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Dead But Rising: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist Rob Caggiano Of VOLBEAT

By Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor
Saturday, April 26, 2014 @ 8:58 AM

"If I had to boil it down to one thing, it was just that ANTHRAX was never really a creative outlet for me at all."

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About one year ago guitarist Rob Caggiano left the metal community scratching their heads when he left ANTHRAX. One month later he was officially the new guitarist in the Danish group VOLBEAT. I had the chance to catch up with Rob at a show in Cleveland where I asked him to shed more light on his decision to leave one band and join another as well as discussing his record producing work and what’s in store for VOLBEAT in the future.

KNAC.COM: What exactly factored into your decision to leave Anthrax in the first place?

CAGGIANO: You know, If I had to boil it down to one thing, it was just that ANTHRAX was never really a creative outlet for me at all. After doing it for as long as I did, it just got to the point where my heart wasn’t in it. I love the music. I love those guys…you know…I love them dearly; they’re like my second family. For my own sanity and my own happiness I needed to make some kind of move; some kind of change. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but that’s basically it.

KNAC.COM: Just to follow up on that a little…I know your intentions weren’t to immediately join another band. From what I understand you wanted to get more involved with your producing work

CAGGIANO: I think a lot of people misinterpreted my initial press release and stuff. Maybe it was the way I worded it, I don’t know. It was never really about wanting to go back into the studio and hibernating or not wanting to tour anymore. It wasn’t about that at all. I just figured I would book a record or two and that would give me some time to figure out my next move as an artist and as a guitar player.

KNAC.COM: Okay, I see…now let me ask you; once the press release came out about a month later stating that you were a member of VOLBEAT, I think it was Charlie Benante that made some statements and got kind of negative about the situation. Are you guys all cool now? How is your relationship with the ANTHRAX guys?

CAGGIANO: Yeah, we’re totally cool. I think his reaction, especially, was due to the fact that he was really not a part of that last bit of the ANTHRAX touring cycle that I did. He was dealing with some personal stuff so he really wasn’t around. The other guys in the band were definitely not surprised. I have had many conversations with those guys on the bus. I talked to Joey (Belladonna) a million times about stuff. I mean I get it; I understand why Charlie reacted like that, but like I said, we are all still friends, we are all still cool and I love those guys dearly.

KNAC.COM: Just to continue on that then…you produced the last few ANTHRAX albums, is there any chance you would produce the next one?

CAGGIANO: I mean I don’t know.

KNAC.COM: What if they asked you?

CAGGIANO: I’m open to it. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Okay, well let’s talk VOLBEAT. Take me back about a year ago. You were asked to produce Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies and they flew you out to Copenhagen, how did you end up in the band?

CAGGIANO: You have to understand too, I was friends with all those guys from back when they took THE DAMN THINGS on tour, which was back in like 2010. We clicked instantly back then and I became a fan of VOLBEAT’s music and connected with them right off the bat. Every night of the tour they would play a MISFITS song “Angel Fuck”. I am one of the biggest MISFITS fans. So they would call me up on stage every night to jam that song with them and it was a blast. It was one of the highlights of my day usually. We did that quite a bit on that tour and it felt really good to jam with them. But anyway, back then we flirted around with the idea that maybe we one day go into the studio and producing a song or two, maybe even a full record. They were really into THE DAMNED THINGS album Ironiclast and the ANTHRAX record Worship Music. But it never seemed realistic because of our schedules and the fact that they’re in Denmark, I am in New York, so you know – far-fetched. Fast forward a few years and everything is completely different. All of sudden, my schedule is completely wide open. Right when that happened Michael (Poulson) caught wind of that and they were just about to go into the studio. He called me up and asked if I wanted to still record some music with them. I said; “yeah, of course man, this is the perfect timing right now.” So first thing when I got to Copenhagen a day or two later, Michael and I sat down to go over the new material. He showed me a bunch of riffs and stuff, just in like a pre-production kind of way. We wanted to just figure out what ideas were gonna make it on the record so I could get a feel for what was going on. A few of the tunes weren’t completed yet and we ended up collaborating. Michael was asking for my input for ideas on this part and that part and it was killer. So right off the bat, from day one, I am in another country and I am actually being creative. At that point still I was looking at it from the standpoint of being a record producer because that stuff happens all the time. A lot of times that falls under the producer’s duties to get involved creatively so I didn’t think anything past that. It was a really cool vibe and we had this awesome chemistry. I would say that it was probably that first day in Copenhagen doing pre-production that lead to where we are now.

KNAC.COM: How are the audiences here in the states treating you. I mean you toured like a mad man with ANTHRAX, how do the fans compare?

CAGGIANO: It is amazing. America feels like it is building and building and building for VOLBEAT and the shows are huge. This tour has been sold-out almost every night I think.

KNAC.COM: Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies has been out for about a year now. Are there any plans to write new music soon?

CAGGIANO: Yeah, there are a couple ideas we have been screwing around with. We have even tried some riffs live; throwing some things into the set. But we are very much locked into touring mode. Probably towards the end of the year we will start getting in that zone of “hey we need a new record”.

KNAC.COM: Are you still staying busy producing?

CAGGIANO: Right now I am producing the comedian Jim Breuer’s record.

KNAC.COM: That was actually my next question.

CAGGIANO: I am very excited about that.

KNAC.COM: What is that like working with Jim?

CAGGIANO: It is amazing. I love him. He is like the funniest dude ever. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: (laughs) He is…he really is.

CAGGIANO: It’s killer and the record is going to be really cool. There are going to be some very interesting guests on it.

Pick up a copy of Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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