He claims to be Peter Noone, former lead singer for Herman's Hermits and a star of the '60s and '70s rock 'n' roll scene, but he must be an impostor.
He doesn't drink or smoke.
He's been married to the same woman for 40 years.
He never did drugs.
"That stuff never was an attraction for me," he says.
At the age of 60, this guy still has a boyish, youthful face framed by a mane of blond hair.
No way he's a rocker from the "if-it-feels-good-do-it" era.
It turns out that Noone has survived the pitfalls of rock, fame, fortune, and the '60s and '70s nicely, thank you, and this week he will return to Utah. Noone will perform Friday in Draper City Park for the annual Draper Days celebration one of many performances he has given in Utah and Idaho.
"We're a good clean band, so we fit in most of those situations," he says. "Everyone thought we were uncool in the '60s because we were clean and didn't do drugs. Then we sold 18 million records."
He was 15 when he recorded his first song with his older band mates, and he's been performing ever since. His songs were happy and unapologetically pop. He rose to fame singing "I'm Into Something Good," "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter," "There's a Kind of Hush," "Henry the VIII."
Noone was one of the stars of the British Invasion, appearing on the cover of Time magazine and performing on Ed Sullivan's show. A former child TV actor, he also has appeared in a number of movies over the years.
"I am able to laugh at the fact that any of this is taken seriously and (I) didn't have to cut off an ear to get noticed," he once said, taking a shot at the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney, etc., who sold their souls with outrageous behavior to win attention.
"The music has to stand alone," Noone says.
Noone took his share of abuse from his peers for refusing to participate in the drug and alcohol scene, but, as he likes to say, "I have had the last laugh; my revenge is that I have had a wonderful, happy life."
As a 15-year-old he found himself as the front man for Herman's Hermits, and suddenly he was rubbing shoulders with the Beatles and Rolling Stones and the rest of the rockers of that era.
"Misbehaving was celebrated then sex and drugs and not a lot of rock 'n' roll," he says. "People thought it was part of the package. I was overeducated for my position. I was smarter than the rest of those guys and much younger."
Hanging out with rockers who were five to seven years older than he was, Noone was awestruck by the company he was keeping, but determined not to repeat their mistakes. He took his role with the band seriously and treated himself like an athlete, getting to bed on time so he was ready to perform.
"They (other rockers) were kind to me," he says. "I was tolerated as the cute kid. They were protective. Keith Richards would warn me that he would beat me up if I ever got into drugs. All these people ended up being drunk and foolish, and they're the ones who warned me. That's the thing about drugs people think they can get away with it. I remember a teacher told me that alcohol was the drug of disappointment. I always remembered that."
Looking back, he says he wanted to be a "cultural anthropologist," exploring the pop-music scene of the era. Here are a couple of his anthropological observations:
• On the Rolling Stones: "They were pretending to be tough street guys, but really they were grammar-school twits. The Beatles were the tough guys. They could've beaten you up if they had wanted to. I remember thinking it would be exhausting to pretend to be someone else your whole life. Mick is a very educated man. He has a degree in economics. If you had dinner with him, you would have a very engaging conversation. But if he's interviewed, he becomes this Johnny Rotten character."
• On the British Invasion: "We had great enthusiasm. We were all kids whose parents had just fought in a war and everything was a mess. There were rations. Children at my school died of diphtheria. Paul McCartney and I can both remember the first time we saw a banana. I know the date and the year. ... So we had great enthusiasm for life and its possibilities. That's what we were all smiling about. People paid us to play music. We traveled the world people paid us to go on vacation. We were smart enough to be grateful."
As he says this he is staring out the window of his house on a golf course in Santa Barbara. "I can see Oprah's trees from here," he says.Something tells us he's into something good.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. Please e-mail [email protected].