July 31, 2007

LA Scots’ P-M’s singing career taking off

Colin Armstrong rocks with LA Scots, too.Colin Armstrong, the Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 LA Scots Pipe Band, might be the most diverse and successful musician in a kilt, as his pop/rock singing career continues to succeed throughout the United States.

Armstrong was recently a finalist in the 2007 American Idol Songwriter contest, with his co-written composition “In Your Eyes” reportedly narrowly missing being selected from more than 25,000 entries as the first single to be performed and recorded by American Idol contestants. Armstrong also won the prestigious “BE A STAR” songwriting contest on the Los Angeles radio station STAR 98.7 FM in 2004.

In addition to his work in pop music in Southern California, Armstrong leads the LA Scots, taking the Pipe-Major post in May 2004, succeeding his uncle Scott MacDonald.

The band is in the midst of preparing for its return to Scotland to compete at three competitions including the World Championships. An LA Scots quartet will also compete in the new International Quartet Challenge as part of Piping Live! on August 7.

On August 8th the LA Scots will perform at George Square with as part of the Piping Live! festivities.

Armstrong recently completed Lost and Anonymous, – or “L.A.”- an independently financed and recorded album with well known producer Mikal Reid in Los Angeles. He and his band recently performed at the City Stages Music Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, where Reid is from.

“Over the last couple of years I have realized a couple of things about the music business and where Los Angeles fits into the whole scheme of things,” Armstrong says. “Los Angeles is a great place for industry contacts, musicians, producers, and record companies, but for building a fan base it is a really hard place to break into.”

How is he able to balance the pipe band and his budding rock music career?

“Balancing the two is definitely not an easy task, but it is no harder than all the other guys who have real jobs and are making down to band practice,” Armstrong adds. “Sure, there’s a little more work being the Pipe-Major, but I am lucky to have an excellent support cast here in this band. Whether its help with organizational side of the band or the creative side there are people going the extra mile making my job a lot easier.”

And when asked if people from the “normal” side of his musical interests think the piping stuff is strange, he says, “Here is the interesting thing about the group of guys I play with in the rock thing: my drummer, Bryon Holley, use to play with Eric Rigler in Bad Haggis and that’s kind of how we met was through seeing him playing in Eric’s bands at the Scottish games. Bryon has studied various types of world music and through playing in Eric’s band definitely had a good idea of what the pipe band thing was all about. My guitarist, Kris Hawkins, turned out to be from the Tampa area and went to Dunedin High School. He learned the pipes there from Sandy Keith and grew up playing in the high school band. So those two guys definitely have an idea of what the pipe band thing is all about.”

Colin Armstrong maintains a web presence on MySpace.


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  1. Great article on Colin. What a stand up guy. Saw him play for something like 38 drummers in Winter Storm and never flinch! Played the piano later in the evening but I am sure that recording won’t be on his record any time soon



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