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Herman's Hermit on Jagger, Moon and living the life

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Herman's Hermit Karl Green makes himself at home in Chesterton

 

By KEVIN NEVERS

It’s been better than half a lifetime since Karl Green last recorded new material. And he’s never before done it as a frontman.

So the Karl Green Band’s first album, The Long Road Back, released on March 1 by Global Recording Artists, is kind of a big deal for him (www.gragroup.com and Amazon). Backed by Mike Bruccoleri and Gina Knight, Green goes roadhouse and absolutely rocks the joint, busts up tables and chairs like the Hermits never did.

In the States again to promote the record, Green would almost certainly rather talk about The Long Road Back. He’s trod it himself, after all, every slogging step of it. But Green’s a trooper and instead gamely answers the questions put to him by a Chesterton Tribune reporter who, in this starstruck moment, is suddenly aware of being just the thinnest degree of separation removed from Mick, Moonie, and the lads from Led Zeppelin.

The reporter is an utter wally.

Green, on the other hand, is unpretentious and unguarded, laughs loudly and easily, and still has a smile likely to melt a bird’s heart.

* On “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”: “When Peter (Noone) sang it, when we did it on stage, he used to put a school satchel on his back as though he was a young school boy, and he did it with his Manchester accent, which straight away appealed to all the Americans. We went from really far down on the bill to the top of the bill overnight.”

* On quiet evenings with Keith Moon: “Moonie and his wife and me and my first wife, we’d say ‘Let’s go out for dinner, we’ll have a meal, watch the band, no drinks, just stay sober.’ Two hours later we’d be dancing on the tables after about five bottles of wine. It was party time, all the time, with Keith. When you went out with him, hotels just got smashed to bits, cherry bombs down the toilets. I lost touch with Keith because he started believing his own press.”

* On getting sober: “I gave up alcohol in 1990. It’s 26 years I’ve been dry, completely drug free. But I’d be dead now if I hadn’t stopped drinking. I actually 12-stepped. Every band used to drink heavily. We had the cleanest of images. But what people didn’t realize is that when we got in the dressing room, we had a bottle of every kind of spirit, 12 cases of beer, for the five of us.”

* On getting old: “John Paul Jones and I, we were having a chat about the old days and he said ‘I can’t even lift a TV up anymore, never mind chuck it out of a window.’”

* On Mick Jagger: “A self-obsessed fool.”

* On opening for the Stones in ‘65, in Philly: “We go on stage and do covers of a couple of Chuck Barry songs. And while we’re doing it, Mick Jagger comes to the side of the stage and says ‘Stop playing our song!’ Your song! Try telling that to Chuck Barry! And Jagger comes on stage and tries to unplug us. I give him a right-hander and he goes skitter-skitter-skitter backward and hits the deck.”

* On the integrity of your basic record executive: “The whole business was crooked. They found ways of having train wrecks, so that a lot of albums would be destroyed. And then those albums would end up at Kmart. We wouldn’t get the royalty but someone at the record company would get the backdoor payment. But if you become resentful, it just eats you away. You’ve just got to say ‘S*** happens.’ And then make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

* On regret: “I wish I’d taken more time to involve myself in the business side. But we were 17. 17-year-olds, all they want to do is get out on the road, have a drink, live the life.”

* Playlist du jour: “Funnily enough, I’m listening to country now, which I never listened to. Keith Urban. The Eagles. The Band. Little Big Town.”

* Top-five desert-island albums: Asia, Steelie Dan. Rumors, Fleetwood Mac. Revolver, The Beatles. Long Road Out of Eden, The Eagles. And--“obviously”--Led Zeppelin II.

* On posterity: “Herman’s Hermits will go by the wayside because we’re not considered cool. In England, people just consider us a joke. In the Sixties we weren’t that popular in England because we were seen to have sold out to America.”

* On nostalgia: “I don’t think about the past that much. No, I don’t look back that much. I look forward. I want to know what’s going on tomorrow. But I like doing the old songs. When the Karl Green Band plays, half of our set is old Herman’s Hermits tunes, because that’s what people want.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 3/242016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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