Paul Roland (born 6 September 1959 in Kent, England), is a singer-songwriter, author, journalist and paranormal researcher.

Since the release of his first (shared) single "Oscar Automobile" in 1979, Roland has been spinning his tales against a backdrop of gothic rock, psychedelic pop, folk and, occasionally, baroque strings. His character creations include a Regency magistrate, various 19th Century murderers, a retired executioner, an opium addict, and an entire court of medieval grotesques.

Paul has been called "the male Kate Bush" by one-time label-mate Robyn Hitchcock, and "The Lord Byron of Rock" by influential French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles

“Paul Roland has remained a cherished figure on the gothic rock and psychedelic pop periphery for 30 years…a treasury of detail and eloquence…Roland's impeccable narratives (and) formal, baroque instrumentation…creates the antiquated yet timeless ambience his songs deserve" (Marco Rossi, Record Collector, May 2010).

Joshua Pfeiffer of Vernian Process is quoted as saying "As for Paul Roland, if anyone deserves credit for spearheading steampunk music, it is him. He was one of the inspirations I had in starting my project. He was writing songs about the first attempt at manned flight, and an Edwardian airship raid in the mid-80s long before almost anyone else…."

“Paul Roland writes nice melodies and has a very particular personality but he is too intellectual for me!" (Frank Zappa, 1988)


Early life
Paul Roland was born in England in 1959. Roland's father was a writer of short stories and TV comedy scripts and his mother an actress


Paul RolandMusic career
Roland's first album The Werewolf of London (1980), with historical and supernatural themes was picked up by Armageddon Records in the UK. It was there that Roland met Robyn Hitchcock who later appeared on tracks for Roland'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 Roland 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 Roland's first tours in Europe, label deals in France (New Rose Records), Germany (Pastell), Greece (DiDi Music), Italy (Diva Records), the United States (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 Roland's subsequent albums, several of which are now listed as highly collectable[citation needed] including the psychedelic classic Danse Macabre, the acoustic based mini-albums A Cabinet of Curiosities and Happy Families with stories of eccentric characters, 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. That year, Roland took a seven-year break from music 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 re-issues appeared, beginning with Duel which was released by Haunted Forest Records in Greece (2002).

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 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 psychedelic 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 album Grimm (2011) 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 psychedelic pop.

In 2015 the album Bitter and Twisted was released by the independent record label Sireena Records in Germany.

In February 2016 Cherry Red Records in the UK released a compilation album (as a double CD) called In The Opium Den - The Early Recordings 1980-87. Compiled and curated by the artist, In The Opium Den is a comprehensive anthology of Roland’s early works, including his first three albums plus A and B sides, EP tracks and unreleased tracks from the period, spanning his output up until 1987.

Paul Roland

In december, 2016 Paul released "White Zombie" for Unifaun Productions, a subsidiary of Italian underground label Dark Companion. Initially intended as a soundtrack for the 1931 film starring Bela Lugosi, it turned into a songs collection with incidental music. Recorded mainly in Italy, the album was very well reviewed and eventually became "album of the month" by Italian magazine "Blow Up". Produced by Max Marchini stars many italian artists such as Annie Barbazza on drums and voice, Paula Tagliaferro on main vocals as the High Priestess, Area's guitarist Paolo Tofani and Marchini on bass. A single, "Mambo Jo" was cut from the album plus many outtakes.

In November 2018 the Italian label Dark Companion released the album Grimmer Than Grimm. In tune with his habit of revisiting his old material, Roland has returned to his 2011 album Grimm (long time deleted and sought after collector’s item) and strengthened it with the participation of Mick Crossley (of Flyte Reaction), who added some psychedelic flourishes to the songs and gave the record an entirely new tone.


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Paul Roland - 1313 Mocking Bird Lane
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Paul Roland - White Zombie
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Paul Roland - Bitter and Twisted
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Paul Roland - Bates Motel
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Paul Roland - Hexen
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Paul Roland - House of Dark Shadows
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