Saturday, February 09, 2013


When Reg Presley (born June 12, 1941) died on February 4th, three words had to be added: "of The Troggs." If you were telling this sad news to some vaguely curious 20-something or 30-whatever, you probably had to use a lot more words. Like: "Presley was lead singer for The Troggs, who recorded 'Wild Thing.' Not The Kingsmen. Although The Troggs covered 'Louie Louie.' No, they didn't also sing 'Gloria.' That was Them. Them. Lead singer Van Morrison. No, Reg wasn't one of them. That was The Troggs. Oh for fuck's sake….no, no, 'Dirty Water' was The Standells. Which was the first punk song? Nevermind….just go listen to your fucking Maroon5 and Fun illegal downloads..."

Naturally the download below is NOT "Wild Thing" which you can find anywhere, but a lucky seven other cuts that are more typical of The Troggs place in time and more reflecting of their influences, like the mildly Rolling Stone-ish "I Can Only Give You Everything" (as opposed to satisfaction), the Byrd-y jangle "Little Girl" (written by Reg) and the Kink-esque strum-and-halt "Your Love" (which seems to reference "All Day and All of the Night"). For one of the many groups saddled with the "godfathers of punk" tag, The Troggs actually did a lot more than garage rock.

Reg Presley (born Reginald Ball, but given his cheeky new name in the same managerial spirit that would later transform Declan MacManus into Elvis Costello) didn't just write or perform in a rock group in the late 60's…and keep the group around for touring through the years. He had many other interests, and in 2002 wrote "Wild Things They Don't Tell Us," about his interest in crop circles and UFO's and other believe-it-or-not phenomena. He researched such experts as "self-taught Egyptologist John West." Quoting from the obscure tome:

"If we find graffiti on a wall, we would not dream that the person who put it there actually built the wall. Yet when Egyptologists find Egyptian hieroglyphs on the walls of pyramids, they automatically assume the Egyptians built them. The Sphinx, according to Egyptologists, was built around the same time as the pyramids. Yet John West, a self taught Egyptologist, recently discovered that the weathering on the Sphinx is water weathering. The kind of rain needed for evidence is still coming in." So aliens built the pyramids. And here's something even more baffling.

If they did….uh, so? So maybe they'll come back and build affordable housing in Scunthorpe? Maybe the next UFOs to create crop circles will do it in Cleethorpes and boost the tourist industry there? We're supposed to be happy that maybe, someday, more aliens will turn up in England? Hey, they are already doing it and building mosques, or transforming chip shops into curry houses…if that's you're idea of improving civilization in the U.K. Waiting for space aliens to do something besides build triangles, odd heads at Stonehenge, or make crop circles...I don't know, I don't have faith in them. They came to Earth just to be goofy sculptors? Or toss a big lizard into Loch Ness? That's a long trip just to play a game and leave.

Reg Presley was still playin' the game and keeping The Troggs on the road until last year, when he posted to his fan website about his worsening health: ""As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer.I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad. However I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years." And so it spiraled from there, for a regular guy who did have some unusual hobbies.

Crop circles. That's where it began for Reg. "It had been a long hot dry summer," he writes, "I entered the Pewsey Vale from the south-east, and used the road that runs along the southern side of east field where the crop formation was reported to be…I looked across the valley and there, as though a giant pastry cutter had been at work, I saw my first crop formation." OK, all you wild things and cosmic muffins, take it from there. I hope it makes your hearts sing.

Mr. Presley was optimistic in 2002: "After 12 years of intensive research…I have no alternative but to believe that humanity is on the brink of one of the greatest discoveries of all time….world governments have spent millions of pounds on investigations into the UFO phenomenon and have documented evidence of their existence. The lengths to which these governments will go to hide this information never cease to amaze me." Let's all believe in looking toward the heavens for some kind of answer. Maybe Reg Presley is now sitting on a cloud (mmm, one with free mp3 downloads) along with Elvis Presley, trying to find a way to rain down peanut butter banana chip butty sandwiches for us all! With just the right amount of Xanax in them!

Reg Presley on the Ball 7 from The Troggs


The Troggs give a good five minute thrashing to… MONA


Anonymous said...

Nice tribute to Reg, and thanks for the lesser known Troggs tracks. You wouldn't happen to have their version of Bo Diddley's Mona?

Ill Folks said...

Say, that IS another side of The Troggs.

OK. Added it to the blog, or you can peel it off from here: