The wonderful team who oversees Peter Tork's official Facebook page has just announced that "Peter Tork: A Celebration of Life & Community" will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2019 at Club 66 in Edgewood, Maryland (near Baltimore) to honor the memory of Peter. Details can be found below, and stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for more information about this special event.
A CELEBRATION: Peter loved his Torkees fanbase and was proud of the wonderful community and friendships that developed as a result of people traveling to see him perform in Monkees and Shoe Suede Blues shows. He was always concerned about the well-being of his fans, friends and loved ones. When thinking about the time he would no longer be on this earth, Peter often said that he would not want any glitzy or flashy events, nor sad or solemn ceremonies. He wished, instead, that people would simply gather in a comfortable place to remember him in fellowship, enjoy good food, listen to music, and share fun memories. We'd like to honor Peter by giving him his wish... and we invite you to help us.
In a gathering similar to his beloved Fan Parties, we welcome you to join us on Sunday, October 20, 2019 @ 1:00-5:00pm ET at Club 66, Edgewood MD (near Baltimore) for Peter Tork: A Celebration of Life & Community, as we enjoy one more visit with our favorite Blues Boy in celebration of his life and deep love and appreciation for all of you! This laid-back, casual celebration will include a buffet lunch, the showing of a never-before-seen-in-public video of a Shoe Suede Blues concert on a big screen (featuring Peter, Arnold "AJ" Jacks, Joe Boyle, and Sturgis Cunningham), lots of Peter Tork/Shoe Suede Blues music, time to chat and reflect on good memories, and a few other activities.
We have chosen Club 66 for this celebration because it was Peter's favorite place to play, as well as the host to most of the band's fan parties. The owners, staff, and members of the Club were always so supportive and welcoming to Peter & SSB, and the vibe so electric there, that the band truly considered it their "home away from home." If the timing would have worked out, Peter had even hoped to host a CD Release Party for "Relax Your Mind" at the Club. Because of all this, we couldn't think of a more appropriate place to bring people together to celebrate, remember and heal.
We are aware that Micky Dolenz will be performing in the “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today” tour in Bethlehem PA on October 19th, and in Washington DC on October 20th. Edgewood MD is located between these two locations, approximately 2.5 hours from Bethlehem and 1.5 hours from DC. We have adjusted the timing of our gathering to make it possible for fans to attend as many of the happenings as they wish to, without causing a conflict.
Please email our team at fiorepro85[at]hotmail[dot]com for ticket information and additional details. We hope you will be able to join us in celebrating Peter and being a part of his world! ~ptfb team #ShineOn #WeAreOne #PeaceLoveAndTork
(Photo: Sherri Hansen)
In 2016, Patrick Zappi penned a three-part series, "Reimagining The Post-Peter Albums." And now Patrick has contributed another piece to The Monkees Live Almanac, featuring a retrospective playlist of Peter Tork's musical career that not only includes his time in The Monkees, but also highlights Peter's work as a solo artist, his musical partnership with James Lee Stanley, and his stint in Shoe Suede Blues.
"Come On In: The Best of Peter Tork (1966-2016)" by Patrick Zappi
Since 1966, the press and purported "serious" music critics have reveled in stories about The Monkees and their musical prowess. But after the group's triumphant 45th Anniversary Tour in 2011, progressive journalists have reassessed The Monkees' musical catalog and many now choose to celebrate this cast of actors, singers, and musicians and their metamorphosis into an authentic recording and touring project.
As longtime fans already know, and contrary to urban legend, the individual members of The Monkees all played multiple instruments with varying degrees of skill. Peter Tork cut his teeth in the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, gigging with the likes of a then unknown Stephen Stills in The Buffalo Fish and jamming onstage with Mama Cass in her pre-Mamas and Papas project, The Mugwumps. Tork was a multi-instrumentalist who mastered the banjo, guitar, bass, piano, and even the French horn with exuberance. His stunning instrumental contributions are undisputed highlights of the Monkees catalog: the beloved piano lick from "Daydream Believer," the ominous organ solo on "Words," the breezy harpsichord on "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," the propulsive banjo on "You Told Me," the aggressive bass on "You Just May Be The One," the majestic piano on "Shades Of Gray," the rolling keyboards on "The Door Into Summer," the tense electric piano solo on "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and the famous guitar-intro to his own composition, "For Pete's Sake," which became the closing theme for The Monkees television series in its second season. The list goes on and on!
Peter's singing and songwriting however, were met with a different response. With a questionable pitch and a lovable but infrequently utilized voice, Peter became the Ringo Starr of The Monkees, an ace in the hole who was lucky to score a single lead vocal on any given album. In his heyday, Tork was an inspired but seemingly frustrated songwriter. Overshadowed by the prolific and somewhat dominant Michael Nesmith (who just happened to title Peter's signature composition "For Pete's Sake"), some of Peter's quirky, folksy, and bluesy gems were initially left unreleased until The Monkees' incredible resurgence in 1986 that ultimately opened the studio vaults. After that unprecedented commercial resurgence, Tork was able to spread his wings as a solo artist, exploring his folk roots with longtime friend and musical partner James Lee Stanley, tackling the roadhouse blues with the tongue-in-cheek titled band Shoe Suede Blues, and finally bringing his peculiar vision to life with 1994's Stranger Things Have Happened.
In February of this year, we lost Peter Tork to a longtime battle with cancer, but his music survives. The following is a retrospective of his career for fellow fans to enjoy. As Peter wrote, "To say that you can dig it, is to make your soul to fly . . . to heaven."
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" (With James Lee Stanley, Two Man Band, 1996)
"Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Your Auntie Grizelda" (The Monkees, More Of The Monkees, 1967)
"Words" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Shades of Gray" (The Monkees, Headquarters, 1967)
"Cripple Creek" (The Monkees, Live 1967)
"Alvin" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Tear the Top Right Off My Head" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Come On In" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Seeger's Theme" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Lady's Baby" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Prithee" (The Monkees, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, 1969)
"Can You Dig It" - Peter's lead vocal originally unissued (The Monkees, 1968)
"Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" (The Monkees, Head, 1968)
"MGBGT" (The Monkees, B-side to "Heart & Soul," Live 1986)
"Gettin' In" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Since You Went Away" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Milkshake" (With Micky Dolenz & Michael Nesmith, Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Sea Change" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Giant Step" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Tender Is" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"I Believe You" (The Monkees, Justus, 1996)
"I Remember Christmas" (With James Lee Stanley, A Beachwood Christmas, 2003)
"Saved by the Blues" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"Slender Tender and Tall" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"She Belongs To Me" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Vagabond John" (Live 2012)
"Little Girl" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Wasn't Born to Follow" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Early Morning Blues and Greens" (The Monkees, Live 2013)
"For Pete's Sake" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Daydream Believer" (With James Lee Stanley, Once Again, 2001)
"Higher and Higher" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
Micky Dolenz & Michael Nesmith discuss The Monkees, their current tour of Australia, Peter Tork's parties, building gyrocopters, and more
"With Micky and me, it was love at first sight," says Nez. "We just clicked and we'd always be making silly jokes. We'd joke that one day we'd do the Mike and Micky Show – and here we are."
Micky and Nez were interviewed today by Angela Bishop on the Australian morning talk show Studio 10. "The Mike and Micky Show" debuts down under this Saturday evening in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Thank you very much to Live Almanac contributor Renny Simno for sharing these tributes to Peter Tork from the latest issues of Uncut and Mojo:
Thanks a lot to Jeremy Roberts for sharing his recently published article on Medium about a stop on The Monkees' triumphant 45th Anniversary World Tour!
More information from the Downtown Arts District Association:
The May DADA 1st Friday Gallery Hop, “Dancing in the Streets” will include a tribute honoring the life of someone who spent quite a bit of time over the last two decades in this area of NC, The Monkees’ Peter Tork. Film, memorabilia, a scavenger hunt with prizes, a dance contest, music, yoga, theatre vignettes, a family art area, dark chocolate, a lot of tie dye, mismatched socks and a mauve tie or two will be in full force as some of Peter's favorite things!
Please come help us celebrate Peter’s life and contributions to the arts on the first Friday in May from 7-10 pm in the Winston-Salem Downtown Arts District.
"Love is understanding"
"Be a Hero unto yourself"
6 PM - 500/600 block of N. Trade from 5th to 7th Street, and Sixth Street from Cherry to Liberty closes for Hop.
7-10 PM - Hop Begins in the Winston-Salem Downtown Arts District
We will finish the Hop with a group sing of Monkees hits "Daydream Believer" and Tork's own composition "For Pete's Sake" which was the Monkees TV series closing theme.
Recorded during The Monkees' 30th Anniversary Tour in the summer of 1996, Two Man Band featured Peter Tork and his longtime friend, singer/songwriter/musician James Lee Stanley, performing selected covers and songs by Tork, Stanley, and The Monkees.
Peter and James first met in 1964 when Peter was a member of the Phoenix Singers during Peter's Greenwich Village days. In 1994, James Lee's Beachwood Records issued Peter's first solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, and the duo began to perform together in the aftermath of its release. The intimate, acoustic nature of their shows inspired them to replicate that formula inside the recording studio, and Two Man Band was born.
In 2001, Peter and James released Once Again, which was followed by Live/Backstage at the Coffee Gallery in 2006.
Two Man Band is an excellent album that the Live Almanac highly recommends. Listen to an insightful interview with James Lee Stanley where he talks extensively about the album on the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion podcast:
AllMusic delivered praise for Two Man Band in its review of the album:
"Following the artistic success of his debut solo CD, Stranger Things Have Happened, Peter Tork teamed up with Beachwood labelmate James Lee Stanley. This pairing allowed Tork to further explore his acoustic, blues, and easy listening side. And, as with his first release, this is an excellent album. Both artists compliment each other and the music is very accessible. Tork has a wonderfully pleasing and distinctive voice, and Stanley's voice is a perfect blend. The two alternate lead vocals and composition credits and this, too, works. Stanley contributes more original tunes to the collection, while Tork is content to write a couple and choose suitable covers (such as the brilliant 'Milkshake,' a clear standout of the CD). 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' is outstanding and rivals the Monkees' version. One wonders what direction the Monkees would have taken had Tork had more control. That said, this album is a treasure. A perfect album for late summer nights while relaxing."
Two Man Band can be purchased on compact disc today through Amazon or CD Baby. The album is also available for downloading on iTunes and can be streamed on Spotify.
Thanks very much to Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of Two Man Band with The Monkees Live Almanac!
11:05 p.m. Def Leppard is the final induction of the night... But first, the Rock Hall is paying tribute to those we've lost in the last year. The "in memoriam" honored dozens of people, including Aretha Franklin, Avicii, Pete Shelley, Andy Anderson, Danny Kirwan, Keith Flint, Joe Jackson, Vinnie Paul, Ed King, Mac Miller, James Ingram, Dick Dale, Peter Tork and Marty Balin, among many others.