Volbeat's Michael Poulsen: The Biggest Mission We Have on Earth Is Finding Love

Volbeat press photo 2013
Elvis, Johnny Cash, King Diamond, Black Sabbath, Ramones, Fats Domino, Motorhead--these are just a few of the influences that make Danish rock band Volbeat tick. And it seems to work out for them. They've been headlining in Europe for almost a decade, and all of their studio albums have been certified gold. Their second album, Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil went platinum, and 2010's Beyond Hell/Above Heaven went double platinum in Denmark, platinum in Finland and Germany, and gold in Austria and Sweden.

Within the past few years they've been bringing their rockabilly-meets-classic-rock-meets-heavy-metal to the United States, and over that time they've steadily been gaining popular ground.

Up On the Sun talked with vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen about his favorite decade of music, the influence Arizona has on the band's Wild West imagery, and how the band's sound will evolve now that they have a thrash guitarist on board.

Volbeat is playing Desert Uprising with Avenged Sevenfold, HIM and Halestorm at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Friday, September 13.

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Doyle: You Wouldn't Believe How Many Popular Musicians Have Regular Jobs

Tim Tronckoe
Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein is most often identified as a celebrated member of horror punk act the Misfits, brought into the band at the tender age of 16 in 1980. Originally a roadie for the band, he was taught how to play guitar by his brother, Misfits bassist Jerry Only, and Glenn Danzig. He and his brother helped finance the band by working at their father's shop.

Four years later the Misfits disbanded, but Doyle's metal and punk rock roots only grew stronger and deeper, with his signature guitar playing style of heavy downstrokes and power chords. He helped found (with his brother) the metal band Kryst The Conqueror, and in 1995 reformed the Misfits after settling a legal battle with Danzig for the rights to the bands' name. He left the Misfits in 2001, though, to pursue other ventures, including his band Gorgeous Frankenstein; play select dates on Danzig's tour circuit; and in 2013, put out the album Abominator, that was released on June 25 to great press.

The tracks are dripping with horror imagery in the form of a twisted love story, with such track names as "Hope It's Warm in Hell" and "Cemeterysexxx." His music has the punk horror qualities of the Misfits, the dark layers of Black Sabbath, and the same punch-to-the-face as Pantera. Up On The Sun caught up with Doyle to talk about his new solo work, touring with Danzig, and how he has never owned a Misfits record.

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Brantley Gilbert Talks Staying Country, Writing with Brian McKnight

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Brantley Gilbert Press 2013
Tune the radio today to any Top 20 Country station in America and the majority of the hits are coming straight out of Georgia. A shift in the mainstream country scene is building, and sitting atop the wave is singer-songwriter Brantley Gilbert, who leads the charge with a musical style that blurs the lines between country and rock 'n' roll. Brantley will talk about all of that -- the awards that followed his breakthrough album, his place in the new country hierarchy -- if necessary, but what he really wants to talk about is his new fiancée, Jana Kramer. Like a true Southern country boy, he is head over heels and always looking for a way to squeeze her into his conversations.

Gilbert is coming to Salt River Fields on Wednesday, July 3; he's headlining the Independence Day Music Festival, featuring Tyler Farr, LoCash Cowboys, and a monstrous fireworks show to light up the desert sky. Up on the Sun spoke with Brantley in the days leading up to his performance about his achievements and his future.

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Black Veil Brides' Andy Biersack Talks Being Hated and Taking Panties in Stride

Many things define the popular hard rock/metal band Black Veil Brides, depending on whom you ask. For some, it's their distinct appearance of black makeup and paint (decreasing more each year), tight black studded clothing and long hair. For others, it's their inspiration (some might call it a blatant rip-off) drawn from such '80s glam metal acts as KISS, Twisted Sister, and Motley Crue. And for others still it may be the band's supporters, which include such legends as Zakk Wylde, and their insanely devoted fans who have garnered the band an array of Golden God Awards over the past three years.

One thing I know for sure is that people love to hate them -- regardless of the awards, the famous fans, and a throw back to a genre of metal that was once highly revered.

Love them or hate them, Black Veil Brides are here to stay for a while.

Black Veil Brides are playing Warped Tour on Thursday, June 27, at Quail Run Park in Mesa.

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Pantera Tribute Act Cowboys N Hell On The Best Cover Bands in Phoenix

People either love or hate cover bands. Some think they are fantastic tributes, while others think they are blatant rip-offs.

Personally, I love tribute bands. They give music fans a chance to hear songs live and celebrate a favorite band--and often it's a band that's disbanded, one you'll never be able to see live anyway. Some of the biggest cover bands are doing it up huge today, like the Pink Floyd Experience and Led Zeppelin II; The Pink Floyd Experience have played Pink Floyd's music for decades, and Led Zeppelin II recreates their live performance to perfection after studying tapes of the Led Zeppelin's performances, appearances, antics and body language.

I'm lucky that when it comes to my favorite band, Pantera, I have two different tribute bands that know how to rock wonders. One is Far Beyond Driven, based in my hometown of Kansas City, and the other is Cowboys N Hell, based right here in Phoenix.

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Mergence Explains Why They Wrote "White Bark" In The Desert

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MergenceColorFULLRES-sansal.jpg
These vibrant young people aren't dead yet...
The atmospheric, bluesy local rockers in Mergence may already be known for keeping it weird with communes, nomads and robots with the release of their first album, Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead--but with their upcoming EP they are taking it to an entirely new level.

It makes sense, since the name Mergence describes the future evolution of their influence on the industry and their sound, which has been compared to the likes to The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Up On The Sun talked with front man Adam Bruce over a post-band practice phone call, punctuated by the clinking of ice from glasses of whiskey and gin. He discussed how he lived up to his statement in our last interview of writing the second album in the middle of the desert, why the band didn't appear in the "White Bark" music video, and the new experimentation the band dabbled with in the studio.

Mergence is scheduled to perform at Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, June 1.

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Otep on Hydra, Piracy, and Leaving Heavy Metal Forever

Pamela Lopez Grant/Otep Facebook
Get ready for Hydra
Imagine taking a demonic ride through a girl's mind, filled with fantastic illusions, haunting, heavy melodies, and vengeance against a world that has forgotten her.

To get there, you could spend an evening with Otep, one of the most prolific female-fronted bands of the past decade -- or have a listen to their newest album, Hydra, which was released in late January.

Based on a short story by frontwoman Otep Shamaya, the album evolved into a graphic novel based around a character named Hydra. Eventually, Otep realized that Hydra had become a creature all her own, and her story a vast musical excursion. But Hydra isn't just Otep Shamaya's latest work -- it's also her farewell to the music world.

Otep is playing with One-Eyed Doll at Joe's Grotto tonight.

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Matt & Kim Make the Best NSFW Videos Ever

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Caleb Kuhl
Matt & Kim
Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino do whatever they want. They play with whatever kind of bands they want, they get naked in videos, they do the "Harlem Shake," and they picked a band name, Matt & Kim, that immediately establishes their singular style of indie/pop.

See also:

-Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim Talks SB 1070, Fighting Kim, and Getting Naked in Times Square

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Bloc Party's Back and Refreshed With Four

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Bloc Party is back, and the post-punk outfit is Tempe bound.

Hailing from London, the band is closing out its 2012 comeback tour here in the Valley. The buzz kings benefited from the early 2000s "rock is back" craze, but it stuck around, outlasting the hype and incorporating soul, post-rock, and pop influences on increasingly diverse records before splitting in 2009. The band reunited this year for its fourth album, not-so-coincidentally titled Four in August.

Up on the Sun spoke with drummer Matt Tong about the mature split and reunion of the band, how remixes have become cynical, and how Wikipedia can lie to us all.

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IAMWE Soldiers on With a Newly Completed Album and Upcoming Tour With Anberlin

Categories: Interview

Derek A. Welte
It's easy to write. Learning to edit, however, takes time.

It's a lesson IAMWE is intimately familiar with. When we last talked to the local indie rockers in depth, they fully anticipated pushing out a record in December of 2011. Today, nearly a year later, they release Run Wild, or the record formally known as She's a Soldier - edited, aged and genuinely heartfelt.

Initially named for Bella, a 100-year-old woman that touched the band that drummer Josh Carlson befriended while working at a local hospice, She's a Solider was about Bella; Run Wild is instead inspired by her spirit.

The recent death of Bella hit the band hard, but they're taking her warrior spirit with them when they embark on an upcoming East Coast tour with Anberlin.

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