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.