VOLBEAT Frontman On The Challenges Of Opening For METALLICA

Guitarist/vocalist Michael Poulsen of Danish metal rock 'n' rollers VOLBEAT has started posting regular updates from the band's current North American tour as the support act for METALLICA. Check it out at www.volbeat.dk. An excerpt from the first entry follows below.

"The challenge is not the fact that we're playing in the same room as METALLICA or that we're playing for their audience, but to play on their stage which demands quite a bit of reorganization for any band. Furthermore, we are only allowed to play 100 db (which isn't very loud) so that we won't play as loud as the headliner. It's a very common thing to ask the warm-up bands. It is not something we have ever asked our warm-up bands to do, though, as we think they should have the pleasure of playing with a full volume. But we respect the rules and it is not something we whine about.

"Many people/fans don't know about these kinds of rules that big bands make for their warm-up bands, so I thought I would mention it. Not to put METALLICA in a bad light, because they are true gentlemen, but to explain how it is.

"The crew of METALLICA and the people who work at the venue [in Toronto, Ontario, Canada] have treated us really nice, so the atmosphere here is really great.

"A funny incident happened when I overheard a technician who works at the venue answer a call from his cell phone saying, 'Yeah, today there is a new support band coming, I think the name is VOLB... VOL... uhh... VOLLEYBALL or something.' Ha ha ha:-D We laughed a lot at this.

"After the line check, I said hi to James Hetfield who was talking to his assistant. We talked a little about our arrival and about the 'soundcheck' etc. Good vibes/atmosphere."

Read more at www.volbeat.dk.

In a recent interview with AOL's Noisecreep, Poulsen said that when he received a phone call from Hetfield's assistant during the summer, he admitted he was skeptical. "The caller said, 'I'm James Hetfield's assistant,'" Poulsen told Noisecreep. "I said, 'Yeah, I'm fucking Santa Claus. What do you want?'"

But when he came to the conclusion this call was real, he was thrilled. "The assistant said, 'No, James really wants to hook up with you. Do you want to do something?'" Poulsen recalled. "The first thing we did was we went out eating. I took James to an old-school, typical Danish place where you eat Danish food. Then we to a blues club.

"One or two days later, I got a call again from James' assistant that James really wanted to hook up again. 'Maybe we could go and eat something.' I said, 'No. Why don't you come over to my house and my wife can cook you some dinner.' I called up my wife at work. I said, 'You have to get home and do some cooking.' She said, 'Shut up I'm home when I'm home.' I said, 'Yeah, but James Hetfield will be here in two hours.' We had a good time, eating, relaxing, playing some acoustic guitar, listening to music. We had so many good conversations about different stuff — not only about music. That's the most easy part to talk about. There was a lot of different angles to talk about with James."

"He's a true gentleman," Poulsen said of Hetfield. "He's really got good karma and energy. I have so much respect for that guy. He's been a big inspiration for many years. Those months [of the tour], we were actually supposed to be in the rehearsal room doing new songs for the next album. We just postponed that. Of course you can't say no to METALLICA. That's a dream come true."

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