Peter Tork, who became famous in the 1960s as a member of The Monkees, is taking a break from a Monkees 50th anniversary North American tour to perform in Edgewood Friday night with his current band, Shoe Suede Blues.
The four-member Shoe Suede Blues will perform at Club 66, which is next door to Edgewood Auto Service off of Edgewood Road. Tork's blues band has played shows at Club 66 for about 19 years, according to Dave Rode, owner of Edgewood Auto Service and president of Club 66.
"The reason that they're playing here is, Peter Tork actually said that he wanted to take a weekend off [from touring]," Rode said Monday. "It's really something very special and important to him – he loves the blues."
Rode, 59, grew up as a fan of The Monkees, a quartet brought together for a television show of the same name, which premiered in 1966. Audiences could see the four young musicians – Tork, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and the late Davy Jones – go through a series of wacky adventures each episode.
The Monkees, which had been created for television, also toured as a live band, when the members themselves revolted against their TV handlers and learned to play their own instruments, rather than rely on studio musicians, although Tork himself had played the guitar and performed as a singer before he was picked for the TV show.
The show aired on NBC until 1968, and the bandmates eventually split up. Davy Jones died in 2012.
Tork and Dolenz are touring to support The Monkees' newest album, Good Times!, as well as celebrate their 50th anniversary, according to Rode. Nesmith, an accomplished songwriter, contributed some new songs to the album.
"I had all of their records when I was a kid and followed all of their careers," Rode said of the Monkees.
Tork, who had an extensive background in blues and folk music dating to before he joined The Monkees, formed Shoe Suede Blues in 1994.
"The blues is a huge passion for him," said Bonnie Verrico, a spokesperson for the band who has known Tork for about 20 years.
Rode encountered Shoe Suede Blues in the mid-1990s when he saw them perform in Baltimore. He left his contact information with the band's manager after the show, stating that "we had a unique place that Peter Tork might be interested in playing in."
Shoe Suede Blues performed their first show at Club 66 about a year later, according to Rode.
Rode and his wife, Cheryl, have been operating Edgewood Auto Service since 1985, and they started the live music venue in the building next door, which was built in 1929 for the Edgewood American Legion post.
"It was set up for live music originally, and it just has a really good sound inside," Rode said.
The venue has the capacity for about 100 people, and shows are held there about once a month.
"His patrons are always amazing," Verrico said of Rode. "They have a lot of love for the venue . . . there's an energy and a vibe there that Peter and his band absolutely love."
Rode said Shoe Suede Blues' show is based on "Chicago-style blues music," but the band usually does a few Monkees' hits for fans.
Tickets for Friday's show are $30 each; call 410-676-8966 for more information. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the opening act, The Route 66 Band, goes on at 7:30 p.m., according to a news release.
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The auto shop is at 207 Edgewood Road. More information about Club 66 is online at http://www.club66.net.