TROGGS legend Reg Presley may have gone where the wild things are, but his former bandmate in Old Basing has been remembering the good times they shared.
Pete Staples, of Rainbow Close, played alongside the charismatic front-man during the peak of The Troggs’ fame.
Reg, from Andover, died from lung cancer on Monday at the age of 71.
Pete, a married father-of-two, played bass in the band from 1965 until 1968 alongside singer Reg, guitarist Chris Britton, and drummer Ronnie Bond.
The Andover boys had a string of hits including a cover of Chip Taylor’s Wild Thing which peaked at No. 2 in the UK charts, and was a smash No.1 in America.
This was followed by With a Girl Like You, I Can’t Control Myself, and Love is all Around which shot back to fame in the 1990s when it was covered by Wet Wet Wet.
Pete was ousted suddenly from the band in 1968 after he returned from his honeymoon in Majorca with his wife Hilary.
From that point he lost contact with Reg, and said he only spoke to him once in 40 years.
However the 68-year-old has good memories of playing alongside the star, whose real name was Reginald Ball.
“I am proud of my years with The Troggs,” he said. “Reg was a very charismatic character. He was very good to watch on stage. Being just three instruments – bass, drums, and guitar – we all had to work very hard to make a spectacle. So Reg had to do a hell of a lot of work on stage. But that was him – he used to love that.”
The pair first met in the early 1960s when Reg would watch Pete play with his then band The Senators at a country club in Tidworth.
By 1965 Pete, and guitarist Chris were playing in Ten Feet Five. The band then merged with Reg and Ronnie, of The Troggs.
According to Pete, the name stuck because it was already emblazoned on the front of the drumkit.
Pete said Reg always dreamed of being a pop star when they were starting out. Before they went full-time after Wild Thing became a success, Reg was a bricklayer and Pete, an electrician – a business to which he subsequently returned.
“When I first met him he was a normal sort of guy, but a guy that had a lot of dreams,” said Pete. “He dreamed of going professional often, and would say ‘wouldn’t it be marvellous if...’
“In the end he fulfilled everything he wanted to in the music industry. He was born for that sort of thing.”