“The dancers had heard of the band and the song, but it was the dancers’ mothers that were freaking out,” says local singer Eric Sage, whose band the Bay City Rollers Featuring Ian Mitchell filmed a new video for the ’70s hit “Saturday Night” at downtown’s Voyeur nightclub. “It took five different shooting days...the other Rollers live in Orange County and Los Angeles.”
Shot by San Diego’s Snow Productions, the as-yet-unreleased promo shows the band playing the anthem on Voyeur’s multi-platform stage in banks of flashing lights and accessorized by Fluxx go-go dancers Chloe and Marin and a local model named Jaclyn. “Their moms wanted signed autographs, and I called them personally to say hi,” says Sage.
Those “freaking out” moms may not have realized Sage has only fronted the Bay City Rollers Featuring Ian Mitchell since October 2008. In fact, the lone member from the Bay City Rollers’ ’70s lineup is titular guitarist Mitchell, who was only a Roller from April through November 1976. Later playing in several “reunion” lineups, Mitchell was sued in the early ’90s by former Roller Eric Falconer for unauthorized use of the band name, resulting in the “Featuring Ian Mitchell” tagline.
Mitchell did play a few licks on a 1985 reunion album, Breakout, released only in Japan and featuring original ’70s Roller Les McKeown. Currently, McKeown plays Roller hits in his own band, called (as per courthouse wrangling) Les McKeown’s Legendary Bay City Rollers.
The court battles continue. After members of a “classic” Rollers lineup announced they were suing Arista Records over “tens of millions of dollars” of unpaid royalties, Ian Mitchell and two other latter-day members (Gordon “Nobby” Clark and Pat McGlynn) filed a September 2010 demand to be included in any eventual judgment or settlement.
Singer Eric Sage is known locally as Eric Crabb, an actor most recognized for his brief role in Wayne’s World, as the guitar-store clerk who admonishes patrons, “No ‘Stairway to Heaven’!” “I dropped my last name of Crabb, and I now use my middle name Sage. My management company liked Sage, and it was a breath of new life artistically for me.” From 1979 to 1982, Crabb voiced the Little Green Sprout in around 15 Jolly Green Giant commercials.
His most famous and oft-requested line? “So that’s where baby peas come from!”
The Bay City Rollers Featuring Ian Mitchell’s “Saturday Night” video is slated for release at the end of February. Director Shannon Wafford is also working on a documentary about the band.