Scottish Christmas a ‘riot’

BAH HUMBUG: Claymore will rock into Geelong this month for A Grumpy Celtic Christmas.

by Luke Voogt

With bagpipes and didgeridoos Celtic rockers Claymore plan to make Christmas a riotous affair.

“We’re full on – from the minute we hit the stage to the minute we get off,” lead singer William Hutton said.

“It’s a pure adrenaline rush. I’m 58 but when I get on stage I’m 21 again.”

The seven-piece outfit returns to Geelong for a Christmas shindig next month after a recent European tour including France and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The band would join forces with “world-renowned” Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle for A Grumpy Celtic Christmas, Hutton said.

“Eric’s the grumpy part – he’s a notorious humbug at Christmas.”

Bogle has been touring the world for four decades, from the outback to the streets of New York City.

He has won a United Nations Peace Medal and an Order of Australia Medal for his music, which includes songs about world wars and the bush.

“It will be great to work together again,” Hutton said.

Also joining Claymore for the Christmas show are the energetic Glenbrae Celtic Dancers.

“The girls came with us when we toured Europe – they’ve danced all over the world,” Hutton said.

“It will be anything but grumpy – we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Hailing from Glasgow, Hutton started Claymore with a classmate in Scotland in 1976.

“Back when I was a young lad,” he said.

“It began as an acoustic duet and now it’s a full-on seven-piece folk and rock band.”

The former bandmate went on to become an evangelical minister in America, Hutton said.

“He does the big-stadium Christian shows and I do the big-stadium satanic shows,” he joked.

Hutton migrated to Australia about 30 years ago and began recruiting Celtic musicians.

“I started the band here in Australia with another Scottish fellow,” he said.

Next Hutton poached brothers Grant and Craig Scroggie, who he said were huge on the pipe band scene.

The drummer and piper had played across the world in championships and featured in the Edinburgh Tattoo, he said.

“The pipe band weren’t very pleased when I took them to play in a rock band. They’ve been with band near 30 years.”

For the past 15 of those Claymore has played in the National Celtic Festival, now a yearly event in Portarlington.

“I don’t think we’ve missed one (in that time),” Hutton said.

“We even did the festival when it used to be in Geelong.

“We’re fairly fortunate that way – the demand to see us is still there.”

Claymore, Eric Bogle and Glenbrae Celtic Dancers come to Geelong Arts Centre on 18 December.

“It’s not all about jingle bells, tinsel and Santa but we’ll throw in a few Christmassy song,” Hutton said.

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