Mark Dean of Myglobalmind webzine recently conducted an interview with former HELLOWEEN and current MASTERPLAN guitarist Roland Grapow. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Myglobalmind: Do you think that MASTERPLAN has exceeded the personal expectations that you had when you first started?.
Roland: Especially with the first two albums, I think that we achieved a lot of respect and a lot of surprise from people. Nobody really expected anything so strong from us. I guess even the HELLOWEEN guys didn't even know when they fired us that maybe we would be just go out of the business. After the first album, I was very happy that we came back with such a powerful return. It was such a big success for that time. Nowadays sales are on the way down every year and there are other problems. We have just released our fifth album and I think that over the years, there has been a stable degree of good quality within the band. There have been some big lineup changes, singer problems… It still sounds like MASTERPLAN for my taste.
Myglobalmind: You referred there briefly to the lineup changes that MASTERPLAN have undergone . Do you find that rotation of the band personalities is necessary for its evolution and development?
Roland: I think that it's basically hard to explain why we always had singer changes. When we started MASTERPLAN with Jorn [Lande], a lot of people had warned me to be careful saying that he was very difficult. That he was never happy or satisfied with things. I think that the only thing that he really was concentrated on was trading on a solo career called JORN. Everything else for him was just a side project; he never saw MASTERPLAN as his main band. It was especially bad for me as I had put so much love, work and so much feeling for this band. I had given everything to make the band big. Jorn never did anything for us for this band. He never even said anything great about MASTERPLAN. That is not nice; you need a really good team behind you which loves this work. It's the same as a company — if someone is not dedicated totally 100%, it doesn't matter what a great voice he has. You stay on the same level, but now with a totally different lineup, we have a really big chance of getting further now. We can play live again, and have already played a couple of shows. There are a lot of shows booked, including some festivals, and we are planning a tour in October. That just wasn't happening for about six years, which was quite terrible, to be honest. It is definitely very important to play live. It doesn't make sense to make great music with people saying, "You are a great band." If you don't show yourself, nobody can fully get that feeling. Personally, I need it as well — if there is a band that I really like, but I don't get to see their live performance, it doesn't give me that last 30%. I think that is really important to get more closer to the band. Especially sometimes when you think that a song is OK, but if you see that band performance of the song live then you will always remember it. It's like an imprint on your brain or something. There is also some elements of difference, with the solo parts and some improvising. Sometimes we shorten some things which are too long for the live situation. Or we make parts for the audience to sing along. The next plan in the near future is to make a live album or DVD. MASTERPLAN now have five albums out after 10-12 years so we want to release a DVD or something definitely.
Myglobalmind: Do you then prefer to focus creatively on looking forward to the future, rather than back to the past?
Roland: Sometimes I like to look back, but am more thinking of the future. I am not one of these guys sitting at home thinking back that was such a good time. Of course we had a great time in HELLOWEEN, but also some terrible times. The same is true of MASTERPLAN. However, MASTERPLAN is the kind of band that makes me prouder than HELLOWEEN, even though we did great work in HELLOWEEN. Everything that I am doing now is the result of being a longtime member of this really professional band. We work with Sanctuary, English management. We have toured many times with [IRON] MAIDEN, so we have had good experiences. That really helps you a lot for the future. Definitely that arrangement and also working with great producers, who have really lifted the MASTERPLAN sound.
Read the entire interview from Myglobalmind webzine.
"Novum Initium" trailer:
"Keep Your Dream Alive" video:
"The Game" lyric video: