The Johnny McCuaig Band
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The Johnny McCuaig Band

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1997 | SELF | AFM

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 1997
Band Rock Indie




"Johnny McCuaig Band Heads to Fratters"

There really is no sound quite like the bagpipes for whipping up an array of emotions. And few people know this as well as Johnny McCuaig, who performs at Fratters Speakeasy on Jan. 16th. He’s been playing bagpipes for many years, and as front man of the band McCuaig, he spent about a decade starting in 1998 serving up all kinds of electrifying tunes, with everything from funk, blues, rock to hints of reggae, ska and of course traditional bagpipe melodies. The sounds were utterly unique, and after the band’s last CD, Vita, the guys had reached a point of needing a much-deserved break. “After the Vita album came out, we toured and toured,” he recalls. “And we just got burned out; we were playing about 250 nights per year. All of us just knew we needed to take some time off, recharge and remember why we were playing.” As time passed, he gradually came to the point where he knew it was time to explore his musical passion again. “I decided to take a different approach. I thought, I’m going to do this on my own now – write everything and just get it happening.” He’s venturing out as The Johnny McCuaig Band. And in just a couple of weeks, he’s also set to begin to record a new CD which will mark a new era of collaboration as the tracks take shape. “I’ve got a lot of momentum behind it which is fantastic,” says McCuaig, who hails from Nelson, B.C. “It’s a brand new chapter and a fresh beginning. “I’m super excited about it, and just can’t wait to get it all out there.” Today, he’s based in Regina and that’s where the recording will take place as well. “I’ve enlisted the help of some Regina boys,” he said, adding that Juno Award-winner Jason Plumb will be handling production of the project. Plumb also fronted Canadian band The Waltons. “He’s really taken me under his wing, and has shown me a lot in the studio and about songwriting – he’s a huge asset. And what a great guy to help me out this way. He’s really helping me with my songwriting and with progressing to the next level.” Others contributing to the project include singer Casey Stone and Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason, who will be playing guitar on a track. “I’m enlisting a lot of different musicians to come in and either sing or play on the tracks.” It was during his elementary school days McCuaig’s own musical journey was launched. By the time he was in Grade 6, with the amazing influences of some wonderful teachers, he was touring elementary schools with classmates putting on afternoon pop shows. He also discovered the lure of the bagpipes and has pretty much never looked back. “My father wanted me, my sister and brother to all learn. It was something that was in my family,” he recalls. “We really took off with the pipes – when I was seven years old, I was marching down the street with my bagpipes – myself and my brother. We were going to competitions, and were the up-and-coming pipers in our area,” he adds with a laugh. He also took lessons and eventually became one of the youngest members to join the Nelson Kootenay Kiltie Pipe Band. In his early 20s, he placed an ad in Nelson’s music store looking for part time players to gig with. Rocker Carson Cole dropped by. McCuaig played bass with Cole for four years touring western and northern Canada in every town and city. One night while playing up in Yellowknife, McCuaig and Cole decided to finish off by playing bagpipes and the crowd went nuts. This gave him and Cole a new idea -- rock with bagpipes. “It was a packed house that night – and everyone just stopped and looked. The whole crowd was mesmerized by this kid playing bagpipes in a rock band. Carson came up to me later that night and said, ‘We’ve got to do something with this’.” Eventually, McCuaig ventured off with his own band, writing lots of music and found that folks loved what the band had to offer. The sheer uniqueness of the sounds continues to stir up audiences and wield an emotional power all its own. “It was a band that played funk and rock, but that also played the bagpipes. There’s something about the bagpipes that really transforms people. You either love it or you hate it. There’s no real in between. “But what we found is that even people who have their minds made up and say they don’t like bagpipes, if they listen to what I do, they’ll often say, ‘That’s cool – that’s different. It’s not what I thought it was going to be’. The sound of bagpipes certainly seem capable of tapping into an array of emotions – from exhilaration to melancholy. Whatever the case, there’s typically almost an intimate reaction that people have when they hear those strains. “It makes you feel something powerful.” - Red Deer Express - Mark Weber

"Dylan Bossenberry and local music commentator Taron Cochrane discuss Regina's bagpipe driven rock & roll tour de force"

In this twenty-sixth episode of Saskatchewan Side A, host Dylan Bossenberry and local music commentator Taron Cochrane discuss Regina's bagpipe driven rock & roll tour de force; The Johnny Mccuaig Band. - Saskatchewan Side A - Taron Cochrane

"The Vat Presents McCuaig"

"The guys of McCuaig approach music with no limits on their creativity" - - Mark Weber - Red Deer Express

"-McCrowd rocks to McCuaig"

"The intense resonance of bagpipes lures crowds stage wards" - Jardin Kauhausen - The Weal

"-"Rockingly Undefinable""

A Show not to be missed!! - Stephanie Dawson - The weekender Nelson Daily News

""True Canadian Bagpipe Rock and Roll""

"True Canadian Bagpipe Rock and Roll"
"Amazing band!"
"The Most Fun You Can Have With a Kilt On" - -Rick Krieger- Owner/Manager McNally's Regina

"Bagpiping rock band takes over the Atha-B"

If you have a kilt then now is the time to pull it out.

The Johnny McCuaig Band is one kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing rock group you don’t want to miss. Kicking off a string of shows through Western Canada, the band promises to bring its high-energy show to the stage of the Athabasca Hotel on Jan. 20.

“We’re used to playing big outdoor shows so this will be more of an intimate show, but we’re hoping people will come out and dance, say hello and get rowdy with us,” said the band’s front man, Johnny McCuaig. “We certainly don’t want to see people sitting on their thumbs, that’s for sure.”

Despite planting their roots in the mid-1990s, the Regina-based group has gone through a bit of transformation with the launch of their 2016 album Hold Fast. Since the release, the band has experienced tremendous success, filling venues in Sweden, Las Vegas and across Canada.

“The last year was a pretty big stepping stone for us, getting into new markets and playing in Europe for the first time,” McCuaig said. “It was quite a journey and we really got to showcase our stuff on the world stage and we’re pretty pumped with the results and how everything is going.”

So, what is it about the band that makes it so alluring to the masses? McCuaig can’t be sure, but he believes it has something to do with his bagpipe-wielding prowess.

“There’s something about the bagpipes that digs up all sorts of memories. They’ve always been associated with death and war, but also with parties. For some reason it always gets people riled up,” McCuaig said. “It’s a very intense instrument and people seem to really relate to that intensity and let the music take them to a place they don’t normally go.

“For us that’s a really special thing to watch because you can actually see the crowd react and begin to transform.”

Later this year the band will be heading back into the studio, laying down some more thrashing rock tracks before shipping back to Las Vegas’ Fremont Street. After that, the band will be jetting off to Japan and Sweden for a slew of gigs.

“Sweden was so great and we’re really excited to go back. Last year we didn’t know what to expect,” the front man said. “It’s a completely different experience. In my opinion, in Europe music is perceived as more of an art. People really sit down and listen and that’s really cool.”

Despite all the excitement, McCuaig said with a young family at home, living the touring musician life comes with its challenges.

“It’s always hard to leave our families, but everyone is behind us. My wife is a huge part of what I do. She helps me with a ton of band stuff,” he said. “We consider all of us to be a part of one big team. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my wife and family.”

The band will be playing at the Athabasca Hotel on Jan. 20. Doors open at 8 p.m. and cover is $5.

“We hope to see everyone come out and enjoy the night and if anyone has a kilt then I hope they join me and wear theirs too,” McCuaig said.

Kayla Byrne - Jasper Fitzhugh

"Hold On to Your Bagpipes... THE JOHNNY MCCUAIG BAND’s “Here We Go” Video Friggin’ ROCKS!"

“How the shit did we not already have Regina, Saskatchewan-based rockers The Johnny McCuaig Band on our radar?” is exactly what our embarrassed journalists and editors were asking themselves when an email about TJMB hit our main inbox. Okay, so we were new to the crew, but that didn’t stop us from instantly loving their new single “Here We Go” and diving into their catalogue. Whether you’re about to crush a haggis eating contest, are cheering on the Roughriders as they enter Mosaic Stadium, or maybe making your way into the UFC octagon, this song is 100% guaranteed to fire you the hell up! Even better... we’ve got the premiere for the track’s video right here!

“Here We Go” can be found on all major digital services, including Spotify and Apple Music, and is a precursor to the group’s upcoming studio recording Lions as Ravens - the album drops on September 20th, 2018, and can be pre-ordered here. Fans of Andrew WK and Danko Jones are going to dig these dudes.

Commenting on the new video, band leader Johnny McCuaig hit us up with the following thoughts:

“There has been a lot of anticipation building for this video because of how the song has been received and personalized by fans and professional sports teams. Having this song play to 30,000 fans as the Saskatchewan Roughriders took the field has definitely been one of the feel good moments of the year for all of us. Thanks to director, Dave Benedict (Square Egg Visions + rock band Default) and the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club we feel the concept, attitude and bands image are all represented in a way that matches the songs high intensity and feeling!” - Pure Grain Audio

"Andrew W.K. + The Johnny McCuaig Band @ Dickens – September 11th 2018"

Where could you go to party hard on a Tuesday night in Calgary? Answer: The Andrew WK and The Johnny McCauig Band show at Dickens Pub! The first act to take the stage were Canadian musicians, The Johnny McCuaig Band who are joining Andrew WK on the western portion of his tour. When the lead singer of Johnny McCuaig appeared on stage in a kilt with a set of bagpipes backed by his band the audience didn’t know what to expect. Expectations were shattered! These guys came with a crazy energy that fused hard rock, folk, pop and a few AC/DC covers thrown in. I highly recommend checking these guys out, especially live!

While walking to the venue Andrew WK fans could be heard chanting, “Party Hard!” Quite a few fans dressed up as Andrew WK in his trademark white t-shirt and pants with his tattoos painted on their arms. Some fans decided to go full out and bloody their faces with red stage makeup for full effect. Andrew WK charged onto stage full blast and got the audience hyped up from the first song. Andrew sang the hits from his debut album 18+ years ago along with new material from his latest release, You’re Not Alone. During the show, Andrew WK entertained the crowd with his “party hard” persona along with a strong message of positivity. It was almost like being at rock show combined with an Anthony Robbins motivational speaking engagement and the crowd loved it! Wishing Andrew WK and The Johnny McCauig Band all the best for the rest of their tour! - Concert Addicts


McCuaig (1998)
Tales From the Shroom Room (1999)
Stems and Pieces (2003)
Feel Like Gettin Live (2005)
Vita (2007)

HOLD FAST (2015)



The Johnny McCuaig Band is a 5 piece Canadian rock band that draws on Canada’s rich, cultural mosaic to create a super fun blend of hard rock, pop, new wave, folk, and blues combined with bagpipes! TJMB exemplifies the honest, hard working, and proud (yet humble) spirit of Canada.

. When they’re onstage, they work their butts off to consistently thrill fans with their one-of-a-kind live show that bursts with energy and positive vibes. 

To truly get the full Johnny McCuaig Band experience, you HAVE to see them live onstage. Live, their brand of melodic ear candy becomes a feast for the senses. Bagpipes, a kilt, crunching guitars, a hip-shaking rhythm section, and boundless energy makes for one hell of a show. 

It’s not Celtic. It’s not Pop. It’s not Alternative. It’s everything. It’s TJMB. The McCuaig Brigade is a party and you’re invited!

Band Members