The new Masterplan album called MK2 will astonish the old as well as new fans. There have been reports about a number of personal changes, causing concern among their international fan community that Masterplan Mark 2 may not continue where the exceptional standard of their first two releases had left off. But the fans need not worry, now that Masterplan are about to release their new album they will elicit unanimous comments, e.g. see my review…. Not only have Masterplan effortlessly reconfirmed the compositional class of their two predecessor albums; they have even topped those two with flying colours. Roland Grapow, guitar player, composer and producer has turned over a new leaf in his own musical history with his reformed group and I have the chance, again, to talk to the “master” himself.

Two years ago when we talked about the album “Aeronautics” I asked you when Jorn would leave the band, now that it finally happened, could you tell me why he left?

Roland: We could not agree on the new musical direction. His ideas were different than ours. He wanted Masterplan to go in a more hard rock way, just like his solo albums, he prefers mid tempo rock tracks and he rather “hated” the high-pitched vocals and the double bass. Those were the main reasons actually. We wanted to go back to the first Masterplan album and Jorn did not really like that as he told us that in a couple of years he would not be able to sing those high notes anymore… So, we decided to call it a day, but there was no fight or anything, we split up as friends.

So, was it easy to find a new singer?

Roland: No, ha ha ha… it was a tough nut to crack! I had some ideas, but….

Did you have a list of singers that you really would like to have?

Roland: Yes, absolutely. Like Tony Martin, Jeff Scott Soto… or Russell Allen, ha ha ha…

That would have been perfect, right?

Roland: Yes, just great, but he did not once response to my e-mails, so very unreliable in that respect, ha ha ha… And then I thought we had a big problem with well-known singers like Soto for example. As he would probably force us into a musical direction that suits him, but not us. These “famous” vocalists are not easy to handle. So, then I started looking for a younger, less well-known singer with lots of talent and someone we could still shape, one that fits into Masterplan, a guy that would really like to join our band. We found a couple of singers from Sweden, another American one and Mike Dimeo was our fourth candidate. I met him by accident via myspace, he added me as a friend, got into contact and I listened to his voice and I really liked him from the start. I listened to a couple of Riot songs and I told him that he had s great voice and I asked him if he would be interested in joining Masterplan. He said yes and so I told Ulli and also liked his voice. A week later we decided that Mike would be the new Masterplan lead singer.

You have made a good choice.

Roland: Thank you. He has of course a different voice than Jorn, but he really has some great blues qualities and of course a lot of people never heard of him, like me, ha ha ha….


Roland: Really, I am almost ashamed… Fans who heard Mike for the first time say that he sounds like Jorn, but he does not imitate him, he always sounded like that, so it is natural, he is no copy cat. What I find amusing is the fact that he really sounds bluesy and that he has got completely different “idols” than Jorn. He is no Dio fan, no Coverdale fan; he really likes Freddy King and Stevie Wonder. And that is totally different stuff than Jorns and I really find that fascinating. Important to me is the fact that the new singer should not have that typical metal band sound and Mike does not have that, so…

Is it not a problem that he is an American and still lives there with regards to the distance between him and the rest of the band?

Roland: No, why should that be a problem? I live in Slovakia, Mike Terrana in Denmark and the rest in Hamburg. Mike has a girl friend in Greece, so we are all over the world. The rehearsals will take place in Hamburg, so no problems there.

How did Mike Terrana come into the band? He is an old friend of yours, right?

Roland: Yes, I have known Mike since 97; he is in fact my favourite drummer. When I saw him with Yngwie Malmsteen and he did that drum solo, it was sheer magic. I helped him to play with Axel Rudi Pell and Metallium and some time ago he asked me if he could join Masterplan. I said, but you still are in Rage and you play with Axel, you are a drum hooker! He told me that he had lots of stress with Rage and he wanted to get out, so that is how Mike came to MP.

Did you enough ideas for new songs?

Roland: I wrote all the songs already in 2005 when Jorn was still in the band. We had 12/13 songs and in fact the album was complete, but then Uli left and I asked him if I could have the songs he wrote for the new MP album. He told me that I could have them but not for free, so I told him to keep his shit!! However in the end I decided to use one song that I really liked and that is the one called “Masterplan”. So that one is more or less from Uli, the vocal parts are from Jorn and me and Mike wrote the lyrics. By the way Mike wrote all the lyrics for the new album, so his impact is already rather huge.

Did you ask Mike to write the lyrics as they are rather different from the lyrics that Jorn wrote?

Roland: No, he really does like to write lyrics. I, as a German, I need months to write decent lyrics. I need the right theme and if I say something it should be good. I like “Heroes” and “Crystal Night”. Jorn”s lyrics were rather cliché-like Spinal Tap things. Worst was “Back for my life”, the housewife history, me and my ex-wife, tra la la ….. The song is from Axel and he was really pissed of by Jorn”s lyrics. Mike’s lyrics are a lot better luckily.

The first single “Lost and Gone” is not composed by MP, whose song is it?

Roland: It is from a friend of mine in Sweden, he wrote it. Uli did not like it in the first place, but it stayed in my computer and when I later played it to Axel and Jan they really loved it. Later on Mike and Mike also loved it, so we decided to use it for the new album.

I would rather have picked “I’m gonna win” as the first single…

Roland: That is my favourite song!! In fact that one will be the second single, probably. It is a perfect song for the radio and it is also the first song I wrote for this album. My girl friend was humming the melody of “I’m gonna win” at our New Years Eve party and the melody haunted me for an entire week till I used it for the first new song. So, in fact it was her idea. It really sounds like kitsch, right, ha ha ha….

Did the record company pick the first single?

Roland: Yes, I had a couple of songs in my mind which were suitable as a single, but the record company, one of the top guys actually, thought that “Lost and Gone” would be perfect as the first single, so…

The last three songs “Masterplan”, “Enemy” and “Heart of darkness” are my favourite tracks as they are really heavy and especially the long guitar solos are great.

Roland: Thank you. “Enemy” is a song from Axel and I really play like something from the old days there, a rather long guitar solo, indeed. “Heart of darkness” was not planned to be that long, but Mike forgot to write lyrics to certain part of that song and so he said just keep on playing, play that solo longer, and so I did, cool, right?

Was does the title MK2 mean?

Roland: Mike one and Mike 2, two Mikes! Ha ha ha….


Roland: No, ha ha ha…. Fans came up with that. Axel said Mark 2 would be nice because of the new line up, just like with Deep Purple. We are all Purple fans and so we saw the parallel line and the old Purple line up is fantastic, but Mark 2 also and as a fan you have to like the Mark 2 as well, so… Masterplan has new band members but it is still the same band, the same quality. So it was a good idea to call this album Mark 2.

In due time you will be going on tour with Saxon.

Roland: I am really looking forward to that as it is a huge tour and the band is ready to kick some serious ass. Saxon of course is a legend and there are two band members that really love our music, so… We are going to play in places where we have not played before, like Scotland, England, Ireland, Greece and Finland.

Are there also tour dates in The Netherlands?

Roland: Only two I am afraid, in Amsterdam and Hardenberg.

Last question, when will you release your first DVD?

Roland: Good question! This year we will record a couple of our shows, but for a DVD we will need to play as headliner as 1 hour playing time is not enough for a DVD. Maybe we could also use some old video material from the Hammerfall tour or Wacken. But we are working on it, be patient, my friend!

Thanks for your time.

Roland: Thank you, it was great again and thanks for rewarding our album with a perfect 10!!

Interview by Martien Koolen,
Photos from Masterplan's website,

6 Fe
bruary 2007
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