NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Peter Tork, 67, (The Monkees, actor, advice columnist, Two Man Band with singer/songwriter James Lee Stanley) is touring with his rock-blues band, Shoe Suede Blues ("Saved By The Blues", "Cambria Hotel") this spring and summer, despite extensive surgery in early March 2009 to remove a cancerous tumor from the lower part of his tongue. After announcing he had a rare form of cancer known as Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, Tork had surgery in New York where the tumor was successfully and completely removed, although his surgeon had to take his jaw apart in order to reach and remove it. Two weeks after the operation, he was leading a film crew from "Inside Edition" around his farm, and talking openly about this newest challenge in his life.
After some physical therapy to help his speech pattern return to normal, he will begin radiation therapy in June for a duration of six weeks. In the meantime, his next performance with Shoe Suede Blues will be May 29th in Storrs, Conn., at his alma mater, E.O. Smith High School. Following that he will appear with the band in Manchester, Conn., June 6th at the Pride of Manchester Kick Off Concert.
Tork remains cheerful about his health and prognosis, both of which have been given positive notes by his doctors and insists that despite the challenge and uncertainties, his outlook is good. While admitting "I had a bad moment or two upon being told (the diagnosis)" he soon bounced back. "My perspective on life hasn't changed a bit as a result of having (had) cancer." He said in a recent interview, "I've worked kind of hard on my attitude toward life, and damn' cheap it would have been, too, if I hadn't made provision in it for illness and death, wouldn't it?"
Overwhelmed and "really grateful" for the outpouring of love and good wishes from fans around the world, Peter soon decided to join the burgeoning ranks of celebrities with a personal profile on popular social media site, Facebook. He posts updates and notes to his fans and friends about his health, treatments, and plans for the future. Fans from Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, the USA and UK gather there daily to leave encouraging and hopeful messages and other cancer survivors pop by to leave coping tips for Peter as he goes through treatment.
Peter recently decided he wanted to help others who come up against the particular challenges of rare cancers, which are all the more frightening because many of them have little to no funding for research and few doctors who are fully familiar with them. "My publicist is helping me organize The Peter Tork Hope On Project. Although we are not going so far to start a full-fledged charity since we don't presently have the time or man or woman power for that, we will be donating a percentage of profits from the sale of HOPE ON wristbands to the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundatlon and another charity for rare cancer to help them do what they do best – educate, fund research and raise awareness. Pretty cool, huh?"
Tork's former band mates Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, separately, but both on tour at the time of Peter's cancer diagnosis, dedicated songs to him during their live concerts and wished their fellow Monkee well.
05/29 – E.O. Smith High School, Storrs, CT
06/06 – Pride of Manchester Kick Off Concert, Manchester, CT
07/03 – The Towne Crier – Pawling, NY
07/09 – Peter Tork solo acoustic show, The Record Store Collector, Bordertown, NJ. Opening act is Erin Hall (from the Chapelle Show) on harp
0710 – The Record Store Collector – Bordentown, NJ – Peter Tork and SSB
0711 – The Record Store Collector – Bordentown, NJ – Peter Tork and SSB
09/12 – Recovery Fest – Richmond, VA
10/07 – Cerritos Performing Arts Center – Cerritos, CA
–by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers