The Troggs – Across The Ocean

The Troggs

“Wild Thing, I’ll make your heart sing!” Yep, The Troggs are coming down under to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Wild Thing with a national tour. Their back catalogue includes mega hits Love Is All Around and With A Girl Like You. It was a real honour and privilege to speak to founding member and guitarist Chris Britton about The Troggs.

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It is great news that The Troggs are touring Australia to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Wild Thing?

Looking forward to being there and it will be your summertime as well won’t it? [Yep, totally] That’s great as it will give us a break from winter.

When was the last time The Troggs toured Australia?

It has got to be at least fifteen or twenty years since we were last there. It has been quite a time buddy!

Have you been happy with the reaction to the tour announcement by Aussie fans?

Oh yeah, it’s all good so far. The initial idea was to do this rock-about cruise from Brisbane but it seemed a bit far to come all the way to Australia to do a couple of nights on a cruise and the fly home. Let’s see if we can get some gets, so we asked so they fixed us up with some gigs all the way through November and the first week of December in New Zealand. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of the southern hemisphere or the bits that matter.

Do you enjoy the touring side of things as much now as you did way back when?

As long as there is an audience there and they react that’s where we get the buzz from. You don’t get a buzz from songs that you’ve played thousands of times but every audience is different and we get feedback from the audience, which is what the turn on is… we enjoy it!

It must be a huge buzz seeing the reaction of fans when they hear and experience Wild Thing and Love Is All Around in the set?

Absolutely! That’s what makes it work!

Does it amaze you how enduring The Troggs legacy is?

Yes it strange a bit like a snow ball running down hill. When it first started out it was very small and no one knew what was going to happen. We were going to give it a couple of years and then after a couple of years we would give it another couple of years which turned in to another couple of years. Then before you know you’ve hit fifty years and you’re still rolling down the hill. It is quite amazing.

Do you find the more you play these songs that you get more nostalgic?

It does indeed, maybe not so much for us but I know it does for a lot of the people who come to see us. I’m sure a lot of people that have met and got together and set their life off together having been to gig and listen to Love Is All Around or a Girl Like You for example. It is one of these amazing things that can transport you back in time and to precious moments. Quite a lot of people get that from our music. That’s a particular thing with sixties music, I presume it happens today, I know that when I hear any of those Sgt. Peppers songs I’m transported back to when we were coming back from America on a boat called the Marsden. We were on that boat for about a week and a half coming back from New York to Southampton.

What are some the highlights and memories that stick out for you when The Troggs really hit it in the sixties?

We had a lot of luck being at the right place at the right time which kept carrying on. Most of my memories are connected with gigs. We did Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve on year and that was an amazing gig. There’s some big stadium gigs in Europe with one in front of twenty thousand in Berlin. It was a glorious, hot, sunny day and it was so hot they had helicopters flying over with water bags dropping water over the crowd. There’s lots of incredible memories of gigs throughout the years. It has been quite brilliant.

Lowlights? Has it been hard when there’s been a change to the line up?

There’s always a twist when someone leaves. The first one we lost was our drummer Ronnie Bond who died very young at fifty two. We got for warning of it and we got our current drummer Dave Maggs before the thing happened. Similarly in 2013 we lost Reg our main singer and he decided to pack it in six months before he died. We back Chris Allen, the chap we have now, as we found as a three piece we didn’t have the vocals to cover it properly. He fits in well, he’s replacing Reg and he doesn’t look or sound like Reg, he is his own man and it fits right… and it works. Reg actually came to see the show a couple of times and he gave us his approval, he was quite happy for us to carry on. So that was a transition a bit like handing over the baton in a relay race. It is a bit like the England team that won the world cup in 1966 isn’t the same team that is playing now. Members change and we’re much the same. I’m the last original one standing but the guys playing with me have been with me respectively forty years, thirty five years and three years.

The band will live on and band members may come and go but do people struggle getting past that?

They might struggle at first to see how that is going to work. Once they have seen it work and happy with it there no is a struggle. All the recordings with Reg and the original drummer are still there and we’re doing our ongoing interpretation of those recordings live. I think the fans accept it and I think it sounds ok. We’ll value your opinion when we come over.

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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