The Monkees’ Peter Tork plays Bach and Elvis at CBGB during the height of the punk era
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A bearded Peter Tork, around the time of his 1977 CBGB solo set. Can we call this his “head” shot?

In 1977 The Monkees TV show was nine years in the rearview mirror, the Monkees hadn’t been active for six years, and an outfit going by the name Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart had released an album a year earlier.

The post-Monkees years had not been easy for Peter Tork. He tried to start a band with his girlfriend Reine Stewart that was to be called “Peter Tork and/or Release,” but they never, ah, “released” anything (Tork says that he possesses Release demos to this day), and in 1972 he got busted for possession of hashish and did three months in an Oklahoma penitentiary. By 1975 he was a teacher at Pacific Hills School in Santa Monica.

This pic comes from the September 22, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone—the same issue that memorialized the passing of Elvis Presley
As improbable as it sounds, in 1977 Tork played a solo set at CBGB, the legendary venue catering to punk and new wave on the Bowery in Manhattan. The date was July 31, and no less a personage than Lester Bangs wrote a review of the show for the Village Voice.

Tork’s jaunty, amateurish set was all over the map. Playing some guitar but mostly piano, Tork played “Prelude #2 in C Minor” as well as a two-part invention by Johann Sebastian Bach and Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel” and Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” One of the numbers was a Russian folk tune titled “Kretchman” that I recommend a certain DM contributor adopt as his new personal anthem. He played “I’ll Spend My Life with You”  off of Headquarters and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” off of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.

This CBGB ad appeared in the Village Voice, August 1, 1977 issue
Lester Bangs quotes Tork as saying before the show, “This is pretty much a one-shot for me; I was booked in here by a journalist friend of mine who’s helping me do a book on the Monkees trip, and after it’s over I’m gonna go back to California and teaching. I couldn’t do this on the West Coast; CBGB’s is psychedelic.” (To which Bangs blandly responds “If you say so.”)

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider
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The other Monkees react to the death of Davy Jones

Gathering up the reactions of remaining Monkees Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter to the passing of Davy Jones

Mike Nesmith:

All the lovely people. Where do they all come from?

So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity.

That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane.

David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us.

I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.

Peter Tork posted the following on his Facebook fan page:

”It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones. His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.

Peace and love, Peter T.”

Micky Dolenz released a statement:

“I am in a state of shock; Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena. The time we worked together and had together is something I’ll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.”

Below a forever young Davy Jones makes a prom date with Marcia Brady.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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