Former Monkee Tork brings blues act to Civic TheaterWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting by Jim and Becky Beard
Former Monkee Peter Tork is singing the blues — and loving it. The 67-year-old Washington, D.C. native — a sometime folk musician and pop star — performs Nov. 6 at Toledo Civic Theater. Tork received a clean bill of health after being treated with surgery and radiation for adenoid cystic carcinoma earlier this year. He recently spoke with Toledo Free Press about life and the blues.
TFP: Let’s talk about the blues.
Peter Tork: What a good idea! I’d love to talk about the blues! I’d rather play them, but …
TFP: What was your first experience with the blues?
PT: Oh, goodness. I’m not even sure I could remember. My parents mostly had classical music, but my mom was a great fan of jump from the ’40s, so some of that stuff was around. When my dad was playing records it was Beethoven and Mendelssohn; when my mom played records it was [breaks into song] “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?”
TFP: So you have your mother to thank.
PT: I guess I do, yeah. Then rock and roll came along and I was in this little band with this guy. And it was a very folky kind of act, and one day the guy sang a blues note, and I went, “What was that?” He sang it again, and it was like, it’s not on the keys of the piano, so I couldn’t sing it.
TFP: It was between those keys.
PT: Yeah, it was in the cracks.
TFP: I understand you have a brother who is a painter.
PT: My brother Nick [Thorkelson] is a cartoonist and a comic book artist. He does some wonderful watercolors. He’s been doing cartoons since he was two.
TFP: Let’s talk about your recent illness. You are a cancer survivor.
PT: I know that you don’t get out of this alive. I do have a sense that I want to stick around and watch what’s gonna happen next. For my father, toward the end of his life, and my aunt, toward the end of her life, [living] was more of a chore than anything for them. They were ready to hang it up. I’m not there yet. As long as I’m not there, I’m gonna be disappointed if something takes me off. I’m not afraid to die. It’s a good thing since I’m gonna regardless.
TFP: Last words?
PT: Be a hero to yourself.
The Civic Theatre is located inside Erie Street Market, at 237 S Erie St. Opening the Nov. 6 show will be The Nu-Tones, who play original songs inspired by the British Invasion of the ’60s, and Elixer, an acoustic duo who plays Beatles music. The show starts at 8 p.m. (doors open 7:30 p.m.). Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are available for sale online at www.niteoutproductions.com, also at Culture Clash (4020 Secor Rd.) or Bailey’s Pizza (in Erie St. Market).