INTERVIEW JULY 2010: by BRADLEY MASON HAMLIN for MYSTERY ISLAND MAGAZINE
We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than interviewing one of our favorite British entertainers, the amazing Peter Noone!
BMH: We just got back from visiting some of our favorite beaches in Santa Barbara. What does Peter Noone do for fun in the sun?
PETER NOONE: When I am at home in Santa Barbara I usually hang out at home coz I live on a golf course and don't play the game so I pretend the 1000 acre lawn is all mine and I don't have to mow it like when I was a child and I can see one of Oprah Winfreys' trees and see Dennis Miller's helicopter taking him to Fox!
BMH: Herman’s Hermits is one of our favorite and most played bands on Mystery Island. The songs are just as timeless as the Beatles, and you guys actually outsold the Beatles in 1965, didn’t you?
PETER NOONE: According to Cashbox we outsold everyone in 1965 and 1966, but as Allen Klein was the cook at the label we never saw what the truth was. I think the Beatles were recording something special at the time which gave us a huge advantage.
BMH: My favorite Hermits hit is “No Milk Today,” produced by Mickie Most [No. 7 on the UK charts, 1966]. “Milk” as an “A” side in the UK, but later a flipside stateside? Who's idea was that?
PETER NOONE: I think it was Mickies' idea to go for the double A side like the Beatles had done and try to cash in on the huge popularity we were experiencing. It was never a B side but a double A side and ultimately NO MILK TODAY was HH's finest work and probably the biggest seller.
BMH: It's the greatest song about milk or the lack thereof, that's for sure!
What is your favorite Hermits song that you don’t hear on the radio anymore but wish you would?
PETER NOONE: I like hearing ANY HH song on the radio because I got spoiled by the constant growth of oldies radio that began in 1980 and stopped a few years ago when someone decided that people over 50 don't buy any products so there is no market for them. I am hoping that someone will call them and tell them that we are the ONLY people who buy anything and it isn't Wrigley's Spearmint anymore.
BMH: We love bubblegum, and you still get some decent coverage on satellite radio, so maybe there's hope yet in reiventing the airwaves -- despite corporate clowns doing their best to kill creativity.
Speaking of clowns, would Allen Klein have been better suited to play the part of a professional fool? Just a thought …
PETER NOONE: I would laugh if he hadn't been responsible for the destruction of so many fabulous musical groups (I even include Brian Jones's demise) and the fact that his son continues in his same style is sad and disgusting. Allen lied to my face about his wife being ill and him making everything good on his past (like making amends), and I stupidly thought he had changed. The Hermits are negotiating with Jody KleinSpawn as I type this but I have decided not to turn any of it into some sort of resentment, and spoil my life.
BMH: Please relate one of your funny adventures of Herman on the road!
PETER NOONE: Every day was fun and we always knew where we were, unlike the rest of the Spinal Tap outfits on the road then (and now). Recently, all the 8mm film was rounded up for a tv project and it was discovered that I was never at the hotel splashing around in the pool or drinking at the Luau, and Keith Hopwood reminded me that I was always at the radio station or doing interviews whilst they played. Hence I am the spokesman for the band. We enjoyed pre paying for hotel damage for our opening acts.
BMH: Unlike the drummer who is falsely representing the Hermits in the UK.
We’re big Beach Boys fans. Please tell us about working with Bruce Johnston on “One of the Glory Boys.”
PETER NOONE: I am a big Beach Boys fan and Bruce is a friend and a neighbor. We go back to the days of yore when he brought a copy of Pet Sounds to London and played it to Keith Moon and Paul Macca who was so inspired he began Sgt. Pepper that morning.
BMH: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame …
Johnny Rotten (when the Sex Pistols were inducted in 2006) refused to attend, calling the museum a “piss stain,” and the Monkees have been blocked [by Rolling Stones/Jann Wenner] from receiving this highly overrated award. Is Herman’s Hermits getting the same foul treatment and is the so-called “Hall” even relevant?
PETER NOONE: I am with Johnny on almost everything. R and R famers Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley are likely to be insulted by any Monkee types being put into the same category. Perhaps they should have categories or be like Baseball Hall of fame and have people from the music business vote instead of magazine publishers and Atlantic Records employees. We will never be inducted and I would side with J Rotten in honor of the real rock and roll hall of famers like Jerry Lee and Little Richard and Ricky Nelson and Funkadelic (oops).
BMH: You’ve toured with both Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. Give us a little Monkeemania.
(Desi Arnaz, Jr., Billy Hinsche, Micky Dolenz, Becky, Peter, and Marky)
PETER NOONE: They are good blokes, but in the 60s when I introduced them to the Beatles they cut me out of the picture in their books? I find them to be sort of embarrassed by their legitimate claim to fame, and Micky told me the best line:
"We were actors pretending to be musicians. Then we decided we were musicians. You are all lucky we didn't get to be in a tv series where we acted as brain surgeons."
Davy is like Danny Kaye and will be around forever. Micky is like Micky and will be around until we fall asleep (his cd is called Micky Sings You to Sleep).
EDITOR'S NOTE: [Micky Dolenz Puts You to Sleep, released October 1991].
BMH: What was it like working with those brats on American Idol?
PETER NOONE: I enjoyed being an expert because as I know there is no such thing. I have yet to see an IDOL show up and am reminded that the Beatles never won a talent contest, because the older folk (judges) voted for what they liked -- so Little Richard never showed up. It's sad that peope don't have a longer and more rewarding way to learn the biz!
BMH: Here’s a retro question for ya. What does Peter aka Herman eat for breakfast? John Lennon said: “Cornflakes.”
PETER NOONE: I eat dead fried pig and stuff that comes out of a chicken's arse.
EDITOR'S NOTE: [Yikes!]
BMH: What’s the latest? Please tell us what you’re doing right now in the summer of 2010!
PETER NOONE: On tour, see my schedule at peternoone.com
BMH: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us, Peter. Your music will always make the playlist on Mystery Island.
Let's also not forget the 1st Annual Fabfun Noonefest at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA -- July 9, 2010 and check Peter Noone's website for more details on all things Noone-ish!
Bradley Mason Hamlin
Mystery Island Publications
July 4, 2010