Roland Grapow

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Roland Grapow
Masterplan - Headbangers Open Air 2015 09.jpg
Grapow in 2015
Background information
Born (1959-08-30) 30 August 1959 (age 63)
Hamburg, West Germany
Genres Power metal
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1980–present
Member of Masterplan
Formerly of

Roland Grapow (born 30 August 1959 in Hamburg) is a German guitarist and music producer. He is best known for his time in the power metal band Helloween, [1] with which he played for twelve years, after replacing founding member Kai Hansen. He subsequently created the power metal band Masterplan in 2001, which is still active today. [2]


Life and career

Early years

Grapow started playing guitar at age 12. His father bought him a guitar and had him take lessons, but Grapow couldn't stand the theory part and his teacher told his father that the boy didn't have any talent for guitar playing. [3]


Prior to joining Helloween, Grapow was a member of the heavy metal band Rampage. He joined the band in roughly 1979, and played on two of their studio albums: Victim of Rock in 1980 and Love Lights Up the Night in 1982. He left Rampage around 1983. He was then fairly inactive musically, and made a living as a car mechanic until Michael Weikath called him to offer him a position in Helloween in 1989. According to Grapow in 2017, "If Weiki didn't call me at that time, I would still be a car mechanic and I'd be an old guy with heavy bones and pain, still working on cars, dreaming about my hobby I had a long time ago, being a musician." [4] Grapow played on the Helloween albums Pink Bubbles Go Ape , Chameleon , Master of the Rings , The Time of the Oath , High Live , Better Than Raw , Metal Jukebox , and The Dark Ride .

Solo work, Masterplan

During his time with the band, Grapow also formed a solo project. The first release, The Four Seasons of Life , featured members of Helloween playing backup, with Grapow trying his hand at singing in addition to playing guitar. On the second album, Kaleidoscope , current and former members of Yngwie Malmsteen's band participated.

In 2001, Grapow and bandmate Uli Kusch were fired from Helloween due to musical and personal differences. In 2012, in an interview with Metal Shock Finland's chief editor Mohsen Fayyazi, Grapow stated:

I felt very secure in Helloween. In the middle of the tour I said something to Michael and Markus and I said my opinion about something. I wanted to make something the best for the band and I think they misunderstood me, like I wanted to be leader. I was telling the truth and that's how I am… It was a great time in Helloween… but I was happy when I left the band after the Dark Ride because it's one of my favourite albums, it totally changed my life. [5] [6]

Grapow and Kusch decided to go on with the side project they had been planning and formed the band Masterplan with former Ark and the Snakes singer Jørn Lande. After Kusch left the band in 2006, Grapow became the leader and main songwriter of Masterplan.

Production work

Grapow resides in Zvolenská Slatina, Slovakia, where he runs his own musical studio—Grapow Studios. [7] Among many other projects, Grapow produced Czech metalcore band X-Core's 2008 album In Hell [8] as well as their 2011 follow-up, Life and Stuff. [9]

In 2011, he mixed the album Motherland for the Italian progressive metal band Daedalus and played the guitar solo on the song "Underground". [10]

In 2012, Czech power metal band Eagleheart recorded their second album, Dreamtherapy, for Scarlet Records, with Grapow producing, mixing, mastering, and contributing guest vocals and guitar solos. [11]

He also produced Slovak symphonic metal band Anthology's album The Prophecy. [12]

He has worked extensively with Spanish power metal band Lords of Black, producing their albums Lords of Black and II . [13]


In 2017, Grapow joined Czech metal band Kreyson as their lead guitarist. [14] In 2019, he announced his departure from the band. [15]

Partial discography

Year of ReleaseArtistTitleLabel
1980RampageVictim of Rock Independent
1982RampageLove Lights Up The NightIndependent
1991 Helloween Pink Bubbles Go Ape EMI
1993Helloween Chameleon EMI
1994Helloween Master of the Rings Castle Communications
1996Helloween The Time of the Oath Castle Communications
1996Helloween High Live Castle Communications
1997Roland GrapowThe Four Seasons of Life Snapper Music
1998Helloween Better Than Raw Castle Communications
1999Roland GrapowKaleidoscope SPV/Steamhammer
1999Helloween Metal Jukebox Castle Communications
2000Helloween The Dark Ride Nuclear Blast
2003 Masterplan Masterplan AFM Records
2005Masterplan Aeronautics AFM Records
2007Masterplan MK II AFM Records
2009Tony Hernando Actual Events Lion Music
2009 Saratoga Secretos y Revelaciones Avispa Records
2010Masterplan Time to Be King AFM Records
2010 Sebastien Tears of White Roses Escape Music
2012Saratoga Némesis Avispa Records
2013Masterplan Novum Initium AFM Records
2014 Lords of Black Lords of Black Lords of Black Records
2015Serious Black As Daylight Breaks AFM Records
2015 Level 10 Chapter One Frontiers Records
2015Paco Ventura Black Moon Fragile Crystal Avispa Records
2015Sebastien Dark Chambers of Déjà Vu Pride & Joy Music
2016Lords of Black II Frontiers Records
2017Masterplan PumpKings AFM Records

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  2. "Masterplan History". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  3. "Roland Grapow". Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  4. "ROLAND GRAPOW Says HELLOWEEN Doesn't Want Him to Take Part in 'Pumpkins United' Tour". 20 August 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  5. "MASTERPLAN's Roland Grapow - "I Think HELLOWEEN Would Be Much Bigger If They Would Continue With The Style Of Keepers Albums"; New Audio Interview Online". BW&BK. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  6. "Interview With MASTERPLAN Mainman And Ex-HELLOWEEN Roland Grapow". Metal Shock Finland. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  7. "ROLAND GRAPOW: With our new album we are going back to our roots". 27 September 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  8. "X-Core's 'In Hell' Produced by Roland Grapow, Featuring Guest Appearance By Gary Meskil". 11 August 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  9. "X-Core - Life and Stuff". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  10. "Daedalus - Motherland". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  11. "Eagleheart - Dreamtherapy". 17 January 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  12. "Grapow talking about album "The Prophecy" of band Anthology". YouTube . Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  13. "Roland Grapow Is Okay With Not Being Part of Helloween Reunion: 'I'm Not Really Living in the Past'". 14 April 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  14. "KREYSON Ládi Křížka má Terranu a Grapowa". Spark Rock Magazine. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  15. "INTERVIEW WITH ROLAND GRAPOW (MASTERPLAN, ROLAND STUDIOS, EX-HELLOWEEN...)". Black Phoenix Rising. Retrieved 23 January 2019.