It’s three years since 70s pop idol Les McKeown resisted the temptation to burst into a rendition of ‘Pie Pie Baby’ whilst appearing as a guest judge at the World Scotch Pie Championships in Dunfermline.
But much to the amusement of fellow passengers on the Birmingham New Street to Redditch train on Wednesday afternoon, he did break into song whilst reminiscing about pie-gate during an interview with The Courier.
“Those baker guys are such fun when they let their hair down!” he laughs.
“Bye bye baby buy me a pie!” he sings down the phone, those familiar harmonies instantly recognisable – but perhaps less so to English commuters less familiar with legendary Scottish pop group the Bay City Rollers.
Edinburgh-born Les, now 60, became the lead singer of the Rollers just a few days after his 18th birthday and, with the addition of his voice and personality, they notched up nine UK top 10 hits and two number ones, between 1974 and 1978 with songs such as Bye Bye Baby, Shang A Lang, Summer Love and Give A Little More.
Following the acrimonious split of the band in the late 1970s, and various incarnations touring since, Les has been touring with his own band under the name Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers since 1992.
If the headlines are to be believed, Les has tackled more than his fair share of demons. In 2009 it was reported that he had been battling alcoholism, and the father admitted during the filming of a reality TV show that he had cheated on his wife throughout their marriage.
But just when you thought Rollermania had been consigned to the same place as bell-bottom trousers and Chopper bikes, it’s all about the music again with Les in the midst of a 50-date UK tour, which brings him back to the Alhambra in Dunfermline tomorrow night.
The show, a repeat of a rapturous performance at the same venue last year, will turn the clocks back to the 1970s with Les promising all the hits from the Rollers’ heyday.
Of course he’s disappointed that last year’s reunion of the original Rollers – Alan Longmuir, Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood and himself – doesn’t look like it’ll be permanent.
The band wowed fans at T in the Park.
But with his vocals, harmonies and his band’s musicianship, Les says the Dunfermline fans will be treated to a “good package” as he performs with his band.
He says: “We thought we’d give it a go to reform the (original) band but that doesn’t really look like it’s going to happen.
“It’s getting a bit late in the day to add anyone to the line up.
“I’m rehearsing with my own band, who will be in Dunfermline, and just concentrating on my own solo album The Lost Songs.
“I’ve stopped really thinking about the progression with the Bay City Rollers.
“The amount of work that I do Alan and Woody can’t keep up with me!” he laughs.
Les says his audiences are not always “women of a certain age”.
He also gets a younger audience “to see what it’s all about” – and more men are attending, which he thinks is “great”.
But when older fans do attend, it is about nostalgia.
“They want us to come out and entertain and make them feel 14 again!” he laughs.
“I can hear it at the side of the stage. They want me to come out and be great!”
Les enjoys all the songs but Shang A Lang is “definitely” his favourite.
He promises “a fine reproduction of the Rollers’ hits, a couple of new songs, great musicianship and happy days!”
With a tour of Japan, Canada, then UK festivals in 2017, the band certainly keeps rolling on!
*Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers, Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline, October 29.