Published on July 11, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Hermits enjoy a spoons full
Cheers readers of a certain vintage will remember the name Herman’s Hermits, the 1960s chart-topping group fronted by Peter Noone (Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good). Herman’s Hermits continue to tour the UK as part of The Sensational Sixties Experience, playing 65 theatres a year, visiting a Wetherspoons pub in every town to dine before each show and to wind down after.
The sole original band member is drummer Barry Whitwam who has been keeping the beat for 53 years. He said: “Over 65 shows across the six years we’ve been doing the Sixties Experience with 20 band members, plus audience members equals a lot of Wetherspoons meals and drinks.”
This gives us the opportunity to mention the late James “Tappy” Wright, the Whitley Bay lad who became road manager to The Animals, then right-hand-man to Chas Chandler who managed Jimi Hendrix and Slade. Chas – along with Tappy – also worked closely with Herman’s Hermits. When North Easterners Ray Laidlaw and Paul Irwin created TyneIdols with the aim of providing music heritage tours on Tyneside they naturally hooked up with their old pal Tappy who brought his worldwide rock’n’roll tales to life.
Paul Irwin said: “As part of the tours, we would stop off at Newcastle City Hall where Tappy would sit on the stage with our guests about meeting who I can only term as ‘music legends’.”
One of those tales involved Herman’s Hermits who were then making it big in America. Tappy Wright looked after them on one memorable US trip that included Hawaii. Checking in late at their hotel, Tappy insisted that there should be no interruptions to a good night’s sleep – however, he was wakened in the wee sma’ hours by the phone and the caller saying he was Elvis Presley and as he was a big admirer of the band, could he meet them. Tappy told the caller – in basic Geordie terms – to go away.
He then stormed down to reception to remind staff that they didn’t want to be disturbed, particularly by malicious phone calls, only to be told that “Mr Presley has taken the whole top floor; is there anything wrong?”
“No,” said Tappy. “Only I’ve just told Elvis Presley to fuck off.”