Blog Archives

Paul Roland – ‘Uncut’ Interview, Spring 2016

In the Opium Den, album by Paul Roland, cover artwork

Paul Roland – ‘In The Opium Den’ (2016 Cherry Red Records)

“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)

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A Most Singular Specimen

It was a loathsome thing indeed that lay prostrate on Dietrichson’s dissecting table, a huge grub almost two feet long and eleven inches around the girth which contracted and expanded with each dying breath. Folds of glistening white skin rose and fell in regular rhythm, until at last it expired with a burbling hiss. The gas had taken its effect. Dietrichson put aside the moisture-clouded glass dome which had acted as a killing jar and examined the grub with his magnifying glass.

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Let the Blood Run Red (1983, Part 1)

Paul Roland braves the curse of the critics to trace the history of HAMMER – the house of horror

Prologue

During the early 1980s I was writing for a number of film and music magazines and, being a huge horror movie buff, I naturally took the opportunity to suggest a Hammer feature at one of Kerrang’s weekly editorial meetings. It is basically an introductory overview of the studio’s horror output and for reasons of space omits reference to a couple of my favourite Hammer filmsm ‘The Witches’ and ‘Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter’, but for those who are not hardcore Hammer fans it may be of interest for the brief quotes from Christopher Lee and the various Hammer ‘House’ directors. (My interview with Peter Cushing can be found elsewhere on this site).

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Let the Blood Run Red (Part 2)

Paul Roland (still) braves the curse of the critics to trace the history of Hammer, the House of Horror

1960–1976

The following year, Hammer released no less than three films, two of which have since become classics of the genre, while the third, ‘The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll’, remains an interesting curio. Jekyll featured Paul Massie in the title role, portraying Dr J as a bearded, insensitive scientist, and his primitive half as a handsome, clean-shaven sadist. A unique interpretation and one which easily stole the acting honours from Christopher Lee, who had been relegated to a minor supporting role.

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Paul on tour in Greece

Poster announcing Paul's gig @ the Gagarin 205 Live Music Space, Athens

Poster announcing Paul’s gig @ the Gagarin 205 Live Music Space, Athens

Paul will be playing at the Gagarin 205 Live Music Space in Athens tonight, 15 December 2012.

Last Tuesday, 11 December, he appeared on the Greek TV show “Radio Arvyla”, a satirical news show, on the Thessaloniki-based TV channel ANT1. Paul played an acoustic medley of “Re-Animator” and “Gabrielle” (the latter being a popular song in Greece) for which he was joined by his 14-year-old son Joshua on bass guitar.

On Wednesday, 12 December, he appeared at the “Ζωντανή Μαύρη Τρύπα” (the Black Hole Live) club in the historic Ladadakia quarter of Thessaloniki supported by Giannis Kyratsos. Videos of the performance can be found on Paul’s facebook page and on the Paul Roland Music Television and the kazandbtv YouTube channels.

Following a press conference in the chic Floral bar yesterday evening, Paul with be playing the Gagarin 205 club tonight supported by Jenny Benwell (violin) and Joshua Roland (bass). Guests are Mani Deum, Athens.

For more information, please visit Paul’s facebook page or that of the PRAS.

Bates Motel open for business!

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.

Paul Interviews…Mark E. Smith of The Fall

We had such a positive reaction to Paul’s interview with blues legend John Lee Hooker that we persuaded him to brave the cobwebs and the creepy crawlies in the crypt of Roland Towers in search of more archive interviews. We’re delighted to say that he emerged some hours later with four more transcripts, The Velvet Underground, actor Peter Cushing, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and this one – a conversation with Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

Mark E. Smith has a reputation for being a rather prickly character, but I found him very pleasant and easy to talk to. The interview was conducted for the now long defunct ‘Stereo’ magazine sometime in 1983, if memory serves me correctly, and by necessity focused on his Hi Fi and record collection, but is interesting nevertheless.

“Beware of strangers bearing gifts”, it is said. And when someone lent our hero a cash & carry card, he ended up with a queer old set up, a Sovereign S45 music centre.

“It’s got a really cheap fuzzy sound,” confessed Mark, “but I was poor at the time and someone lent me their Arbour credit card. I bought the cheapest thing they had. It’s like a radiogram without a radio. A one-piece system. I bought it about a year ago and it cost around 125 pounds at the discount price and is made in the UK. But I couldn’t say how many watts it is. It can be loud though. I like a lot of volume.” Read the rest of this entry

Paul interviews… blues legend John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker, by Robert Knight

One of the highlights of my music journalist career was the night I interviewed blues legend John Lee Hooker. Unfortunately, JLH was then in declining health and unable to travel so the interview had to take place over the phone, but it was a thrill to say the least to hook up with an originator of the music I love. (If only I had kept a copy of my interviews with Lemmy, Sting, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Tony Iommi, Peter Cushing, Michael Nyman and the Velvet Underground! Ah well, maybe one day I’ll pluck up courage to descend into the vaults where my ancestors are interred and rummage through the archives. Until then here is the transcript of my conversation with ‘The Hook’.)  

At the grand old age of 74, legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker could claim to be the last living link with the oral tradition of the blues. Ironically, he is now enjoying greater success than at any other time in his career thanks to the extensive use of his music and image in television advertising and his adoption by the MTV generation as the godfather of the blues. I called him at his home in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry

Blast from the past: Masque interview – 1990

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. 

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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

Children of the ebook revolution

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Yes friends, Lithon Music and the PRAS have embraced the digital age and new technology with enthusiasm by making the first of Paul’s written work available as ebooks. You don’t need to own a Kindle digital reading device to download these as they should be available ‘in less than a minute’ (so Amazon assure us) for anyone with a laptop, PC or mobile device.

The first two titles to be published are Paul’s fantasy novella ‘The Magician Of Grimm’ which may interest those of you who missed out on the limited edition printed version which came with the first 500 copies of the ‘Duel’ re-issue a couple of years ago and are now a rarity. The second title to be uploaded for your enjoyment is ‘The Curious Case Of Richard Fielding And Other Stories’ which was originally printed in a small press edition back in 1987 and then again as part of ‘The Haunted Pages’ (a collection of ‘Twilight Zone’-styled short stories, biography and lyrics) a few years later. But since then it has been out of print and almost impossible to find, even on eBay. Read the rest of this entry