Rob Caggiano (Volbeat): 'We want to create an experience for the fans'

Band of joy

credit: Ross Halfin

Guitarist of the Danish rock band discusses their potent cocktail of metal, rockabilly and more ahead of their UK tour

Metallica, Slayer and Korn are undeniably some of the biggest names in metal. But they're not exactly a barrel of laughs. Volbeat bring a big dose of fun to the world of monster riffs. After singer Michael Poulsen disbanded death metal group Dominus in 2001, he expanded his outlook and embraced more diverse influences, mashing together metal and rockabilly.

'Volbeat to me is a just a rock'n'roll group,' says the group's American guitarist, Rob Caggiano, taking a break between shows as the main support on Slipknot's current US tour. 'There are metal and pop influences, punk, rockabilly, country, but at the end of the day, it's a rock'n'roll band.

'Why does rockabilly and metal work so well? Who knows. It's just the stuff we listened to growing up, we definitely wear our influences. A lot of bands take themselves too seriously. We love what we're doing when we're up on stage, there's a certain interaction between us and the fans that we thrive on. We're definitely having fun doing what we're doing.'

Caggiano is a relatively new member of the Danish group. 'When I was younger, the two guys that really got me were Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young [AC/DC]; from here that turned into the big four – Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax – that really, really helped shape who I am as a guitar player.' He ended up joining Anthrax in 2001 playing on multiple records and tours. 'I'm really proud of what we accomplished together; they've always been one of my favourite bands and always will be.'

He first crossed paths with Volbeat when the Damned Things (a rock supergroup featuring Caggiano alongside Fall Out Boy's Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, Anthrax's Scott Ian and Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley) supported the Danish rockers in 2010.

'On that tour, I'd jam a song with them on stage every night, it was a blast, we had a really good time. They really liked the Anthrax stuff I'd done and my work as a producer.' He had produced records by bands such as Cradle of Filth, 36 Crazyfists and Machine Head and was hired by Volbeat to work on 2013's Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, ending up adding several guitar solos to the recording. 'We just really hit it off, it just kind of worked out,' says Caggiano, who ended up joining the band in 2013.

Now the group are heading back to the UK to play dates in support of their new album Rewind, Replay, Rebound. 'We spent even more time in the rehearsal room, in the pre-production phase, really hashing out ideas and arrangements. We ended up with a lot of demos before heading into the studio, the whole process worked really well. We ended up with an album we're really proud of.

'For me personally I always feel like I have something to prove when I work on something creative. That's definitely a healthy way to go about it, we're all very passionate about what we do. Any time we do something, we want to make it as good as we can possibly make it. It's definitely not a case of going through the motions.'

Rewind, Replay, Rebound is another riotous mix of hard and heavy rock and metal with good-time blues and rockabilly. They channel the spirit of Elvis on 'Pelvis on Fire', hit hard and fast with the 37 second blast of 'Parasite', ramp up the thrash on 'Cheapside Sloggers' (featuring special guest Gary Holt of Exodus and Slayer) and go full on boogie woogie on 'Die to Live'.

'I think what we ended up doing on this record was that all the elements of the Volbeat sound have been lifted. The melodic stuff is more melodic, the heavy stuff is even more heavy, the retro stuff goes even further down that road. That song ['Die to Live'] is pretty far out, it has a really authentic vibe. He [guest vocalist Neil Fallon from Clutch] totally nailed it and the guys [Raynir Jacob Jacildo (piano) and Doug Corocran (sax)] from JD McPherson's band totally brought the song to life. Having the piano and sax was all part of us taking that retro thing even further.'

Their UK tour is an impressive package with support from Danko Jones and Baroness. 'We are definitely pretty picky and choosy about who we go out on the road with. We want to create an experience for the fans,' says Caggiano. 'We're big fans of what Danko does, we've toured with him a bunch of times and he sang on one of our records so there's a relationship that totally makes sense. Baroness, love what they're doing, big fans of their new record.'

Volbeat, O2 Academy, Glasgow, Tue 24 Sep, and touring.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

O2 Academy Islington, London N1

Sat 21 May

£35 / 0844 477 2000