Anniversary Tour, but it wasn't played at many shows.
Thanks to Iain Lee at Monkee Bootlegs who has just posted a very rare clip of The Monkees performing "Take a Giant Step" live on the 1986 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. (The date and venue of the recording is unknown.) It didn't last long in the set that year, so this is a real treat. I've never had a copy of this in my collection, and I was quite surprised to see it in my inbox this afternoon.
Iain has it available for download here. Thanks, Iain!
This performance of "Cuddly Toy" comes from a show held in the Netherlands on April 21, 1989 during The Monkees' tour of Europe that year. It's sourced from a widely circulated bootleg of the show (which was also broadcasted on European radio and filmed for Holland television). Enjoy...
After playing live shows on the road in 1983, the Peter Tork Project eventually recorded several demos in New York City that year. These are a couple of my favorites from the demo tapes that have circulated among collectors for a long time now. It's too bad these songs were never formally produced into a final product.
The last demo below is "Maybe Tonight." I had previously published it on the Live Almanac's YouTube Channel but this one is a bit of an upgrade.
The late Jerry Renino, who was a member of the Peter Tork Project, played bass for The Monkees on the 1989, 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002 tours.
Thanks to Kevin Schmid for these rare Project photos that come from his collection. According to the Project's former manager, Carol Gore, who contacted me a few months ago after seeing the "Maybe Tonight" demo on YouTube, the photo above was taken on top of a building in the lower east side of New York City. Carol talked more about publicity photos completed for the Peter Tork Project. "We also did a private photo shoot in Central Park that we never did anything with and our very first one was with a professional photographer...that picture had an entirely different look before we went with the industrial one. They had on suits and string ties with well-groomed hair." Carol described another photo to me, which I believe is the one below: "I took one other before that in a park near my office on 57th Street & 9th Avenue."
If anyone has any other Project memorabilia and would like to share, please contact me.
This performance of "Last Train to Clarksville" comes from a show held in the Netherlands on April 21, 1989 during The Monkees' tour of Europe that year. It's sourced from a widely circulated bootleg of the show (which was also broadcasted on European radio and filmed for Holland television). Enjoy...
This performance of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" comes from a show held in the Netherlands on April 21, 1989 during The Monkees' tour of Europe that year. It's sourced from a widely circulated bootleg of the show (which was also broadcasted on European radio and filmed for Holland television). Enjoy...
This performance of "She" comes from a show held in the Netherlands on April 21, 1989 during The Monkees' tour of Europe that year. It's sourced from a widely circulated bootleg of the show (which was also broadcasted on European radio and filmed for Holland television). Enjoy...
This performance of "Steppin' Stone" comes from a show held in the Netherlands on April 21, 1989 during The Monkees' tour of Europe that year. It's sourced from a widely circulated bootleg of the show (which was also broadcasted on European radio and filmed for Holland television). Enjoy...
Audio of this show at the Rio Theatre on March 26 can be downloaded here, courtesy of Monkees Bootlegs.