About Paul Roland
PAUL ROLAND is a prolific recording artist and author who has been called the ‘Edgar Allen Poe of psych-pop’ and, more recently, ‘the proto-Steampunk musician’.
His arrival into the world on September 6, 1959 in Kent, England, was anything but ordinary, when his mother gave birth to him backstage during a production of Hamlet. She was playing Ophelia at the time.
Born to an actress mother and a writer father, Paul’s love of the arts blossomed early and set the scene for an extraordinary musical career which has seen him connect with some of the music industry’s most influential figures.
Since the release of his first album ‘The Werewolf of London’ in 1980, Paul has written and recorded 15 albums which he is now in the process of ‘retouching’ ready for re-release to a loyal cult following in the UK, Europe and the US.
Formerly managed by June Bolan, the widow of T. Rex frontman, Marc Bolan, Paul has spent his musical career spinning tales against a backdrop of gothic rock, psych pop, nu folk, and occasionally, baroque strings earning him the sobriquet, the “Edgar Allen Poe of psych pop”.
His varied music creations include 19th Century murderers, a retired executioner, a Regency magistrate, an opium addict and an entire court of medieval grotesques, to name but a few.
An only child, Paul’s childhood was filled with adventure and rebellion. A self-confessed ‘non-academic’, he loved to stage melodramatic plays based on old horror movies where his friends were cast as the hapless victims and he as the mad doctor/monster.
Early musical influences were Marc Bolan, King Crimson and The Velvet Underground but when Paul bought his first guitar aged 14 and learned his first three chords, he developed his own style and started writing his uniquely narrative songs, many set in Edwardian and Victorian England.
At 19 he recorded his first single and just a few months later his very first album, The Werewolf of London (1980) which was picked up by Armageddon Records in the UK and is now a highly collectible item.
Album success led to Paul’s first European tours and label deals in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the USA and Japan.
He also received offers to work with film composer Michael Nyman and members of the Velvet Underground.
In 1997 the musician took a seven-year break from music to raise his two young sons and write a series of books on mysticism and true crime. He now has more than 30 titles to his credit which have been translated into more than 15 languages.
In 2002 Paul returned to the music scene with an appearance at a Berlin Goth festival. Then, after a series of re-issues on a small German label, he released his first new album, Pavane (2004), on his own Gaslight label and recorded a second, Re-animator (2006), featuring several songs based on stories by H.P Lovecraft, with members of Caravan.
In 2006 Paul left England to live in Germany where he carved out a successful career, writing and performing.
Referred to by many as “the Godfather of Steampunk”, 2011 sees the release of Paul’s new album, Grimm, inspired by Grimm’s Fairytales. He’s also working on yet another album which will be more 60s influenced psych pop (featuring songs written for an aborted project with the surviving members of the Velvet Underground and 60s psych pop group John’s Children) and with the usual dash of macabre humour which has become one of his many trademarks over the years.
“As for Paul Roland, if anyone deserves credit for spearheading Steampunk music, it is him. He was one of the inspirations I had in starting my project. He was writing songs about the first attempt at manned flight, and an Edwardian airship raid in the mid-80’s long before almost anyone else…” Joshua Pfeiffer (of Vernian Process) on the Steampunk Bible website
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