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The Woggles

Cult heroes whose hot-rodded blend of garage rock, surf music, rockabilly, and vintage R&B connects solidly both live and in the studio, the Woggles were one of the few bands that spanned the '80s garage rock revival into the 21st century with no loss of impact. The Woggles were formed in 1987 by lead singer the Mighty Manfred, also known as the Professor and called Manfred Jones by his parents. Taking their name from a line in the song "Wiggle Waggle Woo" by Sticks McGhee, the Woggles made their recording debut with Elvis Cadillac, a 7" vinyl EP released in 1990, and after a handful of singles, the Woggles partnered with Northwest garage rock label Estrus Records to issue their first full-length album, 1993's Teen Dance Party. The following year, Estrus dropped The Zontar Sessions, a collection of material from the band's early 7" releases. The Woggles had trouble holding on to a stable lineup in their early years, but by the time they released Get Tough! via Telstar Records in 1997, the membership had stabilized, with the Mighty Manfred joined by Montague (aka George Montague Holton III) on guitar, Buzz Hagstrom (aka Patrick O'Connor) on bass, and Dan Electro (aka Dan Hall) on drums. This edition of the band remained active until 2003, when guitarist Montague died as a result of complications of diabetes. Jeff Walls, the former guitarist with Guadalcanal Diary and Hillbilly Frankenstein who had produced several sessions for the Woggles, stepped in to take over on guitar, adopting the stage name Flesh Hammer. The group toured frequently both in the United States and abroad, earning a reputation as a blazing live act, and they documented their energetic on-stage spirit with the 2001 album Live! At the Star Bar. The group earned a valuable ally in Steven Van Zandt, guitarist with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band who also hosts the syndicated radio show Little Steven's Underground Garage. Impressed with the Woggles' energy and songcraft, Van Zandt spun the group's discs regularly on his show, and later signed them to his Wicked Cool record label, releasing Rock and Roll Backlash in 2007. Tempo Tantrum followed in 2009, and The Big Beat was released in 2013. By this time, all four members of the Woggles lived in different cities, but they continued to reunite regularly for touring and recording sessions. In 2016 they convened in Athens with producer Jim Diamond to record Tally Ho!, which was issued by Wicked Cool in August 2017.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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