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Ranking the Kids' Shows: the Cutthroat World of being a Wiggle

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Ranking the Kids' Shows: the Cutthroat World of being a Wiggle

No one ever said rock 'n' roll wasn't a cutthroat business.

The big news over the weekend, and by "big" I mean if you have a kid under 3, is Greg, the original Yellow Wiggle, is coming back.  Yes, I'm fucking serious. (And, no, I am not talking about the 49ers' suck job and Alex "Whiskey Dick" Smith picking a fine time to come up limp again.  And Kyle Williams?  Fuck you too.)

I'm a huge fan of the Wiggles, my fondness well documented.  When Greg Page, the singer/songwriter--and let's just say it, visionary--behind the Wiggles was forced to step down due to a debilitating illness that caused him to faint a lot on stage (something that might be hard to explain to kids), he handed over lead singer reins to Sam Moran, a nebbish understudy who quickly became the de facto face of the franchise.

I never liked Sam.  I honestly don't know what he contributed in terms of songwriting, my exposure to his fronting the Wiggles limited to a few seconds of "Day-O" in a Sprout promo, but he seemed to me to lack the stature, both physically and metaphorically, to lead the band.  But in all fairness to Sam, it's tough to follow the genius of "Fruit Salad" and "Hot Potato."  Kind of like stepping into the shoes of Joe Montana and Steve Young.  Jeff Garcia never had a chance.

A few of you might be wondering where the joke in all this is.  There isn't one.  Yes, I may, technically, be a tattooed, big-gunned, former felon, but I'm a dad now.  And if you are a parent, you know how fucking important a vital Wiggles are to your sanity.  Without the Wiggles, it's goddamn Disney playground, Justine Beiber; it's fucking Barney.


Once the elation subsided, I did a quick Google search to see how the big move went down, which though not quite as cool as David Lee returning to Van Halen, is still a fairly big shakeup in my rock 'n' roll world these days*.

(*Speaking of Diamond Dave's return, anemic new single "Tattoo" notwithstanding, Gluehead used to date a former groupie of the band, who told this funny story how after a VH show back in its heyday Roth would cherry-pick the prettiest girls to take to Burger King in his boogie van.  They'd get a large order of onion rings and sit in the parking lot. The girls would play horseshoe.  Whoever got one on was allowed eat the onion ring off.)

The behind-the-scenes angles always fascinate me, the rock 'n' roll soap opera. And, boy, did Yellow Sam get fucked.

Tough exit for yellow Wiggle Sam Moran

By Holly Byrnes
January 19, 2012 12:30PM

THE rift between former Yellow Wiggle Sam Moran and the reformed original kids super group deepened today, with Anthony Field dismissing the dumped singer as "a hired hand."

Responding to The Daily Telegraph's revelations that Moran was mocked as the "salaried Wiggle" and paid a fraction of the group's $28.2 million earnings, Field told Today show entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins he hadn't spoken to "the guy" he shared a stage with for five years--replaced yesterday with original member, Greg Page.

"What Sam does now is Sam's thing. His contract has come to an end," Field said. "Sam was just doing a job.  He was a hired hand ... I haven't spoken to him"...



The cold "hired hand" comment totally echoes what Morrissey once famously (and heartlessly) said of the Smiths' rhythm section, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, when he called them "as readily replaceable as parts of a lawnmower" over a dispute concerning royalties.  As far as Rourke and Joyce go, they were pretty damn good, but you can understand the lead singer hubris.  Here, Moran was the lead singer.  

Apparently, of that $28 million in yearly income, Sam was paid a pittance of $200K, with his buyout being 3-months' salary, or about $60K.  Rather than take a dig at Anthony (he's the Blue Wiggle for all you keeping score at home), whose former band was, coincidently enough, called the Cockroaches, Sam took the high road, posting this upbeat, if heavy-hearted, video, urging the children to "keep wigglin'." That's very good advice, Sam.  Both when you are unceremoniously dumped from a children's singing group and, you know, if you are a fish.


This can't come as a total surprise to anyone.  At least not anyone who saw the documentary Death to Smoochy (at least I think it was a documentary), which chronicled the seedy underbelly (and rampant backstage sexcapades) of kiddie shows.


The best line in all this came when Jeff (that's the Purple one whose superpower is a Wonder Twin-eque napping) said this will "give Sam the chance to spend more time with his family."  You think, Jeff?  Ouch.

Frankly, I've never been able to figure out what Jeff (Purple) or Anthony (Blue) even do in the group.  Murray (the Red Wiggle) at least plays the guitar.  If any two should be "salaried Wiggles" it's those two dead weights.  It's funny when you strip away the family-friendly veneer and realize that what lurks behind all the smiles and Big Red Cars is the evil, petty heart of man, who will fuck over just about anyone if it means an extra dollar to add to their pile of millions.

I'm sure Sam will be OK.  He's an avid Star Trek fan and has his own "grown-up" singing career.  If ever two skills could be combined for guaranteed success...

Not that I care.  I'm just happy to have Greg back.  It simply wasn't the Wiggles without him.

Who's up for a little celebratory "Fruit Salad"?



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1 Comments:

At January 24, 2012 at 7:36 PM , Blogger Justine said...

I dunno gotta give it to Sam for taking the high road. That video made me want to cry.

 

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