DRUMMER turned Capital spice merchant Mike Baillie is heading back in thyme – with a 40th anniversary punk band tour.
Mike, then 19, was plucked from obscurity and a Rosyth dockyard apprenticeship to play Top of the Pops with new wave luminaries Skids in 1979.
Now 56, a high-profile band implosion and stint as a Michelin-star sommelier behind him, Mike is swapping shifts at spice store Lupe Pintos for the road once more.
“Now feels like the perfect time for us to come back,” says Mike from behind the counter of the Leven Street shop.
“I think punk is important especially in these times of disillusionment – I think there needs to be some type of connection between people and music can do that.”
Mike took up the sticks after joining the The Boys Brigade in Dunfermline aged 12. He would go on to play with various bands before his big break beckoned.
“I had a dockyard apprenticeship and got a phone call one day from the Skids,” says Mike.
“I was a fan of the band beforehand and there I was aged 19 heading to London for Top of the Pops.”
Mike would go on to play genre classics including Into the Valley before the band split in 1982.
Spells in line-ups including New York Pig Funkers would follow, until Mike turned his back on music for the restaurant trade.
He would go on to work with Martin Wishart as a sommelier in his award-winning restaurant before joining Lupe Pintos as manager.
“I love it here and I’m going to be really sad to leave,” says Mike. “It’s got a real creative atmosphere which is what I’m into, be it music or food.
“The owner’s created an environment where people can relax and take time to discuss various aspects of food.”
With all but one of the Skids modern-day line-up into their 50s, Mike admits to having to “pace themselves” this time around.
“It’ll certainly be very different that’s for sure,” says Mike. “We’re older and wiser – or maybe not.
“We’ve been rehearsing and we’re just really happy to be bringing the music back to life again.”
The reunion tour takes in gigs across the UK and Ireland with the curtain raiser at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on May 5 already sold out.
And the tour will be a poignant way to remember former Skids and Big Country driving force Stuart Adamson who tragically took his own life in 2001.
“Stuart is a big part of what we’re doing,” says Mike. “His spirit lives on and he’ll be in the room with us.”
And if Mike is going to miss life at Lupe Pintos, then the feeling is mutual.
“We’re really proud of him,” says owner and founder Dougie Bell, 55. “People who shop in delis tend to like the creative types.
“People often recognise him when they come in. There’s a lot of chat going on and one guy brought in an old Skids record for him.
“He’s very modest though, I didn’t even know he was in the Skids – it’s not even on his CV.”