Les McKeown is now a "born-again" Bay City Roller.
The frontman with the Scottish pop group who had hits such as Bye Bye Baby and Saturday Night in the 1970s had struggled with the band’s sugary boy band image and with his own demons.
In the period after he left the band in 1978, he couldn't stand to sing the old hits, and resented the fact that the Rollers image overshadowed his solo career.
But now he’s back on stage with a revamped Bay City Rollers lineup -- they’re now called Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers. They have 20 dates in Canada, with concerts beginning last night in Montreal and rolling out across the country, ending up in Kelowna, B.C. on May 20.
"I realized that for all those years, I was in some kind of musical closet. I’m better now and I have been for the last five years," said McKeown, now 57.
McKeown told the CBC about his battle with drugs and alcohol and why a four-month stint in rehab was the best thing he ever did.
"I woke up in hospital – hungover – and the doctor said I’d be lucky if I saw Christmas," he recalled. That gave him the impetus to change.
He says it’s fun to be back on tour and to sing songs such as Money Honey and I Only Want To Be With You that he made famous when he was 18. McKeown is hoping this tour will give other members of the band "the kick in the pants to get on stage with me," he said.