|Billy Wiggle & The Wigglers, Rock It Billy!
They're back!! (2016)
In the late 70s, in particular after Elvis' death in 1977, poplovers seemed to get more interested in rock 'n' roll, but mostly they had to listen to covers of the 50s and that was not the material these fans were waiting for. They didn't only want the return of rock 'n' roll, but especially it's sound. Billy Wiggle & The Wigglers were formed in 1976 and they knew exactly what the rockabilly fans wanted: original songs that sound as if they were recorded in the fities. So, they went to the Arboma Recording Studio in Nijmegen, Holland. Knowing they couldn't use proffesional equipment in a commercial recording studio if you intend to approach the original rock 'n' roll sound, they completely rebuild the studio's cellar into a Sun-like rock 'n' roll studio.
But let's first introduce the band. There is Wim Verwey as singer "Billy Wiggle", who was born in Amsterdam on October 10, 1956. He got his nickname because of his typical wiggling act while performing live on stage. On rhythm guitar, all the way from Indonesia, Sjiarckee "Bo" Abalain, born in Bogor, December 12, 1959, and brother of the well known Dutch female rockabilly singer Jacky Abalain. The other three members are all brothers, The Livius Brothers, and they were born and raised in Nijmegen, Holland. Tom "Tomahawk" Livius (born June 26, 1953) on lead guitar, Johnny "Patchuck" Livius (born October 6, 1955) on bass and, last but not least, Rob "Baby face" Livius (born June 4, 1957) on drums. In the early eighties, Bo Abalain was replaced by Jan "Cheekbone" Van Duren. Occasional special guest and also on their second album, was Big Jeff Van Den Akker, a well known Dutch saxophone player who also had his own band "Big Jeff And The Hurricane Rollers".
The Wigglers already knew that their "original" fifties recordings were not gonna get on any hitparade and, more than likely, no major record label would be interested. Through Jan Arts, who also owned the garage where the first recording sessions were held, the band got in touch with Mac Bouvrie of the now famous Belgium record label Mac Records. Although Mac moved to Belgium long time ago, he's a real Dutchman from Maastricht and he was really impressed by the original fifties sound of the band. The Wigglers' first album was released on Mac Records in 1977. All songs ever released by The Wigglers are originals, not ever did they record a cover, and that's what made this good rockin' Dutch band stand out from the rest. This was also Mac's policy, apart from the first Mac release in 1973 by Hank C. Burnette, Mac never again issued any covers, only originals with a 50s feel.
In 1985 Johnny Olenn was touring Europe and Mac Bouvrie, a close friend of Johnny, arranged a recording session and 4 songs were recorded with Johnny Olenn & The Wigglers. These have been issued Mac Records on two seperate 45s.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Billy Wiggle & The Wigglers on stage quite a lot, and they always had a very impressive stage show. I especially remember a song named "Johnny & Diana" (which is on their second album), because the part of Diana was sang by Tom Tomahawk. Tom was quite a big guy (kinda like "The Big Bopper") and he would play his lead guitar while singing this song with a very high pitched voice, as if he were a lady. It was a great stage act and they always got good responses from the audience. In 1997, after 21 years in the business with only one line-up change, The Wigglers disbanded, but fans will always keep the memory of this great Dutch rockabilly band alive, as you can see on this website "Billy Rocks Again" (have a peek!)
The Wigglers Discography:
Billy Wiggle & The Wigglers
Johnny Olenn (with The Wigglers)
Joe Clay (with The Wigglers)
* Full Title:
The BlackCat, 1999