Interview: Peter Noone

This is a copy of a preview article for – it features an email interview with Peter Noone, with answers received on 9/21/17.

Something Good at the Lobero Theatre

by Jeff Moehlis

We are blessed that there are many notable musicians who call our community home, and we are doubly/triply blessed that many of them share their time and talents to benefit our community. One of them is Montecito resident Peter Noone from the British Invasion band Herman’s Hermits, who will be hosting the Unity Shoppe Finale Celebration of 100 Years of Community Service at the Lobero Theatre on October 10 – more information and tickets are available here.

With Herman’s Hermits circa 50 years ago, Noone sang such hits as “I’m Into Something Good”, “There’s a Kind of Hush”, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”, and the zany “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”. There must be something in the water here, because he still sounds and looks great all these years later. He also oozes charm and wit, and probably could’ve had a successful career as a comedian if the music thing hadn’t worked out so well. Put all these ingredients together and you have a host with the most! (L. Paul Mann photo)

Jeff Moehlis: Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming Unity Shoppe Finale Celebration?

Peter Noone: A bit is all I got… Hi Jeff… So July 4th, 1985 I came to Santa Barbara for the very first time. In 1986 my daughter Natalie Noone was born and we moved here full time thinking this to be a beautiful community for a child to grow up and grow in.

One Christmas we were watching the Unity Telethon and I saw Kenny Loggins pitching for the cause. The idea of a community supporting the community as a whole reminded me of my childhood and my Roman Catholic upbringing, and the idea of a community taking care of the COMMUNITY itself had massive appeal to me, and of course my wife Mireille, too.

We are a family and we like to think that when we have enough, then we can share abundance with others, even an overabundance of time. Being a fan of Kenny Loggins music I watched the telethon and became a fan of the man, and wanted to be part of his and Barbara’s dream. So… I’m in.

JM: What brought you to our community, and what keeps you here?

PN: We were brought here because it was 107 degrees and smoggy and the ashes from a fire were reminding me of my childhood in Manchester, so we set off for the coast and thought Santa Barbara was San Bernardino, but as we rounded the corner near Summerland on the 101 my wife says, “On va vivre ici”, which is French for “WE ARE GOING TO LIVE HERE”.

I agreed with her and we rented a house and came for a couple of days until we decided to move here and have babies. We had one (a perfect one) on July 3rd, 1986.

JM: The Herman’s Hermits single “I’m into Something Good” was the first of many hits for the band. What do you remember about the recording session for that song?

PN: We made the record in the Midland Bank on the street called Bank in London. We drove all night to the studio and sat in our van until 9:00AM and smoked cigarettes and pretended we were old enough to smoke. We walked in as the Animals left, and we thought we were recording a surf song and we cut the A side and B side in 3 hours and a famous jazz pianist suggested he play on it because he understood what surf music meant. He saved it and we felt pretty good about it.

I was 16 two of the Hermits were 17, and we had an 18 year old drummer – the first boy band.

JM: What stands out to you about the first Herman’s Hermits tour of America?

PN: I was always very interested in Americana – the movies the music and even the Wild West, Broadway. All British boys were tantalized by the idea of America. All I did on the first US tour was travel, do a concert, then have my minder (a Philly off-duty cop) take me to see whoever I found out was either from that town or was on tour.

I was shy so I only got to meet ELVIS, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Roy Head, BJ Thomas, the MOTOWN crew, Marvin [Gaye], Stevie [Wonder], Levi [Stubbs], Little Anthony and the Imperials, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, et al, et al.

After such a harvest I immediately made plans to return, and since that first tour I have met almost all the people I want to meet, and quite a few I wished I hadn’t. More will be revealed as we say!

JM: What was your relationship like with the other British Invasion bands?

PN: We were all pretty well liked because my group had decided early on that we didn’t want to impress musicians, and would only play songs we liked. Almost everyone in the British Invasion knew each other from years and years of road in the UK. None of us were competitive and each successful group was unique, and that was the key.

The Beatles weren’t like the Stones, who weren’t like The Who, who weren’t like the Hermits, who weren’t like the Dave Clark 5, who weren’t like the Beatles or the Stones or The Who, etc, etc, etc.

Everyone chose their own style of music and like that we weren’t competitors, but conspirators. Quite strange that we cheered each other on as if we were all in the same boat. One time – thank your lucky stars – John from the Beatles said to me, “Hey Hermit, I see your record is number one in The States.” I said, “Thank you.” Not the smartest quip ever!

Keith from the Stones cornered me in a hotel stairway in NYC and told me, “If I ever hear you are doing drugs, I will find you and beat you up.” Once again I think I said, “Thank you.” If I didn’t I am saying it now. “Hey Keith… Thank you!”

JM: Fifty years ago you toured the West Coast with The Who as a supporting act. What was it like to be on tour with them?

PN: They were our friends. We always brought our friends on tour with us. The Animals, Wayne Fontana, The Hollies, The Who.

JM: What influence did Mickie Most have on the band and its sound?

PN: He was the band. Mickie was my best friend, the best man at my wedding, my daughter’s Godfather, and he and I shared the same good taste in music.

JM: When I saw you perform at the Teen Idols show at the Chumash Casino in 2013, I loved how “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am” had a bit of a punk rock edge. Are you / were you a fan of punk rock?

PN: Some punk guys like The Ramones list me as their favorite singer. I think Herman’s Hermits were the first punks because we didn’t have a plan and just got in the 12 seater van and went on the road to whatever it is we found. I like [The Sex Pistols’] Filthy Lucre as my jam. “Bodies (live)” is my personal favorite recording of all time.

JM: A curiosity in your discography is “Oh! You Pretty Things”, with David Bowie on piano. What’s the story behind that?

PN: He wrote some songs and he played them to Mickie Most and me, and we recorded them all with David playing piano and paying his rent. We got a hit with “Oh! You Pretty Things” and David came on Top of the Pops wearing a dress.

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

PN: Do not try to impress other musicians… Play every song as if you are Henry the 8th and believe that to be the truth. Remember I am, I am.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything about Herman’s Hermits or your career?

PN: The record is a 45.


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