Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The astonishing musical paranormal world of Paul Roland

My friend Jason turned me on to someone who is a musician, blogger, and writer on matters occult and paranormal. And in terms of a career, this guy has been around a very long time, long enough to be called "the male Kate Bush"by Robyn Hitchcock.

How this man has escaped my notice is beyond me. I'm kinda embarrassed.

His name is Paul Roland. As I mentioned, the man has an extensive discography. His work includes the song "Werewolf of London" which has far more to do with the film of the same title than Warren Zevon. In fact, Roland even has a song titled "Lon Chaney." He also has one I love for the title alone, "The Cars That Ate New York", plus a Siouxsie and the Banshees cover for good measure. Said Frank Zappa: "Paul Roland writes nice melodies and has a very particular personality but he is too intellectual for me!"

Given the song titles and their subject matter, Roland likely invites comparisons to Rob Zombie. However he obviously predates Rob Zombie, so any comparisons are just that. Additionally, Roland has none of the redneck atmosphere of Zombie, something that has always prevented me from embracing Zombie's music entirely. Sorry, just an aesthetic preference. He's also more literate than Zombie, selecting his inspirations from Poe, Verne, and Lovecraft rather than simply b-movies.

Speaking of literature, Roland is every bit as prolific a writer as he is a musician, publishing books since 1987. The majority of these texts have a paranormal sensibility to them, covering subjects such as the Kabbalah, ghosts, psychic phenomena, and links between the Nazis and the occult. Hell, he even has a forward from Colin Wilson in one of the texts. That's a ringing endorsement if I've ever seen one. I've simply got to track down a copy of Roland's 2000 Investigating the Unexplained. His most recent books are no less interesting, including The Curious Case of H.P. Lovecraft and a biographical work of Marc Bolan of T. Rex.

As if all of that weren't impressive enough, Paul Roland is credited with being the founder of the Steampunk movement and has written a book on the subject. He wrote songs about Edwardian airship raids and pre-Wright manned flight attempts long before anyone else was there.

I'm just so impressed with this man's brand of joie de vivre. I want to write a Dr. Strange-like character based upon him, but that presumes I'm going to get all my other 99 writing tasks done anytime soon.

More to the point, it appears I have yet more to pile on my to-read list and a bunch more songs to add to my Spotify library.

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