After the news about an imminent reunion of HEIR APPARENT reached me last year, I almost went nuts, as "Graceful Inheritance" is among the best Progressive Metal-debuts of the Eighties and has reached cult-status by now. Unfortunately the joy was rather short-lived, because a reunion without founding-member and vocalist Paul Davidson just could not be. After the band delivered a memorable gig at this year's Wacken-Open-Air, with singer Michael Flatters, only a short time later I heard what I had hoped for: PAUL DAVIDSON is back. So now we have Paul here to give us all the details about the then, the now and the will be…
Paul, you must be tired of people still bringing up questions about your split from HEIR APPARENT?
No, not particularly. It's no secret that I left due to a drug habit that was getting out of control. Obviously this is a painful subject, but at the same time, discussing it has allowed me to heal. I'm clean and sober now, but regret everyday my departure from HEIR APPARENT. Coming back now has allowed me to leave this business on my own terms, and for that I'm very grateful.
So what has in fact happened?
The band wasn't aware of my problem, but after laying down tracks for the "One Small Voice"-demo, it was becoming apparent that my habit was directly affecting my voice. I decided to go to Terry and tell him the truth. He was shocked, but understood my need to get better, and there was no way I was going to be able to do that while still being in the business. Although I regret it, I still believe it was for the best - not only for me, but for the band as well. They were on the rise, and I didn't want to be responsible for holding them back.
And what have you done during this long time? Nobody knows what was going on with you. Have you had another band? Where there any recordings we don't know from?
After HEIR APPARENT, I played in a band called THE TREND. We played locally, stuck to cover-tunes for the most part, and never got around to recording anything. After that, I left the business and went about getting one of those dreaded nine to five jobs! It's boring, but basically I've just been living… I've been married, divorced and re-married, and have three sons, Joshua age 11, Tyler age 10 and Colton age 2. Currently, I still work my nine to five (the bills have gotta be paid!), but I also host karaoke at a local club and of course work and practice with HEIR APPARENT.
I think you had heard that Terry reformed HEIR APPARENT with a new singer. When did you hear it for the first time and do you know what Terry did all these years after you had left the band or were there no contacts with Terry and the other band members?
After I left, I had no contact with the band except for an occasional conversation with Ray. I didn't see Terry again until the ugly court battle ensued between him and the other band members. It was awkward, and we never uttered a word to each other. After that, I was completely out of touch.
Was it Terry who contacted you to join the band once more or was it your request to come back?
Our reunion was manufactured by communications between my best friend, Chris Partridge and Jürgen Hegewald, who knew that Terry had been trying to locate me in order to play at Wacken. Chris eventually was given Terry's phone number, and he passed it along to me. I gave him a call, and we both expressed interest in a reunion. After an initial meeting, we decided to pick up where we left off.
So we've all heard about the brilliant news that HEIR APPARENT are working on a new album, with you on vocals. What was the feeling for you when you did the first rehearsals with the band after a very long time?
It felt fabulous to be up and running again. I believe though, that you're under the impression that Ray and Derek are still with HEIR APPARENT, and that's not so. They both went to Terry at the end of summer and said that they simply didn't have the time or interest to maintain their association with the band. I don't think Terry was too surprised, there had already been serious questions about their commitment to the project. In the mean time, we're writing, practicing and auditioning a rhythm section.
Could you give us some infos on new songs.
We're aiming to get back to our roots and recreate a bit of the magic of "Graceful Inheritance". Keyboards on this project will be seriously scaled back and there will be none of the commercialism you hear all of the time now. The material will be a bit updated, but it will still be evocative Progressive Metal at its best!
Are you happy with the new songs and the feeling in the band? Is it like at the beginning of recording "Graceful Inheritance" or is it something new for you at the moment?
It is new, but with an old and familiar flavour. Working with Terry again is great. I think we've both mellowed and matured over the years, and that's left us with a better understanding of each other. Now, our hope is to fill in the blanks with members who will add to the current positive chemistry. We've just auditioned a few and the potential is definitely there… We'll see!
Hopefully we could see you on tour in Europe with HEIR APPARENT the next time? I think it was the tour with SAVAGE GRACE, when you were in Europe for the last time. Are there any anecdotes you could share with us?
I have many fabulous memories of our European tour, but our fans stick out the most in my mind. Their support, enthusiasm and friendship blew and still continues to blow my mind! I also enjoyed the week we spent in Paris as well as our time in Eindhoven, Holland. My time in Europe was a dream come true.
What can you say about the promotion given by Black Dragon Records for "Graceful Inheritance"? Do you consider it adequate?
Black Dragon gave us headaches from the very beginning. The first sign of trouble came when they released "Graceful Inheritance" without Terry's approval of the cover artwork. The cover was awful (oh no Paul - I think it's one of the best artworks ever! - Charly), and didn't represent our sound even in the slightest! Our Contract… and I use the term loosely, was a joke, we basically made the album, did our tour, and still landed in a hole. Neither Terry nor our investors have ever seen a dime from them… for royalties or otherwise. Black Dragon, in the end, swindled everyone.
Do you have a copy from the vinyl-record?
Yes, I actually have two copies. I kept them and put them away along with a couple of new copies of the re-released CD for my kids.
What's your favourite HEIR APPARENT-song?
My favourite song would have to be "Dragons Lair". It touches me in a very personal way. I never used needles while taking drugs, and the songs' general idea speaks of that, but it still relates directly to my addiction. Also, the intensity and aggression of the music is spellbinding, I just love it. If you listen closely enough to the background guitars, you'll hear a rhythm that when translated into Morse code spells SOS. Terry's underlying ideas are really provocative, and I have a great appreciation for his talent as a writer and composer.
Have you followed the Metal-scene over the years and what do you think about the Grunge and alternative scene in Seattle which was really big in the Nineties? Are there still any bands which are playing Grunge in your town?
Grunge will have its place in history just as disco does, but it obviously is showing no signs of stay in power. I liked and listened to the early Grunge that was produced such as PEARL JAM, NIRVANA and ALICE IN CHAINS, but the copycat-bands that followed lacked any originality, and I quickly lost interest. Realistically though, I believe that Grunge is just a Metal-hybrid. Metal in some form or another will always have a place in the music industry, over time, that's become apparent.
How do you view the Metal-scene at this moment in the states? Do you think you will be accepted with HEIR APPARENT in the USA?
You know the old saying, "What comes around goes around". I think that were seeing the end of the Grunge-scene in bands like CREED, but with the 80's resurfacing in fashion and such, you can expect the same thing from the music. Glam Metal-bands are beginning to make a comeback, and other Metal-genres are sure to follow.
When did you start to listen to Heavy Metal and what types of music influences you a singer?
I dove headfirst into the Metal-scene when I was about 15. Although having a musician as an older brother, I'd been familiar with Rock-n-Roll from the time I was in diapers and drooling! My main influences would have to be JUDAS PRIEST, KISS, VAN HALEN, IRON MAIDEN, and SCORPIONS.
And what to you listen to at the moment?
I listen to mostly older stuff that would include JUDAS PRIEST, KISS, IRON MAIDEN and the SCORPIONS. I also enjoy QUEEN, early MÖTLEY CRÜE, Ronnie James Dio and VAN HALEN (not to be confused with Van Hagar). Other bands I currently like are CREED, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, and RETARD THEFT PIMPS.
What is one thing that has really disturbed you and made you think?
The financial and emotional abuse that occurs in the name of religion is very disturbing to me. TV evangelists should be tossed in a vat of testicle eating acid along with rapists and politicians. They feed off of the inability of the weak-minded to make sound financial decisions, taking them for all they have. Also, the fact that nearly every religious group believes that its interpretation is the one true gospel, and that any and all other beliefs and ways of worship are wrong. They should ALL burn in hell for trying to force their "God" down our throats.
What where some of the most memorable moments you had during your musically career?
Without a doubt, my most memorable moment was when I was walking the streets of Paris by myself one day. I recalled that we used the Arc De Triomphe as a landmark to locate the hotel we were staying at. I began walking down the street that I believed was the correct road back to the hotel, when I realized that I had gone the wrong way. Coming to grips with the fact that I was lost, I tried to spot a building or something familiar to get my bearings. I turned around and my jaw dropped, as I came face to face with the most beautiful site of my life, The Eiffel Tower. When I caught my breath, I sprinted the two hundred yards to the base of the tower and I stood there incredulous. I couldn't believe I was finally here.
You mentioned that you are married and have three children. Did your wife go along with your new career as a Metal-singer?
My wife Julie is behind me 100%. She knows what singing means to me, and since returning to the business has made me happy, then she is happy for me. She's been a big help, handling my website, and playing secretary. She has to type up interviews and e-mail for me since I'm a hunt and peck artist, and watching me flail helplessly on the computer drives her mad!
And what about your children? Are they proud on their daddy that he sang on one of the best Metal-albums ever?
My youngest son Colton isn't old enough to care. My middle son Tyler lives in Denver with my ex-wife, and unfortunately I've not been able to maintain the kind of relationship I'd like to with him, no matter how hard I persevere. So he isn't aware of the success HEIR APPARENT's had unless my ex has filled him in. (That's not likely… she thinks I'm the devil incarnate) My eldest son, Joshua is one of HEIR APPARENT's biggest fans. He drives people crazy with stories about the band and myself. He believes that his Dad and Terry are Heavy Metal-gods…. why spoil the kid's fantasies with the boring realities of life? I think his interest is terrific, he's even written drum parts and lyrics for songs in hopes of getting them on our next album. His enthusiasm keeps me in stitches!
What do you associate to the following topics:
E.T. Phone home! But seriously, I believe that there must be something or someone out there. This universe is too vast to believe that we are the only living things in it.
No thanks, I've had plenty!
Seen through the windows of buses and trains. We had some great shows there, but didn't get a chance to see that beautiful country… or drink any of the stud animal beer.
www.seriouslydangeroustoy.com - In the wrong hands, anyway. I am saddened when I read the newspaper and see where some ten-year-old kid has blown his hand off with a pipe bomb made from instructions he got off the Internet. I'm a firm believer in parental controls, not only electronic safe guards, but the kind where Mom and Dad are supervising what "little Johnny" is checking out on the web. Kids need information, and they need to know what's going on in the world. The Internet is a great place for that, as long as there's proper supervision.
That's an explosive subject. I think nuclear energy had its place in the seventies, but with the explosion (no pun intended) of technology and newer sources of power being discovered, it seems that the need for nuclear energy is dwindling.
Finally, any last pressing thoughts you would like to express?
Yes, I'd like to say THANK YOU to all of our fans and friends who have shown your support, stuck with HEIR APPARENT, and believed in us even when we didn't believe in ourselves. Your enthusiasm makes this new project all the more sweeter. The future looks to be an exciting one. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for news of our upcoming release. We should be in the studio by springtime, so hopefully by mid to late summer we'll have something great to share with you all. If fans or friends have questions, you can reach me through my webpage, or Terry's. In the meantime, be sure to keep the candle burning!
1989: One Small Voice (CD)
2000: Triad (CD - Studio Demos 1988, Hellion)
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