Herman's Hermits bring Manchester lilt to Wilkesboro
Peter Noone. Or, as his fans call him, Herman.
You may recognize him by that Manchester, U.K., lilt. It, coupled with a sleek sense of humor, is part of what makes Noone more than your average music icon.
He"s not just the face of "60s British invasion legends Herman"s Hermits, he"s its spirit, and he takes it with him wherever he goes. And Feb. 18, he"s coming to Wilkesboro.
"As a little kid growing up in Manchester, I always dreamed that one day I would go to Wilkesboro," he said.
He"s joking, but it"s hard to tell. It"s that sleek wit again.
It"s part of what he"s been cultivating over the past few decades since the Hermits left the limelight. As for what else he"s been up to?
"I"ve been touring, really," he said. "I"ve toured all over the world."
Think Singapore, Malaysia, even North Dakota, all in the past 12 months. With 100 Hermits tour dates a year on top of his solo performances, it"s a busy schedule for Noone, who splits his time between London and a "place on a golf course" in Santa Barbara, Calif.
And he"s lucky, he said, to actually like the songs that made him famous, songs like "I"m Into Something Good."
"It"s like this 15-year-old guy in the studio that really believed it," he said.
And it"s a feeling he maintains.
"A lot of people don"t get to enjoy their songs," Noone said. "They"re not so proud of their old stuff as I am. I"m kind of blessed."
And he"s really proud. He counts early hit "I"m Henery the 8th, I Am" as one of the first punk songs.
So what is it about his songs that makes them so popular?
"It"s good stuff," he said. "Nobody"s been able to do it better since."
But, unlike some icons, he won"t tell you that"s because music has changed.
"It hasn"t changed," he said. "The same thing keeps happening over and over again. People keep saying it"s finished, and it keeps coming back. When I first started, people would say the business was over, and then The Beatles came along. People said the business is over, and then Nirvana " It seems to me that there"s always somebody new."
To Noone, a former child prodigy at music school in Manchester, it"s about passion, passion for performing and passion for music. It"s a love that started at age 4.
"My mother made me get on stage and sing" and you know how horribly cute those kids are when they"re four," he said. "The audience applauded, and I said, "I should do this for money.""
Now he has "forgotten about making the money" and is doing it for fun.
"I"m lucky," he said. "I never had to pretend to be cool. I"ve just always played me, which saves me a lot of stress. I never had to drink or do drugs to feel good about myself."
And he"s a man of many talents. Noone starred in shows like "Pirates of Penzance," even delving into television with stints on shows like "As the World Turns."
But it was always about the music.
"I like musical comedy more than acting," he said. "Acting requires you to listen to other people, and I like being the boss."
And, while he"s not a 16-year-old kid any more, he"s still giving firecracker performances onstage.
What"s his secret?
"I think it"s genetic," he laughed. "I don"t do stupid stuff. I take good care of myself " All my phone calls, I make them while I"m on walks."
As for Mrs. Brown"s daughter, as in "Mrs. Brown, You"ve Got a Lovely Daughter?"
"Mrs. Brown"s daughter is actually a grandmother now," he joked.
But Noone"s music?
Noone and the rest of Herman"s Hermits hit the Walker Center on the campus of Wilkes Community College Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available by calling (336) 838-6260 or e-mailing (firstname.lastname@example.org)