PAUL ROLAND
Singer / Songwriter
MUSIC
Roland’s first album The Werewolf of London (1980), which boasted a penchant for historical and supernatural themes was picked up by Armageddon Records in the UK, who at the time also had the Soft Boys on their roster. And it was there that Paul met Robyn Hitchcock who later appeared on tracks for Paul’s second album. After an abortive flirtation with the music business, when he was managed by David Enthoven (manager of Roxy Music) and June Bolan (widow of Marc Bolan), Roland returned to Armageddon Records for the mini-album Burnt Orchids. Its title track was the first to feature Paul backed by a small string and woodwind ensemble, a trademark of many of his albums of the 80s and 90s.
The success of the album led to Paul's first tours in Europe, label deals in France (New Rose Records), Germany (Pastell), Greece (DiDi Music), Italy (Diva Records), the USA (Revolver) and Japan (Century Records) and offers to work with film composer Michael Nyman and members of the Velvet Underground. Other cult figures such as Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Saloman (a.k.a. The Bevis Frond), Nick Nicely, and Andy Ellison (of John's Children) made guest appearances on Paul’s subsequent albums, several of which are now listed as highly collectable including the psych cult classic Danse Macabre, the acoustic based mini-albums A Cabinet Of Curiosities and Happy Families with stories of eccentric characters that might have been written by H.G. Wells, M.R. James and Jules Verne is set to music that invites comparison with the best early work of Al Stewart, Marc Bolan and Syd Barrett, the rockier Duel with its medieval-tinged three-song suite The King Must Die and the folk rock outing Masque, Roaring Boys, a mini-album of cover versions entitled Strychnine, Sarabande and Gargoyles which completed the first chapter of the Roland discography in 1997.
Then Roland took a seven year break from music in 1997 to raise his two young sons and write a series of books on mysticism and true crime.
In 2002 Roland returned with an appearance at the Herbstnächte-Festival in Berlin in September of that year. After that a series of ‘subtle but significantly improved’ re-issues appeared, beginning with Duel which was released by Haunted Forest Records in Greece (2002).
Then in 2004 Roland returned with his first new album in seven years, the largely acoustic Pavane, which was released on Roland’s own (revamped) label Gaslight Records. The album provided a further glimpse into his mind including a brief baroque instrumental piece that he had discussed recording with film composer Michael Nyman many years earlier. This album was re-issued by Black Widow Records in Italy in 2006.
In June 2007 Roland released Re-Animator, his first rock album for many years. It featured musicians who have recorded with Caravan, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Hillage and many great musicians of the 1960s Canterbury music scene. This album was released by Black Widow Records in Italy and re-issued as an expanded edition by Syborgmusic in Germany.
In 2008 Roland’s album Nevermore was released on Syborgmusic in Germany. This album has a selection of songs in a variety of styles from seafaring folk to psych-pop and more whimsical fantasy this time inspired by Poe and Jules Verne. The album contained the three song cinematic soundtrack suite "The Last Voyage Of The Nautilus".
The new album Grimm is a true solo album. Roland played every instrument on the album and engineered the recording in his own studio. All of the songs are based on the dark fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, so there is a touch of the macabre and the doomed romantic about the lyrics although the musical setting is baroque acoustic psych pop.
Wyndham Hill - Gabrielle sample medley
BBC Radio Cambridge 31.10.12