Volbeat Recording New Album, Guitarist Reflects on Performing With Lars Ulrich
It was a HUGE day for Volbeat back in 2017. The band took over Denmark's Telia Parken on Aug. 17, becoming the first band ever to headline and sell out their hometown venue. Over 48,000 people flocked to join in the celebration of the band's career, as did a number of their countrymen and fellow musical peers who made guest appearances during their set making the evening all the more special. Lars Ulrich, Danko Jones, Mille Petrozza, Mark "Barney" Greenway, Johan Olsen, boxer Mikkel Kessler and more joined in the celebration, and now that special show is available as the group just released the live album/concert film, Let's Boogie! Live From Telia Parken.
We recently had a chance to speak with Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano, the lone American in the group, to get his reaction to being part of this special show for his Danish bandmates. Caggiano reflects on not only the highlights of this massive performance, but also speaks about what impressed him from the Seal the Deal and Let's Boogie album cycle. We also got some info from Rob on the progress of the band's next studio album and he speaks about playing dates with Godsmack in the new year. Check out the chat below.
Being the lone American in the group and not having been there from the start, I wanted to get your viewpoint on how big a deal this was for your bandmates to do this show in Denmark. What reaction did you get from the guys before and after this show?
Well obviously it was a huge deal. I mean, If I'm correct, I don't think a Danish artist has ever sold out that venue. So we were kind of making history right there, basically, and it was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation, and a lot of adrenaline, obviously. Everyone was just super excited. I mean obviously, it's their hometown and it was a really huge deal for the whole country.
This show is not only a celebration of the band's career to this point, you guys did a great job of representing Danish music as well. I wanted to get your take on what it meant to have someone like Lars Ulrich there or having boxer Mikkel Kessler come out and participate.
For us it was more of a celebration. I just think that anyone that's really been involved in some way with Volbeat -- you mentioned Mikkel Kessler; the song "A Warrior's Call" was written for him. So that was a huge thing, you know. So, having him come out for the audience was big. Everyone that was there either guested on a record or were a part of the Volbeat family.
Lars Ulrich is very much a part of our world. We're huge Metallica fans. Obviously, we did a bunch of touring with those guys. Someone like Lars definitely had a huge impact on each one of us in the band. So, having him there was a huge honor. And I'm still not actually -- I can't believe that that happened. [laugh]
I've seen you guys play a club show and amphitheater-type venues. But the first thing that struck me was that the light show was amazing. The production with the boxing right, the pyro, this is the type of show that bands dream of putting on. What discussions did you have concerning how you wanted this to look?
It kind of just seems like our productions are getting bigger and bigger. I'm curious to see what happens next. [laughs] Yeah, like you already said, we really wanted to make this show special and totally over the top. The boxing ring idea, that was an idea that manager Peter Mensch had, Peter over at Q Prime. I think it's absolutely brilliant. It worked great. It totally goes. You saw the DVD when Kessler walks out and goes down on the ring, it's super cool. It totally fits the music and also our album cover for the last record, Seal the Deal and Let's Boogie with the fighter on the front, it totally works. As far as that goes, we really wanted to make something special happen and also the lights, the look of the stage and show, our lighting guy Miller is great. I think he did a phenomenal job. It just looked big. [laughs]
There are moments in this concert where I get those pure rock 'n' roll moment chills. The crowd sing along to "Lola Montez," the lighting of the cell phones. I love the moment in the end, bringing the next generation metalhead kids onstage. As a performer when you're in a situation like this, are you able to appreciate the moment?
Oh yeah. Obviously, we're all very lost in the moment when it's happening. But, we're one of those bands we kind of do our thing. It doesn't matter how many people are there, you're gonna get a Volbeat show. It's just kind of what happens with us. We were just doing our thing and it was an amazing feeling to have all those people there celebrating with us. It was an awesome night.
The guest spots throughout are nice, but for you as a performer and especially getting a chance to look back at this event, do you have a favorite moment from the show?
Hands down, for me, was when we played "Enter Sandman" with Lars. That was amazing. [laughs] Again, I still can't even believe that happened. That was a lot of fun. We played two songs with Lars. It was a blast. So cool. That's definitely a huge highlight and it's definitely something I'm never going to forget.
This was a massively huge show and it's great that you were able to pull it off. Do you see yourself as being a band that can be a "stadium" band? Would you like to see that type of show for Volbeat more frequently in the future?
Absolutely. We did a stadium tour last year, a little stadium run - which is kind of crazy. We're doing our thing and we're making the best music we can possibly make. The crowd embracing it, the fans digging it, everything seems to be building and growing. It's a great feeling. We're definitely up for more stadiums, for sure.
Seal the Deal and Let's Boogie was definitely a successful album for you guys. Besides this show on this tour, which has to be the highlight, do you have favorite moments from that touring cycle? What impressed you the most about that cycle?
One of the coolest things I think we all started to see and realize is that the crowds that were showing up to those shows were really, really into the new material. I wouldn't say more so, but it just seemed like there were a lot of newer fans at these show. That was a cool thing to see and, its just - I don’t know what it means exactly but it's definitely cool. We put a lot of hard work into our last record, all the records really. It's just good to see the new tunes being embraced like that and connecting with people.
Does that give you a jumping off point for the new record? Or do you kind of start fresh with each record?
Well, we're actually in the studio right now working on a new record. It's definitely not going to be the same thing as the last record or the record before it. It'll be slightly different. Obviously we're right smack in the middle of it right now, so it's hard to say but definitely has a big rock feel to it, which I think is a cool thing. We'll see how we end up [laughs].
How far along are you in terms of putting out a new album. Is it getting close?
We still have tons of stuff to do. We're right in the middle of it right now.
Getting into the new year you're going to get the chance to play shows with Godsmack. The tour was just announced. What's your relationship with that band? Are you looking forward to seeing Sully and the guys for the upcoming run?
Yeah, Godsmack is one of those bands where I don’t really know the guys in the band. I've obviously met them, but I don't know them. Being in the music scene, it's a very small circle. For some reason, those guys, I don’t know them. Hopefully we get a chance to hang and connect on that level. But yeah, we're very much looking forward to that tour.
It's a great pairing. Looking back on the year that was, do you have any favorite albums or bands to look out for? Anybody you'd like to promote and say hey, they did an awesome job in 2018?
Yeah, there's one band in particular that Michael and I just got super into [laughs], but they've been around forever. I don’t think they have such a huge presence in the States, but this band called Suede from the U.K. They put out a new album called The Blue Hour that's absolutely phenomenal -- totally mind blowing. We just caught one of the shows here in Copenhagen, Michael and I. Completely blown away. Absolutely phenomenal band.
You're wrapping up the year and working on the new album. Anything else on the horizon?
Ah, that's pretty much it right now. We have our hands full with the new record and this new music. We're just working really hard right now trying to get the music out there. Obviously, you know about the Godsmack tour, so yeah, as soon as this record is done we're going to take it as far as we can and take it and play as much as possible.
Volbeat's 'Let's Boogie! Live From Telia Parken' is available now via the platform of your choosing at this location. Meanwhile, Volbeat will be back on the road this coming spring. Dates with Godsmack begin April 16 in Nashville, Tenn. See all of the stops here.
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