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Spirits Never Die: An Exclusive Interview With ROLAND GRAPOW Of MASTERPLAN

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Tuesday, January 16, 2024 @ 10:12 AM

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2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the self-titled debut by Germany's MASTERPLAN. The album is considered to be a Power Metal masterpiece among critics and fans alike. MASTERPLAN was formed in the early 2000's when HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch were ousted from the group due to "creative differences" after The Dark Ride touring cycle.

With up-and-coming vocalist Jorn Lande at the helm, MASTERPLAN released their self-titled debut on January 20, 2003. The group has seen its share of member changes over the last two decades, with keyboardist Axel Mackenrott and guitarist Roland Grapow having appeared on all 6 MASTERPLAN albums.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of MASTERPLAN's self-titled debut comes in multiple configurations including two limited edition colored vinyls, and a digipak that includes a bonus Live in Gothenburg 2003 DVD with added backstage footage. All versions include three bonus tracks. It was released on November 10, 2023 in Europe, and will be released in the U.S. on January 19, 2024.

I had the chance to catch up with Roland Grapow ahead of the album's U.S. release date. Together we discuss the 20th anniversary of their debut album, the band's original formation, whether it was intended as a band or solo project, discovering Jorn Lande, bringing in Andy Sneap (JUDAS PRIEST) to co-produce, how the critics and fans praised the album, the magic he and Uli Kusch created writing the songs and whether he has he kept in touch with Uli and Jorn after their departure.

Grapow also discusses the current version of MASTERPLAN, what to expect in the set on their 2024 tour with FIREWIND, a new MASTERPLAN single "Rise Again" and new album on the way, MASTERPLAN in the USA, his history with Gus G, working in the studio during the band's downtime, a possible solo album in the future, and much, much more.


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