How did the rumor that Peter Tork is a loner get started? Or is Peter, in fact, a loner?
Just yesterday, he told me that he can’t understand why a lot of kids keep writing to him, calling him “Dear Loner.”
And I told him; “Frankly, that’s your reputation. All of you are labelled. Davy is the cute one, Micky the wild one, Mike the quiet one, and you the lonely one.”
His answer: “Maybe my fans know more about me than I do. I’m willing to admit that sometimes an outside observer can know a person better than that person knows himself. Everyone that writes about Johnny Carson says he is a loner, and Johnny keeps on poking fun at that idea on his show. Well, if Johnny can deny it, so can I.”
Stories about Peter as a loner can be traced back to the Monkees’ visit this year to Paris. All the Monkees cavorted and made merry in the land of DeGaulle, and Peter could be found in the middle of the hairiest action. But every so often, he would drop out of sight, turning the Monkees temporarily into a gleesome threesome.
“Where did you fly to?” I asked Peter.
“Every so often,” he said, “I’d want away. So I picked up a good book—a manual on philosophy actually—and just wandered from cafe to cafe, having a glass of the local brew and a long read. It’s really the unwinding bit.”
That Peter is a reader is no secret. Even on the TV set, you can see a paperback book in his hippie pocket; he likes to read between takes. Peter doesn’t go in for novels. He reads mainly to increase his knowledge, so mostly it’s non-fiction.
“I prefer something a bit serious,” he says, “so I can baffle people with my massive intellect.”
If Peter gives the impression of being a loner in his social life, can you blame him? A marriage that didn’t work and several busted love relationships have left Peter a little gun-shy. It’s only natural for him to feel that he can’t get hurt when he’s by himself. But this doesn’t necessarily make him a loner, because most of the time he balls it up with the best of them.
And then, there is the creative side of Peter that demands solitude in order to function effectively. He says: “When I want to concentrate, I’d rather be alone. Like I can’t write songs if there are other people about. It just embarrasses me to sing out loud something I’ve just created.”
Perhaps this loner bit has been pushed too far. Man isn’t a totally social animal. He needs action to make him groove and grow. But there are times when he has to be alone—to do personal things, to evaluate himself, to commune privately, to regather his strength for the next encounter with all those beautiful people out there. Peter is a well-rounded person some time for others and some time for himself. People who can’t stand to be alone are real sickies—and the same goes for those who can’t stand to be with people.
Of course, the final lie can be put to the loner myth just by examining Peter’s life in the Village before he joined the Monkees. Down there, Peter was a free spirit. As a locally popular folk singer, he made every scene. His comings and goings and doings were common knowledge. That was the real Peter—and it still is.
Says Peter: “Please don’t think of me as the Lone Ranger in the Monkee cage. You could have me feeling all blue and sorry for myself… which I ain’t.”