Bay City Rollers to wandering minstrel

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Eric Faulkner, guitarist and songwriter with 70s supergroup The Bay City Rollers, glams up Mosspaul Inn this Saturday (March 8) at 8pm.

The Edinburgh ‘tartan teen sensations’ were hailed by some as ‘the biggest group since the Beatles’. In this fervent period of ‘Rollermania’, the group’s line-up, guitarists Faulkner and Stuart Wood, singer Les McKeown, bassist Alan Longmuir, and drummer Derek Longmuir, became worldwide teen idols, but Eric has been on a long journey from Bay City to, in his words, “wandering minstrel”.

Edinburgh-born Eric wrote more than half of The Bay City Rollers’ catalogue of over 100 songs, including the UK Singles Chart hits Money Honey and Love Me Like I Love You. But he’s since departed from his pop past, composing contemporary acoustic music, and playing traditional tunes.

“I’m just having fun,” he told us. “The Roller thing was so massive, but my thing was always writing songs, so I’ve still got the energy for it.”

Eric had a classical start in Edinburgh, playing viola in the city’s Youth Orchestras, before taking up guitar and forming his own school band at 13 years old. When he was 15 (back in the Glam years), his band supported Slade in Manchester, causing some serious truancy from his school, Liberton High. Swotting in the gig van, he managed eight O Levels before leaving school and turning pro.

Eric joined The Bay City Rollers in 1972, and he was a member of the Rollers for the remainder of their existence into the 1980s. There were Silver, Gold and Platinum records and Number 1 hits in more than 20 countries around the world.

With producer Phil Cunningham, multi-instrumentalist Eric is currently in the studio, finishing off his first acoustic album, and touring the country with his fiddle and guitars, playing in self-composed numbers such as Tap O’ The Morning, or regaling tales of life and characters from his Spinal Tap days.

“Songwriting inspiration comes from wherever he finds it,” his website explains. “The tragedy of The Miami Showband Massacre in Long Way From Miami, and one that’s been waiting for the day: The Ballad Of The Rollers. The poignant Burns poem, To Chloris, is enhanced by a beautiful tune, and Eric is at home performing traditional classics such as The Jute Mill Song, Killiecrankie and Twa Recruiting Sergeants.”

Entry is by donation, and the former rugby player is giving the profits to The Bill McLaren Foundation.

“If anybody wants to hear the old songs, you’ll have to put a fiver in the bucket,” he said.