Scotland’s secret weapon for the Rugby World Cup can’t wait to blow up a storm for a tartan army of fans in Queenstown.
Kilted rockers the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are touring New Zealand for the first time, to whip the Scottish supporters into a frenzy.
The bagpipe and guitar-toting band from Glasgow hit the Memorial Hall on Sunday – the night after their countrymen tackle arch rivals England in Auckland.
But no matter the result of the big clash up north, longstanding band member Kevin MacDonald promises a rousing night.
“Win or lose in Auckland, we’ll still be having the mother of all parties for the Scotland fans in Queenstown,” he says. “We hear it’s a resort that knows how to party hard and we’ll be more than happy to do our bit.”
As well as their own take on traditional Scottish music, the Chilli Pipers blast out a selection of rock classics such as Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, Voodoo Chile by Jimi Hendrix and Queen’s We Will Rock You.
MacDonald says the group has been blown away with the interest in their debut NZ jaunt.
“There has been an unbelievable vibe about our tour from expats via our website,” he says. “The number of Scots contacting us from NZ and ordering copies of our albums for the Rugby World Cup is frightening.”
MacDonald says they’ve been boning up on Queenstown by watching Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand DVD on their tour bus.
And just like the Scottish funnyman did while he was here filming his famous TV travelogue, they fancy having a crack at the Nevis Bungy. “Billy made the jump naked but our lot want to do it in their kilts,” MacDonald says.
“I’m scared of heights so I won’t be taking part – but I’ll be happy to play the pipes for the rest of the lads while they make the leap.”
The wacky pipers – whose sound is known as ‘bagrock’ – have released three best-selling albums. They’ve also played private gigs for superstar fans including Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, former James Bond idol Sir Sean Connery and music legend Sir Paul McCartney.
“A lot of regular rock bands would bite our hands off for the kind of record sales we have clocked up,” MacDonald says. “Our stage show might have a bit of a novelty factor attached to it, but all of our guys are first-class musicians.”
Catch the Red Hot Chilli Pipers at Memorial Hall on Sunday from 8pm