Interview For Rag Doll's Metal Industry Site (February 2003)
My first question will be pretty unoriginal, which is "Why Masterplan?". What is the meaning behind the name, who came up with the idea and what other titles did you have in mind?
The new musical material, in my humble opinion, went pretty far from the traditional euro-power sound, and went more in the direction of a more commercial (in the good sense of the word) pattern, with certain elements of alternative and the so-called nu-sound, with the music itself being on a more progressive hard rock side, but heavier. What do you yourself think of it and do you agree with the above opinion?
The press-release lists you, Uli Kusch and Jorn Lande as the main song writers. How does the collaboration work, and what are your own impressions of the result? Also, how is it different from the creative process in Helloween?
Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to listen to the whole new album yet, and have only listened through the maxi-single "Enlighten Me", so how would you describe the rest of the record to a person who has only heard a couple of songs?
You are currently on tour with Hammerfall, how does the cooperation with the swedes go, and what are the main highlights? Also, as far as I understand, Masterplan are a support act on the tour, so how is it going back from the headlining position, which, I guess, you got pretty used to while being in Helloween, back to the position of a support band? What are the bonuses and the drawbacks of it?
The label positions Masterplan as a "brilliant new band with two former Helloween members", at the same time, as far as I understand, the other members of the act are no less renounced musicians. Does that cause any trouble or jealousy? Also, since, as far as I remember (Although I may be mistaken), your parting with Helloween was not that painless, does it bother you and Uli in any way?
The cover artwork on the debut album shows pictures of (as Lemmy of Motorhead once put it) "global catastrophes, natural calamities and mitigating hell", why so depressing? And how does that connect to the album title? Is that what you see as a masterplan for the future of humankind?
The album was recorded with Andy Sneap. What are the impressions of working with him?
Nowadays a band without a distinct image (such as stage-clothes, special gimmicks, etc.) quite frequently would look sort of stripped, if you know what I mean. What do you think of traditional heavy metal image, how important it is in the career of a band, and do you consider Masterplan an image or an imageless band?
While still in Helloween you already accomplished two solo works, "The Four Seasons Of Life" and the critically acclaimed "Kaleidoscope". However, after quitting the band, you chose to join another band, as opposed to pursuing a solo career. Why so? Is working in a band more confortable? And will we see any more of your solo efforts in the future?
On one of the internet pages I've found some answeres by you, in which you claim that if you hadn't become a guitarist, you would have probably been a car mechanic. Why so? And (An impolite question, probably, but what the hell...) don't you think you would have been better off financially as a car mechanic with Mercedes Benz than as a guitarist in a heavy metal band?
There is also a tendency nowadays (In Russia, for example) for rock and metal musicians to work for pop artists as session members, or roadie crew. What do you think of it, have you tried such experiences yourself, would you try it out and, if so, which pop artist would you consider to be worthy of having Roland Grapow on the guitars?
Working in Helloween and in Masterplan, what would be the main difference, what are the main highlights and drawbacks in both bands, on personal, professional, and musical levels?
You are already at an age when one can really be proud of the many years of experience behind their back and probably be making long-term plans for the future. So if I ask you what would be three things you would like to accomplish as a guitarist, after which you'd be able to say that you can retire with an easy heart?
Top-three guitarists of all times?
Going on a tour and rehearsing, what is better for you and why?
And of course the traditional "plans on coming to Russia" question... Anything?
Well, thanks a bunch for taking the time to answer these questions, and your final word...