After reuniting in 1986 and undertaking worldwide tours through 1987, The Monkees were relatively out of the limelight in 1988. Peter Tork reemerged late that year with a short solo tour that included multiple shows at The Speakeasy in New York City. I vividly recall these concerts being advertised in fan club newsletters like The Monkees/Boyce & Hart Photo Fan Club and Monkee Business Fanzine, and later seeing Michael G. Bush's photos from the Speakeasy.
Beginning in the late 1970s and right up to The Monkees' phenomenal 1986 comeback, Peter had played numerous club dates in and around New York City as a solo artist and with his bands The New Monks and The Peter Tork Project, as documented in an essay on this blog by Fred Velez in 2017. Looking back, it's interesting to see how Peter seamlessly transitioned from playing stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters in 1986 and 1987 while returning to the more intimate setting of New York City clubs in 1988. During these shows, he was backed by Jerry Renino (who was a member of The Peter Tork Project as well as The Monkees' backing band from 1989-2002), Michael Levine (electric fiddle), and Mal Stein (drums).
The March 1989 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine covered Peter's late 1988 concerts, which also included stops at The Town Crier in Pawling, New York and The Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts:
As mentioned in the above article from Monkee Business Fanzine, Peter's shows at the Speakeasy were recorded for a live album that ultimately was never released. However, thanks to Scott Erickson, select samples of those live recordings were heard for the very first time in a recent post on the Live Almanac's blog.
Heather Sciacca recently uploaded her photos from one of Peter's shows at The Speakeasy in New York City on the Torkees Discussion Group on Facebook. Thanks, Heather!
Finally, here is video footage of Peter's appearance at The Speakeasy in New York City (which is now a comedy club) on November 26, 1988, courtesy of Jennifer Winkle:
In its March 1988 issue, Monkee Business Fanzine profiled Nickelodeon contest winner Adrianne Bommer, who had the opportunity to "Meet The Monkees" in late 1987. You can also read an interview conducted years later with Adrianne in 2010 that was published on Davy's official Facebook page.
This is a really nice article from the June 1995 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine that discusses Peter Tork singing the "Star Spangled Banner" in Portland, Maine for the (Double-A baseball team) Portland Sea Dogs on their opening night.
A little note on Chris: I connected with him online in 2000 or so. In 2001 I began a small project, writing brief summaries for each Monkees tour and embellishing the information with set lists and reviews. Brad Waddell at Monkees.net was kind enough to publish my work on his website that year, and Chris was a big help in collecting variations of set lists from different tours, reviewing the summaries I had written, etc. It ultimately took a decade for this website to be created, but the genesis of it all started during that time with assistance from Chris.
"Star Collector" was a longtime feature in Monkee Business Fanzine. Monkees collector and author Ed Reilly would break down a wide range of Monkees memorabilia, including everything from toys, trading cards, records, and much more. In this column from the September 1991 issue of MBF, Ed examines Monkees song sheets from the 1960s through the 1980s.
I still have a soft spot for the very first Monkees box set ever issued by Rhino Records on September 24, 1991. Listen to the Band was a 4-CD collection that included a memorabilia poster and a detailed booklet written and compiled by Andrew Sandoval, and it featured many songs that had not been previously released on compact disc. The September 1991 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine, which celebrated The Monkees' 25th Anniversary, previewed the box with comments by Sandoval and more. Note the discussion about live tapes from the 1969 tour. You can read a more current take of those tapes on the '69 tour page here on the site.
In the December 1987 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine, Monkees photographer Michael G. Bush wrote about the fun-filled finale of the 1987 tour at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe, Nevada:
The Monkees would, however, go on to play one more show in 1987 in front of a massive crowd at Zoofest, held at Lowry Park in Tampa, Florida:
After all four Monkees visited the United Kingdom in early 1997, the group embarked on a tour of the United States throughout the summer and fall of '97, but this time without Michael Nesmith. The September 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine highlighted summer dates on the tour, which featured songs from The Monkees' 1996 album, Justus, and some rarely performed songs like "Oh My My":
Before The Monkees' explosive 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour throughout North America in 1986, Davy Jones and Peter Tork performed concerts in Australia earlier that year, playing to full houses and enthusiastic audiences. I have a couple of audience recordings from this tour, and it reminds me that I should attempt to digitize them for the Live Almanac's YouTube channel. Davy and Peter returned to Australia as a duo a year later. Monkee Business Fanzine documented these shows in its June 1987 issue with this overview by Anne O'Reilly:
Micky Dolenz was once an avid polo player, and this article from the September 1990 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine (written by Vickie Barnhill) takes a look at Micky playing in a polo match at Chicago's Oak Brook Polo Club on June 3, 1990.
The monumental gathering of Monkees fans in Philadelphia on August 1-3, 1986 was a culmination of the stready growth of smaller, more intimate Monkees conventions since the late 1970s. This sold-out event, hosted by Monkee Business Fanzine editor Maggie McManus and Monkees collector Ed Reilly, and emceed by longtime fan Fred Velez, attracted Davy, Micky, and Peter during the height of The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Tour. Two sold-out shows at Philly's Mann Music Center capped off the event.
Anyone else remember watching this when it first aired? Check out the video below, from my old VHS collection and now available on the Live Almanac's YouTube channel!
This article, written by Monkee Business Fanzine editor Maggie McManus, was published in the March 2002 issue of MBF, which proved to be the penultimate issue. Maggie reveals how Donna and Micky met, the impact 9/11 had on their relationship, and more. On a side note, I'd like to say thank you to both Donna and Micky for their support of the Live Almanac!
Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees was later certified platinum in January 1987.
After releasing Justus, an album of all-new material in late 1996, The Monkees began work on an original one-hour prime time TV special in January 1997, and it eventually aired in the United States on ABC on February 17, 1997. This article, from the March 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine and written by MBF editor Maggie McManus, details the genesis and filming of the television special, the group's first since 1969's 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
Read much more about The Monkees' 1997 television special at The Monkees Film & TV Vault.
Last year, it was great fun covering in real time the release of Good Times!, the first new Monkees album since 1996's Justus.
The widespread use of the internet was still a relative novelty in '96 when Justus arrived, and it was up to the traditional outlets to provide the extensive, in-depth coverage of the latest Monkees happenings. There was no greater source of Monkees news and information at that time than Monkee Business Fanzine and its editor Maggie McManus.
Scanning these pages from the December 1996 issue of MBF proved quite nostalgic. I was a junior in college when Justus hit record shops in October 1996. After my 9:30 am class that day, I purchased the CD at the town's music store. The campus bookstore carried Goldmine magazine, and if I'm remembering correctly, I had read their stellar review of Justus prior to purchasing it.
This MBF article provided early sales figures, initial reviews, and much more about the album. Enjoy, and as always, a big thanks to Maggie McManus!
Reviews for Justus were less enthusiastic in comparison with those for Good Times!:
The March 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine provided an update on Justus sales figures and more:
Monkees Farewell Tour