I consulted the Bible (Andrew's book) and it is interesting to me. Mike had his tonsils out On Tuesday May 23rd. Prior to that on Wednesday April 5th, the Monkees resumed production on the show for the 2nd season before they went on summer hiatus. The first one they filmed for season 2 was The Picture Frame (wrapping on 4/7). While Mike is in that one, Peter isn't some of the scenes. I 'think' this is the episode he refers to from time to time where he had a bad trip and they had to film around him (just a guess). Now by this time, the Headquarters album had been completed and there were a few concerts. Filming wise for the second season, they then went about filming the following epiosdes prior to his surgery according to the book:
Art For Monkees Sake (production wraps 4/14)
Monkees Blow Their Minds (production wraps 4/20)
Everywhere a Sheik Sheik (production wraps 4/27)
The Devil and Peter Tork (production wraps 5/4)
I Was A 99lb Weakling (production wraps (5/11)
Monkees Marooned (production wraps 5/18)
Of these 5, he is only absent for one (99lb Weakling). The one filmed immediately after his surgery on 5/23 is Monkees Watch Their Feet (wrapping 5/26) and he is obviously gone from that but films a wrap-around segment later in the year. They then round out the pre-hiatus filming with It's A Nice Place to Visit (wrapping 6/2) and Monkee Mayor (wrapping 6/8) and he is in both of those.
As a side note, I get a kick how these episodes are actually aired in a different order so you see 'fuzzy' Micky mixed in with straight haired Micky. Again as a side note, when the Monkees film those videos in the rainbow room, they filmed them in Chicago August of '67 ath the Fred Niles Film Studios. I did a little research and those were filmed in the very studios that Oprah has resided in for her show. However, I digress....
The Hitting the High Seas episode isn't filmed until around 10/13 (almost 5 months to the day AFTER the surgery) This is another episode he bowed out of but it appears to be because he got really sick sometime during the week. He is also not in the "Card Carrying Red Shoes" episode (save for the "She Hangs Out" segment which was filmed earlier) which is filmed the previous month (9/27) but I have no idea why he was not in this one.
SO...I don't know if leading up to his surgery he was not in a few episodes because he had a sore throat or it was some type of punishment from management. I would say it would be the former but then again the legend would have it that sitting out a few episodes was just a form of his protesting and sounds much cooler than a sore throat. That doesn't seem to make sense as these episodes were filmed after Headquarters was recorded and they won their independence. Not to mention that the episodes that he sat out were not filmed in succession and the last one filmed that he's not in (Hitting the High Seas) seems to be because he was genuinely ill.
The thing I find a little irritating about him is that he pushes for this musical independence yet when you get to Pices (even though it is my favorite album along with HEAD and Headquarters), he starts to bail on everyone and do his own stuff which I found kinda weird. The iorny is that he pushed the rest of the guys to record their own stuff and Davy was the holdout as when the Headquarters sessions start, he is in NYC doing vocals for Kirshner songs (She Hangs Out, 'Violin', 'Mustang' etc.). Once Davy was on board for Headquarters and they do it all themselves, Mike decides to take himself in another direction and pull away from the three of them.
I know this all happened a long time ago so everyones memory of events is going to be all over the place (just like us and our memories) The truth is somewhere in the middle. It is like the other legend that was perpetuated where the Monkees didn't know a second album was out (More of the Monkees) and they had to buy it to hear it. Well again, according to the book, they were part of a radio station promotion in December of '66 where they were giving away advanced copies of that very album! So I believe that story (which Peter has told on many occassion) where they had no idea about the album to be false. It makes for a nice story and gives sympathy to the guys but I don't believe when you read the facts. The flip of that is if Peter's story is to be believed, then this album they were giving away in the radio station promo is NOT More of the Monkees and must be the great lost Monkee artifact.
Whew...I'm taking the dog for a walk.