Monday 18 October 2010

K&A with Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Somehow, the Kowalskiy Scottish Music Blog has made it into its second year without any mention whatsoever of 'traditional' Scottish music. Well here's a band that fully merit a long-overdue mention... bagrock pioneers Red Hot Chilli Pipers. With their third album Music For The Kilted Generation just released, the band kick off their Scottish tour TODAY in Glasgow. I had a chance to ask them a few questions. Here's what twice world champion snare drummer Steven Graham had to say. Drum-roll please....

Kowalskiy: Who are the Red Hot Chilli Pipers?
Steven: The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a bagpipe playing rock group who cleverly fuse rock music with traditional calling it 'Bagrock'. Their main aim is to encourage as many people as possible to be proud of Scottish Music.

Kowalskiy: What's the story behind how the band got together and what's the idea behind the name?
Steven: The band was formed in 2002 by Stuart Cassells, Willie Armstrong and Steven Graham. It was initially intended as an alternative to a full pipe band at corporate functions. We decided that after a while a lot of the tunes on the bagpipes would sound the same to the untrained ear so we would play tunes that people recognised. We played a cover of 'We Will Rock You' by Queen and the reaction we got from the audience was fantastic. Bagrock was born! We got our name by a mistake. One of the boys' girlfriend at the time was tidying his flat and sorting his cd collection into different genres. He went to get a piping cd the next day and was bemused to find a Red Hot Chili Peppers cd amongst them. He turned round and asked her "why is that amongst the piping cd's?". Her response "oh, I thought it said Red Hot Chilli Pipers".

Kowalskiy: For anyone out there not familiar with the band, how would you describe your music?
Steven: Energetic, entertaining and most of all fun.

Kowalskiy: Who/what/where are your main influences?
Steven: All live bands that can go on and give their all in order to entertain an audience. We all like different kinds of music but enjoy listening to as much as possible.

Kowalskiy: Your third album Music For The Kilted Generation is out now. What can we expect from it?
Steven: A higher level of Bagrock than what's ever been produced before!

Kowalskiy: On the album are songs originally by the likes of Snow Patrol, Robbie Williams, Queen and The Who. Have you had any feedback from bands whose songs you've chillified?
Steven: Never had any feedback from the bands but we'd hope they like what we do and get the fun element! They must not find it too offensive or else I'm sure they would have sued us by now!

Kowalskiy: With the album out at the weekend, what's the plan to promote it?
Steven: We've got an instore at HMV Buchanan Street in Glasgow at 4pm on 18th Oct as well as a gig that night at Oran Mor. The Scottish Tour will then kick off with gigs at Stirling and Aberdeen. All info at and tickets from

Kowalskiy: What's a typical Red Hot Chilli Pipers gig like?
Steven: Entertaining and memorable.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
Steven: An ideal gig for the band would be Madison Square Gardens, New York with an up-and-coming traditional band as support! We wouldn't have any roadies/entourage as I think it's a good way of keeping your feet firmly on the floor!

Kowalskiy: Lastly, what's been the highlight of being in the band so far, and what does the future hold?
Steven: There has been so many highlights but one that sticks in my mind is winning 'When Will I Be Famous' hosted by Graham Norton. That really launched the band and I feel gave everyone the belief that people enjoy our music.

There ya go. The first, and possibly last, time that Graham Norton will be name-checked on Kowalskiy! Music For The Kilted Generation can be bought here on iTunes or here on Amazon MP3. Well worth it, especially for a cover of Chasing Cars you can actually enjoy! If you fancy seeing the guys, then here's all you need to know...

Upcoming Gigs
18th Oct - HMV Buchanan Street, Glasgow (4pm)
18th Oct - Intimate Album Launch Party @ Oran Mor, Glasgow (7pm)
22nd Oct - Music Hall, Aberdeen
28th Oct - Albert Halls, Stirling

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