Greg Page is turning a new page in his life. As one of the founding members of the hugely popular children’s music group, The Wiggles, Greg is now recording music and finding new (and fun!) meaning in his life. We caught up with the former Yellow Wiggle to talk about keeping Christmas magic alive all year long, his new project, Butterscotch TV, and if The Wiggles will reunite for a reunion tour!
Greg, we first met at the cover shoot for Celebrity Parents Magazine when The Wiggles were doing their final U.S. tour. Now there are talks of a reunion tour in Australia.
We have had a lot of people who are now in their 20’s talk to us about their memories of The Wiggles and how influential we were in shaping their love of music. One day when Anthony (Field) was touring last year, he met a fan who actually said it would be great to see The Wiggles now, as an adult and relive their childhood. When Anthony put it out there on Twitter about the possibility of a show where we would perform for our now-adult audience, the response was amazing! So, at present, we have one show scheduled, which has sold out. We’ve had plenty of other people ask if we are doing more shows, so we’ll just have to wait and see!
You recently released a Christmas album, Here Comes Christmas? What was the response?
We got a great response with the release of Here Comes Christmas! So many people gave positive feedback about the CD, and we also got some great reviews in various spots too. I think it was the perfect way to re-launch my presence in Children’s entertainment outside of The Wiggles.
Christmas is such a magical time of year. How can people, especially busy parents, keep that magic going throughout the year with their children?
The magic of Christmas is hard to keep going all year-round, right? I mean, as parents we have so much going on in our lives, as well as trying to be the best parents we can be! I think that the best way we can keep the magic of Christmas alive through the year is by maintaining strong relationships with our children. Christmas is a time of peace, love and joy, and a time for being with family. I think if we can all remember to keep calm and speak to our children with love and respect then the magic of Christmas can be maintained for the whole year. That would be the most magical thing to do – show respect and love for our children at all times.
What have been some of your favorite Christmas memories?
My favourite Christmas memories are of spending time with my children at Christmas. Seeing the surprise on their faces as they open their presents left by Santa Claus, and sharing that anticipation with them during the lead up to Christmas – it is such a time of wonder and excitement. I still marvel at the meaning behind the great big man in red who travels the world leaving presents for children. The thought of someone being so generous and thoughtful is such an inspiring thing. There are so many people out there who are not as fortunate as us, and it would be great to think that we can all play Santa Claus at some stage in our lives and bring some of that excitement to others who need a bit of light brought in to their lives.
Some people might not know that you have one of the biggest Elvis collections in the world. What does your collection include? What does Elvis mean to you?
I began collecting Elvis artifacts in 2005, and then started my own museum in Australia to showcase my collection. This was so that people who could not travel to Memphis and visit Graceland (Elvis’ home which is now the second most-visited home in the US after the White House), could go and see some of Elvis’ personal belongings up-close. Over time, the collection has included more than 2000 items, including movie clothing, stage-worn clothing, personal clothing, guitars, cars, documents, and of course jewelry! Some of my favourite items have been Elvis and Priscilla’s Marriage Certificate, a 10ct Diamond ring which Elvis gave to a fan in the front row of a concert in 1975, a two-piece leather outfit worn on stage by Elvis in 1974, as well as the last Cadillac that Elvis purchased for his own use and was photographed driving the day before he passed away.
Elvis is a story of inspiration – a story of someone who changed his path in life. He was born to a very poor family, yet he did not let this adversity stand in the way of his dreams. His ambition to sing and play music over-rode any disadvantage he may have seen in front of him in terms of opportunities not being present – he went out of his way to create the opportunities and put himself in the right place at the right time. That is how success is created – by backing yourself and giving things a go.
What was it like recording an album as a solo artist, and not part of The Wiggles?
Quite different really – it was the same process, just not with the other Wiggles around me. I definitely had more say in how things went in the production process, which is a good thing, but also, I know that Anthony Field is such a genius when it comes to producing children’s music that I did miss working with him. He is so incredibly talented in so many ways. However, my go-to person on this project was Alec Miller, someone who I have worked with for about 5 years now, and is incredible talented as a musician and producer, so that role was adequately filled by Alec.
You had suffered through some health issues in the past. How are you doing today?
I’m doing very well today, thanks. I was very fortunate to be in touch with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Research Institute here in Australia – one of the leading researchers into Dysautonomia in the world. They were able to really help me understand the condition and how best to deal with it. So now, through education and understanding, I am virtually unaffected by Orthostatic Intolerance in my daily life!
Do you think that you, Murray, Jeff and Anthony will reunite beyond the reunion tour? How often do you guys see each other?
I think that the four of us will always have a special bond – because of what we have created together and how it all came about. We don’t see each other all that much outside of Wiggles-related events – that’s just something that came about because when we were touring together all the time, when we had time off, we didn’t socialize together – we had our own lives outside of The Wiggles. That doesn’t mean that we don’t like each other though! It’s just the way it has been for many years. We get on really well together and always will I think.
Let’s talk about Butterscotch’s Playground. How did it come to be? What do you hope to achieve with the show?
Butterscotch’s Playground is something that I was asked to come on board and help with after it had been created by Alec Miller and Vera Nackovic. They approached me to be a part of the show and to help with “early childhood” aspects of what they were doing. It was such a great brand when it was presented to me, so I felt really enthusiastic about getting my teeth into creating and advising on something that was un-Wiggles related. This is a great show for children because it shows them that the whole wide world is full of opportunities for them to learn and have fun. I am really impressed with what we have achieved with the show so far, but I do hope that we can produce more episodes later this year.
What is it like working with the cute puppets in the show as opposed to Anthony, Jeff, and Murray?
Puppets are fun to work with, but harder in some ways. Because you are not really looking at the person (as you would with Murray, Anthony or Jeff), it is sometimes difficult to get real-time feedback on your delivery of lines with visual cues from a puppet. Having said that though, the puppeteers we worked with were world-class puppeteers, and certainly made my job a lot easier – having not had a great deal of experience with puppets before. But, don’t forget, Anthony, Murray and Jeff are pretty cute too!
Greg, what are some of your plans for the future?
This year, my goal is to set about creating and developing more content through my entertainment company Yellow Entertainment. I also want this company to be a production house for people who, like Alec and Vera, need help to bring their creations to life. I think there are many people with great concepts for children’s shows out there, but can’t find a place on TV to be seen. I want Yellow Entertainment to be able to fill that void, and give these people a chance of getting in front of an audience.