Saturday, September 01, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Jughead Jones: Hi! Nice to hear from you again.
On My Mind: It’s nice to talk to you too. I wish I had a more pleasant reason to call.
JJ: What do you mean?
OMM: I was hoping to interview you about the issues with Peter Noone.
JJ: Well I have heard about it but I’m not sure what I can tell you but sure you can interview me.
OMM: Actually I was wondering if any of this ever happened to the Archies. Where there ever any legal battles among the members of the group?
JJ: Not to the extent of this or what other bands had by the time the 1970’s came around.
OMM: What where they and how did they come out?
JJ: Well after we reached the height of our fame the group decided to renegotiate our contract once it was up. But when that came about Don (Kirshner), gave us such a great deal that there was no need to do that.
OMM: Do you recall the specifics of the new contract?
JJ: Well the old one was we were paid a flat fee. It was like a regular job. Any songs we wrote we signed away to Don. When our contract came up, before we could make any noise about wanting more money, Don gave us more money and gave us 50% of the rights to past songs we wrote and 75% to all future songs. We all signed right away.
OMM: Have you ever regretted not asking for sole ownership of the songs you wrote?
JJ: I haven’t. We were kids and the first time around we knew we wouldn’t get a deal like other big groups. The second time we may have been able to get sole ownership of our songs but we all thought of Don and Jeff Berry as Father figures of at least like close Uncles.
OMM: So out of respect…
JJ: We didn’t want them to think we were greedy.
OMM: Is that as close as you came to a lawsuit?
JJ: No there was another time. It came not long after the break up. Now you have to understand that Don owned the rights to the group name. So that is why Archie started the Cuff Links. He didn’t have the right to his own name as the name of the group. Don has said since then that he would have let Archie use the name since it was his own name but if I or any of the others tried he wouldn’t. He didn’t have to tell us this as he proved it when Reggie started his own group in the early 70’s. He thought he found a way around anyone suing him by calling them The New Archies. Don threatened a lawsuit almost immediately.
OMM: What did Archie have to say about this?
JJ: He told me he thought about suing but didn’t have any legal grounds and wanted to stay on friendly terms with Reggie. Don had deeper pockets so he decided to see what would happen with him and if he was called as a witness he would have appeared in court. Thankfully none of that happened as Reggie disbanded his new group to avoid the lawsuit. He was always after us to call the Archies the Reggies. I don’t know why he didn’t just call his new group that. The reunions that we have attempted since the break up have all had the approval of Don.
OMM: Did you or anyone have any problems with the Archies using studio musicians?
JJ: Back then yes. Everyone was ok with it but me. As I told you before I had a big drug problem back then and some times I was too high to show up. Now some of those times Reggie took over the drums if I didn’t show. I didn’t mind that as it was kept inside the group. However, when studio musicians were used I would loose it. One day I arrived at the studio just as they were finishing up. I don’t remember who was at the drums but I believe it was Eddie Hoe. Yes it was Eddie Hoe. Well I saw him there with Arch, Betty, Ronnie and Reg. We even had Moose and Dilton visiting that day. Anyway I blew my top. I pulled Eddie to his feet and decked him. I kicked a hole through the bass drum and just as Arch came over to calm me down I grabbed his guitar and threw it through the studio window.
OMM: You trashed the place!
JJ: Yep! That was the last time we were allowed in that studio too. I think it was the last time Eddie Hoe replaced me at the drums. It was also the time I thought I should get off of the drugs. We went on tour and the rest of the gang didn’t want anything to do with me. Ever spent months traveling with people who didn’t want to even look at you? Not a pleasant experience.
OMM: How did Dilton and Moose treat you after that?
JJ: Before that we would always write or call each other. After that it was about a year before either one would return my calls so I could apologize. Everything is now fine with all of us and now that is water under the bridge. Anyway I am sorry to cut it short but I have to go now. I don’t see any type of suits in the near future from Don or any of the Archies and I hope that Peter and Barry can put this behind them and stay friends.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
"It's ludicrous," says FORGOTTEN HITS Publisher KENT KOTAL. "How many members of HERMAN'S HERMITS can YOU name?"
Apparently, the U.K. rights to the name HERMAN'S HERMITS belong to a man named BARRY WHITWAM. "Who???" you may ask. WHITWAM was the original drummer for HERMAN'S HERMITS when they first hit the pop charts back in 1964 and has kept the band actively touring since NOONE's departure in 1971 to pursue a solo career. (Odds are WHITWAM's name was NOT the first one that popped into your head when you first saw the name "HERMAN'S HERMITS.") Ironically, according to NOONE, WHITWAM doesn't even appear on a number of HERMAN'S HERMITS recordings, replaced instead by a studio session musician!
PETER NOONE has been touring as HERMAN'S HERMITS Starring PETER NOONE for a couple of decades now, as legally mandated by a British High Court Order several years ago. He has remained a popular concert attraction, playing to full houses all over the world who remember the feel-good music that he and his band of Hermits created back in the '60's. This past season, he also appeared as a mentor and performing artist on the #1 Ranked Television Series AMERICAN IDOL.
In the FORGOTTEN HITS Interview, NOONE explains the break-up and legal distribution of HERMAN'S HERMITS name this way:
"After we agreed to split, Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Karl Green and Barry Whitwam called themselves by a new name. I sadly have forgotten it. I think they were joined by Pete Cowap (a great local musician whom I had written a few Herman's Hermits B-sides and LP tracks with and who was a close friend of Derek Leckenby.) They were called blue something.
"Then one day they became The Hermits. It sort of made sense for The Hermits to call themselves "THE HERMITS" and NOT Herman's Hermits. They did a concert in the UK that billed them as Herman's Hermits and got in trouble with disgruntled fans. After a few attempts as The Hermits, suddenly one day they became Herman's Hermits. I think 'Herman's' is sort of a possessive word and would lead the public to believe that Herman was going to be there." Legend has it that NOONE became "HERMAN" because of his resemblance to a popular cartoon character at the time named "Sherman" ... PETER NOONE and "HERMAN" have been interchangeable monikers ever since.
"Keith then left Herman's Hermits and the other three Hermits --- Derek, Karl and Barry --- asked to use the name and, as I felt sorry for them, (they couldn't get work), I allowed them to use the name and pay me a royalty. In the early '70s I made a deal with the remaining three Hermits -- Derek, Karl and Barry -- to use the name for 10 years. After 10 years, they (Barry) decided that HE owned the name. He agreed to let me call myself Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone as my legal advisors suggested it would allow the public to choose between Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits starring Barry Whitwam. I readily agreed to this and apparently so did he. BUT this has only been tested in the USA and Canada. Since that agreement between us was made, he has played maybe 5 concerts in the States and you can safely say that the public has chosen here."
Some of the animosity between Noone and his former bandmates stem from disclosures that other musicians augmented Herman's Hermits sound on their records.
"There was a period where we (Producer Mickie Most and I) had just stopped using The Hermits on the recordings and were using the best musicians available to us to try to keep up with what had suddenly become The British Invasion. We were supposed to deliver 48 tracks a year to MGM so we were always scrambling to catch up," Noone says. "Sometimes Mickie Most and I were callous and unkind in our attempts to catch up with the rest of our fellow invaders, and as the use of overdubs became more and more a part of the recording process, a lot of musicians became unusable. I am saddened that I ever hurt anyone in the process, but in my defense, I was a 17 year old."
Despite some semblance of remorse, Noone ALSO admits that he wouldn't have done it any other way: "We used The Hermits less and less, and unfortunately, Mickie Most and I discovered the process was faster if not as much fun and we stupidly left The Hermits out of all the decisions causing them to hate us and I think rightfully so, but in my callousness of youth I thought little of other people's feelings and destroyed my friendships in the name of super success, none of which I regret sadly enough, because the recordings are of the moment and I was in the moment and The Hermits weren't." Noone offers further apologies on his website at peternoone.com.
Meanwhile, Barry Whitwam currently lists a total of 26 songs on his HERMAN'S HERMITS U.K. website as part of the band's discography ... yet Peter Noone claims that Whitwam didn't even play on 18 of these tracks! Claiming these records as part of the current band's discography goes a step or two beyond rewriting history ... it constitutes fraud! Noone, along with original HERMITS' guitarist KEITH HOPWOOD, are compiling a list of ALL of HERMAN'S HERMITS recordings, denoting which musicians actually played on which tracks so that a permanent, accurate history of these recordings will now exist.
Despite this bit of long-standing discrepancy and bitterness, the heart of the CURRENT matter will be deciding exactly WHO has the legal rights to promote themselves as HERMAN'S HERMITS, with or without any form of further clarification. "It was never intended to have any one member of the Herman's Hermits own the right to call himself Herman's Hermits!!!" Noone says. "As I agreed to the three original Hermits using the name long ago, I opened myself up to Barry and whoever else wants to call themselves Herman's Hermits using the name. There is also a version in Spain which has Frank Renshaw (I don't know him at all!!!) His claim is he was in one of Barry Whitwam's versions of Herman's Hermits so therefore he has claim. IT WAS NEVER intended for BARRY WHITWAM to hijack the name and use it with others. He agreed that I could call myself Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone and that he would call himself Herman's Hermits starring Barry Whitwam. Of course he forgot to mention this in his tirade against me."
Lest anyone feel this report to be too one-sided, please know that BARRY WHITWAM did not respond to ANY of the half dozen requests extended him to comment on these issues as part of the FORGOTTEN HITS Series. Coincidently, he DID recently tell THE BEAT, a U.K. Music Publication, that he has "almost finished my book about my life and times with the band ... and there's a lovely chapter about Peter Noone ... which should surprise his U.S.A. fans."
Those U.S.A. fans have already decided which version of Herman's Hermits THEY prefer to see. "Peter Noone is Herman is Peter Noone," Noone proudly says. Although he left the persona for a short time trying to develop a more "contemporary" career as both a solo artist, an actor and as a member of The Tremblers, Noone says it took LEAVING the "Herman" persona behind to make him realize just how good he actually WAS at being "Herman." He has embraced his past and musical accomplishments ever since. Now we'll just have to wait and see if the London courts continue to allow him to do so.
For the complete story on this topic ... exactly as it unfolded in FORGOTTEN HITS ... simply send an email to ForgottenHits@aol.com and request a copy of this series. Further inquiries can be addressed to:
(630) 207 - 1100
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.