Universal - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen discusses the impact guitarist/producer Rob…
- Posted on Mar 16th 2010 7:30PM by Ken Bachor
Describe your band's sound in your own words.
Well, it's heavy and I think that we try to make sure every song has some catchy riffs for people to get a hold of. We've certainly gotten faster and more brutal, so there's that really aggressive element to it. I don't think we can write a song without something that we find to be catchy. It'll never go, because I'll never play it.
We played in North Carolina the other night and someone called us "riff masters." A friend in New England called us "riffcore" after seeing us live, so maybe "riff" should be in the description somewhere [Laughs].
How did your band form?
We formed in 2003, I had been living in Chicago and was sort of just working all the time. When I was younger, my first band had been with the drummer of Goes Cube, Kenny Appell. He and I always worked very well together and at that time, we were just sort of in this terrible little junior high band. After college, I got a full-time job and wasn't really happy with it.
One of my good friends, Matt Frey, who was the original bass player for Goes Cube, had just moved to New York City, so I went out and visited him and didn't have a place to live because my girlfriend and I had broken up. So I went out there and loved it, the first night that I was out there, I said "I'm going to move out here." So that's what I did.
There was this understanding between Matt and I that we were going to form a band. He didn't know how to play an instrument, so he got a drum machine. I said that I know how to play guitar, so I told him that I could show him how to play bass.
What are your musical influences?
We listen to a lot of metal; that is not a recent thing. Kenny really got me into the metal scene. I was always into punk rock and would get him into punk rock. Matt Tyson, who is our bass player now, is the biggest music head of the band. He actually runs Ear Farm, which is a really great music site. As far as specific bands go, we'll listen to Pink Floyd today probably, because we're exhausted and they're a little easier on the ears. But yeah, [we'll listen to] Metallica, Isis, Mastodon, Pelican, Botch, New Bomb Turks, some country music and some post rock. If you want to be real specific, stuff like Explosions in the Sky.
How did you come up with your band name?
Matt Frey and I would kind of mess around writing abusive e-mails to each other. What we would do is write abusive things, then translate those words into German using an online translator and translate the German back to English, which would make it sound really weird and funny.
So one time, he just signed an email to me with the words "go die" and translated it and it came back as "goes cube." We were like "that's hilarious" and he said "whatever our next band is it has to be called Goes Cube." We didn't actually put any thought into the band name, it was a given. A lot of times I have buyer's remorse about the name, sometimes I think it's kind of cool, but I wish we put a little more forethought into it. That's partly because this band has become the most notable of the other bands I was in.
What's your biggest vice?
I do like my beer and whiskey, but we're really responsible. I also like carbonated fruity drinks. When we were recording the record, I was drinking these raspberry spritzers. I then brought a six-pack on Orangina on tour so I could have something tasty to drink in the van.
What's in your festival survival kit for SXSW?
The very first thing we will be getting is that parking pass that they give us. The hardest thing to survive at SXSW is the gear-loading and parking situation. So that's going to be number one in the arsenal. Otherwise, we always make sure that we have some bourbon and some beers. Besides that, it's just guitars and amps.
Do you guys have a musical guilty pleasure?
Man, do we ever! Although I'm not sure how guilty I feel about it. We'll listen to some Hall & Oates; a good song is a good song. We love R. Kelly. 'Sex in the Kitchen' is always on regular rotation. Tim Capello's 'I Still Believe' from 'The Lost Boys' is a good track to tour to. We used to listen to Ice Cube's 'It Was A Good Day' every single day on tour.
Beatles or Stones?
I would go with the Beatles. I like both just fine, but I really don't like the Rolling Stones from the '70s on. I think the songs drag and are sloppy, it's just not my thing. I think Mick Jagger's vocals get a little obnoxious for me.
With the Beatles however, I like every era of their music. I think there are songs that the Beatles did that if released today, people would think they're great and still think it's a new sound. My favorite Beatles song is 'Cry Baby Cry.'
Who was your first celeb crush?
Madonna in the 'Like A Virgin' video. Was that the one where she's in a boat with a dude wearing a lion mask or something? I seem to remember watching that video and feeling some sort of affection for her.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
Our first big national tour was in 2007. We were playing Nashville at this small art gallery and this guy was opening who was a blues guitarist. He was this young preppy white kid who wore a pinstripe suit. He was drinking whiskey straight out of the bottle in large quantities and then as I understand it, he did a whole bunch of coke.
He busts back in the room we were playing in, and he was really high. His shirt was unbuttoned and he was sweaty, drinking a ton and he was getting mean. There's like six people at the show, keep in mind, and as we played, he just starts ripping art off of the gallery's walls.
He was destroying everything, literally taking paintings and sculptures, then smashing them. He also started taking paintings and beating us with them! The gallery manager was in his office, suddenly he comes out and sees that most of the artwork, which was for sale, had been destroyed. He freaked out and called the cops. The cops come and the dude tried to run away from the cops on a stolen skateboard. I can't believe he tried to escape from the cops on a skateboard!
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