Rolan Bolan Records Debut Album
Being the son of a rock legend has its highs and lows, but for Rolan Bolan, son of the late glam-rocker and T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan, one of the coolest things is hanging out with other members of his unique fraternity. He's jammed on the beach with Roy Orbison's sons Roy Jr. and Alex, hung out with Zoey Bonham(daughter of John Bonham and sister of Jason) and has had Planet and Sierra Swan, daughters of '70s pop singer Billy Swan, do backup vocals for him.
Rolan was also excited a few years back when "Born to Boogie," the Magical Mystery tour-like 1972 concert film of his dad, T-Rex and Ringo Starr at Wembley Empire Pool directed by the ex-Beatle himself, was released for the first time onDVD by Sanctuary Records. Ringo said he wouldn't approve the project, originally released on The Beatles' Apple Films, unless Rolan was involved. Rolan helped restore the film and presented many of the special features on the new release, which went to #1 on the DVD charts in the UK.
Currently emerging as a rock/soul artist in his own right, the Los Angeles-based Rolan-whose father died in a car accident in London in 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday-has forged an exciting studio chemistry over the past few years with veteran producer Dito Godwin, whose vast resume includes Black Sabbath, No Doubt, Great White and members of KISS and Motley Crue.
The two are taking the extraordinary step (for a new artist) in recording electric and acoustic versions of Rolan's upcoming debut album, with Bolan getting out and playing acoustic shows with Godwin's son Bernie and ultimately forming a band to play the electric versions live. Thus far, Bolan and Bernie Godwin have done several performances in L.A., including one at Footsies in Highland Park for a DJ Modern Kicks and Ghetto Blasters Presents event.
Rolan, who thinks Interview Magazine was spot on when they described his "laid back with a kick" vibe as "Pina Colada Gasoline," has released several singles toiTunes in recent months, including "Should I Forget To Mention," "Once In My Life" and "Up To Me," a soulful rocker recorded in a live session a few years ago. There are also YouTube videos available of earlier tracks Rolan recorded, including "Fire In The City" and "Missing Me." Rolan and Godwin are currently remixing his upcoming single "Trust."
Rolan formed and fronted his first band of note, The Brothers Bounce, in 1998 with friends from Loyola Marymount University. The group, which toured the UK and France, included members of the Black Eyed Peas' first backing band. The singer later toured as a duo with Kyle Mullarkey of the band The Shore.
"The magic Dito and I have is based on the fact that he knows my voice and knows me as a person," says Rolan. "If I'm having a hard day and not performing just right, he doesn't make me hurt myself just to get the take. We have developed a great friendship and a mutual trust and I am a big fan of his many previous endeavors. He is open to my input. We're working on some newer songs as well as developed versions of others that I wrote in the past for other bands and projects I was previously involved with. Dito took some of those tunes and helped me create a more relevant, contemporary sound. My dad still has a huge multi-generational fan base, and I get a lot of pressure from people to sound like him. But I'm here standing on my own, creating my own sound and I'm ready to start getting more material out there."
Rolan's passion for eclectic music serves him well as host of the internet radio show whose name, "The Electric Boogie Lounge: Live From The Pump House," draws inspiration from his father's well known song "Electric Boogie."The host station, Transcend Pop Culture Radio, is an offshoot ofTranscendental Music (TMusic), the premier charity record label founded by filmmaker David Lynch-which draws on its connections to the music community in an effort to raise funds for the David Lynch Foundation's six charitable programs. The proceeds from Bolan's show go to help inner city kids.
Because of his last name, most people associate Rolan strictly with Marc Bolan and his legacy-but Rolan's mom, Gloria Jones, was a musical stalwart in her own right. Best known for her recording of the original version of "Tainted Love" in the mid-'60s, she was a notable recording artist, stage performer and Motownsongwriter who penned tunes for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Commodores, The Four Tops and The Jackson 5. She sang backing vocals and played clavinet with T. Rex from 1973 to 1977 and was his girlfriend at the time of the fatal crash; Jones was the driver of the car, a Mini 1275 GT, and were on their way home to his Richmond property when fate intervened.
In 2011, as part of Jones' mission to keep Marc Bolan's memory alive, she partnered with The Light of Love Foundation and Rolan to launch the Marc Bolan School of Music & Film in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The school hopes to educate 100 students who have been orphaned by the civil war in West Africa, or who have been rescued from blood diamond mines. With assistance from Jed Dmochowski-the frontman of a Marc Bolan tribute band-Jones raised money for the new school, whose goal is to "heal through music." Dmochowski has played fundraising shows for the school, in order for them to buy musical instruments; he has also flown to Makeni to perform for the students.
Marc Bolan once said, "I want to give every child the chance to dance." In line with that, as per the mission statement on the website, the school aims "to provide children with the opportunity to work together in teams to create an inspiring and motivating experiment that will give them a sense of security and purpose. They will be nurtured by teachers who will give them faith in their own abilities, in the value of childhood and learning. They will learn to develop and trust their own sense of judgment and application, to grow as musicians and people."
"I'm a guardian of my dad's legacy," Rolan says, and though by British law my parents were not married at the time of the accident, we are both committed to carrying on in his name, whether that means controlling the bootlegging that people do or creating projects and foundations that make the world a better place. We're making all the right decisions on my dad's behalf."
Rolan's earliest memory of hearing his father's music was when his grandparents came from England to L.A. (where Jones and Rolan relocated after the rocker's death) for his kindergarten graduation. "They bought me a 45 record player and gave me a bunch of dad's records to play," he says, "and I thought it was cool and the music actually triggered a few memories of hearing those songs and being with my dad before he died. As I grew older in a musical household, photographs of him were all around, and his spirit was always right there. It got to the point in my childhood where I thought everyone else's parents were rock stars.
"Another defining moment was when Def Leppard incorporated a clip of '(Bang A Gong) Get It On' in their 'Rocket' video," Rolan adds. "That was the first time I experienced my dad physically moving on film. It was great to learn just how much his music meant to people back when he was touring and recording, and I'm thrilled to see that later generations have enjoyed and been inspired by it just as much. I'm dedicated to celebrating the legacy of my parents, Marc and Gloria, respecting my past while making the music I am passionate about and enjoying the future of where I'm going in my life as an artist."