The Emergent Sea

Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans

Rich, real vocals, instruments, and arrangements, that carry you away and bring you back energized and inspired, like body surfing your soul in cool waves on a hot day; lyrics full of intent and vision "A feast for the ears, mind and spirit," (I.M.E)

Please Feed the Pagans

Roman Rhodes is the stage name of the persistently prolific Singer Songwriter of the Born Again Pagans. With over 200 songs to his name and the ability to write in almost any style, he is a veritable goldmine for any publisher, agent, or company with the intelligence to cultivate but not strip mine… were these The Good Old Days! Humorous and intelligent, he is one of the few on the planet fully understanding and able to expound on the Pagan worldview, in other words he’s Nobody. But then so was Odysseus. Here are some excerpts from an interview with Rhodes by the B.B.C. (Please note: that is the entirely unknown Barely Broadcasting Couch BBC and not the world famous British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC.)

BBC: Why do you use the name Roman Rhodes? RR: Well my mother was a piano teacher, and her father a pianist, so as the music seemed to come from that side of the family, I thought I’d honor it by using her maiden name. BBC: And you were a teacher of Roman History at University in Montreal, so the Roman comes from that, I suppose? RR: That’s right. The play on words: Roman/Roaming, seemed appropriate in theme to my troubadour, country-Celtic-folk-roots style of music, and the highly straight (read mainly acoustic in this case) high quality roads of the Romans, added to the name choice. BBC: So you feel your music will last as long as the Roman roads? RR: I like the way your eyebrows arch as you say that, you could work for the real BBC.
BBC: (Laughs.) RR: It was not my intention to arrogantly suggest my work will last long, hell its not even lasting short yet! But it is my aim to make well-crafted music. I didn’t say I achieved it, but I do aim for it. BBC: Well I think you have achieved it with this album. There is no song that is a let down from first to last; lyrical, rich and lovely. RR: Thanks. And that was a much nicer eyebrow arching this time. BBC: Thanks. What do you think of the couch? RR: Its inflatable isn’t it? One of our ex-Pagan bass players would love it. BBC: What band is he in now?
RR: His own: Dutch Wife.

BBC: How do you describe your music? RR: Oh these classifications are impossible to fit into. Yes its folk, but it also has jazz, blues, classical, medieval, Celtic, Cuban, 60s rock and now even traditional Japanese influences.
BBC: Who would you say are your biggest influences? RR: I was advised not to go there, but to insist on my uniqueness. BBC: Advised by who? RR: By you before the interview. BBC: Oh right. … Well ignore that. RR: Ha....briefly: I grew up with classical and 60s folk& rock. But later got into early Jazz and especially world, especially Irish, Latin American and some west Mali Bands.

Who are the Pagans? The pagans are a loose group of tight musicians (some drink a bit too) who have played in the bars, halls, hotels, and festivals around Japan for the last 10 years. They all have other bands, day-jobs, and multiple talents, as well as songs for a half a dozen albums. So support them by buying their CDs so they can bring you more! Feed the pagans!

How about some names? Of course, Long term pagans are:

Tim Wiltshire
Origin: West Virginia/ 12 years with Pagans / Own band: Guano Plays on album: Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, Slide etc. Style influences: 60s rock/ blues/ country/ soul / Celtic

Moray Crawford Origin: Scotland/ 10 years with Pagans / Own band: My-T-Hi Plays on album: Drums/ percussion Style influences: Punk, Rock, Celtic

Atsushi Akazawa Origin: Kyoto/ 10 years with Pagans / Various bands. Plays on album: Violin /Sanshien. Style influences: Celtic and Nordic fiddle, Okinawan traditional

On CD & for occasional lives

Masahiko: teacher Origin: Kyoto, Japan/ 4 years occasional shows w. Pagans/ Own band Instrument: Bass/ Style influences: Jazz & J-pop

Christopher Fryman-Documentary filmmaker Origin: Japan via England-Canada-Borneo/ Plays occasionally with Pagans / Own band: various/ Plays on album: trumpet. Style influences: Gypsy/ avant guard

Paul Fleisher: Jazz Musician
Origin: New York City/ This CD and Ripe/ Own band: Paul Fleischer Quartet Plays on album: Flute/ Piccolo/ Bass Clarinet Style influences: Jazz/ 60s rock(played back-up with Doobie Brothers)

John Hulaton: Composer Origin: Hawaii/ This CD/ Various bands. Plays on album: Flugel Horn/ Trumpet. Style influences: Jazz, Hawaiian, Pop & Classical

What’s a Pagan? The word Pagan comes from the Latin pagani. It simply means people of the countryside, referring to the fact that in the West, Christianity first took hold in the cities and the people of the countryside (the farmers, herders and fishers) continued to believe in the old ways and gods. Actually, however, all our civilization--our laws, politics, literature, science, math, architecture, art, history, philosophy, and even religion—has its roots in Paganism, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic and well world.

Born Again Pagan? BBC “Do most people laugh when you call yourself a Born Again Pagan?”
RR: “Yup.” BBC: “Does that bother you?”
RR: “No, that’s the idea. Laughter is a key part of Paganism. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed it chased away evil. It’s people who take their religion too seriously who do the most harm in the world. As that old Pagan, Lao Tsu said: ‘If they don’t laugh, then it isn’t the true way.’ ” (Tao Te Ching 41) BBC: “So its just a joke?” RR: “I didn’t say that, I said its funny. But then so is life…if you take the right perspective. Anyway, Nothing in life is just! See: not even the word just mean just just. There is also the point that the Renaissance (or rebirth) was the rediscovery and reawakening of Greek and Roman knowledge in Western culture. So in fact, all modern western civilization is a Born Again Pagan civilization.”…. After all, it is Pagans who believe in reincarnation, so they should have the right to use the term born again. (Barely Broadcasting Couch interview 1/4/2009) The full interview will be posted at www.romanrhodes.com under blog.

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