In the 1950's my grandfather had a hill sheep farm in the mountains of Northern Scotland. My father, Ian Fraser, was Pipe Major of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. He left the army to take over the farm when my grandfather passed away in 1959.
My three sisters and I had a lovely up-bringing; we never wanted for anything. Living up there was fantastic! When I was eight my father started me and my sisters playing the pipes, which I’m very happy about now! He always encouraged me to enter school competitions. He was also Pipe Major of the local pipe band which I joined in my early teens.
The pipe band travelled to beautiful places around the world. Our Canadian and Russian trips always stick in my head as our Russian trip was playing at a Highland games in Moscow and it was unbelievably hot ... and then it rained! None of us had ever seen rain like this before, it was mad!
I feel the band was a great inspiration for what I do today. It opened up lots of doors in getting to know local hoteliers and their staff. I always smile when I look back at the times I had with my dad, as we were always happy!
In May 1998 I started working for a lovely gentle giant called Peter Steinle, who was the owner of the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore, at this time I was a full time long distance lorry driver, spending most of my life carrying neutral grain spirit from northern Scotland to gin plants in London and bottling halls like Tanqueray, or Gordon's. In May 1999 piping work became quite busy when a friend called Bob would hire me to pipe for him when I was home, so I decided to leave truck driving and became a full time piper.
Peter Steinle helped me to get piping work and I started 7 nights a week at The Hilton then soon after at the Freedom Inn and the Cairngorm Hotel. To this day I pipe each night, seven nights at several hotels in the Strathspey area and it's all the influence of my big pal Peter. Sadly he passed away in 2004 and I still miss him to this day.
In 2000 Madonna and Guy Ritchie came to Scotland for their wedding ceremony and Peter Steinle encouraged me to play for her.
On their arrival both Peter and the press, asked me to play 'Like a Virgin' on the pipes. So I piped for Madonna as she came down the steps of her jet. The next day I went front page of every paper!