UK TODAY – NEWS / ENTERTAINMENT / ROD STEWART
Rod Stewart has hailed his opening act – after discovering them through Celtic TV.
The rocker became obsessed with a backing track he heard while watching his beloved Hoops training.
The Maggie May star liked it so much that he used the instrumental for a song on his latest album – and set about finding out who was behind the music.
He discovered the song was written by Glaswegian John McLaughlin, 54, who had quit performing more than 30 years ago.
Rod, 74, explained: “I was watching the boys coming out to train on Celtic television. There was a backing track, no vocal, just an instrumental. I was looking for who wrote it. I turned it into a song called Julia on the last album.
“We searched for a year. It turned out to be Johnny Mac and a friendship was born. He said he had a band and he’d like to do more gigs.
“I said, ‘Right, you’re on the tour. You’re going to be playing to 30,000 a night’. He’s been magnificent – best opening act I’ve ever had.”
The band have so far played in front of more than 500,000 fans.
Johnny – who penned hits for Westlife and Busted after “retiring” – said: “I chucked playing in bands when I was 23 after supporting Wet Wet Wet because I realised I wouldn’t get a record deal. I decided to start writing songs for other people.”
Johnny told how he and Rod became firm friends through the Celtic TV loop and their love of the Hoops.
He added: “One day he heard me singing along to songs in the car and told me I was a great singer and that I was going on tour to get the crowd going.
“I didn’t believe it until the contracts turned up six weeks before the tour. I thought, ‘F***, I’ll have to get a band together and write some songs’.
“It’s incredible to be playing to 30,000 people each night. Rod did everything for us. He introduces us at every show. Rod has become a best pal. He invites me to his house and I’ve had dinner at his home in Essex with Penny.
“He’s been great to me and the rest of the band. I’m 54, boy band age 37, and never thought I’d be doing this at this stage in my career.”
They’ll now support Rod at gigs at Glasgow’s Hydro and in Aberdeen later in the year.
Rod said: “Johnny and the guys went down a storm on the summer dates so I’m delighted they want to come on the road with us for the winter dates.
“I love Johnny Mac & The Faithful. I love the energy in their performance and how they look like they are having so much fun.”