Interviews

  • Clan MacFarlane Reunited – a pipe|drums historical pipe band interview – Part 4 Published: August 9, 2014

    For the first time ever, Ken Eller hears the truth about his ouster as leader, which 23 years on turns out to be nothing but a colossal misunderstanding . . .

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  • Clan MacFarlane Reunited – a pipe|drums historical pipe band interview – Part 3 Published: June 27, 2014

    We continue our historical interview with eight former members of the Clan MacFarlane, a band that set the Grade 1 standard in North America . . .

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  • Clan MacFarlane Reunited – a pipe|drums historical pipe band interview – Part 2 Published: June 3, 2014

    We continue our extensive reunion interview with eight former members of one of history's most important pipe bands.

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  • Clan MacFarlane Reunited – a pipe|drums historical pipe band interview, Part 1 Published: May 11, 2014

    Featuring superb video, we bring together eight members of the legendary Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band of St. Catharines, Ontario, one of the world's most influential piping and drumming groups . . .

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  • Angus J. MacLellan: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 Published: April 12, 2014

    We conclude our four-part interview with the late Glasgow-based piper, bandsman, teacher and adjudicator.

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  • From the Archives: Angus J. MacLellan: the pipes|drums Interview, August 1997 – Part 3 Published: April 5, 2014

    Our conversation with the late great "Angus J." continues, in which he discusses the RSPBA, pipe band judging, perceived biases and the influence of his teacher, Donald MacLeod.

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  • From the Archives: Angus J. MacLellan: the p|d Interview, August 1997 – Part 2 Published: March 16, 2014

    We continue our archival interview with the late Angus J. MacLellan, in which he discusses being a right-shouldered piper, the early days . . .

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  • From the Archives: Angus J. MacLellan: the pipes|drums Interview, August 1997 Published: March 4, 2014

    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.

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  • Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 Published: February 2, 2014

    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.

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  • Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 Published: January 12, 2014

    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.

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  • Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 Published: December 8, 2013

    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.

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  • Jack Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 Published: November 25, 2013

    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.

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  • The SFU leadership change: a video interview with P-M Alan Bevan and Terry Lee The SFU leadership change: a video interview with P-M Alan Bevan and Terry LeeOctober 5th, 2013

    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 . . .

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  • Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 Published: June 6, 2013

    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.

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  • Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 Published: May 5, 2013

    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.

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  • Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 Published: April 7, 2013

    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.

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  • Roddy MacLeod – the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 Published: March 31, 2013

    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!

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  • An interview with pipe band drumming great Robert Turner Published: November 30, 2012

    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.

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  • (HD videos added) Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 5 Published: October 31, 2012

    We conclude our exclusive interview with Michael Grey, one of the most prolific and played composers in piping history. In this last segment Grey discusses, among many other things . . .

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  • Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4 Published: September 30, 2012

    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.

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  • Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2 Published: July 31, 2012

    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.

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  • Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 Published: July 31, 2012

    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.

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  • Michael Grey: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1 Published: June 30, 2012

    Our exclusive in-depth interview with Michael Grey, perhaps the greatest ¨C and certainly the most prodigious ¨C 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.

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  • Donald MacPherson: the pipes|drums Interview from the Archives – Part 1 Published: May 31, 2012

    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.

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  • Mark Saul: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3 Published: February 29, 2012

    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.

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ARCHIVES

MOST RECENT POST
  • Hatred unwelcome
    Fri, 24 Oct 2014
    The Highland pipes draw attention. The volume and distinct sound of the instrument – especially when played poorly – gets a reaction from people, so pipers are often seen in protests and parades. Pipers who work their entire lives …
Read more »
UPCOMING EVENTS October 31, 2014Tucson Celtic FestivalRillito Raceway Park, Tucson , AZ

November 1, 2014MWPBA AGMNorth Riverside, IL

November 8, 2014PPBSO AGM and GALABest Western Brant Park Inn, 19-Holiday Inn Drive, Brantford

November 15, 2014Angus Macdonald ChampionshipsLakeside, CA

November 21, 20142014 Balmoral ClassicPittsburgh, PA

TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: When travelling long distances on a plane with pipes – especially for those using a hide bag – cork the stocks, and store the pipes in a large plastic bag. It prevents excessive drying-out caused by the dry, pressurized air in the cabin.
Sean Somers, Calgary

FROM THE ARCHIVES