VOLBEAT's MICHAEL POULSEN On Split With ROB CAGGIANO: 'Three Weeks Before A Tour, We Suddenly Became A Three-Piece'

August 15, 2023

In a new interview with Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf, VOLBEAT frontman Michael Poulsen spoke about the band's recent split with longtime guitarist Rob Caggiano. Rob's replacement for VOLBEAT's current tour is Flemming C. Lund of the Danish extreme metal outfit THE ARCANE ORDER. Michael said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's a statement on the net [about the split with Rob], and I can't go into too much details. But the thing was, three weeks before a tour, we suddenly became a three-piece. And, of course, for us, [we initially thought], 'Let's just go out as a three-piece. This is the situation we are in now.' But at the end of the day, when we were sitting down and I was about to do the setlist, of course we became a little bit handicapped. So, there was different options to who we were going to give a call to help us out, but since I already worked with Flemming and I knew Flemming, I gave him a call, even though he said, 'I have no idea how VOLBEAT sounds like.' [Laughs] He's only into death metal. So he said, 'I just have to listen to a lot of VOLBEAT records, I guess.' Of course he knew VOLBEAT — everybody knows VOLBEAT in Denmark — but he was not listening to VOLBEAT. So he said, 'Give me a few days just to actually figure out what you guys are playing,' beside the stuff that you hear on the radio. And he took up the challenge, and we made an agreement and he's helping out VOLBEAT for this year."

VOLBEAT played its first concert with Lund on June 10 at the Rockfest festival in Hyvinkää, Finland.

Just five days earlier, VOLBEAT announced that it had officially parted ways with Caggiano. No reason was given for the split, but the remaining bandmembers said that they wished their "brother Rob all the best with everything he does in the future." They went on to thank Rob "for ten amazing years."

A day later, Lund commented on his decision to accept the offer to play with VOLBEAT on the band's 2023 shows, saying in a statement: "The cat's out of the bag! Sometimes unexpected things happen in life and this must be said to be one of them: I can now finally reveal that I will be playing stand-in in VOLBEAT for Rob Caggiano on lead guitar on VOLBEAT's upcoming summer tour. This means I'm playing all upcoming European festival shows in Finland, Norway, Sweden (warming up for METALLICA),Switzerland, Germany and Austria as well as the US/Canada tour in July and August.

"When I was asked by Michael Poulsen not many weeks ago if I wanted to help them, I was honestly at first very overwhelmed by the request and found it very difficult to see myself in that role. But after a little time to think and talk with those closest to me, it dawned on me that it was something I could not possibly say no to.

"So this summer takes a somewhat unexpected, but obviously insanely cool turn. I will try to enjoy every moment and just take in the many experiences and impressions that will surely be an experience of a lifetime.

"A big thank you must go to my fantastic workplace MCB for the great flexibility so that it could be successful, and not least to my better half Julie who, as usual, supported and stood behind me!"

THE ARCANE ORDER is a Danish extreme metal quintet which released its fourth album, "Distortions From Cosmogony", on June 9 via Black Lion Records.

Caggiano played on VOLBEAT's last four studio albums: 2013's "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", 2016's "Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie", 2019's "Rewind, Replay, Rebound" and 2021's "Servant Of The Mind".

An acclaimed musician, songwriter and producer, Caggiano joined ANTHRAX as lead guitarist in 2001, appearing on 2003 album "We've Come For You All" and 2004's "The Greater Of Two Evils". He was onstage with the band during the famous 2010-2011 "Big Four" tour alongside SLAYER, MEGADETH and METALLICA, and he played on and produced ANTHRAX's 2011 critically acclaimed album "Worship Music".

Over the years, Caggiano has also garnered five Grammy nominations as a record producer/guitarist and has worked with a very wide range of artists including CRADLE OF FILTH, ANTHRAX, VOLBEAT, THE DAMNED THINGS, H20, Jesse Malin and even Bruce Springsteen.

When Caggiano was enlisted as producer for VOLBEAT in early 2013, the collaboration was so phenomenally successful that he was quickly invited to join the band as well. The resulting album, "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", achieved major chart success on both sides of the Atlantic, as did "Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie".

Photo credit: Ross Halfin (courtesy of Q Prime)

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