Category Archives: Album Releases
“Occult hero’s eccentric, psychedelic post-punk … patchouli-oil scented esoteric pop [and] paisley shirt recidivism… Roland has been acclaimed a steampunk prophet…not without honour in his own land, either.”
(from the album review by J. Wirth)
In 1985, just prior to the release of the ‘VU’ album (a collection of previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1969 and intended for their fourth album), I had the privilege of interviewing Nico, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker for a national Sunday newspaper. At the end of each interview I mentioned that I was preparing a new album (to follow ‘Burnt Orchids’) and asked if they would consider playing on it, if I could get the multi-track tapes shipped to the States. They agreed and Sterling seemed particularly keen as he was eager to get back into music after taking time out to study for a university degree. I remember that he was very complimentary about my songwriting after he heard the tapes (backing tracks with guide vocals, not demos) and in a couple of telephone conversations he mentioned that he found the structure of the songs unusual and that interested him. But the tape formats were not compatible with the equipment in the studio he was using at the time and I let the project lapse, assuming that we would sort it out at a later date. I even had a letter from his attorney asking me to give him extra time, but I had an offer from UK psych label Bam Caruso and needed to deliver an album by a certain date, so I shelved the songs I had written for the VU and moved on. Then, sometime later, Sterling died and so did Nico.
It was not until last year, 27 years(!) after writing those songs that I thought of digging them out, dusting them off and recording them as I had been itching to get back to playing with a rock band after a year spent creating a solo acoustic project (‘Grimm’). The resulting album, ‘Bates Motel’ (which also includes songs written for a John’s Children reunion album at the invitation of frontman Andy Ellison), is released next month on the German label Sireena Records.
Great news! Paul tells us he has now completed the new album and is delighted with it (as he hopes you will be too, when you hear it). The artwork is currently being finalized and we’re waiting to hear which label(s) will be releasing it and when.
Looks likely there will be an Italian, German and possibly even a US release on CD and LP for the vinyl junkies amongst you – who still hang on to their turntables.
We’ll keep you posted.
FOR those of you who managed to secure a copy of the recent ‘Masque’ reissue, we thought you might like to read this interview from the time of the album’s original release which we have just unearthed in the musty library at Roland Towers.
Paul Roland ‘Masque’ Interview 1990
In autumn 1990, just prior to the release of the album ‘Masque’, journalist and friend Mike Taylor interviewed Paul for an Italian music magazine.
There is a stuffed dodo on the large circular lawn whose eyes seem to follow me as I walk up the driveway towards the house. The gardener too, surveys me with a glazed expression. His rigid pose, suggesting the work of an expert taxidermist!
I know that if I venture down the long echoing hallway I’ll find further horrors. Perhaps even the owner of the house himself engaged in some curious research on a carnivorous orchid. This, my friend, isRolandTowers, the stately home of that charming English eccentric Paul Roland whose new album, ‘Masque’ has prompted my visit.
Meeting the reclusive Englishman is an unnerving experience for he is quiet, polite and the perfect host, not at all what one might imagine the teller of such weird and wonderful tales to be. Read the rest of this entry
IF YOU tried to order a copy of the new ‘Masque’ reissue before Christmas and were disappointed to hear that they were all sold out, take heart – a new shipment is on its way to these shores from Germany and should be with us this very week.
In the meantime here’s a new review of the reissue in a rough translation from the current issue of Italian magazine ‘Blow Up’ to whet your appetite for the real thing. Read the rest of this entry
Welcome back my friends,
It has been a long time since my last missive and for that I can only apologise and offer the excuse that I was unavoidably detained by Death himself. Yes, the old devil and I had a tussle for possession of my soul earlier this year but I trounced him good and proper and he slunk away empty handed. I am still mystified as to how I contracted black snake swamp fever in dear old blighty (or was it an over indulgence in absinthe?), but something of that ilk laid me low for most of the summer and as my loved ones knelt at my bedside or sacrificed innocent animals on the altar at Roland Towers the family physician, Dr Hemlock, bled me with his greedy leeches and Granny Roland brewed her own potions of frogs livers and cat urine. One if not all of these approaches evidently proved successful and I am now back in the land of the living and already engrossed in a new musical creation for unveiling in the Spring. So thank you to all of you who wrote wishing me well.
I must confess I have missed our communications of late, but my diabolical familiars have been hard at work keeping the Facebook page up to date with tidbits of news so please make them feel wanted by contributing your views and questions etc to http://www.facebook.com/RealPaulRoland
And now more good news. After much delay the ‘Masque’ re-issue is finally here!
And it’s a significant improvement to the original release in every way with many subtle additions, a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks and a tastefully designed 12 page booklet with all the lyrics and explanatory notes from yours truly describing all the retouches that I made to 11 of the 14 tracks. I had always thought the New Rose booklet to have been scrappy and am pleased that I can now present the album with a decent booklet the way it should have been first time around.
The running order has also been changed to include ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ and ‘The Sea Captain’ (two of the stronger songs which I overlooked first time around relegating them to a bonus EP). These have now replaced ‘Matty Groves’ and ‘Grantchester Fields’ which are to be found among the bonus tracks. These include radio session versions of ‘Alice’s House’ and ‘Solitude’ (yes, the Black Sabbath song!) recorded with flutist Valerie Franco with whom I was touring around this time (1990). I have loved Sabbath since a mere youth, treasuring the fact that I met Ozzy face to face after a Wembley Arena show in ‘82 and that I interviewed Tony Iommi the following year and found him to be an extremely amenable fellow. I had toyed with the idea of recording a baroque version of ‘Paranoid’ for the ‘Strychnine’ project, but that might have been too similar to ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ so I recorded the cover of ‘Solitude’ instead with Valerie who added a haunting flute and wordless vocal. And though unpolished, methinks it fits well as a bonus track on ‘Masque’.
Those of you who owned the original French release on New Rose and the Greek LP will also be pleased to hear that the glitches which once blighted ‘I Dreamt I Stood Upon The Scaffold’ and ‘The Sporting Life’ have been digitally exorcised, so consign your old copy to the family crypt and treat yourself (and maybe a friend or two) to a shiny new copy!
For those of you who are already overflowing with festive spirit the PRAS are making a pre-Xmas offer of extra copies at half price so if you want to introduce a friend(s) to my music (and what a nice idea that is at this time of the year) the first copy will be 10 GBP (12 euros) but each additional copy will be just 5GBP (6 euros) Postage, as always, is FREE.
Payments to be made via paypal to Rolandtowers@yahoo.co.uk
A spooky coincidence if ever there was one was the request I received recently from American writer Lia Habel for permission to quote some lines from ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ in her forthcoming Steampunk novel.
(Her first novel can be found here together with links to other like-minded authors http://www.amazon.com/Dearly-Departed-Lia-Habel/dp/0345523318/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323269525&sr=1-1) Well worth checking out.
Now Steampunk is not something I had cultivated an interest in as a genre because I had always inhabited that world of my own volition and never imagined that it would evolve into a movement. But now that it has and is introducing a generation to the marvels of H.G.Wells and other Victorian masters of Science Fiction, I would like to think that some newcomers may be tempted to check out ‘Wyndham Hill’ and ‘The Great Edwardian Air-Raid’. But it also aroused my interest to the point where I am now thinking of writing a companion piece to ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.
Some interviewers have asked me if I am disappointed that I didn’t achieve more commercial mainstream success, but if I had then I wouldn’t be able to indulge my rather idiosyncratic obsessions, would I. And that is what keeps me all fired up. So now I’m off to put a new wax cylinder in the old phonograph and wind up the automatons.
Until next time, enjoy the seasonal festivities,
PS: For those who have asked for more information on my forthcoming Marc Bolan biography here is a useful link http://www.marcbolanmusic.com/Paul-Roland.aspx
And it’s a significant improvement to the original release in every way with many subtle additions, a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks and a tastefully designed 12 page booklet with all the lyrics and explanatory notes from yours truly describing all the retouches that I made to 11 of the 14 tracks.
Thank you to all those who wished me a speedy recovery from my recent mysterious illness. We made light of it here, but to be truthful it was pretty serious and put me out of action for over a month. I’m determined to make up for lost time and am already planning two new album projects for release early in the New Year.
It was an exotic bug with a long unpronounceable name and I was subjected to all sorts of experiments with mind altering substances before they finally allowed me out, so let’s just hope it doesn’t end like ‘Cocoon’ with me mutating into a human cactus.
AS SOMEONE who has been inspired by Edgar Allan Poe to write both horror fiction and a number of songs (Edgar Allen Poe, from my In Memoriam double album, for instance) over the years I was horrified to hear that the city of Baltimore are planning to close the house where he was born and wrote many of his masterworks.
Philistines! It says much about a society (and its bureaucrats) when they put more value on sponsoring sporting events and refurbishing their own administration buildings than on the cultural icon who brings tourists to their city year after year. Read the rest of this entry