Interview reproduced from issue number 1 of Underground Fanzine, April 1987
The Rose of Avalanche say “When we do cover versions theres a lot more energy behind them. It may not look like it on stage but its there in our souls and in our hearts”
Alex Kadis takes their blood pressure.
The Rose of Avalanche have suffered a series of indignities where press representation has been concerned. Charged with harking back to to an age where “hippy” wasn’t a dirty word there have been pointed allegations of plagiarism. Nevertheless they have soldiered on disregarding the relentless onslaught of those who like to categorise.
They’ve notched up three covers to date, the latest of which being The Doors “Waiting For The Sun”. Deciding in was time to sort out the Roses from The Doors I met vocalist Phil and guitarist Glenn and endeavoured to reveal the true identify of The Rose of Avalanche.
The band are steeped in musical history. Phil a dead cert for John Lennon, explains “I don’t mind that people say that I look like John Lennon ’cause he’s OK. The Beatles were the reason I wanted to be in a band. They touched me somehow. I always felt that I was different to other kids. I know why now – it was because I was shy. The Beatles tied in with that. I wanted to get famous and rich and over come that feeling”
Glenn further clarifies where their hearts lie: “We do go on about ’60s music a lot because we all happen to think that even the pop songs in those days were good songs. They were arranged and presented in a way that made them accessible to a lot of people but they were good. Whereas now days the top ten singles are just naff songs with great production. Its production and videos is important and last on the list is music.”
Not a visual band, their interest lies within the music although they aren’t totally opposed to making videos as long as it remains “a bit of a giggle”. Phil doesn’t mind that journalists have picked up on the bands influences. What he does objet to is the fact that they have failed to recognise how those influences are working for the band.
“Of course we have influences, The Doors, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix – he’s a good guitar ‘ero. But they influence nearly every rock ‘n’ roll band. You know, these bands that say they are totally original are talking rubbish. You can’t listen to them ’cause they’re so bad. And they’re liars if they say they don’t have influences.”
Glenn agrees, adding “Its not that they’re bad, its that it isn’t music anymore”
ROA are genuinely shocked when I suggested that their own music is so much better than the songs they cover. Still these covers haven’t worked to the detriment of the band and neither have their influences. The Rose of Avalanche have proved their versatility. They range from the deep melody of LA Rain, with its lilting sadness and its portrayal of a futile existence to the powerful rockiness of Too Many Castles In The Sky.
They have finally surpassed their even their own talent with the latest single, Always There. Originally to have been the B side of Velveteen, the brains at Fire Records felt that the song was good enough to claim its status as a future single. Always There is a realisation of the talents of The Rose of Avalanche, pulling their collective soul out of its latent form to manifest a fine masterpiece… and possibly a future classic.