All the attentive readers of you may remember that we already introduced the Carl Palmer Band to you. Now this Progressive Rock Band was on tour in Germany and during that we had the chance to do an interview with the 26 year old guitarist of the band: Paul Bielatowicz.
Therefore here’s the story of a young and rising guitar player…
Interview (and translation) by Angelika Sommer.
When Paul was 8 years old, he played a guitar for the very first time.
He always was fascinated by rock music; especially the Dire Straits brought him to the music.
But with 11 years he laid down the classic guitar, frustrated by the boring sound of it. He started back at about 13, but now on an e-guitar.
He soon realized that he wanted to become a rock-musician, encouraged by the music of the Dire-Straits-leader Mark Knopfler:
“I always wanted to become a musician. It was always a dream, but I don’t tell anybody. So at school I told everybody I wanted to be a lawyer. Simply because if I told them I want to be a Rock-music-guitarist they just gonna laugh at me, they just would have thought it’s really funny and then asked me about a proper job. I even told the career advisers at school that I want to be a lawyer but then I got out of school and practiced guitar and at the back of my mind, I wanted to play guitar on stage as a job. I just don’t admitted it.”, tells us a happy Paul and laughs, “When I finished school with 16, I looked around what I could do as an A-level and then I announced my parents that I wanted to become a musician. So at 16 I told everybody.”
Now it was determined, but why did he choose especially guitar?
“I love all the guitar solos and I love the fact that you stand in front of the stage as a guitarist. Guitar rocks”
His musical influences are the Dire Straits, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani as well as Progressive Rock Bands like Dream Theater and Spock’s Beard.
But how did he met up with the old-established musician Carl Palmer?
Shaun Baxter, the former guitarist of the band, had to leave the band in 2003 because of the consequences of a car accident. Since a new guitarist was needed, Shaun recommended (among others) Guthrie Govan to Carl, but he plays with the melodic-rock-band ASIA and so he couldn’t join the band. Guthrie teaches (as well as Paul) at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and so he recommended Paul. Paul send a Demo-CD to Carl, Carl liked it and the rest is history. Even people, who were Shaun Baxter fans for years, were really enthusiastic about the new guitarist, even if they were quite sceptical at the beginning. But very fast he conquers the hearts of the Progressive fans and of the younger audience, with his frankly smile, his natural way to be and with his astonishing talent to make notes becoming alive.
During the last Germany tour were quite a lot of younger faces in the audience. The 26-year-old guitar player seems to give the old songs something new and youthful and he proves that Prog-musicians are neither completely serious, nor aloof or stuck in time.
As talking about the tour – the extensive Carl Palmer Band tours aren’t stressful for him, but quite relaxing:
“It’s a bit like going on holiday, cause you sit in the back of the bus, read a book or listening to music then get to the gig, play a concert. In this way, I’m seeing lots of different places I would never have seen before. If I came to Germany on my own I probably would go to Berlin and visit all the sightseeings, like the wall. But with the Band you get to see the small towns, meet the people, go to the good restaurants and things like that. So no, it’s not stressful”
By answering the question, what country he likes most for giving concerts, he said with a big smile on his face: “Germany” and then he added, “No I think all countries are different. So it’s hard to say that. German audience is a very like English audiences. So they are all listening very intensive and they take notes of what you’re playing and then they clap a lot at the end of the song. If you go somewhere like Italy they’re cheering all thru the song. So it depends if you want people to listen like they do in Germany or England, or if you want people just to be really keen all the way thru so you might Italy more. I like the German beer – Weizenbier – and the people.”
In 2004 the band was filmed during a concert in Bucharest, which will release on DVD approx. in mid 2006.
“That was my best concert-moment! It was a good feeling, having a guy with a camera right in front of you”, after a short break he laughs and added, “However, after the 2nd song I said ‘Please give me some space'”.
And what was his most embarrassing moment?
“Carl counted in Bullfrog and I launch into the intro of Trilogy! The funny thing was, I’d had a dream the night before that I’d do exactly that – I told everyone about the dream before the gig. If I hadn’t have told them I’m sure nobody would have believed me! Thankfully everyone seemed to find it funny!”
Besides the Carl Palmer Band, Paul plays in a Jazz Duo and now he wants to start a new band as well, so that he can probably start touring in January.
Paul’s dream as a musician is to touch people with music and to try to open people’s eyes to certain things like poverty and all the injustices in the world and to actually help and affect people.
So we can expect to hear a lot more of this British guitarist in the next few years.