CELEBRITY

Murray Cook from Wiggle to bona fide rock star!

Big red cars and hot potatoes are a thing of the past for this guitarist
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As the original Red Wiggle, Murray Cook entertained countless preschool kids across the globe – and helped give their tired parents a bit of respite in the process!

But in 2012, after more than two decades with The Wiggles, the guitarist decided to hang up his skivvy. Now, Murray tells New Idea the decision was far from an easy one.

Watch: The Wiggles Reunite for Over 18s Pub Gig

“I was pretty lost there for a while,” the 60-year-old tells. “There was a bit of grief and there were times when I’d question whether I’d done the right thing. But then I’d just go back to the reasons why I did it. I know it was the right decision.”

Having founded the musical juggernaut back in 1991 – alongside Anthony Field, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt – Murray says it was the relentless touring that did him in, in the end.

“We toured constantly for 10 months of the year for 21 years! I think I was just tired of that part of it. Sometimes in the middle of a tour, I’d wake up, not having slept much, thinking: ‘Do I have to get up?’ It was quite tiring. There’d be times when you’d be counting the days until the tour was over.”

The Wiggles
As the original Red Wiggle, Murray Cook entertained countless preschool kids across the globe – and helped give their tired parents a bit of respite in the process!

At the same time, Murray’s son, Hamish, was entering his final years of high school and the star, who also shares his daughter, Georgia, with wife Meg Munro, wanted to be around more.

“I had missed so much of my children’s childhoods,” Murray explains. “It was reported that we were retiring, but I never had any plans to sit around the house or to play rounds of golf!”

Before the seeds for The Wiggles were sown, a young Murray had his roots in local rock bands. And these days, his passion for music has come full circle with his new group, ’60s-style R&B rock’n’roll outfit, The Soul Movers.

Their most recent release, Evolution, does exactly what it says on the tin, explains the performer.

Murray Cook
Before the seeds for The Wiggles were sown, a young Murray had his roots in local rock bands.

A far cry from his previous touring life delivering nursery rhyme-like songs to toddlers, Murray’s current experiences on the road, alongside his bandmate, Lizzie, are very different – as are the audiences he’s entertaining.

But now that he’s a bona fide rocker, is life on tour all whisky and wild nights?

“Not really!” he laughs. “We’re pretty clean-living. I’ll have a couple of beers maybe, but that’s it. The Soul Movers are pretty savoury, we’re not doing drugs backstage – half the time we’re lucky we’ve even got a backstage!”

Murray Cook
Murray’s current experiences on the road, alongside his bandmate, Lizzie (pictured), are very different – as are the audiences he’s entertaining.

However, a clean-living lifestyle hasn’t been enough to avoid health woes. Late last year, Murray underwent serious open-heart surgery after struggling to breathe while swimming. As a result, doctors were forced to replace a faulty aortic valve.

Despite this, Murray is now gearing up to hit the road for a national tour – which will see him play to the adult versions of the audiences he performed for in his previous life.

“Quite a few of the bands and fans will come up to me and say that The Wiggles was their first concert and that they started to play guitar because of me, which is pretty amazing.

“One of the things I love about The Soul Movers is that we’re building it from the ground up. It reminds me of what it was like when we first started The Wiggles … it’s exciting to see where it’ll go. I still pinch myself how lucky I am!”

Read more in this week’s New Idea, on sale now. 

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