Red Hot Chilli Pipers
|Red Hot Chilli Pipers|
Red Hot Chilli Pipers logo
|Labels||REL Records Ltd|
|Associated acts||Stuart Cassells|
|Website||Red Hot Chilli Pipers website|
|Past members||Gregor James McPhie
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are an ensemble consisting of pipers, guitarists, keyboards and drummers formed in Scotland in 2002. They entered and won the BBC talent show When Will I Be Famous? Their name is a play on the American rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 2004, the group appeared on the main stage at T in the Park with the headline band, the rock group The Darkness. They appeared on BBC Radio 1 on the Greg James show in July 2013 and The Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw in 2014
The band currently has Steven Graham – a seven time world champion snare drummer. Three members graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The group is in much demand performing all over the world from the USA to China at significant events and festivals.
Since their formation the Red Hot Chilli Pipers have combined guitars, keyboards, drums and their rocked up bagpipes to create 'bagrock' sound. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are one of the country's most exciting acts, winning praises from audiences across the globe with their showmanship and trademark fusion of traditional pipe tunes and contemporary pieces. The band covers others' songs, adding their own unique bagrock spin. Notable examples include "We Will Rock You" by Queen, "Clocks" by Coldplay and "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple.
The band has released 5 studio albums as of 2013, of which their first, their 2005 release The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, was the least successful. Their 2007 album Bagrock to the Masses went platinum in Scotland and silver in Great Britain. Their third album and first live album, Blast Live (2008), went triple platinum in Scotland. Their fourth release Music for the Kilted Generation, however, is The Red Hot Chilli Pipers' best International record, reaching Number 2 on the US Amazon Chart. and was only held off of top spot due to Adele's record-breaking album, 21. The band was hailed by respected figures, including the five time World Champion Pipe Major of the Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band Robert Mathieson, in the bagpiping world for their part in increasing the popularity of bagpipes.
- 2005 – The Red Hot Chilli Pipers
- 2007 – Bagrock to the Masses
- 2008 – Blast Live
- 2010 – Music for the Kilted Generation
- 2013 – Breathe
Tours and Performances
The group's highest profile was on the Main Stage at T in the Park in 2004 where they performed alongside the The Darkness.
When Will I Be Famous
In 2007, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers appeared on the BBC show When Will I be Famous? hosted by Graham Norton. The band were in the episode and competed against seven others. The eight contestants were paired into a head-to-head showdown in which the winner would be decided by 101 preregistered viewers who were dubbed the "Armchair Judges". The four winners of these head-to-heads would then compete against each other in the second show with the winner being decided by an open public phone vote. In their first head-to-head showdown, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers were pitted against the "Stringfever", a four-member string quartet. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers won the head-to-head 51-50 and went on to win the weekly prize of ten thousand pounds.
After TV Appearance
In 2010, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers completed an 11-date sold-out tour of Scotland, as well as an 11-week tour of Germany and a 7-week tour of America. They also toured Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India and most of Europe. They performed concerts in New York and Beijing as well as the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway.
With a total of 4 degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) the band members have competed at the highest level of bagpiping for many years. Founder and Music Director Cassells received 'BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year' in 2005 and became the first person ever to attain a degree in bagpipes from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Snare drummer Steven Graham is also a Double World Champion Snare Drummer.
In August 2010, guitarist Gregor McPhie quit the band due to claims that money was not being shared out equally as he claimed that certain members in the band earned up to three times more than the rest. McPhie joined the band shortly before the band appeared on BBC's talent show 'When Will I Be Famous in 2007 but left the band to set up his own band 'Bags Of Rock'. Gregor was quoted as saying 'The band is imploding and it’s all over money. How long can a bunch of guys who all hate each other now continue to go on? Despite being one of the band’s two main frontmen, I was only paid a third of what the others were getting. The founding five members set up a nice little number for themselves as company directors while all along I've been kept as an outsider.' Gregor also went on to say that the founding members earned £90,000 a year compared to his £32,000. McPhie also took credit for most of the bands success by saying "“We’d have never have won When Will I Be Famous if it hadn't been for me. When I joined they were only earning £500 a gig. But in the three years I was playing with them we were paid £5,000-plus and anything up to £10,000. I’m not saying all that success is down to me but I think I played my part".
On 23 September 2011, founder and frontman Stuart Cassells, left the band. Stuart decided that, after almost ten years, it was time to pursue new goals and opportunities. Cassells said, "I have had some absolutely amazing times in the band and I would never have imagined the success we’ve had. I want to thank all the great musicians I’ve had the pleasure of performing with and I’m excited about the new chapter in my life". Prior to leaving, Stuart had been struggling with 'focal hand dystonia', more commonly known as writer's cramp since 2008. Speaking to The Daily Record on the subject, Cassells said, "My left hand refused to stay on the chanter. It was like my left hand wasn't my own, it wouldn't stay still, like someone else was controlling it. I knew in my head how I wanted to play but I couldn't because my hands would curl right up and tense up and move involuntarily. They weren't doing what they were supposed to do. The brain was sending far too many signals to my hands." Stuart tried various treatments throughout this period, including surgery to release a trapped nerve, physiotherapy and botox injections into his arm to relax the muscles. It is hoped that he will recover and rejoin the band. A recent World Pipe Band Championship winner with the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band, Kyle Warren, replaced him.
Awards and Nominations
Scottish Live Act of the Year
|2007||Red Hot Chilli Pipers||Scottish Live Act of the Year||Won|
|2010||Red Hot Chilli Pipers||Scottish Live Act of the Year||Won|
BBC's 'When Will I Be Famous'
- Winners 2007
- Gavin Cumine (31 May 2008), "Bagrock with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers: it’s a total blast", The Times
- James, Greg (9 July 2013). "Here We Go Again...". BBC. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Red Hot Chilli Pipers cover Avicii's Wake Me Up". BBC. February 1, 2014.
- Taylor, David (7 August 2012). "Red Hot Chilli Pipers No2 in US chart – Daily Record". Daily Record.
- Anon (March 2007). "BBC – When Will I Be Famous? – Contestants". BBC. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Anon (2013). "Royal Conservatoire Graduates". rsamd.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Anon (23 September 2011). "Stuart Cassells leaves Red Hot Chilli Pipers". The College of Piping. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- Coventry, Laura (9 August 2010). "Medical condition almost cost me my career, says Red Hot Chilli Piper founder Stuart Cassells – Daily Record". Daily Record (Glasgow). ISSN 0956-8069. OCLC 500344244. Retrieved 20 July 2013.