From the Archives: Angus J. MacLellan: the pipes|drums Interview, August 1997 RATING
On October 12, 2013, the piping and drumming world lost Angus J. MacLellan after a long illness. Fortunately, pipes|drums conducted an extensive interview with him in August 1997, which we bring to subscribers now in several parts. We include the original introduction and text originally presented in 1998.
Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 5 RATING
We conclude our exclusive interview with Jack Lee, one of piping history's greatest pipers, teachers and leaders, who has committed his life to furthering the art. In this fifth part, Lee discusses his influences, his practice regimen and teaching techniques and what lies ahead as he continues his competitive, performing and teaching career in Highland piping.
Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 RATING
We resume our exclusive pipes|drums Interview with Jack Lee, one of history's greatest Highland pipers, in the fourth part for subscribers to the magazine. In this installment, Lee delves into his solo piping career and even talks about his perhaps apocryphal reputation for games-day intensity, his legendary 1981 Silver Star MSR at the Northern Meeting, and his surprising practice routine.
Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 RATING
In the third instalment of our exclusive interview for pipes|drums subscribers, the renowned solo piper and pipe-sergeant of the Grade 1 and six-time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band delves into becoming and staying competitive on a world level for many years, teaching programs and succession planning for leaders. Jack Lee delves into the problems, challenges and rewards for pipe bands today, and the increasingly difficulty of satisfying and sustaining the demand for ever more and talented personnel, and the need for professionalism within the ranks, and how vital Leading-Drummer Reid Maxwell has been to the band's success.
Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview - Part 2 RATING
In the second part of our exclusive interview with world renowned piper Jack Lee, he discusses his history in pipe bands, including the Port Moody, City of Victoria, CP Air, and, of course, Simon Fraser University. In Part 2, Lee speaks frankly about prizes narrowly missed and the critical nickname by the haters for SFU as "The Borg" – an unstoppable force in the Pacific Northwest that sucks in all around it. He goes into the early days of SFU, and the origins of quality piping and drumming in British Columbia that helped set up a positive environment in which the eventual six-time World Champions could evolve.
Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview - Part 1 RATING
Is there a more all-round successful piper currently competing today than Jack Lee? Not likely, and that's not likely to change for the foreseeable future. Since the 1970s, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Pipe-Sergeant has consistently scooped up the world's biggest prizes in solo piping, while helping to guide his band to six World's titles, along the way teaching thousands of young pipers and conducting workshops with dozens of bands. His solo achievements are huge and they continue, most recently by winning the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering and the MSR at the Glenfiddich Championships. The first installment of five, continuing our series of interviews that dates back to the mid-1980s.
The SFU leadership change: a video interview with P-M Alan Bevan and Terry Lee RATING
The more than 30-year tenure of Terry Lee as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band is one of the longest in the history of top-tier pipe bands, and when he handed the reins on September 28, 2013, to long-time SFU member Alan Bevan it was a historic moment. Under Lee's direction, SFU has been World Champions six times, runner-up nine times and finished in the top-three more in more than half of their appearances at the contest since 1983. In this exclusive video interview, pipes|drums hears directly from Alan Bevan and Terry Lee about the future for the band, some of the reasons for making the move now . . .
Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 RATING
In this the fourth and final installment of the pipes|drums Interview with Roddy MacLeod, we discuss the origins of the Piping Live! Festival, which just officially kicked off its tenth anniversary year with the biggest slate of programming in its history, and go into the legacy that the MacLeod has built so far. MacLeod talks about his greatest moments in piping, how he approaches his competition repertoire, and the opportunities and challenges ahead for the National Piping Centre.
Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 RATING
In the third instalment of our exclusive interview with Roddy MacLeod, the Director of the National Piping Centre and the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping discusses in detail the relationship with Glasgow's College of Piping. He looks back to the origins of the Piping Centre, when the late Seumas MacNeill had a central role in its beginnings, only to fall out over a leadership disagreement. In Part 3, among many other topics, MacLeod takes an inward look at his career, and his professional contributions to the art.
Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 RATING
We continue our exclusive discussion with Roddy MacLeod, one of the world's great builders of piping. In Part 1, MacLeod remembered his earliest years as a young piper in Cumbernauld, Scotland. In Part 2, MacLeod looks back on his formative piping years with his teacher, the legendary Duncan Johnstone. He goes into his early pipe band days with the Grade 1 Red Hackle in Glasgow under Pipe-Major Malcolm MacKenzie, leading to his long tenure with British Caledonian Airways / Power of Scotland / ScottishPower and the Spirit of Scotland, and the importance of strong soloists in the mix. He then touches on why he is not a judge with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
Roddy MacLeod – the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 RATING
We bring our subscribers an exclusive interview with arguably Highland piping's most professional and well-rounded personalities. An extraordinary competitor, a leader of Grade 1 pipe bands, the original and existing Director of the National Piping Centre and the co-founder and leader of the Piping Live! Festival, Roddy MacLeod's contributions to the art are unparalleled. Add to all that a gregarious and generous personality, and you have one of history's all-time greatest exponents of the art. In four parts, including video, readers can look forward to a look into what propels this exceptional piper to ever greater achievements.
An interview with pipe band drumming great Robert Turner RATING
We bring subscribers to pipes|drums an exclusive interview with Robert "Bob" Turner, the former leading-drummer with the legendary Muirhead & Sons and British Caledonian Airways pipe bands. With Muirhead's, Turner helped the band to five World Championship wins, a Champion of Champions title, and every other major pipe band prize in the United Kingdom. Now a resident of New Zealand, pipes|drums reader Glen Rodgers, himself an accomplished drummer, met with Bob Turner for a discussion on his career, his style of and approach to drumming, his memories of Muirhead's and B-Cal, and the state of pipe band drumming today.
Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 RATING
In this, the fourth of five instalments to his pipes|drums Interview, we delve into Michael Grey's substantial recording accomplishments, which comprise 10 solo CDs and about twice as many albums done with pipe bands, including three as a pipe-major. There have been few, if an, Highland pipers with as long a list of recordings and, still in his forties, there are undoubtedly more. In Part 4, Grey discusses many of the projects, how they came about ad where he gets his creative inspiration, while also openly analyzing the challenge of reaching non-piping audiences with the limitations and preconception of the instrument and its music.
Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 RATING
In this third part of Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview, we delve directly into the composition side of his career: how he approaches composing, the need to have a professional attitude about copyright and royalties, and his take on the great composers like Donald MacLeod, G.S. McLennan, John McLellan and Gordon Duncan. Grey discusses the notion of the "accepted competition repertoire," and the need to expand attitudes to be more inclusive, while also citing what he feels are the greatest tunes ever penned. Exclusively for subscribers to pipes|drums.
Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 RATING
We continue our exclusive interview Michael Grey, one of the most prominent and successful composers of Highland bagpipe music of the last 100 years. In Part 1, Grey discussed his piping roots and inspirations, and the early years that formed his interest in composition. In Part 2, he delves into the inner-workings of his creative mind, the challenge to be creative within a tradition-based folk-artform, and his desire to push his own musical boundaries. In this installment, Grey makes a strong correlation between the art's most traditional music, piobaireachd, and the rich opportunities presented by the pipe band medley format.
Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 RATING
Our exclusive in-depth interview with Michael Grey, perhaps the greatest – and certainly the most prodigious – living composer of Highland bagpipe music. In this five-part subscribers-only discussion, supported with video and photos, Grey delves into his career as a piper, his composing techniques, pipe band philosophies and his unending quest for the next new, different and innovative thing. Never content to stand still, Grey, after almost 40 years in piping, continues to push the boundaries of the music, while constantly remaining grounded in and aware of its long traditions.
Donald MacPherson: the pipes|drums Interview from the Archives - Part 2 RATING
The second and final part of the 2005 archival interview with Donald MacPherson, one of the greatest competition pipers in history, who died on April 21, 2012. In this section he discusses his compositions, provides tips for aspiring pipers, and even reveals a few secrets about how he achieved his sound.
Donald MacPherson: the pipes|drums Interview from the Archives – Part 1 RATING
We bring subscribers to pipes|drums our archive interview from 2005 with the late Donald MacPherson. Piping scholar Barnaby Brown originally assembled the historic piece with the legendary piper, who passed away on April 21, 2012, at the age of 89.
Mark Saul: the pipes|drums Interview - Part 4 RATING
In the final instalment of the Mark Saul pipes|drums Interview, he discusses piping and drumming "traditions," the ebb and flow of musical creativity, and what happens when bands try to challenge the establishment. The cultural divisions that can be seen with bands from various parts of the world are exposing new concepts and leading to the constant questioning of "authority."
Mark Saul: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 RATING
We continue our wide-ranging discussion with Mark Saul, one of the world's most popular composers of music for the Highland pipes. In this third instalment, Saul talks about the Victoria Police, the prospects for another Australian pipe band winning a Grade 1 World Championship, and the challenges of leading a Grade 2 band whose reason-to-be is not all winning all the time. Mark Saul touches on the allure of the World's, and the trend towards amalgamating players for flash-in-the-pan attempts to make a mark in Scotland, and the big picture of camaraderie, music and simply having fun.
Mark Saul: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 RATING
We continue our exclusive interview with Mark Saul of Melbourne, one of the leading composers and arrangers of pipe music of our time. In Part 2, Saul discusses the challenges of composing and publishing in the modern piping world, the role that the Victoria Police Pipe Band had on his work, and the band's organization and strategy in its 1990s glory years. Mark Saul goes in to detail about the management style of Pipe-Major Nat Russell, the tuning genius of Robert Crozier, and dispels a few myths about the band that have evolved since its 1998 World Championship win.
Mark Saul: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 RATING
A wide-ranging, exclusive conversation with one of the piping world's most well-regarded composers and performers. In this four-part interview for subscribers to pipes|drums, Mark Saul discusses his experiences with the legendary Victoria Police Pipe Band, his disappointments and disenchantment with the musical limitations of pipe bands, and his search for enlightenment and wider horizons in music overall. Having just released his third collection of music, Mark Saul's piping life has taken him around the world and, with a typically Australian attitude, is never content with the status quo. In this first instalment, we discuss Mark Saul's origins as a piper, his development and inspirations as a composer, and his instinctive desire to strive for more.
Jim Hutton: the pipes|drums Interview from the Archives – Part 4 RATING
In this the final installment of our February 2000 interview with Jim Hutton, the late drumming luminary discusses his views on the World Pipe Band Championships, the RSPBA, teaching and his outlook on his own and the pipe band world's future. For more than 50 years, Jim Hutton was a primary figure in pipe band drumming, playing for several decades alongside the legendary Alex Duthart in Shotts & Dykehead, Invergordon Distillery and the Edinburgh City Police. Hutton was a link with the formative years of pipe band drumming, and an important figure in the Lanarkshire area's growth as a nurturing ground for pipe band snare drummers. In this final part he also discusses the "disease" that is pipe banding, and the fact that the best leaders are not always the best players.
Jim Hutton: the pipes|drums Interview from the Archives – Part 3 RATING
In this penultimate installment of our February 2000interview with the late Jim Hutton, we get into contentious topics of the time – namely, conflict of interest in the pipe band judging ranks, the emerging game of numbers in the upper-grade bands and the varying standards around the world of pipe band snare drumming. Interestingly, Hutton touches upon the trend that had then only recently re-started with flourishing tenors, and his thoughts at the time foreshadowed the controversy of opinions that would follow over the next decade.
Pipers: The golden rule when working with a reed is, "You can always take material off the cane, but you cannot put it back." So, remember, when removing the slightest amount of material, blow the reed again.