PJB is back and he needs your help!

Great news Rose fans. Founder member Paul James Berry is back!

Orignal Paul James Berry interview by James Parton 01/06/12, updated 15/10/16

JP: First things first. How are you doing after your terrible accident? It happened 

PJB live in Marsbergin June 2009 right?

PJB: 1.45pm 18/5/09 was when I died and then came back… I’ve been trying to heal and piece together my life ever since… It’s been a long long road. I still don’t have any external feeling to my left leg and the foot basically just hangs there. However, I’m out of the wheelchair and get about OK with a walking stick. The jury’s out as to whether I’ll ever walk ‘properly’ again. Kids call me Dr House…

JP: For the people reading this that may be in the dark, can you tell us what happened with your accident?

PJB: Yeah, I was riding a bicycle and a 32-tonne lorry turned left into me while I circum-navigating a particular notorious roundabout called The Seven Dials in Brighton, England. The result was my legs were crushed…… Q: Aside form the gruelling physical therapy; I guess you have had to be incredibly mentally strong to get through such a terrible ordeal? A: An Interesting question! I’ve got a young family and the idea of ‘giving-up’ never was an option. I spent the first three weeks in Intensive Care, then I think nine weeks on the trauma ward. I was later on told that I actually lost 5 times my body’s blood capacity, had operation after operation, told twice that it was all over blah blah blah. ICU were absolutely brilliant. The Trauma ward was a scary scary place….. We are the best in the world at saving lives, but rehabilitation? NHS doesn’t do gruelling physio, it’s more, ‘you’ve stopped bleeding, next please, we need the bed……… It was a real hard time.

JP: You made a rare appearance in the UK recently – is it still hard to get bookings in the UK without label backing? 

PJB:  Yeah, but I’d love to change that. When, if, I get this project off the ground then I’m sure I’ll play more in the UK. However, it’s a little bit my own fault because when I left The Rose of Avalanche many years ago I just wanted to ‘pay my dues’ as a singer/songwriter in my own right, and so I always distanced myself away from the ROA world.

Perhaps because I was only a guitar player and a frustrated singer. The result was that for over ten years nobody really knew about my ROA years and hardly any ROA fans came to the gigs.

In them days I’d just knock on venue doors and blag my way in for a short set. However, I did learn to sing!!! And, GOD did I pay my dues. I never played ROA songs, in-fact I’ve only ever played my own stuff. Which I’m very proud of.

I still play only my own songs, but I would welcome everybody and anybody to my shows. Especially ROA fans… You can run from the past-well in my case, more hobble – but it eventually catches you-up!!

JP: For the people reading this that may be in the dark, can you tell us what happened with your accident? 

PJB: Yeah, I was riding a bicycle and and a 32-tonne lorry turned left into me while circum-navigating a particular notorious roundabout called the Seven-Dials in Brighton.  The result was my legs were crushed……

JP: Aside form the gruelling physical therapy; I guess you have had to be incredibly mentally strong to get through such a terrible ordeal?

PJB:  An Interesting question! I’ve got a young family and the idea of ‘giving-up’ never was an option. I spent the first three weeks in Intensive Care, then I think nine weeks on the trauma ward. I was later on told that I actually lost 5 times my body’s blood capacity, had operation after operation, told twice that it was all over blah blah blah. ICU where absolutely brilliant. The Trauma ward was a scary scary place… We are the best in the world at saving lives, but rehabilitation? NHS doesn’t do gruelling physio, it’s more, ‘you’ve stopped bleeding, next please, we need the bed’…. It was a real hard time…

JP: Aside form the grueling physical therapy; I guess you have had to be incredibly mentally strong to get through such a terrible ordeal?

PJB: An Interesting question! I’ve got a young family and the idea of ‘giving-up’ never was an option. I spent the first three weeks in Intensive Care, then I think nine weeks on the trauma ward. I was later on told that I actually lost 5 times my body’s blood capacity, had operation after operation, told twice that it was all over blah blah blah. ICU were absolutely brilliant. The Trauma ward was a scary scary place….. We are the best in the world at saving lives, but rehabilitation? NHS doesn’t do grueling physio, it’s more, ‘you’ve stopped bleeding, next please, we need the bed……… It was a real hard time.

JP: Have you come out the other side with a new lust for life?

PJB: When I hear your question I think, how corny and pathetic it sounds! However, in reality – YES, it’s true! I really do have a lust for life and a deep belief and need to document and move on… However, let’s be clear I don’t seek sympathy for being disabled. I seek help to record a new album!

JP: You played some live shows in the UK and Germany in 2010, which is pretty incredible coming so soon after the accident. Was that the last time you toured?

PJB:  You know, when I finally got out of hospital I was bound to a wheel chair for six months and then later crutches. I was taking still a lot of anti-inflammatory and other pain killing drugs… but I really needed to break the dependence from others…

I always cherished and prided myself on my personal independence. So, when the medicine-induced stupor eventually subsided and my mobility improved, I contacted some venues and arranged a few gigs. I craved autonomy. Remember I had had nurses, doctors & family basically doing everything for me over the last nine / ten months. I hired a small automatic car, slung my acoustic guitar in the back and hit the road. Truthfully it was fucking knackering, but I swear I had a smile on my face for most of the 2600 miles I drove.

JP: A slightly lighter question.  Are there any bands or artists that stand out for you at the moment?  Who are you into?

PJB: I listen to a wide range of stuff and I’m at ease with most genres. But, but I’d say I do generally gravitate to, moody shit as my wife call it: Vic Chestnutt, Nina Simone, George Moustaki and many many more. Though, I still get off on The ‘bloody’ Beatles, The Birds, Neil Young, etc…

At the moment I’m writing new songs and find it difficult to listen to music similar to my own (guitar & vocals). So, I submerge myself in a lot of classical music. Also, Japanese, Indian & weird Balkan stuff. It annoys the hell out of everybody around me, but I like it… The last record I actually bought was Jack White’s new album, Blunderbuss. I love it though he’s got the habit of turning into some Led Zep seventies throwback, but I love the sounds and way he records. If he wanted to produce my new album – I’d consider!!

JP: Now that the album is recorded what are your plans?

PJB: Sell the fucking thing and move on. Although I’ve recorded albums before this is really the first time that I’ve been 100% in control. Not just the songs & performance, but also the mixing, artwork, promotion and the release. Everything! Of course this gives financial limitations to my ambitions, but it’s rewarding at the same time, a real learning curve. So I would like to find some cool partners across the world that share my vision and push it to the next level….

The next level is ‘Spitfire Jukebox 2’ which I want to be a bigger scenario, in colour – ha ha!! I’d like to work with more musicians, which I think would really push some song ideas I have to a completely different depth.spitfire_1_sleeve_cover_jpg

JP: Can you say something about the famous UFO-Studios in Berlin and the recording process for your new album?

PJB: Well, I came across the studio a few years back while on tour and truthfully fell in love with the place, especially with the hall. I guess I’m quite sensitive to the vibes from certain buildings. For example, this place was an ancient brewery and the cellars doubled-up as a bunker in WW2, reputedly Gobbles and his family used it. The engineer took me round the place with a torch, it was really creepy and fascinating at the same time…… So earlier this year I booked a session, squatted in the middle of their great hall surrounded by microphones and recorded my songs. Just me singing and playing guitar, piano even a couple of songs on ukulele. All live no overdubs, except a guy that plays a phenomenal cello on a song and my dog that on backing vocals…..

There you have it folks. Many thanks to PJB for updated ROA.com on his latest album release. You can follow Paul’s adventures on his sites linked below, and be sure to buy the album…

https://www.pauljamesberry.com

https://www.facebook.com/pauljamesberry

https://www.twitter.com/pauljamesberry

https://www.myspace.com/pauljamesberry

https://www.reverbnation.com/pauljamesberry

https://www.youtube.com/mrpjbworld

 

New site open for business

Welcome to the only website dedicated to The Rose of Avalanche.

The migration of the old website over to WordPress is finished, so take a look around, and be sure to let me know what you think of the new design.

Upcoming stuff to look out for – I’ll be working on the Gigography as there are a few missing gigs to add.

Have fun!

Various Press Clippings

1985 Sounds Interview

Published 02/11/85

“Rose Hips” Neil Perry listens to the mountainous rumblings of the Rose of Avalanche

Submission time. “LA Rain” the debut single from Rose of Avalanche shot me pretty close to vinyl heaven. A heady mix of melancholy sleaze and rock ‘n’ roll glamour, the song is swathed in sheets of guitar and fuelled by a talk alonga-Lou American drawl, very close to the mark indeed.

You want a clue? OK. The opening voice on the interview tape intones just three words “Stones, Stooges, Hendrix.”

They must be a bunch of West Coast space cadets…

Well not quite, Rose of Avalanche are four sensible, down to earth lads from Leeds, plus one drum machine. We meet before the bands gig at the Croydon Underground, only the seventh of their career.

Leeds? Who would have thought it…vocalist Phil explains, rather warily.

“The American feel is international. During gigs, my accent’s…erm…slightly different to what it is now. It’s part of the entertainment”

The band listened to what I had to say about LA Rain. They showed no reaction. Cool customers, eh?

Phil: “You’re talking in a cult sense, but I imagine it appealing to a really big audience, people who are into pop music as well as other stuff. There’s a lot commerciality about it, it’s hard to explain”

Are you your surprised at the early interest in Rose of Avalanche?

Bassist Alan: “We’re not surprised, no. We thought there would be a bit more”

These Rose-hips are arrogant, from their curly manes to their black pointed boots. The attitude to get you places?

“We don’t trust anybody in the music business,” Phil continues, perhaps looking at me through his shades.

Alan “We’re expecting more than other people get, so when we get pissed about it really annoys us”

Guitarists Glyn and Paul drink and watch, and say nothing. On to a thorny subject which should be cleared up as soon as possible. Is it difficult living in the shadow of the Sisters?

Gyn: “it’s just because we’ve got a drum machine. The public in Leeds regard us as Sisters of Mercy rip offs, but we know we’re good so we’ll pull through”

“The Sisters are adored in Leeds”, laughs Alan. “Even the grannies love the Sisters. But we like them as well. They’ve done it themselves, you know?”

Inevitably we return to LA Rain. Alan sighs and attempts to give some sort of thesis.

“There’s no pride in music anymore, and that’s something we’ve all got. We’re all influenced by stuff from the late ’60′s, when songwriting was a big thing”

A grim sort of smile registers of Phil’s face. “Although”, he adds, “LA Rain has been called the song that Andrew Eldritch never dared to write!”

The gig that night was a success, although live Rose of Avalanche have all the stage presence of a bunch of scarecrows. They can cut it, for proof witness of their definitive version of “Gimme Some Loving” which is on the flip side of their latest single “Goddess”

Poseurs, rockers, what the well. I’m impressed. Well are you experienced…?

Rose BBC1 Radio Sessions

Peel Session, 1985

Recorded 28th May 1985, first transmitted 12th June 1985.

Tracks

Goddess
A Thousand Landscapes
Gimme Some Lovin’
Rise To The Groove

Band

Phil Morris – Vocals
Alan Davis – Bass
Paul James Berry – Guitar
Glenn Schultz – Guitar
Steve Allen – Keyboards

Janice Long Session, 1986

Recorded 5th March 1986, first transmitted 11th March 1986.

Tracks

Velveteen
Stick In The works
Too Many Castles
Never Another Sunset

Band

Phil Morris – Vocals
Alan Davis – Bass
Paul James Berry – Guitar
Glenn Schultz – Guitar
Steve Allen – Keyboards

1986 Sounds Interview

Published 03/05/86

“Heavy Petal Kids” A thorn in the side of modern pop? Chris Roberts buttonholes The Rose of Avalanche. Cultivated pic: Steve Double.

From Leeds to Harlesden with loud licentious guitars.

Down at the Mean Fiddler The Rose of Avalanche coolly don’t try to be cool.

They’re about to play their twentieth gig and release their third single “Too Many Castles In The Sky” a silvery streamlined sequel to the ravaging “LA Rain” and “Goddess”. Meanwhile a debut album they have disowned rumbles and tumbles around the charts like a rock in a spin dyer.

They’re an unusual group visually, torn between languid laissez-faire and overt incompetence at scissor management. Vocalist Phil Morris, guitarists Glenn Shultz and Paul Berry, bassist Alan Davies and a real live drummer Mark Thompson, find Yorkshire rather similar to America.

They’re not the worlds most sparkling interviewees, but they’re curiously (too?) unpretentious for a group who sing of gutters and gurls and have overtaken the bulk of Leeds league table of cult bands with barley a heavy breath. The career went: compilation track, Peel session, “LA Rain”, then first gig. Bright boys, dark boys.

Do you ever send roses to people? “We haven’t got enough money. Plastic roses maybe. Or a drawing of a Rose?”

Philip, tall, thin, sings in a cutely dumb American accent, quite fancies himself, just about has a right to.

I can’t say we’re really living that whole rock ‘n’ roll thing but we have experienced it. For a few months I loved like the songs are. And saw things the average person doesn’t see.

“LA Rain” relates to the extreme of what could happen to some of my friends: I don’t believe in writing songs which are nothing to do with me or anyone I know. “Goddess” is a friends girlfriend; “Too Many Castles” is about a girlfriend I had that I fell out with. I’ve only ever met one bloke who worth writing about; and he’s too over the top so I won’t.

“Leeds is very like Detroit. At least the characters we hang around with. One kid there deserves…there’s no different between him and Johnny Thunders except that Thunders is “a star”.

But it’d be such a pressure for us to keep up an image all the time offstage. Keeping your audience think – Oh God, what’s the rock ‘n’ roll thing to do now? How do you rock ‘n’ roll when you go to the toilet? There are some people, obviously, who think like that, and you just feel sorry for them.

Glenn, long long hair, very late ’60′s, obsessed with guitars.

I was classically trained but I dropped out to become…ha ha…a rock ‘n’ roller. Classical is just an exercise, not music. You’re trained to move your fingers really fast. There’s very few…only Julian Bream, Paco Pena, who can make it sound like music…all the others are just cold and sterile. Whereas a rock guitarist enjoys it, puts something of himself into it. Some bollocks, not just mechanics.

“I brought my first electric guitar cos it looked really horrible I had to have it. That’s the way my taste’s gone ever since, really. The horribler the better”

It’s very violent, aggressive music. “Seedy maybe. Disgusting maybe. Not aggressive”

It doesn’t sound very 1986.

“People tell us it does, that’s what matters”

There’s this stuff about Baby let’s go for a ride in my car… “It’s inferred as two things – either come for a f*** or just come for a ride in my car. It depends whether you think we’re dirtballs or decent lads”

So you’re not saying your not dirt balls?

“Mmm…no. No! No!”

“The music is. We’re not”

“We never sat down and said – lets put across this filthy dopey VD ridden dirtball image” It just sort of happened that way?

“Aw, the only time you’ve seen us play live before, two of us had food poisoning” “We’re still learning”

The Rose of Avalanche’s fourth single will be “Velveteen”. What a lovely word. It’s this, that and the other, I like.

Ambitions: to write the ultimate song; to make money and live in massive mansions; to be so successful they don’t have to see each other between world tours; “its pointless just being in a band; we’re in it also for the whole thing that could happen to us”; to keep evoking romance with dirt; to make people move their legs about.

The Rose of Avalanche do what they do so very clearly and arrogantly, it’s really not on to doubt the flow. They also have a splendid (tender and menacing) name.

Above all, any group which screams “A goddess of love, yes you’re a goddess, goddess, g-g-g-g goddess of love” over a neighbour annoying barrage of noise, has to be worth its place in the cultural annals of Western Europe.

You agree, don’t you dear?