Few people past the age of thirty wouldn’t know who Wilbur Wilde is. In fact, he made his way into our loungerooms every Saturday as the saxophone player on the Hey Hey It’s Saturday house band. Always up for a laugh, Wilbur became part of our Saturday-night furniture, along with an ostrich, a guy called Red and that other bloke with black hair. While Hey Hey is no more, the Wilde horn continues. This time Wilbur joins forces with Frankie J Holden (Old 55, Buddies U, legends of TV shows such as In Melbourne Tonight, Underbelly and of course Hey Hey).
These two know how to put on a show.
‘We connect with the audience,’ says Wilbur. ‘We do Old 55, Daddy Cool, the Falcons. We know about 10,000 songs but we have a tried and true 8–10 that are in the set most nights. You have your standby gags up your sleeve, and the rest happens under your nose. Frank and I both know it’s not enough to do the songs; you have to entertain. That’s the thing we have learnt over the years. We met each other in 1975 in Old 55, we have done theatre together, TV – we know how to give an audience a good time!’
Even as a seasoned musician, Wilbur still puts in a good hour or more a day into his craft.
‘You just have to,’ he says. ‘I have resolved to put my horn in my mouth as much as I can. I do scales, and there is a classical piece I have been playing that is good for control on the horn. If I have done it well my lips are burning. It’s like circuit training for the mouth. I have a strong sense of personal excellence. It’s the same with every performance.’
Wilde is a big man with an even bigger energy on the stage, and he’s bloody loud!
‘I would be the loudest horn player in the country; it’s a trademark – I can push air through the horn!’
Experience what has been called ‘controlled mayhem’ at the Ballina RSL on Friday, 8.30pm.
Frankie J Holden & Wilbur Wilde – Classics (18+) $30. Tickets at the club.