WHO’S MR. LAST CHANCE NOW?
A CONVERSATION WITH BUZZ HAGSTROM (AKA PATRICK O’CONNOR) OF THE WOGGLES
The Woggles have been around for a long time, over 30 years to be exact, and they continue to produce their own brand of garage, 1960s influenced rock ‘n’ roll. They are an incredible band, doing what they do extremely well. The current line-up includes frontman “The Professor’ Mighty Manfred, Buzz Hagstrom (aka Patrick O’Connor) on bass, Graham Day and Shane Pringle on guitar, and Dan Elextro on drums. Shane Pringle also provides saxophone when it is needed.
We’re basically like walking cartoon characters,” Buzz Hagstrom told me, when I recently talked with him. “We just got to embrace it. The problem with the name The Woggles, is that there are many meanings for it now. There is ‘the woggle’, the Boy Scout knot thing you tie around your neck. But I think one of the meanings for the word ‘woggle’ that I really like is…you know those architectural edifices that are ornamental but they structurally don’t support anything. That is another meaning for Woggle and I kind of like that, you know an extra thing but we aren’t really supporting the house but we look good and we are there. There is another meaning attached to Athens, Georgia but you will have to check with the Mighty Manfred on that. There are a few meanings, you can pick one and it is probably going to be apt.”
The Woggles are very serious about their music and their craft. Their music is energetic and powerful, but they are also all about having fun. “That is why we keep going and doing what we do. It is fun, it’s fun, we take it seriously, it is a joyous thing. When we get together, we are there to have fun, but we are serious about our fun,” Hagstrom said with a laugh.
The band has a new single out, “Mr. Last Chance” and “The Will O’The Wisp”. Two very different songs but they both have that Woggles sound. “I think what helps is that everybody in the band is a songwriter .. and everybody brings their song, that is in their brain, and everybody takes it as their song and puts extra ‘thing’ in it to make it sound like The Woggles.”
The new single, “Mr. Last Chance”, was written by Hagstrom, a song he describes as a song about ‘a dude who needs a wakeup call’. But there is much more to the song than that. “I write things, kind of like The Kinks would do, some of it observational, and a little bit tongue in cheek. The song title started out ‘Mister Last Train Now’, which is really lame,” he laughed. “That is really lame, and I played around with the words, and I liked how “Mr. Last Chance” can also be ‘Missed You Last Chance”. It had a catchiness to it, so I weaved a tale around it.” And as with all great writing, the song is not about one person in particular, but rather a number of influences. “It is more of a general thing. I like the way I had the chorus, there are little bits of everything in it. Little bits of me, little bits I’ve observed in friends. Just like The Kinks, I wrote an observational thing”
“Mr. Last Chance” is being released with “The Will O’ The Wisp”, a brilliant song in its own right and Hagstrom is in total agreement. For him, this is a double A-side single. “It really stands out as a great song. Mighty Manfred had a mighty big part in that song. Everybody has to bring everything together; we don’t live near each other. We have to pop in and make that weekend special. It did all come together. There is a nice balance on the album coming out. It should be coming out soon, I am not sure the exact date. We did it, it is all mixed and mastered and I think people will be happy with it. The title comes from a song our drummer wrote called Time Has Come. It may be the Grim Reaper that has come for The Woggles but either way that record is coming out.”
One other cool thing about The Woggles, besides their music, is that they record and have their music released through Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records. He does play their music in his Underground Garage show, but he has also signed the band to his label. “It has been wicked cool having Little Steven on our side, and who actually listens to our songs. He has opinions as to our strengths, and he is always on our side. He actually cares about what we do, a huge plus on our side.”
And Hagstrom, who is a fun guy with whom to talk, does have a serious hope for their new single and forthcoming album. “I hope they walk away with that there are a few more dimensions to The Woggles that we are sometimes perceived as. I think there has been some dismissiveness. You know, ‘just a rock ‘n’ roll band doing their thing’. Look we are not reinventing the rock ‘n’ roll wheel, but we are greasing it, quite heavily. I hope people walk away with a different or better understanding of the music that we are doing.”