Förra gången jag pratade med Paul Roland var runt jul 2013. Hans karriär har fortsatt, både den litterära och den musikaliska. Första albumet kom redan 1980. Hans litteratur, över 40 böcker har det blivit, har vandrat omkring i det ockulta och mystiska. Hans musik vandrar mellan gotisk rock och psykedelisk pop. Senaste albumet, Lair of the White Worm, släpptes förra året. Idag gästar han bloggen för att berätta om två musikminnen!
I have memories of two significant gigs that come to mind (and many more if I was asked!)
The first was in 2005 when I re-formed my old band to play the Wave Gotik Treffen ‘dark scene’ festival in Leipzig. I had only played one live gig in 7 years at the time (and that was an acoustic set at the Herbstnachte Festival in Berlin the year before) so I was quite anxious how it would go down with the hardcore electro pop and goth crowd. When we arrived at the main hall Mozart and his band were putting on a real macabre theatre performance with fire and half naked dancers. I thought, ‘we don’t stand a chance with this audience!” as we had never really dressed up in period costumes to impress a crowd or put on a show. We relied on the music alone and I think that might have severely limited our chances of being invited to festivals like this.
Then when we went into the smaller hall where we were due to play there was a band with about 100 people standing in front of the stage. I was beginning to think it had been a bad idea to come out of ‘retirement’ when they finished their set and the audience went out leaving absolutely no one in the place! I think that was one of my lowest moments. Now I knew for sure that this had been a mistake. But we had been invited to play and so we set up and started. I don’t know if it was Witchfinder General which we used to start with or Reanimator which was soon to replace it as the opening song but almost as soon as the first chords were struck there was a stream of people coming in to see who was on stage.
Before the end of the first song the hall was packed to the back wall and we came off pretty euphoric and I must confess, very relieved! In the backstage area afterwards I asked a young woman about the food for the bands and as soon as she spoke in her thick Sheffield accent I realized she wasn’t a waitress but a singer in the Human League who were headlining that year!
The other significant gig memory I have is of playing at the Metal Magic festival in Denmark about three years ago which saw us playing around midnight after traveling for 12 hours. As soon as we arrived at the site it was obvious that this was a seriously hardcore metal crowd and I fully expected to be pelted with bottles and be left singing to one man and his dog (if I was lucky!)
Some of the audience would have intimidated an Orc, but again, I was completely stunned by the reception. I assumed no one in the audience knew my songs, but as soon as I stepped on stage there was a roar and cheers. It was a tremendous buzz especially as the new band were so on top of it despite us never having played together before! The bass player had flown over from Italy and the electric violinist had learned her part from the records so we hadn’t managed to have a full band rehearsal! It was madness but somehow it worked.
The only regret I have is that I had to shout over the noise of the band and half the time that meant I was almost singing in a different key! But it didn’t seem to bother anyone and we were later told by the organiser that it was the “5th best performance in the 11 years of the festival’s history”. I don’t know how they arrived at that ranking, but it was Ok by me. Better still, we get to return next July and do it all over again.
/ Paul Roland
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