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Volbeat w/Kyng & Eye Empire @ The Intersection in Grand Rapids 5/15/12

I made the two hour journey out to Grand Rapids to catch Volbeat on an early stint of their North American headlining tour. Fresh off Gigantour having recently played The Palace in February, Volbeat shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I sat down with Volbeat Drummer Jon Larsen for a few minutes to discuss their return to a headlining tour, radio success, and other random thoughts.

Mick: Thanks for coming back to Michigan. How's it feel to be back headlining again?
Jon: It's always nice to go back out and have your own show where you are more in charge of what's going on. It's great to be able to play more of our songs for our fans whenever we can.

Mick: How is Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate, Demonica), fitting in for you on this tour?
Jon: I think he's actually fits in quite good. We were kind of surprised that he could pick up the vibe as fast as he did in the rehearsal room, and of course Hank is a different guitar player than Thomas was. Hank comes from a different background, so we said if you want to do a guitar solo here and there that's fine, he is a lead guitar player, he has to do it.

Mick: From reading some forum posts, it seems some fans don't like the little changes that Hank has introduced in to some of the songs, while others think he adds a whole new layer of excellence to the music.
Jon: Every time there will be a change, it doesn't matter which band it is. There is a reason we picked a guitar player like Hank. We wanted something new, we want to change and evolve.

Mick: How is the metal scene back in Denmark these days? Any interesting acts coming up that you think we should check out?
Jon: Hatesphere, an old school, old fashioned thrash metal band put out a great new album last year ("The Great Bludgeoning") , if you're in to that old school stuff such as Kreator, you should check it out.

Mick: How do you feel about your success in the US radio market right now, not only with your newer songs "Fallen" and "A Warrior's Call" reaching high on the charts, but also "Still Counting" from the 2008 album "Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood" is rising up the charts recently and getting airplay?
Jon: I was kind of baffled that the radio stations picked up that song, but if it sounds good to the listeners, that's fine by us! It seems to be a lot of people get in to that song, and it's a definite highlight song for us to play live. We would have thought they might have picked up another song from our newest album but hey, if it gets people to go our and buy our older albums too, that's fine by me!

Mick: You guys are coming back to Detroit in a month playing The Fillmore, which has three times the capacity of Saint Andrews Hall that you played last year. I know there is a lot of anticipation for your return to Detroit.
Jon: Detroit has always been good to us. It is one of the largest rock cities in America, everybody knows who came out of Detroit, MC5, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, the legendary Cobo Hall. We're always excited to be in Detroit!

Mick: I saw some mentions online about a new song you guys were playing on this tour?
Jon: (Laughs) Ah yes, the Sweet Unicorn thing. That is a riff that we have but will it turn in to a complete song, we don't know yet. I hope so because it's fun and the fans seem to like to hear it.

Mick: Thanks for taking time out to talk with us today. Anything else you'd like to share with the fans here in Michigan?
Jon: Just that we're glad to be back in Michigan playing for all our fans, and looking forward to being in Detroit soon.

Mick: Thanks so much Jon, have a great night out there tonight.
Jon: Enjoy the show!

Additional high quality pics of Volbeat, Kyng and Eye Empire from Tim Mayhew: