One year since cancelling their last major tour due to the pandemic, The Wiggles are going back on the road to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary.
The Wiggles’ We’re All Fruit Salad Tour starts in Perth in April and takes in dates across the country through to May, including five shows at Canberra Theatre on April 17 and 18.
“We are excited because it’s been a while now. We used to be on the road eight to nine months a year,” Simon Pryce, aka the Red Wiggle, says.
“Normally we did 400 shows a year and we were down to eight in 2020, so it’s been a big change.”
The tour kicks off a year of celebrations for The Wiggles.
Thirty years have passed since founding members Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt combined their passion for music and early childhood studies to form The Wiggles.
After forming in Sydney in 1991, their popularity soared around the world, earning the group a spot among Australia’s top-earning entertainers and selling more than 30 million units of CDs and DVDs.
The songs have stood the test of time with little ones three decades on.
Hot Potato, Fruit Salad, Big Red Car, and Rock A Bye Your Bear still rate as stone-cold classics with toddlers.
The anniversary coincides with the March 5 release of the group’s new album, We’re All Fruit Salad: The Wiggles Greatest Hits, which features 40 songs from their early years with the original line-up to the latest with Field alongside Pryce, Lachy Gillespie and Emma Watkins.
Forty songs might sound like a lot, but not when you consider the group’s enormous back catalogue.
“On average we do about three albums a year, so there’s a lot of songs,” Pryce says.
“I have been a Wiggle for nine years and when I had a look at the catalogue when I started there were 1200 songs, so I thought ‘Wow, OK, lucky they’ve only got a few words in them [laughs]’.”
For the record, his favourite is Rock A Bye Your Bear.
Pryce, who previously starred in musical theatre productions, says the enduring appeal of The Wiggles is “extraordinary”.
“It’s had three line-ups over the years, but it’s as strong as ever which, I believe, is because of the fact that all we think about whenever we are writing or creating is our audience, and how a child will respond to the message we try to get across,” Pryce says.
“We put ourselves in the mindset of a child and how they would respond to it.
“Then we try to make catchy songs which, hopefully, don’t annoy the parents too much after they’ve been listening to it 100 times [laughs].”
Despite the pandemic putting a stop to the group’s intense touring schedule, The Wiggles kept busy in front of the camera and in the studio.
They used the time to record an upcoming TV series and recorded two tracks (The Handwashing Song and Social Distancing) to help children understand what was going on during the pandemic.
“We always try to be responsive to what’s happening in the world. The concept of social distancing to children, I mean, how do you explain that?,” Pryce says.
The past year has been a busy time for Pryce personally, too.
He starred as the puppet character on the hit Channel 10 program The Masked Singer and, in January, welcomed the birth of his son, Asher, with wife Lauren. “My son is six weeks old now. We had been trying for a baby for a little while and I guess being stuck at home, it kind of helped,” he laughs.
His new baby isn’t the only new addition to The Wiggles camp. Lachy Gillespie, aka the Purple Wiggle, and his fiancee Dana Stephensen celebrated the arrival of daughters Lulu and Lottie in September.
“We will have to get Asher in the big red car and tour around with us. Lachy had his twins in September too, so I think we will have the Wiggly creche on the road,” Pryce says.
The Wiggles perform at Canberra Theatre on April 17 and 18. Bookings at canberratheatre.com.au.
This story Wiggles bring big red car back to Canberra
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