The Rogues

Founded in Houston in 1994, The Rogues created a new genre of Celtic music with exceptionally well-played pipes and driving percussion. From street festivals to Scottish Highland games to performing with a symphony orchestra, The Rogues deliver a commanding performance. Starting at the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1994, the band soon began performing out of state and added Scottish Highland Games and Celtic festivals and corporate shows. The band has produced it's own theater show called Celtic Crossroads and performed as a guest artist with the Air Force Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC and had music featured in the 2011 film "Kill the Irishman.". They also won 1st place in the original Strangford-Lough Celtic Battle of the Bands.  The Rogues have performed in Las Vegas, Scotland, Greece, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Canada, several cruises and all over the United States. Usually performing with 2 pipers and 2 percussionists, our roster includes 12 top notch players from around the country. Members of the band have competed all over North America and Scotland, and won 1st place at the 1998 World Pipe Band Championships in Grade III, performing with the Hamilton Pipe Band out of Houston, TX. The Rogues have produced 10 albums and 2 DVDs to date and are listed in the official Grammy book for several nominations, though falling short of the final 5. The Rogues have a tradition of supporting charities, sometimes holding their own fundraisers supporting individuals and causes for soldiers. The band even has it's own tartan in the Scottish Register of Tartans. That Tartan is the background for the website!

 

Randy Wothke - Founder, Percussionist, Manager

Randy’s course in life was set when at age 6 he began violin lessons. Having mastered that attempt by performing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in front of the entire Cub Scout pack, he soon got bored and moved on to the piano. That lasted several years, but finally the instrument that won out was the drums. Begging his parents for one more chance at age 10, he began percussion in the public schools in Houston, TX and never looked back. Competing successfully in high school and graduating with a degree in music education/percussion from the University of Houston in 1985, he then taught band in the public schools in Texas for two years and almost completed a masters in conducting.

Beginning in college Randy picked up Scottish drumming as a hobby, joined a pipe band and eventually joined the Hamilton Pipe Band founded by Lars Sloan. In 1993 they competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland and won best overseas band in the grade II competition, a first for an US band, and then won first place in the grade III competition in 1998, also a first for the United States.

 

Photo credit George Costigan

 

In 1994 Randy founded "The Scottish Rogues", later to become "The Rogues", and is the only person to be a part of every Rogues line-up since the beginning. He has guided the band through 10 CDs and 2 DVDs, received two Asca-Plus awards from ASCAP for music written for the band and enjoys freelance symphonic-style performance when The Rogues schedule allows.

 

You can contact Randy at Randy@therogues.com

Jimmy Mitchell - Bagpiper

My piping journey began in 1981 when I enrolled in 4th Grade at St. Thomas’ Episcopal School in Houston, Texas.  About the third week of school one of the seniors walked into my classroom and asked who was interested in joining the band and learning the bagpipe.  While the senior was putting my name on the band list I remember asking him, “By the way, what is a bagpipe?”

When I started 5th Grade in 1982 Campbell Naismith left St. Thomas to move to California and Albert McMullin took over as band director. It was during this year that I made the transition from practice chanter to bagpipe and started marching with the band. At the start of 6th Grade Mr. McMullin left St. Thomas, leaving the band without a director during that year.  However, Doug Frobese, who was a senior that year, ran the band until Mike Cusack graduated from college.  Mr. Cusack took over at the beginning of 7th Grade.  His leadership soon built the band into the premiere juvenile pipe band in the world.

After graduating from St. Thomas in 1989 I started college at the University of Houston and joined the Hamilton Pipe Band led by Lars Sloan.  In 1989 Donald MacPhee took over as pipe major and almost overnight turned us from a street band to Grade III champions at the 1990 Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, Georgia. I was also fortunate to win the Grade I trophy and Amateur Piper of the Day. Things were really falling into place for the band and we would go on to win the Grade III and Grade II United States Championships in Alma, Michigan, and I won some solo awards there as well.  In 1993, the Hamilton Pipe Band went to Scotland to compete and won best overseas band in Grade II. The band would also finish first in the Celtic Classic competition in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and first at the Santa Rosa Highland Games in California.

For the next four years I would divide my time competing with the Hamilton Pipe Band and playing with The Rogues. In the fall of 1995 The Rogues recorded their first album and performed at the Texas Renaissance Festival. During my time with The Rogues we made five albums, toured throughout the United States, and performed in Canada and Scotland.  At this time I also started teaching the bagpipes and several of my students have won trophies and awards in competition. This is also when I started composing tunes, several of which are on The Rogues’ albums.  My first composition, “The Rock,” was even played by a pipe band at the World Pipe Band Championships.  I currently enjoy a solo piping career and performing with The Rogues.

Mark Sullivan - Percussion, "Big Blue" and Voice

Mark has been a part of the entertainment world since (cough, cough) 1978.  Starting as an actor/singer, he performed in over 25 comedies and musicals from community theater to regional productions. In 1983 he joined the legendary SAK Theater, performing at EPCOT Center and Renaissance Festivals all over the country.  An original member of the "Mudpuppies" an improvisational comedy troupe based in Orlando and part of SAK Theater, Mark began his love affair with improvisational comedy.  He has taught more than 3,000 students in various aspects of improv and street theater.  He was the Entertainment Director for the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, The Great Lakes Medieval Faire and was at various times the Artistic Director and Executive Producer for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival.  Mark hired the Rogues in 1996 and in a weird cosmic warp, covered for one Randy Wothke who was ill for two weekends.  Thus began Mark's long and winding journey with The Rogues. 

Musically, Mark has played drums/percussion with many acts over the years.  He was Charlie Zahm's percussionist for years appearing on several of Charlie's

Photo Credit Skyler Hart

 

cds.  He has played with Enter The Haggis, Wyndfall, was a founding member of the short lived but amazing "Sloanwolfe" and many others.  Mark has played on over 15 different recordings and a band he was playing with opened for Gaelic Storm and an audience of 17,000.  But his love since 1996 has been The Rogues.  Known affectionately as "Sully", Mark is honored and thrilled to be rockin' with The Rogues!

 

You can contact Mark at Mark@therogues.com

Kyle Grasty - Bagpiper

Kyle started his bagpipe lessons at the age of 12 with the Ceol Neamh Piping and Drumming School (Lancaster pa) Kyle did his first competition at the young age of 14 and took 4th place out of 23 pipers. Since then he has taken 14, 1st place in EUSPBA Sanctioned Highland Games

He also performs with the Washington Memorial Pipe Band of Wayne Pa. and has competed with the Cameron Washington united competition band.

Kyle enjoys composing piano and bagpipe music in his spare time. He is attending West Chester University in hopes to become a State Trooper while at the same time teaching bagpipes to students of all ages.

 

You can contact Kyle at Kyle@therogues.com

 

         
Photo Credit Skyler Hart

Ewan Brown - Bagpiper

Playing the great highland bagpipes in Celtic Rock bands, Ewan has performed on stages around the world with top Celtic bands including Seven Nations, Rathkeltair, and the Glengarry Bhoys.  He has also played with Nazareth, Loverboy  and Blue Rodeo. Not all at once mind you, but that would be cool..frost in the morning is also cool, ok more cold than cool, you might need a hat. A hat in Canada is a toque.

Professional musician for the past 12 years,   Squirrel !!!  my dog chases squirrels. they can climb trees. not my dog.

Besides playing the pipes Ewan enjoys playing a multitude of other instruments and continues to teach himself new instruments to enhance his stage presence. I like presence,  birthday presence, Christmas presence….now learning Celtic Tuba...

Ewan has been in many bands and choirs for his vocal talents, harmonies and extensive vocal range. Gun range, archery range, I like archery, like Robin Hood.

Ewan has performed everything from classical and Broadway to country, folk, and now Celtic. Not “Seltic” that’s a basketball team.  There’s no I in team.
Ewan is also a master leather crafter, making fantastic leather products. His goods can be found at:
customcelticleather.com
thehighlandscott.com

Ewan is sponsored by Lindsey Bagpipe Co. from Corry Pa.  Making Ewan’s new trade mark blue pipes with the Castle tops.

Bryan Blaylock - Percussionist

Bryan started playing the Bodhran in 1993, subbing in occasionally with Clandestine at the Texas Renaissance Festival. In 1995 he was asked to join the band The Scottish Rogues. He developed a quick wit and funny stage presence for those moments when the bagpipes have to tune. Unfortunately he hasn't shut up.....

He brings an energetic sound that gives the band a raw edge and is generously willing to share the credit with Randy for keeping the band from careening out of control.

Bryan is proud of the critical acclaim the band received in his previous time with The Rogues, including several nominations in the Grammy book, but not quite making it to the final 5.

He is co-owner of a Friesian Horse Ranch with his lovely soon to be bride Heather, dad to an amazing set of twin boys and responsible for the feeding and maintenance of 66 critters from a 2000 lbs horse to a 2 ounce chick.

Heather and he are proud that the Wind Dancer Ranch is a Horses4Heros facility, providing equine healing to our active duty military, veterans and their families.

"I am excited to be playing with the classic line-up and looking forward to testing Randy's patience and skills"

 

You can contact Bryan at Bryan@therogues.com

Doug Frobese - Bagpiper

Began playing bagpipes at age 9 at St. Thomas Episcopal School and was first taught by Donald Shaw Ramsay.  Doug later attended the Balmoral Schools in North Carolina, studying piobaireachd under James McIntosh and light music under Murray Henderson.  In 1991, Doug joined the Hamilton (now St. Thomas Alumni) Pipe Band, served as pipe major from 1997 to 2000 when the band won grade 3A and took third prize in grade 2 at the World Pipe Band Championships, and he has remained a piper in the band ever since.   Besides Hamilton/St. Thomas Alumni, Doug has also played with the Kansas City St. Andrews Pipes & Drums and the Lothian & Borders Pipe Band.

Doug's impressive piping skills can be heard on the latest Rogues album, a Christmas CD called Hellbound Sleigh.

Sean Patrick Regan - Bagpiper/Percussionist

 

Sean Patrick Regan is a third-generation piper, having begun playing at the age of 8 under the instruction of his father, Patrick Regan, who was himself started by his father (Jimmy) and who was the first person in the world to earn a degree in bagpiping (BFA-Carnegie Mellon University).  Sean is the only person in the world to earn a music education degree with the bagpipe as the primary instrument (BAME-Edinboro University).  A musician with over 40 different instruments under his belt, he has entertained audiences up and down the east coast for over 16 years.

Sean began his formal study of the Scottish arts as a highland dancer at the age of four.  He continued as a competitive dancer until he turned 13, when he decided to more actively pursue  competitive piping and drumming. His band experience began with the Steel Thistle Pipes & Drums of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he played as a piper and snare drummer in grades V, IV and III.  He also played snare with the Carnegie Mellon University Grade III Pipe Band, and was a member of the midsection of the Carrick High School Pipes & Drums in Grade V. During his time as a student at Edinboro University, Sean expanded his performance and musical background by joining the Great Lakes Grade II Pipe Band of Cleveland, Ohio competing with them as a piper at the North American Championships and winning the Midwest and Canadian Pipe Band Championships.  Most recently Sean was a piper with the Greater Richmond Grade III Pipe Band and the Peel Regional Police Grade I Pipe Band.  While at Edinboro University, Sean played at literally hundreds of performances, and earned recognition through countless academic and competitive awards, culminating in graduating Summa Cum Laude as the Outstanding Music Major of his class, and being inducted into the National Music Honor Society.

Sean moved into the Grade I bracket of the EUSPBA in 2008, but his solo competition career was put on hold when he began to pursue his teacher education in earnest.  In 2007 and 2008 he taught as a guest instructor of the Bluebonnet School of Scottish Bagpiping and Drumming, and in 2009 he taught as a guest at the College of Piping, in Glasgow.  In 2012 he directed and taught at the small but well-received Edinboro Scottish Arts Summer Camp. 

Also in 2012, Sean returned to solo competitive piping, winning Piper of the Day at the Alma Highland Festival and at the College of Wooster Piping and Drumming Competition.  He finished the year by winning six 1st-places in seven events sanctioned by the World Online Piping and Drumming Championships, which made him the highest-scoring competitor in the world, and amounted to one-fifth of the total points earned by the United States that year.  In 2013 Sean graduated in May, married in June, honeymooned in Scotland in July, accepted the position of Director of Music at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia in August, and ended the year ranked 7th out of 73 Grade I competitors in the eastern U.S.  The 2014 and 2015 seasons progressed with numerous awards, culminating in the 2015 United States Piping Foundation where Sean took 1st in the Piobaireachd and 2nd in the MSR events, earning him the Grade I aggregate title (and shiny silver belt buckle!).  At the end of 2015 Sean received confirmation of having successfully passed the Level 8 and Piping Teacher certification exams from the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board, and was upgraded to Professional competition.  He ended the 2016 competitive season ranked 10th of 133 Professional competitors…  in spite of suffering from extreme sleep deprivation brought on by the birth of his first child.

Sean worked for four years at Massanutten Military Academy, where the Pipe Band was the school ensemble, building the voluntary program from five members to over 30 in a school with a population of only 100 students.  After establishing the program, he and his wife returned to Pittsburgh to raise their son closer to family.  In addition to performing with The Rogues, he performs privately in Pittsburgh, and teaches piping and drumming in-person and by Skype.

 

You can contact Sean at Sean@therogues.com

 

In October of 2012, The Rogues split.  Nelson Stewart and the other musicians continued to perform as The American Rogues.  Randy Wothke and other members continued as The Rogues.

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