Interview For Roland Grapow Français Site (06/24/99)
By Olivier Métayer
Translated By Marcelo Hashimoto
You played on the Bang Your Head festival last weekend. How was it?
Yes, we played with bands like Edguy, Freedom Call... Everything went very well, and we had much fun.
You will come to play in France during the tour, I believe?
Yes, that's what I have in mind. I don't have the exact dates yet, but will probably be sometime near September. We toured with Gamma Ray to Spain, Holland, Germany... Everything went very well.
You would probably play on the Evry festival...
Yes, I wanted to play, but our album was not released yet, and Olivier [Garnier] preferred not to have me on the festival. I liked the tour with Gamma Ray much more, we did a tour on South America and it was brilliant. Our next gig is on Wacken and then we will join Gamma Ray once again in Greece, Scandinavia... And in France, but without Gamma Ray.
"Kaleidoscope" is rather different from "The Four Seasons Of Life", which had a much more neo-classical direction. Was this change intentional or it was kind of a natural evolution?
When I recorded my first solo album, I was really into classical music and I was very influenced by Yngwie [Malmsteen], and thought that it was a good idea to record this kind of album once in my life. I don't want to return to that direction anymore. If you're fans of this style of music, it's better to buy Yngwie's records! When I make this kind of work, I have the impression that I'm being a good and respectful follower of him.
What do you think of his concerto for electric guitar?
Honestly, I think it's a good idea, but I didn't like the result. I don't think that the electric guitar is good enough to play with a whole orchestra, because it destroys a little the result. Besides, without drums, I don't think it's enjoyable at all. What I'm saying is also true for my first solo album. For the second, I wanted something more like a true band, with much more feeling. I don't want to impress people with my virtuosity, I just want to write good songs.
How did you choose your album title, "Kaleidoscope"?
The main reason is that it's a name that I hold, not a name that would fit for any Helloween album. It was an idea of a person of my management group, and I thought it was name that sounded good and was appropriate for the multi-coloured spirit of my record. That's why I picked that name, but there's no special concept behind it.
You worked on the choice of the tracklist or it was more or less by chance?
Yes, I worked a little on it, but I didn't give too much importance there. I knew that the first track would be "Walk On Fire" and the last would be "Lord I'm Dying". Then I asked why not put "Under The Same Sun" as the second. I didn't want to put two ballads together either. In fact, there's more than fifteen minutes between them! When it was all decided, I put them all on tape and checked it the first idea was good or not. Then I joined the songs so that they wouldn't have an actual end. I don't like five seconds of waiting between the songs.
Could you make a brief summary of your career?
I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old. I played on some Hamburg groups and quickly became a very good, I guess, guitarist of the city. The first two albums on which I recorded were released in 1979 and 1981, if I remember correctly. We played on some gigs, some small tours. We were young, I was shy. I talked less than everyone! Between Rampage and Helloween, I took part in various projects, some of them were bands with keyboards. I like very much the mixture between guitar and keyboards. But, of course, the main stage of my career is Helloween. When I joined the group, I was very happy and excited, but I needed a lot of work to learn the songs quickly. I also discovered some aspects of this business that I didn't know at all, like interviews. I was really shy and I just wanted to do things together with the band. Now I'm really proud of myself and I'm less restrained since the release of "The Four Seasons Of Life". The album allowed me to release something apart from Helloween, that showed me
more as an individual. I didn't want to leave the band, but I wanted to do something more personal.