Hey hey he’s a Monkee and nearly 50 years after his band first graced TV screens and the charts, Peter Tork is still monkeying around.

The 73-year-old pop star was full of humour when he chatted to Vibe about returning to London for a gig with bandmate Micky Dolenz on September 4.

Asked how excited he was about coming back to the captial, Peter opted for a numerical answer.

“About a nine...on a scale of 35,” he joked.

“I'm very pleased to be coming. I always enjoy the UK. Of course, I’m delighted, thrilled – totally chuffed as the Brits say.”

He added: “I live in a house in the US and it was built before our war of liberation, what we call the revolutionary war over here, I suppose you call it the war of the loss of the colonies over there.

“This house is older than this country but that’s only 250 years old. That’s only the blink of an eye to Europe and the UK. The sense of history and the drama of England is very exciting, very adventurous and very attractive.”

It is perhaps harsh to say but, for many, the Monkees are now pretty historic themselves.

Riding the wave that was created by The Beatles, the Monkees – Peter and Micky plus Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones -  were originally created for a TV series in 1965 and went on to sell 75 million records worldwide.

Peter said: “Our 50th anniversary next year, can you believe it? I didn’t think I would live to be 50 myself. The 50th anniversary is quite astounding.”

Peter said he is planning to celebrate with a ‘very concentrated’ worldwide tour.

He said: “We want to do a lot of that and hit ‘em hard and fast. I want to do this. I would love to do it.”

“I expect to do a wonderful job on the 50th. We’re just warming up for it now, really,” he joked.

Peter is clearly still enthusiastic about touring and shows no interest in slowing down as he gets older.

He said: “Entertain, that’s just what I have done all my life. There is a great deal of energy in that for me. I get off stage and I’m energised.

“I was just talking to someone recently who said ‘aren’t you tired at the end of a show?’ My experience is no, I can go on for another couple of hours when I get off stage.

“I find it very enjoyable, very energising. Just give me a chance for goodness sakes, let me get on stage.”


The touring group of the Monkees has always been a movable feast but Peter admitted he was wary of what fans would think of them touring as a duo.

He said: “It makes it a little different. I was actually mostly concerned that we might not be as welcomed as if we had three.

“We’ve been going out as one threesome or another almost since the start.

“They went on without me for a while, then Michael dropped out and Davy, Micky and me got together and we did that for 25 years or so.

“Then Davy passed away (in 2012), bless him, and Michael rejoined us for a couple of years.

“Suddenly now there’s only two of us and the real issue was: would we be accepted? The response has been very, very good. I would say that we’re sailing.”

Initially at least, the Monkees’ music was dictated by their management and TV and music executives. Far from writing their early hits, the four young stars were rarely allowed to even play instruments on the recordings.

And in the era of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, that inevitably led to criticism.

Peter said: “We took a lot of flak at the outset and it has died down. People have finally settled down. Frank Sinatra didn’t play his own instruments and Elvis never wrote a tune.”

“The Beatles were the gold standard – in my world as well. At one point we were accused of the crime of not being The Beatles, which of course six billion other people are also guilty of.

“The fact is that we stuck together, that we played and we went on playing no matter what – and we did have a remarkably good songbook.

“I can say this without being egotistical because I didn’t have a lot to do with it. The depth and quality of the songbook is really an extraordinary one.

“For me, it’s not up there with Lennon and McCartney or the Glimmer twins (Dartford’s Keith Richards and Mick Jagger) but it’s not that far behind.”

What Peter’s taken away from five decades with the band is a great deal of fondness for his colleagues, even if they haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.

He said: “I had great moments of fun and laughter with those guys, and you know - the hassles that arise between people when they work together - brothers and sister have hassles and there’s no shame in that. It doesn’t detract from anything.”

As for the fans, they’ve changed as much as the band.

Peter said: “The first wave were virtually hysterical. What happened after that is we became deeply associated with an important time in their lives and those are now the parents and grandparents of kids and they’ve been pointing out ‘this is a great time’.

“My mum danced to 40s rhythm and blues songs and I developed a taste for that as a result. You get a lot of that.

“It is wonderful and amazing to see kids in their single digit years looking up with their mums and going ‘gosh, I wish I could do that’. And maybe they’ll get to. Here’s hoping.”

The Monkees featuring Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork play London Hammersmith Eventim Apollo on Friday, September 4. Tickets are on sale from alt-tickets.co.uk and the 24-hour hotline 0844 871 8819