Tight Rod 'won't pay the piper'

Last updated at 17:46 18 March 2005

As the Queen's Piper, Jim Motherwell has plied his trade at some of the grandest addresses around. He has played at the White House, at the Vatican and, of course, under Her Majesty's window at Buckingham Palace.

Millions watched on television as he led the bagpipe lament as the bodies of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret began their final journeys.

And when Joan Collins married theatre manager Percy Gibson, it was Jim who serenaded the newly-weds.

However, one figure who allegedly wanted him to play at his wedding seemingly baulked at Pipe Major Motherwell's £2,000 fee, plus expenses.

Step forward the notoriously parsimonious rock star Rod Stewart, who plans to marry his model girlfriend Penny Lancaster later this year.

I am told: 'Jim was called four days ago by one of Rod's management team and was asked to perform at his wedding in either Scotland or in America.

'Jim's a big Rod Stewart fan, but was left stunned when he was told that he wouldn't be paid a fee for the performance, and that he'd only get 'nominal expenses' for the 'honour' of playing at the wedding. Jim said that he had a flat fee of £2,000 but was told in a really curt fashion that he should think about the offer, and that he'd be called back next week "for negotiations".

'The poor chap felt he was being treated like a secondhand car dealer.'

Interestingly, Motherwell - now pipe master at Eton College - and the multi-millionaire singer have crossed paths before.

In 1991, while based in Germany with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Motherwell, 45, was invited to play at a Rod Stewart concert in Hanover.

On the way to the gig, he and his fellow pipers learned that a member of Stewart's management team had rung to renegotiate their appearance fee and asked 'what they could get' for a lesser sum. The pipers declined to play.

'The irony is that Jim actually met Rod two years ago at the Ritz Hotel during a function, and was invited to sit at his table,' a friend of Motherwell tells me.

'Jim told him the story about the concert in Hanover, and Rod said he wasn't aware of what had happened but was really sorry about it. This is why this recent call haggling over the wedding has added insult to injury.'

Last night, the singer denied the claims. A spokesman said: 'For starters, no date has been confirmed, and the wedding will not be taking place in Scotland. No calls have been made about this wedding yet.'

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