Steffen Jungersen

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I’LL BE DAMNED – part II

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The second part of steffenjungersen.dk's latest Volbeat interview – Michael on gratitude, friendships, decency and meeting the son of Johnny Cash

Read the first part of the interview here

Danish version

It feels like an eternity end then some ago but really it has only been a few years since I asked Michael Poulsen how he'd react if the Volbeat fairytale came to a halt tomorrow.

The question occurred at a time when Volbeat's continuing rising popularity basically was "only" a European phenomenon and the ultimate American breakthrough was still only a glimmering light further down Route 66.

The answer then?

"I think I'd be rather okay with it actually. What we've achieved and experienced this far, nobody can take away from us."

That was then and this is now. Volbeat's success has only increased since that question was originally put to Michael. So no wonder that it's a happy man who joins me for this interview.

"Yes, I'm happy and content, you bet I am. I have no complaints apart from the programming on Danish TV now that I am at home for a change," Michael laughs.

"No seriously. I wake up to my dream job every morning. I always remember to remind myself of that fact, because not everybody are that blessed. I'm grateful for that, for my wonderful family, for the best friends in the world. . . And my dog ...

... It would be nice though if there was something decent on the TV when you're up late (laughs). I can't really get very inspired by reality shows and shit like that."

Steffen Jungersens interview with Michael Poulsen December 10 2014

Respect and space
Really Michael. Is there nothing – except Danish TV – that makes this friendly man mad.

He laughs yet again when the question comes. Can nothing make him angry – no matter how well the Volbeat machine functions.

"Oh yeah, there's a lot. But I don't let the day pass without having solved whatever problems there might be, and then I'm happy again," Michael says.

"No really. I just want people to behave decently, show each other respect and make space for each other. Basically and simply. That goes for everybody and also for our collaborators in the business."

Even if he will not say it one gets the feeling that it's the shallowness of parts of the rock business that sometimes get a frown to appear on the Poulsen forehead. Volbeat and their closest tour crew have the greatest relationship ever though.

"I cannot stress the importance of maintaining the friendship and brotherhood in the band strongly enough. We are more together than we are we our families after all. It's going really well though – in terms of friendship, chemistry, mood and sheer joy of working with Volbeat," he smiles.

"It's really always been like that. Of course there are problems every now and again but it's really rather rare.

Obviously it can be a tough  job touring so intensively, but really we don't think about it that much because we think it's fun. We love what we do and I still get inspiration for new songs.

Having said that we really enjoy taking off the Volbeat cap when we're home and just be hillbillies."

Rollercoaster
The days are long gone when Michael Poulsen could jump off the Volbeat rollercoaster occasionally. These days it's going too fast.

"Yes it does but I'm fine with it," says Michael.

"Even though we've toured so much I'm writing new song – I work on them at home right now. With a little luck I'll reserve six months from the end of the year to songwriting."

This coming Saturday Volbeat embark on their tour of European festivals with a headline show at the Sweden Rock Festival. The tour also see them playing two shows in their native Denmark in August.

"Those shows are not exactly the one's we look least forward to," deadpans the singer.

In the beginning of 2014 Volbeat played their first Australian shows ever. The circumstances was different than usual for the band who for the first time in a very long time was billed low on the bill and on smaller stages at the Australian festivals.

"That was fun. We still think it's fun when maybe we have to give ‘em a little more hell than we maybe have to in places where we've established the band already," Michael smiles.

"Having said that the Australians really welcomed us and we get just as surprised every damn time when we get to a new place and people actually know the songs. You stand there thinking "how the hell do you know that shit!".

The challenges are great. Like when you open for Metallica or have to take the stage right after Slayer – it keeps you on your toes that's for sure."

Cash junior
The interview is coming to an end. Finally though we have to let Michael share one of his biggest moments on the last US tour. When he mest John Carter – son of one of Poulsen's biggest idols Johnny Cash.

"Our guitarist Rob used to work with John Carter who owns a studio in Nashville. He has built a new house on the grounds where Johnny Cash used to have a house that later burnt down," Michael tells.

"Rob rang him and asked if he was all right with us paying a visit. On the grounds there's a sort of hunting cabin that's been fitted as a studio where Johnny Cash recorded some of his last records.

It was quite an experience to visit a place where Cash used to work. I kind of felt that he'd been in that room, you know."

John Carter did know of Volbeat by the way. It would after all be surprising if he did not, considering that Michael has mentioned his dad as an idol and inspiration time and time again.

"He didn't have any of our records but he knew the name. He told us that no matter where he went, people talked about Volbeat," Michael says.

"Of course I told him how much his dad has meant to me."

Before they parted Michael of course had to show John Carter his tattoo (Poulsen has "J.R. Cash" tattooed across his chest, ed.).

"In all modesty I had to show him the tattoo. He actually got a little touched by that."

Which brings us back where the first part of this interview started:

I'll be damned!

Steffen Jungersen review of the Volbeat concert in Copenhagen december 2013

 

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