I’m going to run this into the ground.
Novelist Philip Coggan, who knows an interesting character when he sees one, has been keeping an eye peeled (sounds uncomfortable, doesn’t it?) for MacLemore “Mac” MacPherson’s re-emergence into public life. As every young bagpipe player is told when he (they’re all he) runs out of breath, “There’s more where that came from, Laddie.”
Philip found the photo above in the Twickenham Times, a shopping paper aimed at a retired and rapidly dying community of former military officers. According to Philip, it had this caption: “Inspired by watching re-runs of Braveheart non-stop for 48 hours, Mac MacPherson and the East Grimely and Chocking Norton Pipes and Plumbers Association take to the streets to change public perceptions of bagpipes.”
See how fast they’re walking? Even so, they made it only two and a half blocks before being dispersed by a shower of cobblestones thrown by onlookers. As one of the ‘pipers said while his wounds were being, um, stanched, “It was bleedin’ Cairo out there, mate.”
Okay, this is a subterfuge. What I wanted to do was get to the only recording of the last 53 years in which “Mac” played no role whatsoever. Here it is:
This is an obscure band called The Pleasure Fair. I’m the sullen poseur at the far right. Next to me, in the unfortunate dress made of refrigerator magnets, is Michele Cochrane, the real singer in the band. (I was the singer manque, so to speak.)
Peering through the gloom at center left is the only guy in the band who actually experienced life as a rock star, Robb Royer. At far left is Stephen Cohn, who is now among the very small number of people in America who earn a living composing serious (modern classical) music.
I have no idea where this was taken, but there are large swathes of this period in my life that apparently got lost on their way to the memory bank.
Anyway, Robb and I started out as songwriters and met Stephen and Michele in college. The band began as folk-rock, moved into a sort of quasi-rock-folk, had the thrill of hearing one of our songs on the radio (“Morning Glory Days”), fell apart, came back together in a different configuration to record a single or two, and then David Gates, who had produced this record, recruited Robb and Jimmy Griffin and founded Bread.
It wasn’t much of a career. We were no “Mac” MacPhersons. I don’t even have copies of the singles.
And, in fact, I didn’t have a copy of the LP until my nephew Ken gave me one.
Thanks to Stephen Cohn, who sent me a link to a site that had not only this album cover but also a track from the LP, our astonishingly lame cover of the Beatles’ “Things We Said Today.” Michele sounds good, though.
And if Robb and/or Stephen (or Michele, for that matter) would like to add to or correct this little history, this is their cue.