October 17, 2015

More to Shotts L-D change story as Kilpatrick releases statement

With rare exceptions, pipe band leadership changes are less than amicable, try as parties might to create a solution that pleases all. The announcement from 2015 World Champions Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia had appointed Blair Brown as the band’s leading-drummer, replacing 59-year-old and 29-year band leading-drummer Jim Kilpatrick was at first positioned as an agreeable move, but further details have emerged.

pipes|drums received a statement from both Shotts & Dykehead and Jim Kilpatrick and agreed to publish each verbatim.

Jim Kilpatrick (centre) leading the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia drum section before the 2014 World’s Final. Blair Brown, now leading-drummer for the band, is to his left.

Kilpatrick contends that he did not agree to step down, and was actually forced from the position. Further, he says he has no plans right now to retire from competitive pipe band drumming, and that he has the support of the strong majority of the 2015 Shotts drum section, inferring that they might well follow him should he decide to play elsewhere.

pipes|drums was notified of the change by the band approximately an hour before the band went public itself with the news.

Shotts & Dykehead contends that Kilpatrick originally agreed to step down when the band decided that it was time, and in fact resigned.

The band said that the original decision to make a change was made together by Canning, Kilpatrick and Blair Brown to make a transition, with 2016 being the last season for Kilpatrick as L-D. Canning, Brown and Kilpatrick reportedly discussed and reconfirmed the 2016 succession plan again before the 2015 World Championships. Sources close to the band said Kilpatrick was asked to begin a transition to Brown over the course of the year, sharing some leadership responsibilities. Kilpatrick reportedly felt the approach, which would include Brown having a say in who would join and leave the corps, would hinder his power, and was unacceptable. Kilpatrick submitted his resignation on Sunday, October 11th, a day before the band communicated the move to pipes|drums and subsequently published its own announcement on the band’s website.

“Upon his departure, Jim was very clear to [Shotts band manager] Ewan McAllister and myself that he would be putting out his own independent press release, rather than coordinating with the band’s official press release, which was his own choice,” Pipe-Major Ryan Canning said. “I can only reiterate the sentiment which the band has already shared, which is to thank Jim for his many years of service after a remarkable career with Shotts, and to wish him all the best.”

Kilpatrick said that he learned that the band had officially made the move only after hearing from others who read the news on pipes|drums, which broke the story.

Shotts & Dykehead called a special meeting on the evening of Monday, October 12th, following the release of the news. The meeting was reportedly attended by . . .



  1. In a word, shocked! It’s probable that no-one except those involved – each with their own perspectives on the matter – will ever know the full story. I’m a drummer, and I had the good fortune early in my teaching career (1987) to spend some time with Jim on one of his Australian visits. I will always remember it. I am, therefore probably biased, but I would have to say that the account Jim gives (apparently with documentary support) sounds very credible. That this happens in bands, as Jim says, is nothing new. That it happened to Jim Kilpatrick is utterly shocking, and his remarkable carer will forever have this regrettable occurrence associated with it. A shame and a disgrace. All the best to Jim and his loyal corps. Onwards an upwards, Jim!

  2. As I commented to the original story, this did not look or feel right. All the statements were coming from the Canning/Brown camp. It is probably a good strategy to look at succession in all bands, but a lesson for all here in how to not do it.

  3. The lack of respect and the naïve, almost child-like boasting and attempted garnering of support behind the scenes is cringe-worthy. What on earth did they think was going to happen if they started to talk to insiders and outsiders about dethroning the greatest pipe band drummer of all-time?? Arrogance and stupidity beyond words.

  4. No individual is bigger than the organisation. The fact that Shotts “let go/ retired” Mr Kilpatrick, tells me (an outsider) their were clear underlying management issues. You do not loose a world drumming star for nothing. The previous Pipe Major to Mr Canning may also have a tale to tell. I liken this situation to that of Sir Alex Fergusson and Roy Keane. Bold decisions need be taken. Shotts, the organisation, must now distance themselves from any public spat and get on with the job they are there to do. Mr Kilpatrick has had his say and any further statements from him serve little purpose other than to cause mischief. There are no winners in this but it should not be played out in public any more.



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