Roller McKeown 
says aye to a pie

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With worldwide record sales estimated at more than 300million with the Bay City Rollers, you would expect Les ­McKeown to be a fine dining fan.

However, the former lead singer of the iconic band admits his current quest is to find the best Scotch pie.

McKeown, who brings his Bay City Rollers show to Langholm in October, said: “The first thing I’ll do in Langholm is search for the nearest bakers and try out their Scotch pies – I always do that before a gig.

“When we were on the road with The Rollers the rest of the lads used to eat McDonalds, while I always went for a Scotch pie. They fuelled me during the 1970s.”

A pie fanatic he maybe, but 57-year-old McKeown is by no means slowing down under the weight of his favourite snack’s grease and fat.

He plays 41 UK shows in the next three months, and says the popularity for The Rollers’ music remains, with gigs across the world, including Russia, coming up before the end of the year.

McKeown said: “Being on the stage is all I wanted to do since the age of 15 when I joined the band.

“During my dark times it was probably the only place where I could go without the bottle.

“I still love touring and can’t wait to get out there.

“Our popularity is not what it was in mid-70s, but there are still a lot of people who want to hear the music.

“I respect the music and try to play it like it was on the original record.

“I speak to the crowd and tell them stories about the good times we had as a band in the old days.

“There is still interest from across the world. We went to Canada last year and this year and we are away to America in 2014.

“We also head to Japan, Australia and New Zealand before the end of 2104.

“I have never been to Russia, but have been told that we were popular in the 1970s thanks to bootleg records from the underground music scene.”

It is nearly 40 years since Shang A Lang catapulted The Bay City Rollers into the UK music charts, where they were a near constant presence during the mid-70s, including a 99-week stay in the UK album charts.

In the latter part of the same year, the band also made their American television debut on Howard Cosell’s Saturday Night Live and within 12 months they hit the US top 10 charts with Saturday Night –their first US number one – I Only Want To Be With You and Rock and Roll Love Letter.

McKeown was to leave the band in 1978 and has continued as a solo artist since, overcoming drug and drink problems along the way.

But the Edinburgh-born musician says the hype and attention that accompanied the Bay City Rollers is no different than that being currently experienced by One Direction.

He added: “I can relate to One Direction. They seem a hard-working set of boys with bundles of energy, as we did in the early days.

“I watch the likes of One Direction and Take That and can’t believe the amount of dancing they do. For us, we played instruments so didn’t have to do that and the dancing may mean One Direction have a shorter shelf life.”

Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers Show is at the Buccleuch Centre on Saturday, October 5.

Tickets – priced at £17.50 – can be bought by phoning 013873 81196.