Stars of the Ipswich Regent bound All Star 60s Tour interviewed

The Troggs. Photo: Piet van den Bekerom

The Troggs. Photo: Piet van den Bekerom - Credit: Archant

There are quite a few 1960s revues touring the country these days with a number of original artists, and sometimes a couple of tribute acts, recreating the times back in the day when a number of acts would turn up at the local cinema and treat the fans to a hit-fest. Martin Hutchinson talks to some of those making up the All Star 60s Show.

Bob Jackson of Badfinger

Bob Jackson of Badfinger - Credit: Archant

The lne-up for this tour includes The Troggs, The Ivy League, Brian Poole of The Tremeloes with Chip Hawkes and Dave Munden, Badfinger and The Pacemakers who will back Poole and co.

Chris Britton, of The Troggs, is looking forward to touring the UK again. He’s the sole-remaining founder member of the band who had hits with Wild Thing, Any Way That You Want Me and the original version of Love Is All Around.

His lead guitar is an integral element of the band’s sound and he tells me fans have seemingly come to terms with the sad passing a couple of years ago of lead singer Reg Presley.

“Reg had decided to retire because of his health, but wanted the band to carry on. We wanted to do it as a trio, but we hadn’t a voice between us,” he laughs.


Badfinger - Credit: Archant

“Then we were introduced to Chris Allen who is a great singer and importantly great to get on with. The audiences have accepted him, so that’s great.”

The two Chris’ bandmates are Dave Maggs, who has been The Troggs’ drummer for 25 years; and bassist Pete Lucas, who celebrated 40 years with the band last year.

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Such was the band’s list of hits, they have been cited as an influence on bands like The Buzzcocks, The Ramones and even Iggy Pop - which pleases Britton.

“Yeah, it feels good to be classed as an influence on such acts – it’s lovely.”

The band’s breakthrough hit was Wild Thing in 1966 which has been covered by many others including the likes of Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, The Goodies and Animal from The Muppets. It has also been ranked in the Top 500 Records by America’s Billboard magazine.

“They all did it in their own way,” says Britton, “which is good fun. Nobody can touch Hendrix for guitar, but Animal’s version was hilarious.”

Three of their hits - Wild Thing, With a Girl Like You and Love is All Around - were all million sellers, garnering the band gold discs for each. He can’t pick one out as the best.

“I really don’t know. All three were very different and we play them all in the set. Of course they are of the time and people have a nostalgic feel for them. Even young kids jump around to Wild Thing, so as long as the song is important to you personally that’s what matters.”

Arguably, the recording the band is famous - or in this case infamous - for is The Trogg Tapes, a recording of the band in the studio arguing. The whole thing is littered with expletives and became a cult recording.

“I thought it was hilarious,” says Britton, laughing.

“We didn’t know anything about it until about six months later. The record company told us they needed another track, so we went in and were trying to lay this track down, but because we didn’t have a lot of time we couldn’t have a proper run through.

“Reg was trying to explain the song to us as we were playing it, but Ronnie Bond (the drummer) was in a different room and almost but not quite getting it right. So Reg had to keep going up and down this corridor to explain things to Ronnie and he was getting more and more wound up.

“In the end we abandoned the recording, but the engineer had left the tape on and had captured all the arguments. Within six months, all the studios had a copy and some of them were using it to play to new bands to get them to loosen up by telling them this was how established bands do it.”

Of The Troggs’ fellow acts on the tour, Britton says he’s worked with them before and had good experiences.

“We’ve toured with Badfinger in the past and worked many times with The Tremeloes, but not with Chip. Of course, the vocals will be terrific and they’ll be backed by The Pacemakers. We’ve worked with The Ivy League loads of times.”

For the show itself, he isn’t sure how long they’ll be on stage with there being so many acts.

“It’ll probably be about half-an-hour, so we’ll get in all the hits and maybe some album tracks. It’ll be full-on.”

Jon Brennan, bassist and singer with The Ivy League, reckons about 25 to 30 minutes will be about the norm.

“We always take our own stuff so we’re cleared in about a minute using a couple of roadies; I think the others may be using the same equipment though. In a show like this, it’s vital you get the timing right. We’ll be able to get our main hits in (Tossing and Turning and Funny How Love Can Be to name two) and a bit of comedy.”

Brennan loves these 1960s revues and The Ivy League has appeared in many.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the tour. It’s the best way to work. You work in some lovely theatres and get to play all the 1960s music as well. With some tours you’re all over the place, but we’re doing this in blocks of a few dates all fairly near each other. It cuts down on travelling expenses, but does mean you don’t always get to go home after the show.

“Having said that, me, Dave (Buckley on drums) and Mike (Brice on guitar) are all really looking forward to it.”

One band that might seem out of place on the tour is Badfinger, since all their hits were in the 1970s.

“It’s a very pertinent question as to why we’re on the tour,” says keyboard player and singer Bob Jackson, the only member of this incarnation to have been in the band in the 1970s.

“But when a promoter offers you a tour, you don’t turn it down.”

Badfinger had three hits in the charts, all of which entered in the month of January.

Come and Get It, which was written by Paul McCartney when the band were signed to The Beatles’ Apple label, in 1970; No Matter What in 1971 and Day After Day in 1971.

In those days, the frontmen of the band were Pete Ham and Tom Evans, who wrote Nilsson’s Without You.

However, the suicides of both songwriters affected the rest of the band as Bob, who had been in the band with both of them, explained.

“You might imagine how hard it affected the band and it’s hard to put into words. It was one catastrophe after another. After Pete died the band broke up, but Tom and I got back together, but then he lost the will to live as well.”

Now the band are back.

“I usually work as a member of The Fortunes and have done for more than 20 years, but they weren’t touring on the dates of this tour and I had been asked many times to go out as Badfinger and bring the music back to the UK, so I have and this tour will be our relaunch – our debut gigs. It’s a labour of love, whether we’ll continue after the tour all depends on the reaction of the audience.”

With such a small slot, Jackson will be limited as to what he can play.

“We’ll only get about half-an-hour, but that’s great for the audience as it’ll be wall to wall hits. Personally, I wish we could play more. We’ll do all the Badfinger hits and Without You, which I do with The Fortunes; plus we may be able to fit one or two more tracks in.”

The All Star 60s Tour comes to the Ipswich Regent on October 15.

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