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Monkee Peter Tork on summer tour, solo show

WASHINGTON – When the three surviving members of The Monkees play Warner Theatre in their summer tour, it will be the latest homecoming for Peter Tork.

Tickets went on sale Friday for the July 21 show at the Warner Theatre. The 24-date tour kicks off July 15.

Tork will perform locally before the Monkees reunion show. Tork’s solo show “In This Generation: My Life In The Monkees And More” comes to Alexandria’s Birchmere May 21, and Annapolis’s Ram’s Head On Stage May 26.

“It’ll be solo acoustic versions of songs I’ve done through the years — Monkees songs, folk songs, stories of the people I knew, how I got to where I was going from where I was,” Tork says.

Tork, whose real name is Peter Halsten Thorkelson, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1942.

Tork auditioned for “The Monkees” television show in 1965 at the suggestion of his friend, musician Stephen Stills. He says his TV role, as what he calls “the lovable dummy,” was cultivated as a defense mechanism during his earlier days as a solo folk artist in Greenwich Village.

“Us Village cats and kitties, back in the early days you’d heard Jim McGuinn (of The Byrds, who later called himself Roger McGuinn) singing ‘Michael Row The Boat Ashore,'” Tork says.

The Monkees tour will include original members Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Davy Jones died in February 2012.

During last year’s tour in the months after Jones died, the Monkees shows largely paid tribute to him.

“With a year gone by, things do settle down a little bit, but Davy is very much part of our history and very much still on our minds,” says Tork. “We’ll be making reference or mention to Davy all through the show.”

Last year’s tour was the first American tour including guitarist/songwriter Michael Nesmith since Nesmith left the group in 1970.

When asked if he’s surprised that Nesmith is again interested in touring with the band he worked so hard to distance himself from, Tork says no.

“Michael has always been his own man,” says Tork. “He’s come and gone. And if he says ‘I’ll do it this time and let’s see about next year when next year comes,’ and he says, ‘Let’s do it again,’ I say ‘Great.'”

Tork’s latest solo recording with his band, Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues, is entitled “Step by Step.”

“There’s something enveloping and welcoming about the blues,” says Tork. “It’s actually therapeutic.”

Tork credits the television show with providing the band enough time to eventually learn how to play together.

In today’s digital music world, which enables musicians to produce and distribute music without the support of a record company, “If you took the four of us and say ‘Now do it on social media,’ I don’t think anything would have come of it.”