Danish rockabilly metallers, Volbeat are currently on a summer tour with Hellyeah and Iced Earth. On July 6, the quintet hit Boise, Idaho, where the Examiner caught up with drummer Jon Larsen to discuss the current tour, the band’s next album, finding a permanent replacement for their former guitarist and much more.
Volbeat was formed a dozen years ago in Copenhagen, and the trio of Larsen, singer and guitarist Michael Poulsen and bassist Anders Kjølholm remain together. The band’s weak link has been a revolving door at lead guitar which is currently being manned by Mercyful Fate axe man, Hank Shermann.
Larsen revealed that the band has “something in the works” with regard to replacing former guitarist Thomas Bredahl. He also spoke about keeping that stable fourth member of the band:
“Being in a band, I guess, to use that cliché, it’s a bit like a marriage. In a normal relationship, sometimes things work out and sometimes things don’t work out. When we’re together, we’re together 24/7 for several months or for however long, and, of course, we’re four very different people, always have been. Sometimes you need to change things. When things don’t work out, you change things, like you do in a normal relationship. If you are unhappy about your day job, you might wanna change that. I don’t think that we’re any more difficult than any other people. Sometimes changes happen.”
The band is currently out in support of its fourth album, 2010’s highly successful “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven”. Volbeat has never gone more than two years between records, but according to Larsen it seems that 2013 is now the soonest fans will get to hear new music.
“It kind of depends on when we think we’re ready, actually. Once this tour is over, we’re gonna go home and hide out in the rehearsal room for a while and see what we can come up with. I know Michael already, of course, has a lot of ideas, a lot of riffs, melody lines, ideas for everything from artwork to lyrics to themes, the whole thing, but, of course, everything needs to get done. And if we’re ready, then maybe late October, mid-November we will go into the studio. And if we’re not ready, then we won’t do it until next year.”
Like many metal bands the news of the Randy Blythe arrest in Prague weighs heavy on everyone’s mind. The guys in Volbeat are no different. “First of all, I think it’s terrible,” offered Larsen.” We know Randy, we know the guys from Lamb of God, because we toured with them, along with Metallica. It’s mind-boggling. And from what I hear — I haven’t really read too much about it — it seems like it wasn’t even Randy who was beating that guy up, it seems like it was more like the local security, actually, who was beating him up afterwards, from what I’ve heard. Somebody posted, I think on Blabbermouth, that there should be some footage available that will show that Randy definitely did not kill the guy, so to speak. But I think it’s really, really terrible, and our thoughts are definitely with him. I really, really hope that he gets out of there as soon as possible and goes home.”
On whether it scares him to know that musicians like him can now potentially be held liable for what happens when stage divers get injured at rock shows Larsen admitted:
“Of course, it’s scary. Everbody knows what happened to Dimebag [late Pantera/Damageplan guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott who was killed by a crazed fan onstage in 2004). I mean, how was that possible? But it was, and now the same thing with Randy. Of course, it makes you think a lot. What can you do to prevent stuff like that? That’s why we have — we always have, but now we definitely have to take better care of the barriers and make sure the security do their jobs and stuff like that. I mean people can get hurt, but for what happened at that show, that’s just terrible.”
After our interview the band performed for a sold-out over-capacity crowd inside the sweltering 100-plus degree heat ofThe Knitting Factory. The band brought the proverbial house down, and even had Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer join them on stage for “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza”.
You can watch the full interview at left and catch the band on the second half of their current U.S. tour which runs through July 19 in Baltimore.