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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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: Blow your drones without the pipe chanter for a few minutes when you first take your pipes out of the box. Initially, the blades on your pipe chanter reed and the tongues on your drone reeds will be dry (not pliable), which will make the chanter reed stiff and often too much for the drone reeds – causing them to shut off. The warm air that is blown through the drone reeds will make the tongues more pliable and receptive to handling the strength of the pipe chanter. This applies to synthetic and cane drone reeds.
John Cairns, double Gold Medallist