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How long have you been known as the Caledonian Cowboy?

When I was younger I originally advertised my services as ‘Johnny Gauld – Piper For All Occasions’, but because I eventually diversified into more than just piping i.e. toasts, after dinner speaking, writing and hosting events the name Caledonian Cowboy became an umbrella name. I’ve worked under the Caledonian Cowboy moniker for the last 5 years…,but I’ve been known by that name for much longer.

 What makes you diferent from other Pipers for weddings?

I’m willing to assist in any way I can to help the wedding couple achieve exactly what they hoped from their piper. Some couples want more piping than others and more often than not I will be asked on the day if I can play a little more. It might be for a special relative or guests from abroad, who don’t have the chance to hear a piper live, and I’m always happy to oblige. I am also regularly asked to deliver a toast to the newly married couple. This can be arranged beforehand, but there has been plenty of times I’ve been asked to deliver the toast with 5 minutes to spare.

 How soon into their wedding planning should a couple book you?

Preferably at least a year in advance, but there has been numerous times, due to various reasons, that I’ve been booked with less than a week to go. One memorable occassion had me piping at a wedding that was over 70 miles away and taking place in 2 hours. May I add that I arrived on time and made the wedding couples day.

What packages do you offer?

I offer a variety of different services as a wedding piper. The standard service is to pipe the bride on arrival then after the service to pipe the bride, groom and all their guests into the venue grounds or equivalent. At the reception I play for the wedding couples arrival and finally pipe them to the wedding cake and/or dining seats. Some couples ask to be played at the service or reception only and others like the piper to play the standard service, but also to return at the end of the wedding to finish the day off with a flourish. I’ve also been called upon to pipe brides from their home into the bridal car or from their room at the venue to the service. There has never been a request that I haven’t been able to cover and I hope that will always be the case. I personally take a great interest in all my customers requests and at the end of the day I always have a quiet word to be sure that the customer has been at least 100% happy with my services. I believe that this, along with my extremely competitive rates and genuine professionalism are the reasons Caledonian Cowboy stands ahead of many other performers.

 Do you pipe for any other events?

For a long time I’ve carried out the ‘standard’ pipers jobs i.e Hogmanay celebrations, Burns Suppers, Saint Andrews events and of course weddings, but throughout my career I’ve also piped for large scale corporate events, MSPs, store launches, both traditional and contemporary music festivals (including T In The Park), funerals, British and Italian Royal events, private parties, Masonic Lodges, music artists as varied as Ian Brown, Madness, Alabama 3, The Enemy, Steve Mason & The Aliens and even divorce parties!  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

On a personal level it has always been about meeting such a wide variety of people and also having the opportunity to play at the hundreds of various events that I’ve performed at. It is a common phrase, ‘all weddings are the same, but different’ and that’s true. I don’t think that I’ve ever played at two weddings that have been the exact same and that’s what great about performing. Every event is different in its own way. If I know that the customer and/or audience are happy and totally satisfied with my services then I know I’ve done my job well.

Have you ever had any unusual requests?

I’ve been called to play on roofs of castles, the back of a classic fire engine, in a cow pen, in lifts and on escalators, on an aeroplane above the Atlantic, toilets and the back of taxis. My first divorce party booking was an unusual request, but it turned out to be a most entertaining evening. I also have a unwritten agreement with a chippy on Sauchiehall St, Glasgow called ‘Mr Chips’. The deal is that if I’m ever passing with my pipes, I have to come in and play for the customers and staff in exchange for a haggis supper. I’ve been piping at this particular chippy for over ten years.

Can you tell us a memorable job you have undertaken?

It probably has to be the most recent event I’ve played at. The designer Jeff Banks had asked for me to pipe him through Debenhams Department Store in Glasgow as he was launching his new range in suits and tailoring. As we finished at the menswear department he made his introductions to the waiting press and excited audience. As I was about to retire he asked if I would model one of his suits. I agreed and he had a tailor measure me up, but there was a problem. When it came to measuring my inside seam the tailor paused as he obviously remembered the tradition of Scotsmen wearing nothing under their kilts. The tailor called on Mr Banks who laughed it off and mentioned that it was just an old wives tale. I proved to Mr Banks, his colleagues, the blushing tailor and the laughing Glasgow audience that I was indeed naked under my kilt. Jeff Banks thought this was hilarious and asked one of his staff to immediately return with the best boxer shorts available. Once I was kitted out in a new Banks suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes and of course boxers I went out to ‘model’ the range. When I was finished Mr Banks told me that I was to keep the full get up because I’d given himself and the audience a great laugh.

Do you have any additional advice for our brides to be?

Remember that the memories of your wedding day will be with you forever, so make it your own, and don’t tailor it suit anyone else. From the smallest detail, to the biggest decisions, I believe that the bride and groom should always have the last say. Enjoy your wedding with the friends and family you invite, but above all keep smiling… and don’t be late!

Johnny Gauld
Caledonian Cowboy
07920 804 171




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