Volbeat’s Rob Caggiano Talks ‘Seal the Deal’ Success, Big 4 Memories, U.S. Festival Explosion + More [Carolina Rebellion Interview]
Volbeat have played Carolina Rebellion several times. Each time they return they are a bigger success, and their crowd has grown along with them. Their latest album, Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie, has spawned a handful of singles including the chart-topping "The Devil's Bleeding Crown." That's the song they opened with at Carolina Rebellion, and they also played a couple more from that album including their new single "Black Rose."
In addition to proven favorites like "Lola Montez" and set closer "Still Counting," Volbeat pulled a couple surprises out of their bag of tricks. They played "Wild Rover of Hell" and "Another Day, Another Way." See our photos from their set above.
While at the festival, Loudwire sat down with guitarist Rob Caggiano, and we spoke about the response to the latest Volbeat album, his producing philosophy, the popularity of the U.S. festival circuit and more.
Were you surprised by the success of Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie, which was Top 5 in the U.S. and No. 1 in several countries?
That's kind of like the cherry on the cake. We just went in the studio and made the best record we could possibly make without any other intentions other than that, really. The fact that the fans are digging it and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, that's like the icing on the cake.
Before you joined the band, their previous highest charting record was 142. Now Volbeat has two Top 10 albums. Coincidence?
Must be the hat! (laughs)
There have been several singles released from the album so far. Are there going to be more?
We just went to radio with “Black Rose” a few weeks ago. That's the latest one.
Are you okay with the longer promotional cycle of a successful album where you can have singles for two plus years, or are you itching to make that next record quicker?
It's not something we ever really think about. We're just out here doing our thing and we're excited to be playing these songs for the fans, which is basically where our heads are at right now.
What led you to cover the song “Battleship Chains,” which was done by the Georgia Satellites back in the ‘80s?
We were in the studio and Michael [Poulsen] came in one day and he was like, “What do you think of playing this song?” and he played it. I was familiar with the song. Michael sounds amazing singing it so we really banged it out. We banged it out in like an hour and it came out really good. It's super easy because I think there's only two chords in the whole song but it's a great tune, great lyrics, great melody. I'm really proud of the version we did. It has a nice spirit to it.
Are you going to do another standalone live album or DVD?
I don't know. There's been some whispers about that. I'm not really sure what the plan is, but as of right now there's nothing in the pipeline, but we'll see.
You've seen the rise of U.S. festivals over the past 10-15 years. What do you attribute that to?
The weird thing is back in the day, with Woodstock that was the most legendary festival of all time, it seems like the U.S. was at the forefront of festivals. It seems like it died out somewhat over the years. Europe has always been festival driven. It's been huge over there for a long, long time. It's a great thing for all the fans because they get to see all their favorite bands and they can also get exposed to a lot of bands they've never heard of before.
It's an amazing thing for music in general whatever the genre is. There's EDM festivals, there's metal festivals, there's rock festivals. Whatever it is it's really good for music in general. I'm definitely happy that the U.S. is caught up again with all that stuff.
Does a band at your level still get a benefit out of playing shows like Carolina Rebellion as far as expanding your fan base?
Yeah, any time you get on a bill like this. This is a great show, a lot of great bands on the bill. It's run really well and we love playing here.
You’ll be playing shows with Metallica on their upcoming tour. How do you approach a stadium show compared to a smaller venue?
There's no difference. We do what we do. It doesn't really matter how many people are there. That's just the kind of band Volbeat is. We're going to do what we do.
We're coming up on seven years since the Big Four shows.
Time's flying isn't it? That was surreal; that was crazy. It was amazing. Those guys would have all the other bands onstage with them for one song. That to me was the most insane thing. Just jamming with Hetfield and Kirk and those guys was amazing. Mind blowing. I'm not the same anymore.
Are you able to do any writing on the road?
Occasionally when it's our headline tour and at soundcheck we will kick around some new ideas. But more often than not, it happens when we're off tour and in the rehearsal room.
Are you a riff collector?
I sing riffs. I sing riffs in my phone and then I try to figure out what the f--k I'm singing. (laughs)
Do you have time these days to do production for other bands?
Yeah, I just spent about a month and a half in London doing some collaborating with a variety of different artists. I can't say who, yet. I do stuff all the time. The last full album I did was the Jim Breuer record, which I'm really proud of. It came out killer and Jim is one of my best friends at this point. He's an amazing singer, one of the best singers I know actually. He sounds great on the album and we had a blast making that one. That's the latest one I did full album wise.
Is there anything that you learn in working with other artists that you can bring back to your own band?
Yeah. Every time I make a record or I collaborate with someone it's a learning experience for me, as it should be. That's the beauty of music. Every time you make music you grow or you should grow.
I've heard it said that with a good producer you shouldn't be able to tell if they've worked on an album because it doesn't change the band's sound. Is that an axiom you go by?
That's something that I would say. Every time I go to make an album for a band I always try to keep their sound and their spirit intact. A lot of times these days, especially in the metal world, a lot of producers have their own sound. However amazing that might be, I don't know if it's a good thing to apply that to every record.
Back in the day if you take five records and you take the vocals off, you take Master Of Puppets without the vocals you still know it's Metallica, right? You take AC/DC Back in Black, you take Brian Johnson off, you know it's AC/DC. I think that's the way it should be. Every band should have their own sound. Every record should sound totally different.
Is there going to be a new The Damned Things record? There have been rumblings.
There's rumblings all right. We'll see.
Volbeat are one of the few bands that are not charging fans for meet and greets.
No, we don't charge for meet and greets. Why? We love meeting the fans. For us, if it wasn't for the fans we'd have no gig. For us, we don't even think about it, it's something we do. We try to make it as fun and organized as possible. We do it through the website, the fan club, and we try to run it very pro. But if it wasn't very pro we'd be outside by the bus meeting everyone the same way. We usually do a little of both anyway.
How's your Danish these days? Is it getting better?
My Danish is horrible.
You should take one of those courses and all of a sudden you're fluent in Danish and they don't know it and you can understand everything they are saying.
I've thought about it. I did think about it. (laughs)
Our thanks to Rob Caggiano for taking the time to speak with us. Pick up Volbeat's 'Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie' album at iTunes, and see their upcoming tour dates here.
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