Surviving Monkees Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith are mourning bandmate Peter Tork on the road right now, but their emotions are a bit different from their fans.
“We went through that last year,” Dolenz tells Billboard, noting that when Tork told him and Nesmith that he could not be part of shows with them during 2018, his death on Feb. 21 at the age of 77 “did not come as a surprise, not like David’s (Jones) did. Peter acknowledged a few years ago, in fact, that he had some health issues. So Mike and I sorta went through (the mourning) last year, ’cause we had an idea what was coming.”
During The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show, Dolenz and Nesmith pay tribute to their fallen Monkees mates with specific songs — “Daydream Believer” for Jones, who died Feb. 29, 2012 after suffering a heart attack, as well as Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake,” which was the closing theme of The Monkees TV show, as well as an intermission video of Tork, who was part of the Monkees’ 50th anniversary tour in 2016, playing guitar along to a recording of the Mills Brothers’ “Till Then.” “It’s nothing too maudlin,” Dolenz notes, “but definitely a tip of the hat and a little bit of a tribute to Peter and his music. I would imagine the audience is always coming out to celebrate the Monkees, but I would imagine there’s something emotionally greater to that celebration now, after you’ve lost one of your guys. When it’s in front of a public forum like this, it’s obviously very emotional, ’cause music is. Hopefully we’re sharing that with the fans.”
Dolenz and Nesmith will be playing shows through March 16, including makeup dates for the four postponed last year when Nesmith needed heart bypass surgery. Dolenz says the duo has recorded though not fully filmed The Mike & Micky Show, and while some sort of live document is possible he sounds less confident about a follow-up to 2016’s successful Good Times! album and the Christmas Party set that followed last year.
“Not at this point — not yet, anyway,” Dolenz says. “After the success of Good Times! there was talk about following it up, and the general consensus was, ‘How the hell are we going to top that?!’ We really caught lightning in the bottle there. Then the Christmas album came along, which was great because it wasn’t like we were trying to do Good Times! 2 or anything like that.” And how about some sort of Dolenz and Nesmith return to TV, perhaps with a different kind of license in a streaming world?
“It’s never come up, frankly, over the years,” Dolenz says. “The four of us did a TV special back in the ’90s (1997’s Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees on ABC) but then nothing else really came up over the years. And then of course when Davy passed that sort of put the kibosh on a genuine, full-cast reboot, and now with Peter gone I can’t imagine what we would do, frankly. I wouldn’t expect anything, but I also know never to say never in this business.”