Led onto the fanciest tour bus we here at cackblabbath.online have ever seen, we were given the chance to interview Ruud Jolie, guitarist from Within Temptation, on their recent Glasgow date of the Hydra tour. Sitting us down in a room lit up red he has a slight panic that I will worry he has led me into some sort of porn den before he changes the settings to a nice purple light and proceeds to fill us in on everything he is currently doing with Within Temptation but also with his other band commitments and how he feels about becoming famous.
You’ve been touring across Europe with Within Temptation for the past couple of months and are now in the second leg of the tour. How have you found the UK so far?
It’s been good. We did Wembley Arena which was great, before that Manchester and then Newcastle yesterday. It’s all been pretty cool. Glasgow is our only Scottish date and we are excited to be here tonight.
I was watching some of your online tour diaries on the website. It seems you have a lot of fun on tour…
It’s all an act! It’s all just for the cameras! No, no… I’m kidding…
How do you manage to keep spirits up when you are on the road for long periods of time and away from home?
It’s not so bad. We go home every three weeks so it’s okay. You have seen our bus, it’s pretty nice! You know, you can do this… (Ruud proceeds to press a button beside him which moves down the giant TV in front of us to display a big window at the front of the bus)
Wow that’s pretty fancy…
Yeah, I mean the view isn’t so great right now…
When you’re driving that would be pretty cool though?
No! When we are driving, we are playing GTA! Obviously! But no seriously, the bus makes things easier on the road and going home every three weeks is nice. It’s always good fun.
So on this tour you are promoting the new album, Hydra, how have you found the reception for it?
Pretty good I think, it’s done pretty well, we have charted pretty much everywhere pretty high, number 6 in the UK I think. I’m happy with that. We used to use tours to promote albums, you know when you could make money from record sales, but releasing albums costs money now. It’s cool though, finally getting to play the songs for the fans off the new album. It’s nice to play them live rather than in a studio and see the fans’ reactions. It’s not so different from the previous albums. It’s still symphonic metal, or female fronted metal… which is a term I actually hate. That term doesn’t say anything about the music of course. If a woman would sing in Metallica it would be female fronted metal as well, but it would still sound completely different to Within Temptation or any other female fronted band.
You have a few guest artists featured on Hydra. How did that come about?
We just approached them. It all really depended on the songs. There was a song we wrote which needed a male vocal in the style of Soul Asylum, so we contacted Dave Pirner. For Paradise, we thought that would really suit Tarja, so we contacted her and Robert always wanted to do a rap, he seems to be a pretty big rap fan, I didn’t know that until recently, but we contacted Xzibit and that worked out. It was all fairly easy and everyone seemed to enjoy it and they liked the songs.
And We Run (the track featuring Xzibit), seems to be the one fans are most surprised by. Do you think this is something you would consider again in the future?
Yes. I think it fits in with the album well. We wouldn’t have done it otherwise. If in the future a song we write calls for another rap we would definitely do it again. It’s not a typical thing that we feel we now need to incorporate with every release though. Other bands have done it before of course, Areosmith with Run DMC, Anthrax with Public Enemy, Linkin Park is doing it all the time! But in this style of metal, in this genre, it hasn’t been done before. We are the first and I think it worked really well for us.
Within Temptation have been announced to play a couple of festivals over the summer, Download being one of them. This will be your first time playing the main stage, how does that feel?
I really, really like Download. We have played there twice with Within Temptation and I have played their once myself with Maiden United three years ago and I really like the festival. The only thing I don’t like about it is that they have a million bands playing in just three days so there are bands that are over lapping and that’s annoying. I like Graspop Festival in Belgium a little bit better because it’s not so big… but still… it’s Download and it’s Donington and it’s a legendary place so it’s really cool. Finally we are getting to play the main stage and we are really looking forward to that.
You mentioned then about you playing with Maiden United as well, it seems that across your career you have experimented with a lot of different genres, you’ve played with lots of different bands and I understand you didn’t accept the offer to join Within Temptation the first two times you were offered… So what makes you stay with them now? You’ve been playing together for several years. What keeps you interested?
The money! No I’m kidding! Well the first time I was offered, like you say, I said no. Straight out. The second time they called me I refused again, but I told them, because they were friends of mine by then, I told them I wouldn’t be their permanent guitar player but I would substitute while they were looking for someone. We went to Mexico and we did a week of Acapulco and that’s when I realised “ah shit… this is a great band”. They were really cool but in the meantime they had already found someone else. Fortunately though… well unfortunately for him, fortunately for me, he didn’t work out and that’s when I got the third call. They invited me out for dinner, which I thought was a little strange, but okay, let’s do it. They then asked me again if I would join and this time and said yes… and here we are today… in Glasgow!
It’s a nice place… there are worse places you could be?
Yeah I went out today. I went down town and had a look around. It’s a pretty cool place. Nice people. Seriously though, I love the band, I love the guys and I love the music we play. That’s why I am still here.
Between playing with Within Temptation, Maiden United and your solo projects how do you balance your workload and still find time for your personal life as well? You seem to be a pretty busy guy!
Everybody says that, but it’s okay. There are 24 hours in a day and that’s quite a lot! With Within Temptation, if we are not on tour then I’m off, it’s not that it’s 365 days of Within Temptation. Thankfully, or I would go crazy and shoot myself in the face I think! On the off time that I have, I then have plenty of time to do other stuff and I like to do different things, as much as possible really.
There must have been a time though before all the craziness happened and before you were riding around on a bus like this and before you were playing venues like Wembley Arena, where you had to have a normal job to fund yourself. Can you remember the moment when you first felt that you didn’t need to do that anymore?
I still have a normal job! I still teach when I am not on the road. I guess it’s not that I really have to financially but it’s also not like I am a millionaire. If this band stops now then I might be alright for a few years but then my money is gone! I like teaching though, I’ve been a guitar teacher now for sixteen years. I started teaching in this metal school last year and I do that two days a week when I am not on the road and I also teach kids at my local music school, just for three hours every Wednesday night, but it’s great fun. It still leaves me plenty of time to do other stuff but I really love my teaching and I do get a little bit of income from that.
So have you ever had that moment where you have thought; “That’s it, I’m a famous guitar player now. That’s me sorted”?
I think I am still waiting for that moment! I think I maybe had it last Saturday for a brief moment when I was doing Wembley and I though “Hmm, maybe I am famous now?”. I just think that we are very down to earth people and we don’t really consider ourselves to be famous exactly. Sometimes I really have problems with signing autographs because to me I am just a normal bloke from the Netherlands. This afternoon actually there was a girl, I didn’t remember her, but apparently last time we were here I signed her leg and the next day she went and got my autograph tattooed there!
I’m sorry to tell you, but I think that means you are famous. No one has my name tattooed on them…
I guess. It’s weird to think though yeah? Maybe my mum has my name tattooed on her also? No. I am kidding. That would be weird. I guess those are the moments though that I think “yeah, this is interesting”. People seem to like me and I guess I’m okay with that!
So if everything changed overnight and Within Temptation didn’t exist, Maiden United didn’t exist and you were given the opportunity to pick anyone in the world to start up a new band and you could play any style of music, who and what would you choose?
To be really honest, I don’t think I would play music anymore. Maybe I would just do it for fun. Maybe I would do a totally different career? Seriously! Of course I would still write music and stuff like that… sorry… no… I want to answer your question. Okay… Wow this is tough! Hmmm….
I play drums… Just putting that out there. I would come and join your band?
Okay sure, let’s do it! Well I guess Dave Lombardo is a great drummer. Can I have him?
Yeah… He is maybe a little better than me. I will step down.
That’s nice of you. Thank you. Okay singer… There are so many great singers out there. That guy from Alter Bridge… What’s his name? Myles Kennedy? He’s wonderful. Although still one of my favourite rock singers is Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation from Sweden. I actually work with a Dutch singer called Wudstik, he sings on my solo album; For All We Know. I have found some great musicians for that, so to be honest I am happy with what I am doing with my solo stuff just now, so I guess that would be my focus, just to carry on with all of that if everything else fell apart.
Final question… When you play with Maiden United you are covering songs all the time, is there any band out there who you would be really honoured to get a call from to say they wanted to cover a song you had written?
With Maiden United, we don’t just cover the songs, I don’t know if you have heard our stuff?
Of course, I saw you at Download when you played a couple of years back.
Aw really? Wow! You saw that? Thank you so much! Well then you know that we totally rearrange the songs to make them our own. Otherwise we would just be exchanging the electric guitar for the acoustic guitar and play the song exactly as it was written and that’s just not fun. I don’t know how well you know Iron Maiden’s repertoire but Revelations from the Piece Of Mind album, our versions starts off with an acapella verse, Damien Wilson sings that all by himself and it’s got certain kinds of phrasing and melody and it’s very different from the original. There is a video on You Tube of Bruce Dickinson playing with some other band in a small theatre, I don’t know what he was doing there, but he is singing our version of Revelations and me and my buddy Joey were watching that and we looked at each other and it just made us think that he must have seen our version. I know those guys have our CD, because we sent them it, but we have never heard anything back from them which I guess is good in a way because in all honesty we are ripping off their songs! Although… I have never found this video again, so maybe I dreamed it? I hope not. I guess I didn’t look that hard for it. Actually… if it was real, that was a moment when I thought, “Man… I must be famous!”. I really need to find that video again…
I am 100% going to go home now and try to find that video.
Yes please do… send it to me if you do please?
And of course, with us here at cackblabbath.online being the wonderful people we are, we found what we think must be that video and we did send it to Ruud and we also have the link here for you lovely people and your viewing pleasure… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLhf8caVIiI. Enjoy!