Steffen Jungersen


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Exclusive interview with a relaxed Michael Poulsen of Volbeat in his new tranquil home in provincial Denmark

Michael Poulsen smiles a smile signaling equal parts pride and disbelief.

The reason for this?

I've just reminded him that Volbeat has sold almost 30.000 tickets for their only European show this year. It's set in fairy-tale writer H.C. Andersens hometown of Odense in Denmark on August 1st.

"I keep asking the promoter if they've added a headliner considering the amount of tickets sold," laughs Michael.

"But he vehemently keeps claiming that WE have sold that many tickets."

Of course Michael to a certain extent is being coy here. Having said that though it's still remarkable how Michael – even years into Volbeat's international stardom – still retains his boyish pride and joy when audiences see fit to show up at the band's shows.

"When we play homeground shows in Denmark we still get "butterflies" and quite seriously too," the singer smiles.

"Goddamn; they're STILL showing up in bigger and bigger numbers. I really don't have the words to express my gratitude. These people show up, they take days off work and they book hotel rooms or camping to experience Volbeat."

Michael shakes his head once again just to be on the safe side. Then he continues:

"Speaking of the Odense shows it's even been registered that people from 30 different countries will be coming. But in this instance first and foremost my respect and love go out to the Danish fans – they were the ones who set the Volbeat train rolling and it's because of them that we were able to take on the rest of the world way back when.

Well, "take on the world" they did and the world has reacted favorably – to put it mildly.

Volbeat's five albums since their debut with "The Strength/ The Sound/ The Songs" ten years ago have shifted by one truckload after the other and the band has long since conquered all of Europe and the US while other countries like Japan and Australia are joining the crusade as I write.

Old news you might argue.

It IS news though that when I speak to Michael he's been at home for five months. Quite remarkable really. Since their defining breakthrough with their third album "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood" seven years ago, Volbeat have toured and been so busy all over that they only rarely have spent more than a couple of weeks at home in Denmark.

"Yeah, five months at home in Denmark. Now that IS news," laughs Michael.

"I honestly can't quite remember when I was last at home for that long. I really feels like "never" you know. It's like it's always been like this: Home for a long enough to just fill up the bags with clean clothes and then we were off again.

Sometimes I think "how the hell did we ever finish the last three records?" We've made five now but the latest three have mainly been written on the road and then we'd just been home on a lay-over and been able to spend a couple of weeks on fitting the pieces together and finish those records.

And then we were back on the road again."

As the man says; it's been a grueling schedule. Quite honestly now it was time to take some time off back home, put the Volbeat caps on the shelf and spend time with (girl)friends and families.

"Yeah and be able to write new songs in another environment instead of bringing work along to work so to speak and write on the road.

But we really needed to reload. Personally I've left Copenhagen as you see and have moved out to the countryside in the vicinity of Næstved (provincial Danish town, ed.). I've gone home so to speak (Poulsen was born in Ringsted – a few miles from Næstved, ed.).

The move was definitely the right decision. I'm experiencing a sense of tranquility and a welcome emotional balance personally which feels really good."

Michael Poulsen is a self declared "hillbilly from Ringsted" and laughingly recalls his encounter with Næstved and the town's inhabitants.

"I've been home so long that there's been rumours of a "false Michael Poulsen" roaming Bilka (Danish supermarket chain. Ed.). Somebody stopped me in the street and asked me "ARE you the guy from Volbeat? We've heard that there's some imposter in Bilka"."

According to Michael the Danes are convinced that he lives in the US.

"People seriously ask what the hell I'm doing in Næstved and when I tell 'em that I live here and it WAS me you saw in Bilka they don't quite understand it," Michael laughs.

"I never cease to be surprised that THEY are surprised that we're just a bunch of hillbillies in Volbeat. It's like they're just about to ask where I've parked my spaceship when I speak to people. But only for the first few minutes until they realise that "well, he IS just a hillbilly like the rest of us."

"I met a guy the other day who just didn't understand why he kept running into me in Næstved. When I told him that I actually live here, he couldn't understand that I didn't live in the US. And then he says "well, is the US adventure over for you then?" and I had to reassure him that "no, everything's fine but after all we do need to go home and relax every now and again."

This interview was made just a few days before Volbeat embarked on yet another tour of the USA and Canada. As you read this they're there.

So far Michael has managed to write seven songs for the sixth Volbeat album – tentatively intended for release in spring next year. Songs Michael describes as the kind of songs that made him think "yeah, this is gonna be fuckin' great" before he went to bed.

The singer celebrated his 40th. birthday on April 1st. and he lets out a very convincing and loud "hell yeah!" when asked if he's now in the best place he could be in his life.

"Absolutely! I've never been better. I have settled down in the right place with the right girl and the bands has never been better. I have good friends ...

... and a good dog," he adds when the dog in question – his name is Oliver – comes by for A loving pat on the head.

"When I hear myself using the word "good" so many times I do feel I'm rather spoiled. But I've worked hard for what I've got and I take very good care of it."


"If I had any regrets or whined about anything I'd really deserve a clip around the ear, now wouldn't I?"

Yours truly refrain from that and instead accepts another beer and a tumbler of rum before we venture into Næstved where my favorite hillbilly gives me a guided tour of his new hometown ...


Dagens Sang



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