In an interview for Spiegel magazine in Germany, Joey Tempest was talking about the big hit “The Final Countdown” and he also made the following statements. We will present some of the most exciting published statements in the interview conducted by Spiegel journalist
“I still love this song and do not get tired of performing it live. A New Year’s Eve highlight in 1999 was the Millennium Change in Stockholm. Europe was separate, but I drummed all the musicians together. We played in the open air for a half of million people. Spectacular.
There can be no Europe concert without this song. He unites the audience. When we played at the Wacken festival, even hard-boiled Slayer fans went on it. We found that incredible. “Space Oddity” was one of my first singles as a teenager – Major Tom, all alone on the road in space. When I later wrote the text “The Final Countdown”, I remembered the theme “We’re leaving the earth”. I started composing songs very early. There were Bowie and also Elton John my great role models, even if my sound was hardrock. They motivated me to learn guitar and piano playing. David Bowie was my hero, a chameleon, he always surprised with new image and new sounds.
Much earlier, in the early eighties, I went to school. It was probably like Eddie Van Halen, when he experimented with a Oberheim keyboard and the megahit “Jump” came out, which did not sound like Van Halen.
In the basement of my parents’ house in Upplands Väsby, I had set up a small studio and worked on sounds until late into the night. Suddenly I had this melody, picked it up, saved it: Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaa ?? … Later the “The Final Countdown” came out.
Europe made guitar-hard rock without keyboards. But one event kept me tied to the melody: we often celebrated at the Berns Club in Stockholm. Saturday at midnight there was a laser show, in the same building was also our promenade and the office of our manager. He asked the DJ to run my keyboard anthem, until then only one instrumental, to the Lasershow. The positive response of the people has encouraged me to work them out. It took some time until I had the appropriate text.
When I was 13 or 14 years old, I went on holiday with my parents in the USA. Joakim could not pronounce anybody, they all called Joe, Joey. On Tempest I came because I was constantly in the school library to read English music magazines like “NME” or “Melody Maker”. There I found Shakespeare’s work “The Tempest” in the hands. That remained hanging, so I became Joey Tempest. And with the new name secretly practiced auto gramming.
On our tour in 1984, I noticed that our sound sounds too thin. At first, I played myself the keyboards on the stage , but that made me too much a front man, so I got Mic, a classic Hammond organ player. So, our sound became bigger, more atmospheric, more keyboard-heavy – which disturbed some fans, but opened up a new, wider audience.
We had an American record contract, they believed in us. After several weeks in the Swiss province, the background vocals were produced in Atlanta. Much of my singing was recorded in Stockholm, the rest in San Francisco – a fairly international affair.
The guys liked the number, but they could not classify it. It is over six minutes long, although radio singles may not exceed three minutes in general. And we had never used a keyboard reef before. Already in Maur there was a fight, so I renamed the song “The Final Breakdown” (laughs). But I remained stubborn, “The Final Countdown” became the first single. Thank God.
During a concert we were playing in Solna, near Stockholm. I also wanted to have a couple of film effects: we had a huge Europe logo sprayed on the hall roof, we took pictures of our hometown from above. After the show, we went on to the nightclub Alexandra, where we got the first Golden Records of our lives for the hit. We were all regular guests in this club – and suddenly heroes!
We had rocked the Circus Krone in Munich in October ’86 and suddenly John Norum did not want anymore. Interviews and photo sessions, the whole bustle bored him, and he was in an unhappy relationship. But his attitude pervaded the band. In the end we did not speak anymore, drove in separate limousines, only communicated about our tour manager. It was ridiculous. Well, we’ve learned from it.
Thank you Mr. Joey Tempest for those informations that will be important for all your fans. Source: SPIGEL. DE
On how EUROPE managed to survive the the rise of grunge in the early ’90s when so many other ’80s hard rock acts didn’t, Joey Tempest said: “You have to take the long way around. The first meeting [about a reunion] we had at Mic‘s [Michaeli, keyboards] apartment in 2003, we said, ‘We have so much baggage, so much stigma.
C’mon. We have to take the long way around. It’s gonna take four albums, perhaps, before maybe some journalists are even listening to the records.’ So we knew that; we knew it from the beginning. But this is what we wanna do. We wanna do it long haul, like DEEP PURPLE or whatever; we wanna do it. So that’s one way of doing it. But also being curious about writing and about getting better at your instrument and not get caught up in trying to get hit singles; that’s kind of dangerous. And just make great records. I thnk it started with 2009’s ‘Last Look At Eden’; we started to get a grip on things. And then 2012’s ‘Bag Of Bones’ did really well, and now 2015’s ‘War Of Kings’.”