But their tartan costumes hid tensions that still rage 18 years after their bitter breakup, when Les McKeown fell out with his bandmates because he wanted to perform his own songs. He later formed a spinoff group, now called Les McKeown's 70s Bay City Rollers, rankling the others, who currently tour as the Bay City Rollers. Earlier this year the two camps refused to meet to negotiate a legal settlement for a reported £2 million in royalties owed to them by their record company. "The feeling between them is so bad you can't get them in the same room, never mind around the same table," their manager Tarn Paton told The Times of London in April. "We should all be megamillionaires, and we're not," says Rollers lead guitarist Eric Faulkner. "We've had the biggest record deals, but it was nothing but trouble."
Hard times forced McKeown, 40, to sell his 60-acre country manor in Scotland. Now living with his wife, Peko, a former Japanese rock singer, and their 12-year-old son Riki in a second-floor flat in East London, he says, "I get by. It's not exactly hand-to-mouth. It's a little better than that." He blames himself for his financial woes. "When you're in a band, you think you're a demigod," he says. "I never thought about money until I left. But I've got enough to eat, a car to drive, enough to pay the phone bills. Do I really need a mansion and servants? Not really. I had it all. It's just a bloody headache."