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The Mudmen making bagpipes cool in rock and roll context

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Toronto-area based bagpipe powered Celtic rock band The Mudmen have spent their whole career trying to prove the bagpipes are cool.The Mudmen return to Lethbridge, March 22. Photo by Richard Amery

“I had bagpipe lessons offered to me when I was 13 and I got tired of people making fun of them. All I had to do was point out Bonn Scott  of AC DC played them on AC DC's one hit  ‘Long Way to the Top,’ and Paul McCartney had a hit with ‘Mull of Kintyre,’” said Sandy Campbell, who along with his brother Rob formed the core of the Mudmen.

 They played together as a duo with a variety of acts, then decided to form a band and quickly got got signed to EMI.

 The Toronto based, bagpipe powered rock band have played with Ian Thomas, John McDermott and Murray McLachlan and rubbed shoulders with hockey stars and prime minsters, played Canada Day in Ottawa and even shook hands with the Queen.

 They have also had their music used by wrestling stars the Highlanders as well as had their music used on the television show the Black Donnellys and on Hockey Night In Canada, where they received Ron McLean and Don Cherry‘s stamp of approval.
 On the other end of the spectrum they have opened for punk legends like D.O.A.

 They recently completed a tour with country  pop star Johnny Reid.

 They return to Lethbridge, March 22 to rock Average Joes.

 While they started out as a loud rock band, lately they have been playing more corporate and family friendly gigs.

“ We started as a wild rock band and that is  a lot of fun. But now we can do both the family friendly gigs and bar shows,” he said.

When they lost their record deal in 2004, Campbell said he considered throwing in the towel, but instead formed a new band with multi-instrumentalist Anthony Albanese, bassist Mario Bozza, drummer Steve Volk and lead singer Steven Gore, who joined them three years ago.

 They have released four albums in the past  including the most recent “Where I Come From” which was released in February 2013.

“We have to get back into that circle again,” said Sandy Campbell from Slave Lake.

“We’re more of a professional band now. We love it anytime we get together,” he said.
“ We grew up listening to the Irish Rovers and the first show we played was with the Rovers,” he continued.

 He and his brother Rob grew up in a musical family.
“ We’re from Ontario and there’s a pretty big Scottish community here. Our mom played piano and fiddle and our grandma played fiddle and mandolin,” he said.

“ We always had live music right in our house. Mom would go to seniors homes and play for them for free,” he said.

 Campbell is excited about playing Lethbridge.
 The Lethbridge Firefighters Pipes and Drums, who were originally scheduled to perform, are unable to play this show.

“ Hopefully we’ll have the place packed,” he said.

“ We’re going to have lots of fun. We have lots of new material and we’ll have a few drinks,” he promised.

“ So hopefully we’ll bring the house down.
 The show begins at 9 p.m. There is a $15 cover.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 March 2014 14:40 )  
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