The Monkees’ surviving members Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith have commented on the death of fellow group member Peter Tork, who died Feb. 21. He was 77.
“There are no words right now…heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork,” Dolenz posted on Facebook. It was only eight days ago, on Feb. 13, that Dolenz posted a 77th birthday wish on social media for Tork, born Peter Halsten Thorkelson, saying “Happy Birthday to my Monkee brother, Peter Tork!”
Nesmith initially posted “I am heartbroken” on Facebook, then issued a longer statement.
“Peter Tork died this AM. I am told he slipped away peacefully. Yet, as I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. It’s going to be a rough day.
“I share with all Monkees fans this change, this “loss”, even so.
“PT will be a part of me forever. I have said this before — and now it seems even more apt — the reason we called it a band is because it was where we all went to play.
“A band no more — and yet the music plays on — an anthem to all who made the Monkees and the TV show our private — dare I say “secret” — playground.
“As for Pete, I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever — that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him — a brother in arms. Take flight my Brother.”
Tork, who played banjo on stage during Monkees concerts and continued to gig independently with his own band Shoe Suede Blues, talked about his diverse musical influences when I interviewed him in 2013 for Examiner.com. “You understand I came up in the folk era. And Pete Seeger is the hero to us folkies. Additionally, you have to throw in the Beatles when they came along. But in the earlier days, people like Steve Allen and Danny Kaye, who were musical and comedy at the same time. That was another source of great influence, in some ways really more influential on my career in terms of my performance than Pete Seeger.” Then he paused and said whimsically, “It’s true. I have a secret yen to be a musician to this day.”
Andrew Sandoval, who compiled and produced Monkees reissues and wrote a book called The Monkees: The Day-To-Day Story of the ’60s TV Pop Sensation, also posted on Facebook, “So long my friend. I loved you a lot and remember laughing loudly with you over many miles. Your music will always be in my mind. I can think of no better tribute to those of us feeling this loss than to let our hearts sing your song.”