Two of the four original Monkees — Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz — are back on the road, promoting a surprise hit album, “Good Times!” The Monkees play the Moore Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 25.
Peter Tork can’t help himself.
On the phone from his home in Connecticut, he’s remembering the last time the Monkees came to Seattle, in 2013: “We had Michael [Nesmith] with us, as I recall. That was great to do. And here we come again.”
There’s a pause, and then, with a laugh, he bursts into song: “Here we come, walkin’ down the street … ”
7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $42.50-$72.50 (800-745-3000 or sgtpresents.org).
It’s the instantly recognizable, toe-tapping theme song from “The Monkees,” the 1966-68 sitcom about the exploits of a fictional rock band that made overnight stars of Tork, Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones. The show’s off-the-wall comedy and rapid-fire editing style was heavily influenced by the day-in-the-life frenzy depicted in the Beatles’ 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night.”
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Life for the Monkees was just as hectic. When not on the set, the group was in the studio, recording hits like “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Daydream Believer.” Then there were the tours, with sold-out shows to packed houses of screaming teenyboppers.
“We didn’t let up,” said Tork. “I didn’t get much sleep in those days. I didn’t think I needed it!”
After the show was canceled, “The Monkees” lived on in syndication (the series was reissued on Blu-ray earlier this year). And various configurations of the group have continued to reunite for live shows. The current tour, which kicked off in June, is headed up by Tork and Dolenz (Nesmith has made a few guest appearances; Jones died in 2012). A Seattle date is set for Sunday (Sept. 25) at the Moore Theatre.
Unexpectedly, there’s also a hit album to promote. “Good Times!,” released in May, is the band’s first studio album to crack the Top 20 since 1968, a feat Tork calls “astounding.” The upbeat pop album is a mix of unreleased songs given fresh overdubs, with a handful of new material, including the laid-back, dreamy “Me & Magdalena,” written by Death Cab for Cutie lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Gibbard.
“It’s more in line with the early Monkee records,” said Tork. “ ‘Justus’ (released in 1996) was a little heavier. But ‘Good Times!’ has that Monkees sound, those 12-string guitars and Farfisa organs.”
Tork admits to being surprised that he’s on a 50th-anniversary tour: “I wasn’t going to live to be 50 years old! But I’m delighted, of course. I’ve been having more fun up there than I think is allowed.”
He attributes the group’s longevity to its positive message — a desire to bridge, not widen, what was called the “generation gap” in the ’60s.
“ ‘The Monkees’ was about, ‘We’ll get along, and be happy.’ And we represent that, even on stage. As entertainers, that’s our job. And it’s a very good job, if you ask me.”