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Volbeat vocalist, guitarist Michael Poulsen
Interview, Photos By NEIL SHUMATE  | January 20, 2015
Band Members
Michael Poulsen (Lead Vocals, Guitar)
Rob Caggiano (Lead Guitar)
Jon Larsen (Drums)
Anders Kjolholm (Bass)

Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark    

Genre: Hard Rock     Formation: 2001

OOTB Interview
It's a pleasure to speak with you again. Your band has been touring relentlessly across the states the past few years;
performing at major festivals, headlining and co-headlining.
Likewise. Yes, it seems like every time we come back, we sell more tickets. Our record sales are strong, we just
received our first gold record here in America, which is amazing for an artist coming from Denmark. We have a lot of
things to thank the American fans for.

Congratulations on the record and continued success. With Rob now in the lineup, how have things changed?
I’m not taking away anything from the other guys in the band, because they’ve all been great. But, some people stand
out and Rob is one of those guys. He’s an amazing guitar player. He has his own sound and he’s a really talented lead
guitar player and a rhythm guitar player. He fits in really well with the Volbeat sound. Stagewise he fits in too. He’s a
good guy and everything seems very solid.

The Volbeat live show is always a hard hitting, memorable experience. When you record and then bring that sound to
a live audience, what are the differences you see?
We’ve always been a live band. It’s not like we use that much time in a studio. If you can’t get it down quickly, then it’s
not going to work live if you ask me. I guess it also depends on what kind of music you play or how much time you like
to use in the studio. I’m just saying that basically we’re not a band who use a lot of time in the studio because we like
to be able to do the exact same thing live. I still think that we are better live than on record, because you get the right
energy from the band when you see us live.

What do you hope fans take home from a live Volbeat show?
Oh, you know, I know how it is to be a fan of music. I am a fan and I have my favorite bands. You can walk around for
weeks, months, years to see your favorite band so you have expectations. Just as long as they go home and they got
what they expected and hopefully a little bit more, that’s the key thing.

What’s been the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome within the band or personally?
There’s a few things, but the loss of my father is the biggest. It takes time and it’s definitely something that I’ll deal with
the rest of my life and it also makes you the person you are the rest of your life. You just have to deal with it. It could
be a lot of different things, but I’d definitely say that the loss of my father has probably been the biggest challenge of
finding my way back to what you call life.

How would you say you've started to overcome that loss?
Well, you know, I love my father. I had tons of respect for my father, he’s a good guy and a huge inspiration. I was
talking to him as much as I could every third day. It is weird losing your parents or family members, it is something you
wear those scars the rest of your life, but you also find your way to move on and use it as a positive energy to
accomplish new stuff.

When you write what are some of the influences you tie into your lyrics and music? Do you try to be vague or specific?
It’s very random. There be lyrics that are very emotional and very personal and then there be lyrics that are more of
stories about this and that. We are not a political band, we keep that in our houses. I’m not saying it’s wrong that
bands have political opinions, you know, that’s their thing. It’s the music, it’s the energy, you know, a good story here
and there and some emotional stories that people can relate to.

Is there a field or certain genre of music that you ever wanted to approach outside of rock and metal?
I think the doors are really wide open in Volbeat when it comes to writing. I had a death metal band before Volbeat and
I still love death metal. It’s just for me it was not the only thing I wanted to do when I start writing. I feel like I have the
freedom to do what I want to do when I’m writing in Volbeat. Who knows if something comes up in the future when
I need to do something. The thing is I almost feel I can do anything I want to do in Volbeat, so I don’t see any reason
for doing something else. I have some really good friends in this business, great musicians where it could just be really
great fun to do something together because they bring something special to the table and I believe I do that too, so
making a combination of that would be really great fun.

Although the band is still on the Outlaw Gentleman and Shady Ladies album touring cycle, are you in the process of
writing material for a new album?
I am writing and I do have songs that are already done, I just need some lyrics. I have a lot of small skeletons I need to
put some flesh on. When we’re done with this tour and going home for a week or two and then we go to England for
ten days and after that I have a year to write the next album. I definitely have lots of material right now, so it’s not like
I’m starting from scratch zero. I have lot of stuff.

Have you ever been in the studio or start writing and you run into the dreaded writer’s block?
I’m so much afraid about that thing. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve heard about it and it sounds like a curse. But, we’re
always well prepared when it comes to the studio, everything is written. There’s been a few times when I’ve missed
maybe one or two lyrics and I wrote it in the studio, but everything is well prepared when we are in the studio. When
I sit down to write, the most tough thing is to write the first five songs 'cause it’s like, “where do I start?” it’s not like I
don’t have anything, I usually write 30 songs and I skip through half of them. When I have the first five songs, I’m pretty
quick at writing the next eight songs or something.

It’s probably a hard process to narrow down what you already have.
Yeah, it is an interesting process.

Looking back, what are some of the major sacrifices you’ve made to have this career?
Definitely family time, that must be the biggest sacrifice.

Your family back home must be really supportive.
They’re very proud. I don’t have any kind of education, I was not the most easy kid when I was in school. I knew
exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to play music. My parents were totally not against it, they said you can do
whatever you want to do as long as you got work. Before making a living playing in Volbeat, I had work and I’ve been
working everyday of my life. I think I’ve only had one week in my life where I didn’t work. They gave me the freedom to
do what I wanted as long as I was happy and doing good.

Tour Dates
Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
©Copyright 2001-2015
The Strength / The Sound / The Songs (Rebel Monster, Mascot, 2005)
Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil (Rebel Monster, Mascot, 2007)
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (Rebel Monster, Mascot 2008)
Beyond Hell / Above Heaven (Rebel Monster, Mascot, 2010)
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (Vertigo, Universal, 2013)