Madness piper says Montrose was the best crowd

Johnny Gauld on stage with Madness frontman Suggs
Johnny Gauld on stage with Madness frontman Suggs

Following the sell-out Madness concert we were asked by a reader for the name of the piper who played on stage in Montrose.

And now we’ve managed to track him down.

The man in question hails from Barrhead, near Paisley, but spent large chunks of his childhood in Arbroath. He jumped at the chance when asked by the band to play their Montrose concert on July 5.

Johnny Gauld, the self-styled ‘Caledonian Cowboy,’ has played the pipes all his life. He was a member of the Neilston and District Pipe Band from the age of 10 but through his 20s he worked in a total of seven different engineering firms that all folded.

He laughed: “I think the bad luck followed me until I met Lee Thompson, the saxophonist for the band in a pub in Glasgow a few years ago. During our conversation the subject of bagpipes came up. I told him I was a piper, he didn’t believe me, but said if I turned up with my pipes at that night’s gig, then the band would put me on the I did, and they did!

“I’ve piped for Madness for nearly 10 years, at all of their Scottish gigs, but I’ve also performed with them at the London 02 Arena and in their ‘homeland’ of Camden and the annual Camden Crawl.

“I’ve been a Madness fan all my life and it’s a real honour to play up with them but I’ve regularly performed and played with other bands and singers, such as Ian Brown, The Stone Roses, Alabama 3, The Enemy, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott from The Beautiful South, Steve Mason and The Aliens.

“At the Montrose Grandslam gig I played The Atholl Highlanders, Scotland the Brave and finished on Flower of Scotland. The reception I got in Montrose and the sing-along was the best I’ve ever heard, the crowd sang their hearts out and I got so carried away that I didn’t hear the band come back on until guitarist Chrissy Boy Foreman said ’Right Johnny, that’s your time up’ and I realised they were ready to play again.”

He explained: “Piping is just a part of what I do, I am also a public speaker for both traditional and contemporary events, such as Burns’ suppers.

“I’m also a writer and I have a new book set to be published in September which is called - ‘Gie’s a Shot’. This book tells of my hands-on experience working with some of Scotland’s most famous products and industries such as Arbroath Smokies, Harris Tweed, Stornoway Black Pudding, whisky distilling and many others.”