First Minister and Glasgow-based band make a big impression in the USA

Going down a storm: Craig Ferguson (left) with First Minister Alex Salmond at the Brave premiere in Hollywood on Monday
Going down a storm: Craig Ferguson (left) with First Minister Alex Salmond at the Brave premiere in Hollywood on Monday

Alex Salmond won over a new host of fans after the First Minister of Scotland charmed the audience on US programme The Late Late Show this week.

Sporting the fetching tartan trousers he had worn to the movie premiere of animated spectacular Brave, which is based in a mythical Highlands setting, Mr Salmond looked relaxed as he bantered with host, fellow Scot Craig Ferguson, who made frequent jokes about haggis, tartan and all things Scottish.

Answering a question posed by a user on Twitter about the most common misconception about the country, the First Minister joked: “I suppose people think we all wear tartan all the time and that hardly ever happens!”

Another viewer also wanted to know about the state of the Scottish economy – as well as what Mr Salmond’s favourite band is - to which he answered: “Times are tough but hopefully getting better, and The Imagineers.”

It was no surprise the First Minister picked the Glasgow-based band; they were recently plucked from obscurity by chat show host Ferguson, who invited the four-piece to perform as his house band during his recent five-show special, which was filmed in Scotland.

It was great exposure for the group – made up of Scott Bonnyman, Stephen Forbes, Steven Young and Ali Greig - who were then also jetted out to LA to perform on a further two episodes of the programme, after their previous success.

Last Friday’s episode (June 22) showed the boys performing their song Marina in front of millions of viewers in the USA. They will also be seen performing another track, Find Myself, on August 7.

The show has given The Imagineers unrivalled exposure, and a break in the industry which they still can’t quite get their heads round.

“It’s crazy. We’re still in shock,” bassist Ali told the Daily Record. “Apparently, the only other band to get that level of exposure were U2 on The David Letterman Show. It was brilliant.”

He added: “They put us up in a nice hotel and we got to visit Hollywood. It was really good doing the TV show. They gave us good guitars and everything.”

Explaining a bit about how they came to perform on The Late Late Show, Ali said: “Craig was looking for a band to champion, so he could export them to the US where he is an institution.

“He sent a CBS team to scour the venues to find something authentically Scottish. They found us in the Captain’s Rest pub in Glasgow and liked what they heard.

“They also liked what they had seen online, including some acoustic sessions we did for Tenement TV.

“And they asked us to be the house band when Craig was over for his Scottish week.

“Every night we played one of our songs, which got aired in the States. And because the reaction was good they asked us over to Los Angeles.”

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