ROA Interview 1987

Transcript of an unidentified interview, circa Always There single.

“Touring with The Mission was good for us” nods singer Phil Morris. “The sort of people that will go and see The Mission may never have heard of us but will go for us anyway ’cause we’re a similar sort of band”

So they wear sunglasses after dark?

“Uh, I have done” Phil admits Don’t people laugh? “Uh, only ’cause theres never any sun” Glenn replies. A sense of humour is present, folded neatly on top of an innocence which doesn’t even suspect the ugliness The Rose of Avalanche might have come up against if they hadn’t timed their arrival with the second coming of Led Zep.

“It seems to me The Cult started doing things they wanted to do instead of doing music for an indie scene or goths or whatever”

Fair enough and , thankfully, ROA don’t sound much like the heavy bone crushing dinosaurs they idolise. Always There is a romantically catchy guitar tingling single.

“I think I’m a romantic at heart, and my best songs are about women and all the business. Always There is saying to my girlfriend, even if she died she would always be there and be my friend and all that crap”

Everybody wants to be super human, and thats why rock ‘n’ roll bands that have that escapism element do well” says guitarist Glenn Shultz.

“You’re living out other peoples fantasies. I don’t think people often actually have casual sex… I can’t imagine anybody just having sex with someone they didn’t like! It seems pointless somehow”

“It might to you” Phil splutters, “but…”

Glenn “Okay, I’ve got it sussed now. I think romance is a byproduct of sex. If you have sex with somebody more than a few times you’re going to start liking them”

Sweetness aside, these boys have their eyes fixed on American, on the charts, on the major league. The new single’s b-side is the Doors Waiting For The Sun and the complexity of the song thrills them. “I don’t think it hurts being associated with The Doors or any classic rock band from the Sixties. I think what’s gonna happen soon is people are going to start listening to all these older bands, even further back like Cream. I think its coming back to the stage where being a good musician means you play really well.

Life Thru Rose Tinted Shades

Transcript of an unidentified interview, from The Mission World Crusade period.

Andy Liddell and Martin Goodier meet The Rose of Avalanche.

I fell in love with LA Rain, an addictive epic steeped in sleaze a long while ago, and its three equally powerful (and varied) successors greatly enhanced my opinion; from the (apparently) unlikely setting of Leeds had arrived a rock ‘n’ roll band with a pop sensibility and a classic trash attitude – The Rose of Avalanche music revels in the gutter while staring eagerly upwards into the stars.

“They’re the ones with the water pistols” we were informed upon arrival, and after narrowly avoiding being caught in the crossfire we adjourn to Rock City’s toilets so the band can reload and we can ask them where their name came from; “We made it up from a few different names we had and were bandying around; we wanted something powerful yet beautiful”, a name applying equally well to the rush of Goddess or the luscious Velveteen, a good name.

It might have been a good career move for the boys to have been born in Detroit, or somewhere American like that it certainly helps lend any trashy rock ‘n’ roll band credibility, but how does Leeds rate in the sleaze stakes?

“It depends who you hang around with! Leeds may not look a sleazy as all that but there are groups of people who are very sleazy…I was one of them once, but no more. You can’t live like that ‘cos you just become a thief, a liar, and a junkie.”

So are your lyrics based on personal experience?

“Yeah mostly, there’s only one song I made up and that was LA Rain, and I when wrote that I had some friends in Leeds who that could have easily happened to. The songs are personal to me, they don’t make statements like ‘You should do this because its good’ I just say what I feel”

What about the fake ‘Detroit drawl’ you use on stage?

“I don’t do the accent anymore, people took it too seriously – yeah, I thought it was hilarious, and it created a nice thing with the audience…Phil would walk on and drawl ‘Hi, there’ and people used to shout ‘you’re from Leeds you bastards’ so he would say (adopts classic Yorkshire accent) ‘get us pint of bitter then’

The Rose of Avalanche’s music is all about the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, something that tonights headliners The Mission seem intent on bringing back into style, so tell us about sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll…

“Not much sex on this tour, very occasionally I’m afraid, but we’re trying!! I think we’ve been worse than The Mission so far though, we’ve got the drinking down to a fine art now, whereas when we went over to Germany we were just drunk all the time time – what ever we asked for they gave us! The Mission try to get their dressing room as far from ours as possible. Before we actually go on we don’t drink a lot, you can’t really get that drunk before you go on (although we have a few times), but afterwards we’ve got to wait for The Mission to play and the gear to get packed up so its nice to sit down relax and get nicely smashed”

The band may still be somewhat static on stage (not to mention the lead guitarists appalling haircut) , but the songs are magnificent, which is why The Rose of Avalanche are so unremittingly wonderful. With interest from major labels, and a growing (and diverse) following the future looks, ahem, rosy; “The Mission got into the charts” said Phil “so I can’t see why we can’t” …

Neither can I, why “Stay With Me” charted and “LA Rain” didn’t is as much of mystery as whether LA stands for Leeds Area (we forgot to ask).

Budding Success

Transcript of an unidentified press interview, dated by a gig reference in the copy to 7th November 1986

Text: Karen Sweeney

Trying to get more than three words out of Phil Morris, singer with The Rose of Avalanche, is like trying to get blood from a stone. It could be due to the fact they have just arrived, and, as yet, had time for a drink, but he just does not seem keen on talking.

“The main mistake people make is thinking we got our name from The Sisters of Mercy’s drum machine, Doktor Avalanche” he explains in the longest sentence I mange to get out of him. “We had the idea Rose something, then avalanche something, and eventually decided on The Rose of Avalanche. It describes us perfectly. Beautiful but heavy.”

Four years ago Phil and Paul Berry met, and discovering a mutual love of the Velvet Underground, starting playing together. By April 1984 two others, Alan on bass and guitarist Glenn, had been drafted in. With the release of ‘LA Rain’ as their first single Rose secured a session for John Peel.

“John Peel really like us, and gave LA Rain a lot of airtime. But when we released ‘Goddess’ he hated it.”

Not that they were bothered. The reviews were in the same vein as the ones for LA Rain (which had been described as the “bleak storm that Eldritch never weathered, but probably dreams of”) It also grabbed Janice Long’s attention.

“We were lucky. It got us a session for her show, and airplay for Goddess. When we released Too Many Castles In The Sky she still loved us”

From starting with a drum machine it was automatic they would be compared to The Sisters, although live they are more rock and roll than the Sisters ever were. They toured as support to Balaam and the Angel across Europe before losing Alan Davies, and gaining Nicole Beresford on bass and Mark Thompson on drums.

“They were both in Leeds band ‘Family Dog’. We took Mark first, then persuaded Nicole to join us.

Our musical influences are very much alike, and based firmly in the late ’60s and early ’70s in West Coast America. The American drawl I adopt on stage is intentional. Its all part of the entertainment.”

Their taste is conventional – The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors. They even cover The Doors “Waiting For The Sun” and they don’t do it much damage.

“At the moment we are looking for a major label. Not just any one. We want to control ourselves, not just be another manufactured band. We had a few problems with the first label we were on LiL. They told us if anything better came along they would release us but when it actually happened they tried to hold us to four singles and two albums. They even released a compilation of all of our tracks called “First Avalanche”. We didn’t even know about it until we saw it in a shop.

“We are finding this tour strange, in the sense that we are playing in front of larger crowds than we are used to. Generally we get a good reception. Last night at Coasters though the crowd we just standing, there was little reaction until someone threw a pint at me. The glass seemed to fly vertically across the crowd and tip up only as it reached me. The glass didn’t hit me, only the lager. It gave me a real shock, so I started shouting abuse at the audience. That got them going. After the show this guy came over and said “Hey you were fucking brilliant. Best band I’ve seen in ages. By the way I threw the lager at you.” Then he flew off before I could go for him”

As the rest of the band join us the conversation gets sillier with a lot of private jokes.

“Do you like hamsters?” asks Glenn. “Someone here doesn’t”

I get the feeling that someone is Mark.

“I used to drill holes in bits of metal” offers Phil

“And I was an artist” explains Paul.

“Rubbish. You were a painter” retorts Phil.

“I was a hairdresser, but don’t put that down” says Mark eating a handful of peanuts. “Put down I was a lorry driver, cause thats cool. One of The Mission used to be a lorry driver too”

“Put down we are a deprived band with not enough riders. We definitely need more riders” announces a voice in the background “Yeah more riders and much more drink”





Boys With A Thorn In Their Side

Transcript of an unidentified press interview, around the Always There single release.

by Jerry Smith

The Rose of Avalanche – now there’s a name to conjure with, and an apt one too, for a band who combine raw power with a rare beauty in their bold, atmospheric sound, and admit to being romantics at heart!

This admission comes from lanky frontman Phillip Morris, whose predominantly black dress sense and mirror shades belies the colourful and moody flavour of the Rose’s music, and is not the sort of statement you would associate with wild rock ‘n’ roll, but then The Rose of Avalanche are no ordinary band, which accounts for their steady and stealthy rise into the big time.

Formed in Leeds, they made their mark in 1985 with their very first single , the magnificent LA Rain and recorded a John Peel session, all before ever playing a live date.

Now, five singles later and they have broken into the Gallup Top 100 with their latest, Always There on burgeoning indie Fire Records., and are preparing to record what will be their first proper album. So the future looks Rosy and Morris knows it. “Yeah things are going well, no doubt helped by The Mission and The Cult making people more aware of the indie sector.”

The Rose of Avalanche have been lumbered with many comparisons in their time, due as much to sharing a hometown in common with The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission  and their initial use of a drum machine as anything to do with their cinemascope, anthemic sound and its sharp, rebel streak touched with a hint of goth mystery.

“We’re really fed up with that old Sisters tag, its just not relevant anymore.” they say. “We’ve never settled into one particular type of sound and can’t seem to write two songs that even sound the same!” Which should make a diverse and pretty interesting LP.

Before then though, and by public demand, Fire Records is releasing two if their previous and now deleted singles together on a six track 12 inch EP. This takes in their finest moments from the raucously epic Too Many Castles In The Sky and by contrast the dark and sultry Velveteen with all their respective B sides, including the stage favourite Assassin and a version of Dizzy Miss Lizzy, just to prove how wide ranging their influences are.

The current flurry of success is not confined to Britain either as they have a compilation LP, unavailable in the UK, presently heading the prestigious American College Radio charts.

So with the stage all set for the big league, the long awaited debut album LP is going to be an important landmark, although they are not going to rush things. As Phillip Morris explains “We’ve put our whole lives into this and we want to get it right. We’ve built things up quite nicely in the indie sector without any help from the majors and if you can do it independently you can just image what the majors can do for you”


The Rose Knows

Transcript of an unidentified press interview, from the The Mission World Crusade Tour.

The Rose of Avalanche are currently attracting a lot of attention, and making considerable progress in the indie charts into the bargain. Ripple had a few words with them before they played support to The Mission at the Poly.

The music press have ben quick to attach a “new Sisters of Mercy” tag to the band. When I put this to them they dismissed it as “crap” – someone saw our name and linked it with the Sisters drum box (Doktor Avalanche). Again playing support to The Mission can’t of helped… Drummer Mark Thompson comments that they see “the Gothic movement” as another wave like Mod and Punk – preferring to regard themselves as a straightforward rock band.

Q: What is it like playing support to another band?
Glen Schultz: “It can be a bit tough at times though we feel we are here in own right. It was difficult in Nottingham, since we were playing to a “Mission fans only” night, you know, they didn’t really like us much.”

Q: How do you think your chances are coming from Leeds?
“Well the Beatles came from Liverpool. You never know, Leeds may be the next Liverpool”

1986 Press Kit Bio

This is the bands official press bio from early 1986, just before the Velveteen single release.

Useful as it finally helped date the original formation of the band. Below are the scans and transcript.

“Rock and roll is in me – thats for sure…”

THE ROSE OF AVALANCHE – Born in Leeds. Spiritually bathed in the dirt of Detroit. Raised in Defiance.

FIRST WHISPERS…THE ROSE OF AVALANCHE were spat forth from a dingy Leeds bar in October 1983 by Philip, Paul and Alan; discovering a mutual love of the Stooges, ‘Their Satanic Majesties’, The Velvet Underground, a well worn video of ‘Performance’ and the occasional Jack Daniels, they immediately formed a lasting bond. The band was christened in April 1984 and soon recorded two scintillating tracks for the Leeds compilation LP ‘Parkside Shivers’ In the studio the trio met Glenn and were taken by his long hair and speedy licks “We frequently jammed all night and things really seemed to happen…”

CLASSIC SCENES…The past is gone, like the scenery for a roller coster ride up out of hell. : turns of events since that fateful meeting have disappeared in a misty haze from which three timelines slabs of cold hearted fire were captured as singles <’LA Rain’, ‘Goddess’, and ‘Too Many Castles’> along with John Peel and Janice Long sessions that bruised and amused with brooding menace…. and the word soon spread like a forest blaze.

AND NOW… With new faces on bass and drums and new blood coursing through the beast, THE ROSE OF AVALANCHE can summon up the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll — the pulsating, twilight world of teardrops, mist, and mystery, bad company, illicit thrills, good loving gone bad, and guitars turned up full blast — or transport you to the farthest edges of the physchedelic firmament in songs that’ll take you to heaven and back, with that special person beside you.

Philip Morris: Vocals / shades. Good looks and bad attitude. Mean, moody and magnificent.

Paul James Berry: Guitar / cigarettes. Dynamic and assertive. Plays rhythm as though his life depends on it.

Glenn Schultz: Guitar / long hair. Classically trained rock rebel. Todd Rundgren look-alike with the same visionary air.

Mark Thompson: Drums. Flesh and blood replacement for metal box. Man of mystery with large biceps.

Nicole Beresford: Bass/ fresh face. Dark rhythms and clenched teeth.

THE FINAL WORDS….The Rose Knows.

Underground Fanzine Interview – April 1987

UndergroundInterview 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.