Scooty and the Skyhooks are very much part of the musical landscape of the Highlands, borne in the Eighties and reformed in 2010 after a “one off” reunion. Their soul covers have entertained thousands and they have supported acts such as Craig Charles and Runrig.

The band are due to play the Ironworks on a couple of dates at the end of February and it was a good opportunity to catch up with the trombone player, John Mutten.

John Mutten
John Mutten

What is your favourite memory so far with your time with the band?

Favourites have got to be support slots for Jools Holland & Runrig. Both great days that will stay with me forever.


What are the challenges of keeping the soul in a band that’s been on the go for so many years?

Hardest thing must be trying to organise / schedule 12 busy people to come together to make this band what it is. Hats off to Davie & Scooty for all the hard work.

The other challenge is in keeping things fresh for both the audience & for ourselves. We have introduced some great songs to the set that really compliment & develop our sound.

What is your favourite soul classic and how does it compare with your personal favourite tunes?

I’ve always had a great love of soul music since I can’t remember how long. My favourite at the moment has got to be Show Me by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. A great band, the song is a really up tempo number with loads of brass! What’s not to like!

Otherwise my music tastes are really quite wide ranging from Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson, Applause by Lady Gaga, The Man with the child in his eyes by Kate Bush, We are the Champions by Queen.

How do you account for the popularity of Scooty and the Skyhooks?

I can’t!

First & foremost our audience are the reason the Skyhooks are back. They are the most supportive crowd you can wish for. A lot remember the band back in the 80’s heyday but we have also won over a lot of new fans since reforming. We’ve added to the lineup too which gives us a bigger sound & wide range of great songs.

Scooty and the Skyhooks at Runrig's Party on the Moor
Scooty and the Skyhooks at Runrig’s Party on the Moor

We work hard to give an energetic, slick performance of classic soul songs people just love. On top of that is the range of great gigs we get to play from Festivals like Belladrum, support slots, functions like the Drumossie to sell out gigs at the Ironworks. For a local band it is just fantastic.

Ironworks is a very partisan crowd, how do you prepare for such a gig?

A lot of practice gets done in the lead up to the gigs & some emails back & forth to get organised. The Ironworks crowd know what they are going to get when they come see us which is a great night – guaranteed.

Given the huge amounts of gigs and festivals that you have played, what is the event that you would most like to play that you have not already?

Would be great to play a support slot at a stadium like Murrayfield, wow! The Hydro really is a fantastic venue having recently seen the Queen European tour there in January. As far as festivals are concerned, there’s nothing bigger than Glastonbury. Set your goals high, I say!

John's other band Starsky.
John’s other band Starsky.

You are of course playing twice on the night, can you tell us a bit about your other band , Starsky?

Yeah, that’s going to keep me busy on the Saturday night! I’m really excited about it though & can’t wait.

Starsky are a 5 piece Aberdeen based covers band that have been playing since 2000 although members have been playing together in different guises since the early 90’s. Setup for playing weddings, functions & pubs our range covers the 50’s to right up to the minute.

We have specifically tailored a set for the Ironworks that we hope the Scooty crowd with love & get them in the mood for the main event. The boys are all looking forward to playing the “sold out” Ironworks on what will be a fantastic night.

Tickets for the Friday (27th of February) are still available, but shifting quick via The Ironworks website.

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.If you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs