Sunday, August 02, 2020

Paul Roland: 2 Albums: Bates Motel 2013 - Roaring Boys 1991


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.

Paul Roland's 1980 debut "Werewolf of London" (originally credited somewhat anonymously to Midnight Rags) has quite the reputation, but has been hard to track down a legitimate copy of up until this point. Originally released in a limited run of 300 copies by a nineteen year old Roland who was unhappy with the end result, it was then picked up for wider release by Armageddon Records, giving Paul the opportunity to resequence and rejig the album into its ideal, finalised form, which is how it appears here.

Its presence is enough to make "In the Opium Den" an essential purchase itself, and for those who are only familiar with the Edwardian Syd Barrett's later psychedelic pop opuses, this may prove to be a
real surprise. Lashings of neo-psychedelia are already to be found here, but there's also a distinct new wave edge apparent on a number of tracks, not to mention the Gary Numan style synth-pop of "Brain Police". Roland's lyrical pre-occupation with the macabre (which has earned him a reputation as the psychedelic Edgar Allan Poe) is already well established here, as is his ability to augment even the most unlikely, literary references with irresistable pop hooks.

Moving forward in time, the bulk of disc one is split between 1987's "Danse Macabre" and 1985's "Burnt Orchids". Dealing with these in chronological order "Burnt Orchids" sees Roland dealing in a much richer tapestry production-wise, bringing in a number of baroque instruments, providing an ideal match for Roland's historical lyrics. And finally, the "Danse Macabre" album consolidates all of the styles that Roland has previously dabbled with, along with a much stronger sense of neo-psychedelia.

It's most likely his strongest set of songs too, with "The Great Edwardian Air-Raid" being credited in many circles as one of the earliest attempts at a steam-punk lyric, while "Gabrielle" and "Still Falls The Snow" have untapped chart-topper potential (although "Gabrielle" did rather well in some parts of Europe). Elsewhere, Paul shows an aptitude for prime keyboard-led psychedelia with an excellent cover of Pink Floyd's "Matilda Mother" and the sublime, opiated gem "In The Opium Den".

[ Monday, 4 February 2013, 20:34 | Category : Reviews
Tags : John's Children, Velvet Underground

Paul Roland, one of England’s great cult songwriters, has released one of his most intriguing albums with “Bates Motel”. Strange Brew editor Jason Barnard highlights the interesting tale behind the record’s release and gives the long player a spin.Last year Paul explained on his Strange Brew session that he was placing the finishing touches to an album with strong links to the Velvet Underground and John’s Children.

Paul: “When the VU album was released I interviewed Nico, Maureen Tucker and Sterling Morrison for a Sunday newspaper. In the course of that interview I explained who I was and they became quite
intrigued. Sterling in particular was keen to collaborate. He liked my songs, particularly the structure so I wrote some songs for them. I got some tapes together and sent them over to America but there was some technical incompatibility problems. Around this time I also wrote songs for Andy Ellison of John’s Children and their reunion album. Andy said my style was ‘The closest to his old friend Marc Bolan’ which was a great honour for me.”

Bates Motel - Paul Roland

Paul continued: “So I wrote songs for these two projects but they all got shelved because I gave up
music for seven years. So I’ve pulled this half completed project out of the woodwork and finished it off. It’s not Paul Roland imitating the Velvet Underground or John’s Children. It’s the songs that I wrote for …Nico, Sterling and Maureen… that I would have invited them to play on plus [the tracks I wrote] for John’s Children. The John’s Children ones are the darkly humorous and rocky whereas the Velvet Underground ones are a little more sinister and atmospheric.”

And the result?

On “Bates Motel” Paul  seamlessly weaves the dark and the light.

Opener “I Was A Teenage Zombie” sets the tone for an hour of enjoyable dark rock with tragicomic
undertones. Second number “Kali” ventures in expands the aural palette with psychedelic space rock. The title track is classic Paul Roland inspired by Psycho, blending gothic Americana typified with lyrics with an undercurrent of murderous intent: “I was rolling west on Route 66, just outside of Fairville, no more than a couple of clicks, when the sky turned blacker than a biblical plague and the night descended like the axeman’s blade.”

Other highpoints include the crunching guitars of “Tortured By The Daughter of Fu Manchu” and “Crazy” encapsulating the best garage rock. The biblical “Cain” has an incessantly catchy hook with the memorable lines summarising the album theme beautifully, “If there is light then there’s darkness as well. Every pleasure brings the promise of pain.”.

Paul Roland

In summary “Bates Motel” is not only an important curio for fans of the Velvets and John’s Children but essential listening for those interested in garage and goth rock.]

Rock music from the mid 60s onwards – podcasts, features and much more


01. I Was A Teenage Zombie     3:25
02. Kali     4:47
03. Bates Motel     5:23
04. How I Escaped From Devil's Island     2:59
05. The Wailing Well     4:17
06. Tortured By The Daughter Of Fu Manchu     4:02
07. The Light Of Life Drains Out Of Me     4:00
08. Katmandu     3:23
09. Promised Land     3:59
10. Crazy     3:07
11. Cain     3:40
12. I'm In Love With Myself     3:37

MP3 @ 320 Size: 107 MB
FLAC  Size: 303 MB


Paul Roland has been revisiting and retouching many of his earlier albums for reissue on Syborg. The latest to benefit from his 'restoration' treatment is 'Roaring Boys' (1991) and 'Sarabande' (1994) which now feature FIVE previously unreleased songs in place of the cover versions and weaker tracks, making this release a true 'director's cut'. Roland in his own words: "'Roaring Boys' was recorded when I was enjoying some success in Greece, Italy, Germany and France, touring quite regularly and issuing albums on four different labels.

In that optimistic mood I wrote what I would consider some of my more 'commercial' songs and left several more 'idiosyn-cratic' songs aside. Now I think that choice was a mistake and I have dropped 'Thunderbird', 'Sad Sweet Smile' and 'Doctor Rocque' in favour of 'Faeries' and 'Faerie Ring' which I felt were undeveloped at the time, but which now sound more convincing and more in keeping with my writing style.


01. Roaring Boys 04:23
02. Resurrection Joe 03:51
03. Christine 03:32
04. The Executioner's Song 02:54
05. Thunderbird 04:52
06. Sad Sweet Smile 03:10
07. Tarot 03:41
08. The Poets And the Painters 03:54
09. Doctor Rocque 02:52
10. The Minstrel's Song 03:26
11. Come to the Sabbat 06:39
12. Hurdy Gurdy Man 03:04
13. Who Do You Love? 02:10
14. Red Cadillac and Black Mustache 02:10

Total Time: 00:52:47

Paul Roland – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Derek Hefferman - Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Chris Randall – Keyboards
Jenny Benwell - Violins
John Tracey - Bass
Simon Jeffrey - Drums
Nick Saloman - Lead Guitar, Bass
John Gallagher - Cello
Phil Smith - Sax & Clarinets
Tony Rico - Sax on "Resurrection Joe"
John Hoose - Harmonica on "Thunderbird"
Dave Corsby - Flute
Martin Reed - Spanish Guitar


1. Danse macabre 1987
2. A cabinet of curiosities 1987
3. Happy families 1988
4. Duel 1989
5. Masque 1990
6. House of dark shadows 1991
7. Roaring boys 1991
8. Strychnine 1992
9. Sarabande 1994
10.Gargoyles 1997
11.Gaslight tales 2003
12.Pavane 2004
13.Re-animator 2007
14.Nevermore 2008
15.Demos 2009
16.Grimm 2011
17.Bates Motel 2013
18.White zombie 2016


The devil take you all, we're bound for Bedlam
You'll find no finer boys to take you with them

I'm running with the roaring boys

Some think us rakes and rogues, all high born fellows
Some swear they'll see us swing upon the gallows

The mobs' upon our heels, fine sport they'll give us
If we get buckled boys we'll take some with us

A good times' guaranteed at Brooks or Billys
There a flash girls' company for seven guineas


Thirteen I summon in sight of the altar,
Thirteen I summon on the eve of Beltane
Thirteen I summon to the womb of our coven
And we'll worship the old gods again

Thirteen will welcome the bride of the altar
Thirteen will welcome the bride of Beltane
Thirteen will welcome the bride of our coven
And we'll worship the horned god again.

Come into the circle with me
Daughters of darkness and daughters of light
Come into the circle with me
Come to the Sabbat this night

Prepare ye the feast for the bride of the altar
Prepare ye the feast for the bride of Beltane
Prepare ye the feast for the bride of our coven
And we'll worship the old gods again.


Where the houses are hunched like a beggar
In the quarter known as Armand Germain
L ascended the stairs to the garret
To call on the widow of fortune again

The first card foretelling of fortune
A monkey, it's hand at the wheel,
The next told only that late lies
With the fool and the hound that is tearing at his heel

Twelve Is the Hanged Man, his debt is paid
Mute as the march Wind and the flute on which he played

Thirteen was death on a pale horse, his is the card without name
Fifteen the Horned Goat of Mendes - the Devil and the forms
By which he came

She then drew the card of the magus
And her breath came faltering and hard,
'Death comes disguised as a young man
Death for me at the turn of the next card'

MP3 @ 320 Size: 118 MB
FLAC  Size: 299 MB

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.