Rollermania is back

First published in Music Interviews Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

HE was the leader of a legendary 70s boy band which invented a new word in the pop dictionary – Rollermania.

The tartan-flavoured rock fever spread around the globe and at the height of their fame The Bay City Rollers were as big as The Beatles.

The Rollers had a string of hits including Shang-ALang, Summerlove Sensation, All Of Me Loves All of You and Bye Bye Baby.

In the late 70s, Edinburgh-born lead singer Les McKeown left the band to pursue a solo career.

Now with Les McKeown’s Legendary Bay City Rollers he is reviving golden memories of Rollermania and will be at The Concorde tonight.

Ahead of the gig 56-year-old Les spoke about his recovery from addiction, court battles and rock ’n’ roll.

Do you enjoy touring ?

This is a one off special. But I feel that is my calling, touring and recording is what I love.

It’s satisfying that I am able to do that.

Is there still a big Bay City Rollers fan club and when they come to your shows do they still wave the tartan scarves ?

Yes there are numerous web pages dedicated to the band and they do still bring a memory of tartan when they attend a show.

Did you always want to be a pop star ?

I always wanted to be a singer and a musician.

Those dreams were realised with the BCR.

The Rollers were as big as The Beatles. Did you ever dream Rollermania would become a worldwide phenomenon ?

The Rollers can be compared with the Beatles in one sense and that is the phenomenal fan adoration.

Musically they are worlds apart. From the moment I joined my first band (Threshold) I had an irrepressible feeling things were going to be great for me.

Did you enjoy all the fame and how often do you get stopped by fans ?

I enjoy every minute of it, although I don’t get recognised as much which is OK with me. I find it happens at gigs and it is handled with all the professionalism one would expect.

Would you say that you led the classic rock ’n’ roll life ?

Unfortunately some of my choices have not been the best ones.

With some of the heartbreak that it brought do you ever regret being a Bay City Roller?

No I have never regretted that.

Did you ever think about quitting the business?

I have thought about it and rejected the idea.

How would you sum up your life now ?

That is easy, I’m living life as best I can within a presumed time scale of mortality that is unfamiliar to us.

How did you turn your life around after the problems with drugs and alcohol. Is it true that in 2008 you were informed by doctors that you only had months to live ?

It is true I was near death’s door at that time. I turned that around by seeking psychological treatment by way of a residential narcotics rehabilitation programme in the USA.

Has there been any lasting effect on you and your health ?

There has been irreparable damage to various parts of my body, which is controlled by diet and exercise.

It was reported that you and other members of the band were going to court to recoup lost royalties of £100m. Are you still bitter at the way the Bay City Rollers were ripped off ?

I have forgiven everyone, money is an irresistible force and people in power want to keep it. Justice will be seen to be done, I feel confident in a positive outcome.

What advice would you give to those wanting to go into showbiz and what do you think of X factor.

I don’t give advice. I’m not a big fan of X Factor.

How do you relax when you are not performing?

I listen to classical music and write, or work on my own music or projects. I find that relaxing.

You are from that wonderful city of Edinburgh. Do you still have close ties with city ?

I live in London. Since my parents passed away I have no close ties to Scotland, although in my heart Edinburgh will always be my spiritual home.

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