by Amy Harris
107 days ago
Danish metallers play U.S. Bank Arena this Sunday
Volbeat has been headlining huge shows in Europe for
nearly a decade and now they are bringing their Metal sound to the
States. In the position of up-and-comer again, they bring their high
level energy to American, which has translated into sold out shows
across the country. Currently Volbeat is touring on its new album, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies.
CityBeat was able to catch up with new band member
and former Anthrax lead guitarist Rob Caggiano in preparation for the
band's upcoming show in Cincinnati to discuss the transition into a new
band and his broad musical influences that have helped him evolve since
childhood. He definitely has brings a strong, veteran presence to a band
that was already rising to new heights. Check out Volbeat headlining
the Rock Allegiance Tour at US Bank Arena this Sunday with HIM, All That
Remains and Airbourne.
CityBeat: Could you tell me about the
moment in the studio working with Volbeat on their new album that you
realized you really could be in the band or it would be a good fit?
Rob Caggiano: They had asked me to be a part of it
two weeks into the process of recording. So it was pretty early on into
the whole thing. I think it really stemmed from the first meeting we had
when they called me initially when I left Anthrax and put the press
release out there. A couple days later I flew to Denmark and sat down
with Michael and went over the tunes and then ideas for the new record.
We ended up collaborating and making music together. It was such a fun
vibe and such a great chemistry. I think that was kind of a catalyst for
CB: I saw you guys at Rock on the Range
for the first time playing together. It was really amazing. What was
your favorite Rock on the Range moment this year?
RC: We definitely had a really good time during our
show. It was a lot of fun. Rock on the Range, to me, is one of the
coolest festivals here in the States. It seems like America is catching
up finally with what is going on in Europe with these outdoor festivals.
Rock on the Range is very well put together, very organized, just very
pro and well done. It’s always a good time. I did get a chance to see
Lamb of God play, about half their set and that was killer. It was great
to see Randy back up on stage.
CB: Has there been any hazing or initiation since you joined the band?
RC: Not really, I was doing all the hazing. It has
been pretty cool, pretty seamless, the whole transition. The way it went
down, it was very organic and felt very comfortable from the beginning.
It has been cool. We are having a blast.
CB: I know it must have been a difficult
decision to leave Anthrax which had been your job for the last 12 years.
What were the factors for moving on?
RC: I just had this feeling of being stuck. I just
felt like I was on a conveyor belt, doing that for so long. I still love
those guys dearly and they are like my family. I just wasn’t happy. It
got to the point where I just wasn’t happy and I was questioning myself
and what I am doing here. What are we doing? What’s going to happen in
the future? I just came to the conclusion I needed a change.
I think the main part of the problem was that Anthrax was
never a creative outlet for me. By no choice of my own, that was just
the way it had been. I think after all those years my heart wasn’t in it
anymore and I needed something different. It was definitely an
emotional, difficult decision to make but it was something that needed
to be done.
CB: What is your favorite guitar solo to play on the new Volbeat record and out on tour?
RC: I have two favorites. I enjoy playing the “Lola Montez” solo and the “Doc Holliday” solo.
CB: I know you have been producing for
several years helping out bands and doing Anthrax and Volbeat records.
Do you ever see yourself stepping out of Rock or Metal and producing
other genres? There are a lot of collaborations happening right now with
different genres of music.
RC: Absolutely. I never saw myself as a solely a
Metal producer. To be honest, when I am at home, I don’t really listen
to Metal. It’s probably because it is what I do all the time. My
influences are really varied and I listen to so many different albums
and genres of music. I just consider myself a musician. I put 100% of my
heart into whatever I am working on. With all these different
influences, I can definitely do a lot of different things and have done a
lot of different things in the past.
CB: What are you listening to right now? What is influencing you?
RC: My favorite record right now, if we are talking
about new bands and newer records, is this band called The National. I
think (they're) phenomenal.
CB: They are actually from Cincinnati.
RC: Yeah, it seems like they are doing pretty well
all over the world. Their new record is phenomenal. I think it is just
great, the production is amazing, the songs are great. I have never met
the band. I had heard the name but I had never heard the music. We were
doing a record signing in Copenhagen and I asked one of the girls at the
store what was her favorite record, what should I check out, what came
in that is the new hot record. She said to get the new National record. I
said “Ok, I’ll give it a shot.” She was right. I dig it. I like Lana
Del Rey too.
CB: Do you ever plan to sit down and write your Rock biography?
RC: Maybe one day down the road. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.
CB: I’m sure you have plenty of stories. What is your craziest tour story with Volbeat right now?
RC: It really isn’t that crazy on the road with
these guys. It’s pretty mellow. It is a very focused thing. We do our
show … the thing about being on tour, especially with Volbeat, we are
headlining a lot of these festivals in Europe so we are going on late.
We get there early at these festival sites and have a whole day of
nothing. It is kind of boring just waiting to go on stage. Nothing
really crazy has happened yet but I will keep you posted.
CB: I am shocked you haven’t seen crazy things at the European festivals with fans.
RC: I guess it depends what you call crazy.
CB: Yeah, your idea of crazy may be different than mine. You may be like, “That’s totally normal.”
CB: What was the name of your first band?
RC: My first band ever was when I was 14 years old. We were called “Wild Heart.”
CB: Do you keep in touch with those guys?
RC: Kind of. I saw the other guitar player recently in
Florida. He has been a friend of mine forever. The rest of the guys I
have not spoken to in a long time.
CB: Do you play any other instruments?
RC: Yeah, I play drums. I play keys. I do our
programming when I need to. I just make noise basically. I can pretty
much get anything to sound decent. As a kid, I started out playing drums
so that has always been in my heart. I went to the guitar from that.
CB: Your parents were supportive of the drums in the house?
RC: Well they bought them. Yeah, my parents were
huge supporters of my music. My Dad is really into the music thing. It
was definitely a very healthy atmosphere growing up for creativity and
inspiration. There was always music around which was cool.
CB: I started hearing about Volbeat and
listening to Volbeat about two years ago when they were just coming to
the U.S. Obviously they are huge in Europe, beyond headlining. What do
you think is the biggest difference so far in the U.S. shows and the
RC: In the U.S. it is very much on the rise, the
shows over here are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. With them, we
did two legs, two U.S. legs and every show was killer. Back in 2010,
that is when I first met these guys with my other band, The Damned
Things, they took us on tour. That’s when I first heard the music and
met the guys and became friends. Even that tour was sold out every
night. It was an awesome tour. Volbeat is definitely on the rise in
America. In Europe obviously it is crazy. It is just a really good
feeling all around. There is a lot of excitement about this band and the
new record, just good vibes.
by Amy Harris
Danish metallers headed to Columbus' Rock on the Range this weekend
Since the last time we saw Volbeat in Cincinnati, the band has blown up in the U.S. thanks in part to its tour with Megadeth and Motorhead. Volbeat is a first-class Danish Metal band that is taking North America by storm, playing coast to coast. The band has been touring the album Beyond Hell/Above Heaven for a couple years and are set for another run this summer.CityBeat recently spoke with band drummer Jon Larsen about Volbeat's evolution over the short period of time since they were last seen in Ohio. Volbeat takes the stage at Rock on the Range in Columbus this weekend along with the rest of the best acts in Metal and Rock music.CityBeat: I know you guys just got off the Gigantour Tour. Did you have any crazy Motorhead or Megadeth stories along the way?Jon Larsen: No, not really actually, not really any interesting stories to tell. We got along fine with both camps and everybody was in high spirits. I think it was definitely a great tour for all.CB: Rock on the Range is always a crazy time in Columbus. What are you looking forward to about the show and are you looking forward to seeing any other bands there?JL: Oh yeah, I am always looking forward to seeing Anthrax. We like to hang out with those guys. We have hung out with them a few times. We don’t know (Rob) Zombie or (Marilyn) Manson, but Anthrax is gonna be cool.CB: Growing up, what were your biggest musical influences?JL: We had tons of influences, everything from Social Distortion to The Misfits to Metallica to, say, Johnny Cash, everything. That is why we do what we do. We blend all of our influences together and that is what has become us.CB: What do you do on your down time on the road?JL: It depends on where we are. Yesterday and today we have been in Memphis, so of course we all went to Graceland and saw that. What else? I guess the usual things, relax, watch movies, go to the mall, restaurants, usual stuff, nothing fancy.CB: Did you say you went to Graceland yesterday?JL: Yes we did.CB: Is that the first time?JL: For me it was; Michael has been there three times before. For me it was my first time and it was definitely interesting to see where Elvis had lived.CB: Were you an Elvis fan?JL: I like him. I won’t say that I am a fan like Michael is, but of course I like the music that Elvis did. It was cool.CB: I talked to Michael last summer, the last time you guys came through Cincinnati at Bogart's, and I talked to him about a few of the songs. But since that time, “A Warrior’s Call” has really taken off and has become a sports anthem. Can you tell me a little of the backstory behind that song?JL: It was written for a Danish boxing champ Mikkel Kessler. Michael had gotten to know him and they had become good friends and one day they were joking around because we found out Kessler had used one of our previous songs as his walk-on music and Michael had said, “Why don’t you get some real music, a real song?” and he said “Why don’t you write me a song?” and he said “OK, I can do that.” So that is the story behind “A Warrior’s Call” — it was written specifically for Kessler but it seems like especially in America everyone from hockey teams to weddings are using that song for lots of stuff which is kind of fun in a way.CB: You guys were just kicking off your North American tour the last time we spoke in Cincinnati. What was the highlight of your tour through North America in the past year?JL: That is difficult to say, actually. I don’t know. We played two nights in Anaheim, Calif., which both sold out. We played in New York, which has always been great. We have done some shows at a place called the Machine Shop in Michigan which is always a great laugh. Those are some of the highlights; I can’t point out anything in particular.CB: Are you guys going to go back to Europe for summer festivals there?JL: We are going to do one festival in Europe this summer which will be in Germany. That is the only European festival that we are going to be doing this year.CB: Are you working on new music at all on the road?JL: Yeah, before we went back on the road for this one, we had spent a lot of time rehearsing trying to come up with some new stuff. A lot of bits and pieces, a few half-finished songs here and there, but nothing that is that finished yet. But we are definitely working on getting into the studio late this year and have a new album out some time next year.CB: What can you tell the fans to look forward to at Rock on the Range?JL: Well, good music, a few good laughs, a few bad jokes. I guess that’s it. Hopefully a lot of positive energy.