Monday, July 30, 2007

Finding Paul Roessler

I was honoured last night with a visit to Raid by former Screamer Paul Roessler. He was extremely gracious about the project and found it to be an overwhelming tribute to the Screamers. Paul shared details about the history of the band and gave his perspective on some of the pervasive mysteries surrounding the band's breakup.

Tommy and Tomata were the conceptual forces behind the Screamers (see July 9, 2007) . Besides the unquestionable intensity of the band's music, live shows were exhausting theatrical affairs that were constantly changing in order to keep the performances unpredictable. The band had always been concerned with progress and towards the end emphasized its performance over its musical content. In this direction, the involvement of filmmaker Rene Daalder sealed the band's demise.

Daalder provided the resources to construct a film studio that would indulge the Screamers' interest in its theatrical evolution. Daalder's "unwatchable" film Population One featured Tomata as the last living human after a nuclear blast. The film was constructed around flashbacks and music videos. Somewhere during the filming, creative differences rose to the surface and the core band members felt the need to part ways.

As Geza X states, "When Rene became involved, the artistic vision of the band got derailed...Rene had them playing to loops, run off a tape recorder--an extremely interesting idea, granted, kind of an early industrial techno twist to that--but it really wasn't the Screamers anymore. The Screamers' magic when they rocked out with those Tinkertoy synths slowly turned into this low-budget multimedia nonextravaganza which wasn't really that good, and the band started withering behind it" (We Got the Neutron Bomb, p. 215).

Paul has never stopped making music. Since the Screamers, on top of his solo work, he's played with Dc3, Nina Hagen, 45 Grave, Twisted Roots, Nervous Gender, Prick, Abby Travis, Leah Andreone, Geza X and the Mommymen, Mark Curry, The Joykiller, The Controllers, The Mourning Glorys, Crimony, Mike Watt and the Secondmen, Pat Smear, Saboteur, and Josie Cotton.

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