Interview - Greg Page of The Wiggles
Interview with Greg Page
In 1955 Elvis was asked about his live shows and his dancing. He said he was on stage & just started "Wiggling" to the music, without realising what he was doing, and the girls went wild. Someone pointed out to him what was getting everyone screaming.... "So I went back on and I wiggled a little more and off they went" - Isn't this in fact where the name came from and don't you think that all your success could in fact be put down to this great Elvis connection ??? !!!
GP: It is no secret that Elvis' success was based on the fact that he knew how to Wiggle, and I guess we owe our success to the same thing - the fact that we can Wiggle and Wiggle and Wiggle over and over and over again. I think though, Elvis knew how to do it a little better than we do!!
Many people were surprised to see you backing Mick Gerace on his recent national tour with Joe Esposito. As one of Australia's pre-eminent live performers what attracted you to the idea of appearing as a back-up singer for Mick?
GP: Mick Gerace is a great friend of mine, and has been for many years now. Mick shares my love of Elvis and his music, and when he told me what he was doing with Joe Esposito, I gave him my whole-hearted support. Mick needed a bass singer for his vocal group, and I had the idea that I would love sing bass for him, so we both more or less had the same idea at the same time!
Since becoming a celebrity yourself, is this the first time you've done something like this?
GP: It's funny that you mention the word celebrity. I don't think of myself as a celebrity, so for me to do something like that is not out of the ordinary, especially if it helps out a friend.
How did you find the experience?
GP: It was a great experience! I love all that Elvis music that Mick chose to sing. To have the chance to sing with other people and sing Elvis songs is such a thrill, so it was amazing.
What were your impressions of Joe Esposito?
GP: Joe Esposito is a great guy. He is a very funny guy, and I can see why Elvis loved having him around so much. He has a great spirit that is contagious, and to hear him talking about Elvis and sharing meals with Joe as he would have with Elvis was a real privilege and I thank Mick for allowing me to share that experience.
Greg, you're known to be a big Elvis fan. When did you get into Elvis and what is it about Elvis that impacted/impacts on you?
GP: I'm relatively new to being an Elvis fan. It's really only in the past four years or so that I came to find out more about Elvis and his music - but boy, am I glad that I did. Anthony Field (the blue Wiggle) is also a big Elvis fan, and he used to play Elvis tapes in the van as we toured the country. The stuff that I most vividly remember hearing is the live stuff that Elvis did post 1969 in Vegas with the TCB Band. The way Elvis sang when he was in his 30's was incredible. His voice had such a depth to it as he had matured and the sound that the band created behind Elvis was just so complimentary to his style of singing. The arrangements, the brass, the strings and the mighty TCB boys - what a combination!!
Were you into Elvis's movies when you were growing up?
GP: No, actually, I've never seen an Elvis movie!!! The only movies that Elvis appears in that I've seen are the documentary ones - Elvis on Tour, This Is Elvis and That's The Way It Is.
What is your favourite Elvis movie(s)?
GP: My favourite one of the documentaries would have to be That's The Way It Is.
What is your favourite Elvis song(s)?
GP: The songs I like are mainly ones that Elvis did not have hits with - in fact most of them are ones that were recorded in his live concerts: It's Midnight, There Goes My Everything, Burning Love, Mary In The Morning
What are your favourite Elvis CD's? Could you list a top 10 "must have" CD's?
GP: Any of the live recordings from the Vegas/Touring years.
Do you use the internet much to look for Elvis news or products?: What is your favourite Elvis websites site(s)?
GP: No, I don't cruise the net much at all for anything - I use it mainly for email, but you know, I have come across this great site Elvis.com.au!!
The Wiggles has an Elvis influence - you often all dress up in Elvis style jumpsuits. Why and how did that come about?
GP: This came about from Anthony's love of Elvis, and I guess my love of Elvis in those jumpsuit years. We had done a song that was like a rockabilly type feel so we immediately thought "Elvis", but we decided to do the jumpsuit look for it.
Greg, Elvis has constantly had a problem being taken seriously by the mainstream rock music media and the general public. Given Elvis' seminal impact on popular music and culture, and career longevity, why do you think this is so?
GP: I can't see why people do not still take Elvis seriously. He was an amazing person, an amazing artist, and he touched so many people world wide, it is hard to fathom the impact he has had on world music. I feel a little disappointed that his later music has been untouched by a lot of people. This is when E was at his best, singing the songs that he loved, and really felt connected to. He always sang from the heart, and you could tell was singing them from such a personal point of view. I think that the media and general public may have seen his outlandish wardrobe as a hindrance to seeing the real man and the great music that he was creating. Perhaps he let his "image" overshadow his talent and this is what people could not connect with. It is sad, because Elvis was always ahead of his time and always really cool. His clothes that he wore off stage were so immaculate, he prided himself on his looks, and this really showed. Perhaps people were jealous that a man could look so good without really having to try!!!
As we understand it, The Wiggles originated from the popular band The Cockroaches. Why did The Cockroaches disband and how did you come up with such a divergently different follow-up act as The Wiggles?
GP: The Cockroaches were a band that Anthony and Jeff from the Wiggles founded in about 1982. They had six top 40 hits in Australia, and still occasionally perform when they get the chance. Jeff and Anthony stopped playing with them regularly about 5 or 6 years ago when things became a little more busy with the Wiggles schedule. The Wiggles came about because 3 out of the 4 Wiggles are pre-school teachers. Murray, Anthony and myself came together at University where we were studying teaching and decided to combine our music backgrounds and our new-found teaching skills, and came up with The Wiggles.
How long after you started performing with The Wiggles did it become apparent the group was going to be a major international act?
GP: You know, even today we don't look at ourselves as being a "major international act". We have achieved a level of success in the US and a much smaller level in other parts of the world, but I still think that we would never call ourselves a major act. I guess it is different looking from the outside in, but to us, we just go about doing what we do, and try to stay focused on that and let other people make those judgment calls about our success. We never thought that we would be touring the US and doing deals with companies such as Disney, so from a business point of view, it is all very exciting to see something that we have created go so far, especially given that we never had any goals other than to create one album of songs for children!! The other thing is that we measure our success by whether or not our albums/videos/shows are still able to hit the mark with the children. If the products we create are still grabbing the children and giving them a positive experience, then we have achieved success in our eyes.
The Wiggles are one of Australia's greatest ever performing acts. How long do you intend continuing as The Wiggles?
GP: We've always said that when the day comes that we don't enjoy doing it anymore, then that's the day that we hang up the skivvies!! We started this because of our love for music/education/children, so when we don't have that passion anymore, that's when we call it a day. (OR when our bodies just can't physically keep up with the pace anymore - whichever comes first!!)
Sales of The Wiggles videos and other merchandise has been phenomenal. How many videos have you sold worldwide?
GP: We've sold about 5 million videos world wide now in 11 years.
How many gold and platinum awards have The Wiggles received?
GP: We've received many gold and platinum record and video awards in Australia. Right now I'm in the USA, so I don't have the figures right in front of me, but I would guess somewhere between 28 and 40 awards for sales of albums and videos.
Do The Wiggles have another national tour of Australia planned soon?
GP: We'll be touring Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Wollongong, Newcastle, Brisbane and Sydney in December with our Christmas Big Show in December 2002.
You recently purchased the Definitive Elvis DVD set from our shop, have you had time to watch all 16 hours? What do you think of it?
GP: I haven't had time to watch all yet, but the parts that I have seen have been excellent. The producers have done a fantastic job of gathering just about everything possible for this comprehensive set of DVD's on Elvis' life and career.
What's next for Greg Page?
GP: It's funny that you should ask - I'm planning some shows in Las Vegas in March 2003 with the TCB Band as my backing band. We'll have a 16 piece orchestra playing with us as well, and it will be a show that pays tribute to music, and in particular, the music that the TCB Band helped to create with Elvis and some other artists as well. It is happening on the 9th and 10th March at the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas!! For more information, go
EPE have a list of "Graceland's Celebrity Visitors - Recently and Through the Years" we can't see neither Greg page nor The Wiggles listed, have you been to Graceland? If so what did you think of it and Memphis?
GP: Yes, I have been to Graceland twice now, and have never signed a visitors book, so that's why you couldn't find us - see, we're not really Celebrities!!
(For Nathan age 5) What colour are you Pajamas?
GP: Yellow, of course!!!LOL
Is it possible Elvis.com.au could be added to the links page at www.gregpage.com ?
GP: Yes, will do straight away.
Do any of the other Wiggles or management have an interest in Elvis or any interesting Elvis connections or experiences?
GP: Anthony Wiggle is an Elvis fanatic too, and his brother Paul (who is one of General Managers) is also a fan of the King.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.