“But they float down like parachutes these days,” laughs Herman’s Hermits Barry Whitwam. “And they are a couple of sizes larger than they used to be!”
In other words, all the fun is there, just as it should be, more than 47 years after Barry joined the band.
“When I joined, the band was called Herman And The Hermits,” recalls Barry who plays Worthing’s Assembly Hall on Saturday, October in a 60s extravaganza featuring The Tremeloes, Hermans Hermits, The Union Gapuk and The Dreamers
“But when I joined the band with (the late) Derek Leckenby, we suggested that they change the name. We thought it sounded old-fashioned. And so it became Herman’s Hermits. They had been going for a couple of years by then.
“I joined on April 1 1964, and the manager invited Mickie Most back up to the north-east to have a look at the band again. Herman and The Hermits had been down to London twice to try to make a record, but it had not been successful. The management decided that they needed a new drummer and a new bass player. The bass player and the drummer were sacked, and we came in.”
It was the turning point. Not so very long after that, they were riding high at the top of the charts with I’m Into Something Good:”The single was released in August and went straight to number one on September 1 and stayed there for three weeks.”
Barry had been a professional musician for about nine months by the time he joined the band, having packed in his job as a hairdresser: “The success was a justification for the gamble I took!
“I had been working with another band and the gigs were Thursdays and Fridays, the busy days for a hairdresser. I would finish at 8pm and dash off to a gig, and the boys would have already had to set my gear up. After six months, I was getting too tired of all that, getting to bed at 3am and up at 7am. Teenagers like to lie in bed!
“I said to my father I wanted to pack it in. He thought about it for a week and then said I could if I started practising when he left for work. He said I could stop for lunch and then I had to carry on and then I could stop for the day when he got home from work!”
The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets on 01903 206206 or www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.