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San Francisco Examiner Interview

March 27, 2011 by  
Filed under peter

This article appeared in the “Lively Arts” section of the San
Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle on February 5, 1995 (things are
slow today at work, so I have time to type this):

by Michael Snyder

First, Rhino Records reissued all nine original albums by the
MONKEES, rescued from the annals of rock trivia and oldies radio
formats. Next came last month’s homevideo release of “Head” – the
only feature film to star the blithe ’60s pop-rock hit makers and
sitcom stars. Now, here comes PETER TORK – the lovable, spaced-out
Monkee bass and keyboard player – with a solo album in hand and a
show scheduled for New George’s on Wednesday.

These days, Tork, 52, divides his time between his home in Venice,
Calif., and a residence near the Golden Gate Park Panhandle. He has
participated in a few Monkees reunion concerts over the past two
decades, but he has spent most of his time performing in folk clubs
and teaching music.

A few weeks ago. Tork and his fellow Monkees – MICKEY (sic) DOLENZ,
DAVY JONES and MIKE NESMITH – convened for an event that Rhino
promoted at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles.

“Rhino descovered that we were eligible for five platinum album
awards,” said Tork last week. “Our first five albums were never
recognized for selling in the millions, so Rhino made certain that
they were classified platinum. We arrived in limos and were
interviewed by CNN, the newspapers and magazines.

“It’s been 25 years since the group split up. The reporters asked
how we could explain the continuing interest in the Monkees. I said
it was part of our 50-year plan.”

He’s pleased with the rhino reissues because a number of previously
unreleased bonus tracks are included on each CD. “People finally
get a chance to hear ‘Lady’s Baby’ and a few other songs of mine.”

“Stranger Things Have Happened” is the title of Tork’s first solo
album. It’s on Beachwood Records, a small label based in Woodland
Hills. “It’s owned by JAMES LEE STANLEY, a singer-songwriter who
plays Sweetwater sometimes,” Tork said. Stanley co-produced and
engineered the album.

“It’s not alternative, thrash, hip-hop, acid jazz or any of that,
but there’s some funky stuff and moderately heavy guitar,” Tork
said. He included his take on JACKIE WILSON’s “Higher and Higher,”
played on five-string banjo. He wrote six of the album’s 11 songs.
He does only one tune associated with the Monkees, “Take a Giant
Step,” with backup vocals by two offspring of the Mamas and the

“At New George’s, I’ll be doing songs from the album, a couple of
Monkees covers, some old R&B and even some ’50s music,” Tork said.
“I’ll have 5 or six in the band playing bass, drums, two guitars,
keyboards and a fiddle. IVAN IANNOLI, my son, is playing congas.”

Tork, who isn’t married, has two children – IVAN, 19, and HALLIE,

Born in Washington, D.C., Tork was a folk musician in Greenwich
Village before he auditioned for the Monkees’ TV series. “I had
been in a group with STEPHEN STILLS,” he said. “In fact, he turned
me on to the Monkees. He told me that this guy, BOB RAFELSON, was
doing a TV show that was inspired by ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ Stills
told me I should audition.”

With the Monkees’ 30th anniversary coming up, Tork says a reunion
tour is a possibility. A new feature film is a more dicey

“We’d like to do a movie if there’s enough interest. It would have
to be an extraordinarily well-crafted script.”

As for his new album, he’s taking a restrained approach. “I can get
it distributed nationally, but I don’t want to unless I have a
decent promotional budget. For the time being, I’d rather do
in-store shows and concerts and sell them as I go.”

The disc can be ordered with Visa or Mastercard at (800)668-7420 or
via mail by writing Beachwood Records, 4872 Topanga Canyon
Boulevard, Suite 223, Woodland Hills, Calif. 91364.


By the way folks, Peter’s new CD is quite good! (And I wasn’t too keen
on most of Peter’s work before hearing this disc.) Since it seems like
a rather low-budgeted affair, I have a feeling it won’t be in print
for very long. I highly recommend you placing your orders soon!


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