Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen Talks Latest Album, Rob Caggiano’s Impact on the Band + More
For anyone that had seen Volbeat live, it’s obvious that the band puts their all into their performance, and the Danish rockers have been pouring everything they have onstage while on the road promoting their latest album, ‘Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies.’
When the band stopped by New York City, Loudwire had the opportunity to talk to frontman Michael Poulsen about the new disc, how his music is inspired by Western films and the addition of the band’s newest member, guitarist Rob Caggiano.
‘Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies’ is your latest album and there's an old-school, nostalgic vibe on a refreshingly modern album. How were you able to create that balance on the disc?
That’s a good question, I just write, everything comes straight from the heart and that’s basically how I write. I’m always inspired so I take that as a compliment but I can only say that I’m just writing from the heart and I continue to be inspired by really old school stuff from the ‘50s, ‘60s and even way back when it comes to the outlaws from the 1800s. I’m just happy to have the gift of continuing to be inspired.
Western films have been an inspiration for you; can you describe the first Western film you saw and how it impacted you?
You know what, my father was watching so many Western movies that I have no idea which one was the first one, of course there was a lot of John Wayne. I think the one I was watching the most was ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ because my father was really into Charles Bronson and I can still watch that movie today. It’s an amazing Western movie, the soundtrack is great, the movie and the characters are great.
You covered ‘Young the Giant’ on this record – for you is it more challenging to cover a newer band or a veteran like Johnny Cash, as you’ve done in the past.
It’s pretty much the same because you still have to give a same amount of respect for other people’s work. The thing is on all the records we’ve done so far, we’re only been covering very old material. A lot of the material was done by dead people and we were talking like, “Maybe we should give some respect to the living, too.” [Laughs]
There’s tons of songs we could have done from the ‘50s and ‘60s which probably would have fit the album better, but it was about us stepping a little bit of our comfort zone and for us it never meant anything for us to be 100 percent metal or 100 percent rock 'n' roll. We’re one hundred percent Volbeat from the heart; we play straight from the heart so we like to mix all those styles and genres together that becomes Volbeat.
For you, with Rob Caggiano being in the band, you've said that he caught on very quickly to the material. Has he inspired you or even taught you anything as a guitarist?
He definitely made me a better guitar player – we are two different guitar players with two different styles. When he was learning all the riffs for the new songs, he was catching up so quickly and his way of playing just suited my guitar playing so perfectly. Not that there’s been anything [wrong] with the previous guitar players, they’ve all been good in their own way – there was just something really tight about Rob’s playing style that you can definitely hear on the record. He has a lot of good solos on it as well; sitting and jamming with Rob also made me a better guitar player.
He’s the American in the band, so have you been giving him some language tips?
We’re still working on that, there’s definitely some Danish he needs to learn just for fun.
What would you say are the most important Danish words or phrases that he needs to learn?
[Laughs] I never thought about it, of course we already taught him to say ‘Thank You’ in Danish – that’s always a good start.
Our thanks to Michael Poulsen for the interview. Check out Volbeat along with HIM, All That Remains and Airbourne on the upcoming Rock Allegiance Tour. Click below for dates: