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INTERVIEW: MICHAEL PAULSON of Volbeat – October 2014

| 18 October 2014 | 2 Replies

Some artists are on the must speak to list because you dig the music THAT much!!!  For me, Michael Paulson of Volbeat is one of those artists.  Since the first time I heard that voice over the killer rock riffs, I had to learn more about these rockers from Denmark – and then I was given the opportunity to sit down and chat with Michael earlier in the day before they destroyed Detroit on their co-headlining tour with Five Finger Death Punch…


Toddstar: Well, we have Michael from Volbeat here with us for a few minutes. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule.

Michael: Thank you.

Toddstar: First off, let me congratulate you, “A Warrior’s Call” just went gold in the U.S. How good does that feel?

Michael: It’s good. It is good. It’s definitely something. We could not even foresee that it had a chance on the radio. It’s just not that type of song in Europe that will make it to the radio. When we heard that we had a good spot in American radio, that was really something. Now that it went gold it’s like … I think we’re still trying to actually, have a feeling that it’s real. We never really chased the radio stations, but we are definitely aware of that all the amazing work they have been doing playing our songs. That’s something we’re very thankful for. We know that when Volbeat is or bands get out to a lot of different listeners the radio is a keyword, so we’re very proud of that. I mean, we thank the radio stations.

Toddstar: That being said, your singles have predominantly done better in the States than even in your homeland.

Michael: Yeah, it is.

Toddstar: Do you have any idea why the U.S. seems to grasp singles more than…

Michael: I don’t know. It seems like America are more … Also when you talk to bands, you even have festivals that’s very much controlled by radio stations. We don’t have that in Europe. The hits that we have … We have some few number one hits in Denmark too, but that was more of some of our softer songs, but it seems like it’s taking off real crazy in the States. We’re just happy that some of our more heavy songs have a chance in the radio. Thank you for that.

Toddstar: Speaking of that, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies came out in 2013, it’s still predominantly on the radio as with “A Warrior’s Call,” what about that album do you think that carries itself for a couple of years now?

Michael: I guess I can go back to the question before, why it is working over here from Denmark. I guess the American listeners and even the radio stations they can hear that it’s a European band being inspired by American music. I guess somehow that has a charm. I know I’d like to believe that. You guys over here have so many great bands. You have a great music history. But it’s a little bit weird when you turn on the American radio that a lot American band sounds pretty much the same. Very good song writers and good songs, nothing wrong with it, but they’re basically sound a little bit so much like the same. I guess the band coming from small country like Denmark where I can hear that’s definitely some American inspiration here, but it’s also somehow something else. I guess maybe we were there at the right time where people over here needed something that’s a little bit more different, that they take it as a compliment that they can hear that we’re inspired by a lot of American artists.


Toddstar: Speaking of new recordings, you had two years between Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood and Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, and then other than the live album, which is phenomenal, there’s three years between that and the latest release. Will we have to wait another three years for a new release?

Michael: No. The thing is some of the first records we did they were released very short after each other and very quick. That’s fine too. Back in the days bands were releasing album every year, some bands were even releasing two records a year. But I can honestly say that we had been so busy on the road that it’s been tough to find the time to go back to the studio. Just as we were planning on going into the studio, we were offered another tour. It is a tough business. Bands on these days are not earning that much money on making records, they are making the money on the road. The road work. It takes a lot of time to, if you want to sell a record, you simply have to be on the road so people can recognize you. That goes hand in hand. At the same time, we’ve been very careful we do not overexposed ourselves when it comes to releasing album. A lot of my idols at a certain time they were releasing album almost, yeah, as I said, every year. It was almost too much to comprehend and swallow. It’s like, “Okay. I get that.” We’d rather have that our fans and stuff get a little bit hungry. It is fun, because when we go into the studio, those kinds of songs would have been done for a long of time and when we go on tour and we stand with this new record and we’re signing, we get this question a lot from fans like, “When are you going into the studio again?” It’s like I just heard the door slamming to the studio we just left. I take that as a compliment. It is beautiful. But no, it’s definitely … We’ve been working with a new material and we’re planning on going into the studio next year.

Toddstar: Cool. You talked about touring and you talked about the fans, let’s look at small towns, I mean you’re in Plymouth, Michigan tonight but not too far from here right is the city, Flint, Michigan with The Machine Shop where I know you guys had played a couple of times.

Michael: Yeah.

Toddstar: What’s it like when you’re going to a place like Machine Shop and you’re playing at small crowd that’s going to love the music?

Michael: We had some really cool shows at The Machine Shop. I’d like to go back there and just to play show. I know that we can play bigger stages, and that’s good too, but at the same time, The Machine Shop had some really good people there. It’s a cool place. The fans loved the place. I’ll definitely like to go back there just to play a show for the fun of it because of the respect for the job. For us, everything has to make sense, it has to be fun but also at the end of the day you also have to connect to the budgets that we have on the road. It’s for a long time you pay to play, and you can’t keep on doing that. Of course, at a certain time, you have to be a little bit more business wise. Things are going really good now so there will be a room to do side shows at The Machine Shop and do a little bit more small weird stuff, that something that’s really different.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about you for a minute, who made you want to pick up a guitar and stand behind a microphone and do this for a living?

Michael: When it comes to being a musician, I’m thinking it would be Elvis Presley. That was more about being on stage and singing, it looks like fun when I was watching him with his … The clothes he was wearing he looked like he was singing Superman. That looked fun. When it comes to the instrument, the guitar, I will have to say Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. When I heard him play the guitar on the first Black Sabbath album, I picked up the album from my uncle’s house, that was … That did it. I knew I need a guitar.

Toddstar:         Cool. If you could go back in time and play or sing on any record what would it be?

Michael: That’s a good question. I don’t know, there’s so many great albums and I will not destroy them. They are pretty good I don’t think they need my help for anything, but if I could just be a fly on the wall in the studio, that would be the record Elvis did called Elvis back in Memphis, fly on the wall, the first single he was recording in Sun Studio, that would be nice too.

Toddstar: That would be classic. If there was one writer or performer that you could collaborate with, that you haven’t already, who would it be?

Michael: Again, so many good ones out there and the list continues. That would be … So many great artists … Oh, yeah, I know that Jerry Lee Lewis is still around. We’re having him on the piano or something.

Toddstar: That would be cool. I know you’re busy with everything going on. You guys have a gold single. You have number one albums, top 10 albums. You’ve got this big tour right now that you called headlining. Everything is going right for you. At this point, what’s the meaning of life?

Michael: The meaning of life? That’s being good to people. You can only expect they’ll be good to you. Life so short, so for me it’s waking up happy and going to bed happy. You do that if you have good family and if you have good friends, and obviously, if you have a good wife or a husband or girlfriend/boyfriend. Treat people well and expect them to treat you well and you cannot wish for more, good health.


Toddstar: Very cool. When’s the last time you were interviewed by a guy in a suit?

Michael: Yeah, I was just about to say. I feel like I’m under arrest. I was trying to think what I did wrong. No, no. I think it’s quite cool.

Toddstar: Thank you so much for your time, Michael. We appreciate it. We can’t wait to see the show tonight.

Michael: All right. Thank you very much.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Comments (2)

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  1. Dale Lancaster says:

    I can’t believe this has no comments. This was fun reading. As if I wasn’t already a huge fan of Michael, this made me like him even more. I’m also a guitarist, but I’m no where near his abilities. Volbeat and the music they create changed my life. Michael Paulson inspired me to become a better guitarist, and now a better person. Thank you both.

  2. Thanks Dale – this was SO MUCH FUN!!! Couldn’t believe I was sitting in the room with him, let alone getting the opportunity to pick his brain and chat!!!

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