Reg Presley, frontman of The Troggs, died today. The cause was cancer. He was 71.
In remembrance of Reg, I’d like to share something from the Dangerous Minds archives: Hilarious, profane and oddly sweet, this is The Troggs Tapes, the sound of a band struggling to get it just right.
Among musicians, the The Troggs Tapes is the gold standard of rock and roll memes. As band members Reg, Dennis, Tony and Ronnie desperately try to nail a take of a song, they progressively melt down, bickering, ranting, and collectively uttering more “fucks” than Tony Montana in Scarface. The tapes are claimed to have been a source of inspiration for This is Spinal Tap.
Here’s a groovy unattributed anecdote which, whether true or not, illustrates the mythology connected to this iconic recording;
Ron Wood was doing some studio work with Bob Dylan and over the course of the gig played Dylan the “Troggs Tapes”. Not unnaturally, Dylan thought they were very funny.
It turned out that Troggs singer Reg Presley was working in an adjacent studio making a demo for a commercial.
When Wood discovered this, he approached Dylan all excited, saying “Remember that guy on the tape I played you? Well, he’s next door right now!”
Dylan says, “Really?! Wow, I gotta meet him. You gotta introduce me!”
So Ron Wood takes Bob Dylan next door to find Reg disconsolately fumbling with a bass guitar.
Dylan, by way of introduction, says “Hey, I didn’t know you played bass, man. How long you been playing bass?”
Reg looks up and with a deep sigh says, “All fuckin’ afternoon, mate, all fuckin’ afternoon”.
Larry Page has posted a transcript of The Troggs Tapes here.
Here’s one of my favorite bits:
Ronnie: Whether you think so or not, that is a number-fucking one, and if that bastard don’t go, then I’ll fucking retire! I fucking do!
Dennis: I think it is a good song. I agree, it is a good song.
Ronnie: But it fucking well won’t be unless we spend a little bit of fucking thought and imagination to fucking make it a fucking number one. You gotta put a little bit of fucking fairy dust over the bastard, you know…..