Volbeat: ‘Bands can’t survive on album sales alone’
Words: Eric MacKinnon
Michael Poulsen admits musicians can’t make money from record sales alone any more, and blames the downloading generation for the decline of record sales.
The Volbeat singer was speaking exclusively to classicrockmagazine.com during their visit to Glasgow when he ruefully discussed the topic of the changing music scene.
He says: “Some people out there don’t really get what musicians are trying to do. Because, let’s be honest, selling records doesn’t put food on the table any more, it’s touring. But some fans just think, ‘Oh, here comes the same CD with some live bonus tracks so they can try and cash in.’
“You know that it isn’t about that because you can’t sell records to make money any more. It’s more about giving the fans something special and trying to get the CD sales back again from all the downloading.
“I don’t think downloading has any soul or spirit. I personally don’t download anything. I like to hunt for the record or the movie that I want. No musicians these days are earning good money from selling records, it’s all about live shows. That’s what the fans have to understand – we are not trying to just make easy bucks, we are trying to get the record sales back in the stores again instead of people just sitting at home and doing it on the internet. It is actually killing the music industry. I get it now why bands have releases in those different formats. I think it’s a really good idea.”
Meanwhile, the Danish rockers are set to explore even more characters from the obscure past on future records after Poulsen touched on the inspiration for songs like Lola Montez – their current single – on the album Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies.
He says: “I wanted to bring in some characters that people weren’t so familiar with or maybe had heard a little about.
“Mostly the inspiration came from books, as I read a lot. The same with Black Bart, who is one of my favourite characters. Of those three names they are all real characters who were alive.
“Black Bart was definitely one of the most interesting and he always left that poem after robbing the stagecoach. We all know Doc Holliday, so I wanted to bring in one character that people could see and think: ‘Yeah, we know that guy.’ I didn’t want to bring in Billy The Kid and Wyatt Earp or people like that because while they are interesting, I don’t think we need another story about them.”
Poulsen also let slip that one track on the band’s next record will be a sequel to one on Outlaw Gentlemen.
He continues: “Characters are something I want to explore more, and there might be something more like that on the coming album. The song The Nameless One on our current album is a story which is going to continue on the next album.”
Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies has been getting rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, and Poulsen believes it is the band’s finest hour – so far.
He adds: “I’ve seen a lot of great reviews. We are always talking to our fans before and after shows and they seem to really appreciate the new record.
“Personally we [in the band] all pretty much agree this is our strongest work so far. And it feels good because we all work so hard and are dedicated to both live shows and records. So to be able to step it up is something we feel good about.
“With the new record there was a lot of new factors. Everything has come really naturally, which is how I work when I write. Everything has to come straight from the heart but it is all about inspiration.
“I’m very inspired by old western gunslinger movies, those kind of soundtracks and characters, and we have a new great guitar player in Rob Caggiano who definitely also brought his sound to the table.
“All those details combined to make a record we are very proud of.”