HERMAN'S HERMITS (l to r) BARRY WHITWAM, KARL GREEN,
PETER NOONE, LEK LECKENBY and KEITH HOPWOOD.
THE thought of Herman dressed up to the nines in top hat and tails, high stepping it across the board on Broadway is something that raises a grin, but the eventuality of it happening is not too remote. If that was what he had to do to achieve his ambition, then he'd do it.
So many people say: "I want to be an all-around entertainer" that it becomes as hackneyed as "We're just good friends." Herman didn't put it quite that way when we met for lunch and he as able, as so many others are not, to explain why and what he has in mind.
"All actors want to be singers and all bank managers want to be robbers. I was an actor but I still haven't mastered stage presence. I've still got a lot to learn," he told me.
"Really, I want to be an entertainer. Nothing specific - I don't want to be an actor. I don't want to be a singer. If I have to put on my tap dancing shoes, that's still entertaining."
We got round to talking along these lines when I questioned Herman about the latest show biz rumour, that he and the Hermits are to part company.
"I had an offer to work on my own for fourteen weeks and the Hermits thought if I was doing that, they ought to get an act together and work without me.
On the dole
"There was also a possibility of a Canadian college tour but there's the problem of the audiences being very split.
"There's some who like our kind of act and those who like Peter, Paul and Mary and then those who like Led Zeppelin type of people, which is always very dodgy because if you go there and don't do good business, you won't get asked again.
"We're not in such a position that we have to dash over there to get money. In fact we're all rather well off so we can afford to wait. Our kind of booking is at a venue in a big town that is specifically for the family audience because Herman's Hermits are a family type of entertainment.
"I went through a stage where I thought the most important thing was to make money and be damned with the success, whether there was a thousand people there or ten thousand people I'd still get paid. Now I think it's better to do a show for ten thousand. We'll just wait for the demand to be there."
He sipped his glass of red wine, thought for a moment and went on: "There's a lot of things that I can do. I don't have to be a member of Herman's Hermits, there are other ways to earn a living.
"Acting? Yeah, but I have to be myself. I can't see myself doing Shakespeare. I prefer to be Pinocchio. I was like that at one stage of my life, every kid goes through Pinocchio.
"If I find the right musical for me to do that would be okay, anything that's really interesting. I'm not an actor. I can act parts that I've lived through.
"I've really done a lot in twenty two years. I could play a drunk and things like that, things I am or have been I could play. There could easily be a musical about Peter Noone that would have bar sets and night club sets but I could never be a Henry VIII because I don't believe in those parts."
It's almost a year now since Herman's had a hit and I wondered if he had abandoned his plan to record straighter records than his usual sing-along songs. "Years May Come, Years May Go" is a return to the style he had before "My Sentimental Friend" and "Here Comes The Star."
"Yeah, I have," he admitted. "I used to say I didn't want to do sing-alongs things, but I don't mean that now. We didn't get 'Top of The Pops' on the last one so it didn't get that boost it needed and there were so many records out at the same time it just got lost.
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