What On Earth Is All This Rock Opera Business All About?
Anyone that has followed Paul for any length of time will at some point have heard mention of a certain “rock opera”, which goes by the name of Bewilderment. Those of you that have been to any of Paul’s live performances over the past two or three years will even have heard him play some of the songs. Well, Paul felt it was about time everyone was filled in on exactly what this project is all about and where it’s at right now. And after this, the story itself is going to be told in a bit by bit, serialised sort of a way, so keep checking back to follow the story.
The roots of the project go back some four or five years. In 2006, Paul completed the recording of demos of everything he had written up to that point. He’d had a long standing ambition to try his hand at writing a rock opera, his main inspiration being Pete Townshend’s, Tommy. And so with a clean creative slate as it were, Paul started to to think about a plot for his project.
The story evolved in Paul’s mind over the next year or so. Paul decided at an early stage that he wanted it to involve time travel in some way, but a number of early plot ideas were rejected. It was when Paul hit upon the idea of making it semi-autobiographical that the story finally began to take shape. Pete Townshend declared years after its release that he had realised that Tommy had been semi-autobiographical, but that he hadn’t known this at the time he had written it. Rather, it had occurred by chance on a sub-conscious level. Paul, conversely, set out quite deliberately to make this a semi-autobiographical piece, with parallels being drawn with people and events from his own life. According to Paul, there’s even “a significant amount of encoded stuff in there!” However, one little nod that isn’t encoded is one to the man behind the inspiration, as Paul’s lead character, Pete Chronos, takes Townshend’s first name in tribute.
At the same time, Paul began studying Tommy intently, regarding it as the epitome as well as the original of the genre, and seeking to learn all that he could from the structure of the album. By 2008, before the first bars of the first song were written, Paul had fully planned the characters, the plot, the number of tracks he wanted and where each track was to take the story.
The songs took the whole of 2008 to write, and then the writing of Bewilderment was complete. However, the project at this point was put on ice. Paul decided it was time to resurrect his live performances following a two-year break. It was another year before Paul began to record Bewilderment.
Paul regards the twenty-five tracks of Bewilderment as a single piece and for that reason he is adopting a different approach to the recording to normal. Rather than recording it track by track, Paul’s intention is to do all of the bass and drum programming for all the songs first, then record the guitars for all twenty-five tracks, and so on.
The bass and drums were put down for the first five tracks in early to mid- 2010. Then, the project went on the back burner for the second time as Paul decided to take advantage of new opportunities for independent artists to put out their own releases. Paul put together and released Paul’s First E.P. in September 2010 and then set about creating his online presence. A free single, Change, was also remixed and made available for the creation of his new website. Paul’s second E.P., Mercurial Session, followed in July 2011.
The online marketing work has continued right up to now, but this very week, Paul has returned to his studio and resumed work on Bewilderment.
So the long story of this epic rock opera continues and hopefully in the not too distant future, people will be bewildered at the results!
Check back soon to read the story itself.