- First of all, I want to congratulate you for the incredible Masterplan album. I have to admit that I didn't expect such a great album, it really surprised me. What response did you expect before the release of the album from your fans? Did you expect the response you have received?
We expected a lot but not such a nice response like we had so far, we knew we have a great album in our hands, but you never know what happens in that business! We are really happy!
- All Masterplan members are well known players, is this going to be a stable line up?
Yes, we are a band for sure, we signed the label contract together and we want to create many more albums!
- Is it true that first of all Russell Allen [Symphony X] was going to be Masterplan´s singer? I even heard rumours that Michael Kiske was going to be the singer. What happened at the end?
It's true, but Russel was asked before we had to create our own band, just as a side singer for a solo album, Michael didn't want to join the band for 100%, but he did a great job on 'Heroes' as a guest singer!
- What is your opinion about current singer Jorn Lande [Ark, Millenium ]? I think he is an incredible singer, and his style really affix with Masterplan´s sound.
He was the perfect choice, we knew that he will be the best for our band. We are a dream team in my opinion! No one else is sounding like us right now! Thanx to God and Jorn. ;o)
- Did you enjoy recording this album? Is it different recording with Masterplan and Helloween? In which ways?
We enjoyed it a lot, but we had also a lot of pressure for our debut album, we said, it needs to be really good, our future is in our hands now. But all in all we had a lot of fun!
- Maybe the following two questions will not be easy to answer, but many people are interestested in it... Is Masterplan the main reason for your "leaving" from Helloween, or there are others?
No. We were fired for stupid reasons, but on the end it was a great decision. Masterplan was created after the split. Uli and I never wanted to leave the band.
- Is your friendship with Andi Deris and the other pals of Helloween broken forever? Or if they phone you to have a drink, will you accept?
There is no friendship, there won't be any and there wasn't any friendship in Helloween.. I don't hate these guys, no problem to drink a beer together with them but nothing else anymore! Markus is the only guy I still talk to!
- Have you heard Helloween´s last album? Did you like it? I think that your album is much better, it sounds much fresher.
In my opinion we are happy not to be with them anymore, I don't think that new album is any better than the stuff we did before! Most of the stuff I heard already on demos years ago, wonder why we didn't use these ideas not at that time, Haha!
- Did you enjoy your European tour with Hammerfall and Nostradameus?
Yeah, it was a great experience and we are good friends now, we really had a good time all together! For us it was also very important to get live also that band feeling. Now we really feel as a band.
- With which band would you like to tour with?
Scorpions in the USA or Russia, I like Gamma Ray or In Flames, Stratovarius is cool as well.
- Where do you enjoy most playing? Open air or indoor gigs? And which countries are your favourites?
I like every gig, indoor, small clubs or stadiums, the crowd is the most important thing at the gig. When the people are nuts, than the band is even getting better!
- Which are the best/worst moments of touring ?
The worst: Waiting for the show, the bus, the train, the plane, cancelling a gig, problems with band members, stupid discussions and many more.
The best: when you are on stage, you forget everything negative. You just enjoy the moment!
- Which are your plans for the future?
Many more albums with Masterplan and raise our success for doing a headlining tour next year. Our next album should come out April / May next year.
- Are you into nowadays Metal scene. Which are your favourites bands/albums?
I love so many different styles, like Rammstein, Metallica, In Flames, Masterplan, Stratovarius, Nu Metal, Chili Peppers, and much more!
- Which musicians/groups have influenced most in your music?
Michael Schenker and Uli Roth as guitar players, I love also John Sykes and Zakk Wylde. Bands???? Tooooo many. Kansas, Styx, Toto, Journey, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Judas Priest. Grand Funk Railroad was my first influence and love.
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Doing e-mail interviews, Haha! Taking care about my guitars and studio, do a little sport and drive my bike with my dogs. Nothing special. Oh, yes, I have my own Rock club in Hamburg, called Headbangers Ballroom.. Olli Otto and I, are the owners, but he is the main guy behind that club, I'm too busy with Masterplan! Check it out, when you are in Hamburg! www.Headbangers-Ballroom.de
- Which are your expectations for Metal Mania Festival in Spain? Me and Niklas Sundin [Dark Tranquillity] who I have interviewed recently, are pretty sure that it is going to kick ass!
As far as I know the Spanish people, it will kick some ass. I'm looking forward to it, I love the Spanish crowd.. I hope they like us! Haha
- Feel free to say something to your fans.
Thanx for all your great help and support! Without you we are nothing. See you soon, yours, Roland Grapow....Masterplan
I want to thank Roland Grapow for his generous time and also Olli Otto [manager] for making this interview possible