March 29, 1999

Rollers Friends Again

By Tracey Lawson

THEY were the boy band that made tartan trendy around the world and sent sales of silver platform soled shoes sky-high.

Now, more than 20 years after they sang a final Bye Bye Baby to hordes of hysterical fans, the Bay City Rollers are set to return. Four of the five band members who enjoyed a series of hit singles in the 1970s are reported to be back in the studio recording new songs.

Industry insiders believe the move may lead to the long-talked-of revival of the band that put Scottish glam rock on the world map before an acrimonious break-up in 1978.
Bitter rivalry between Les McKeown, lead singer, and Eric Faulkner, guitarist, has been blamed as both the cause of the split and the major stumbling block to a revival. However, the pair appear to have settled their differences during the filming of a documentary about the band, which will be broadcast on Easter Monday.
Both musicians were interviewed for the film along with brothers Derek and Alan Longmuir and Stuart "Woody" Wood, who completed the line up.
McKeown explains that a long-running misunderstanding about allegedly unpaid royalties fuelled the animosity between him and Faulkner, but that the matter had been settled.
With an arm draped across Faulkner’s shoulders, he says: "This is something I thought I would never see. Without trying, we’ve become friends like we used to be. All the animosity has gone and I don’t hold any grudges against Eric because I realise that there was no foundation to the bad things I’ve been thinking about him."

A spokeswoman for BBC Manchester, which produced the film, said: "Four of the five guys have since been back together in a recording studio and I understand they are preparing a disc of some sort." It is understood that Derek Longmuir, a hospital nurse, is the only one who has not been tempted to relive the band’s glory days.

The Bay City Rollers havere-emerged in various guises ever since, but never with a line-up that included both McKeown and Faulkner.

Whether the latter-day heart-throbs will be able to enchant a post-Girl Power generation remains to be seen. The band’s former manager Tam Paton believes it is unlikely. "What would they wear? Tartan trousers and platform shoes? I can’t see crowds of teenage girls screaming at them on Top of the Pops in that these days. I think they are trying to trade on an image that is no longer a reality. They were a wonderful boy band, but now they want to come back as an old man band."

Nobody from the band or Arista Records was available for comment yesterday.