On september 11, 2018, Joey Tempest with his band continued their world tour, reaching Ireland, in Belfast, a place not so much unknown by the performer. A very awaited tour of both the band and their numerous fans in this country. This year, “The Final Countdown” continues its periplus in the encouraging applause of the audience. There have been 30 years of changes in the Swedish band, but fans do not even notice that – the clothing, the new style approached by the band and the exuberance of the performer Joey Tempest, who always turns out to be young in maximum form.
This is how Europe presented itself on the Belfast stage with explosive energy, as its customary. Joey Tempest, unchanged, always young, found Ireland after some absence… Broadly speaking, Ireland has changed his vision of life:
“Ireland changed me as a songwriter”, says Joey Tempest. “In the Nineties I lived in Ashford, Co Wicklow for five or six years. Some of the guys from The Chieftains lived nearby. I used to go into Dublin to see shows. My interest in Ireland started early on. I was a fan of Thin Lizzy. But also of Mike Scott and The Waterboys, who would tour Sweden quite a bit. I became fascinated – I would visit Windmill Lane Studios (U2’s stomping ground). It gave me inspiration. For me, Ireland is a spiritual thing. It brings that extra spiritual layer to my music. Europe was not active when I lived there. But I wrote some material for my three solo albums. I also did a lot of research – listened to a lot of music.
The artist has been inspired by several international artists, but some of the changed downright his life.
“We were all huge David Bowie fans in Europe. When he passed it left us with an empty, strange feeling. It hit us hard. I remember listening to Space Oddity when I was starting to write songs. I was flabbergasted by his production – the string arrangements. It was surreal to hear what he was doing. The lyrics also grabbed me. I was fascinated with space, which you can hear in The Final Countdown. David must have been too, at a younger age. Before I wrote the words to The Final Countdown, I listened to Space Oddity several times. It was definitely a part of my youth.
What about THIN LIZZY & PHILLO
“We were all really into Thin Lizzy. One time, they played a secret gig in a basement in Stockholm and I got to meet Phil Lynott. They’d just done the show and he was hanging out in this little bar, standing in a corner. Later on, I discovered this was his tactic to get the girls. He was standing there, very forlorn with his head down, alone. I was 18 or 19.
I plucked up the courage and thought, ‘okay – what am I going to ask this guy?’ I don’t know where I dug this one out of but I went up to him and said,
And he was so courteous. He said, ‘thank you for the compliment – but I like singing’. It was a great encounter. It taught me to be humble to the fans. He could have reacted differently to me and I would have been discouraged forever.
As for The Final Countdown, Joey continues:
“I’m kind of used to it now but at the beginning it was weird. You hear it everywhere – on sports in America, Formula One.. a lot of TV commercials, French movies.. you name it. It’s kind of flattering. We of course have a different relationship with the song. It was the written to be the beginning to our third album. We still love playing it live every night. The energy we get is so fresh from it – that’s true regardless of whether we’re playing at a thrash metal show or at a family gathering. People come together.
It’s a good thing and, honestly, we never expected it. The song is over six minutes long – we wrote it as an opener. We opened Europe shows with it in 86/87 – and it then became a big song so quickly. People started saying to us, ‘you gotta hold that song back, guys…you gotta put it at the end’. It’s been a pleasure. We are proud of it.a
As a glam-metal icon, he has had the chance to be such a good influence for the young Rock bands that have dreamed to hold an equally promising career, but also being among the international stars of the classic rock – “we started collaborating with Epic, a heavyweight name in the music industry. We also had a meeting with another label, Polydor, I think. However, they had already found someone: Bon Jovi. There was a lot of excitement and it was a pretty crazy time…. But ultimately we wanted it to be about the music rather than the image. Later, when I moved to Ireland, I researched a lot of songwriters. I wanted to find out more about that side of music — I’d listen to them and go to see their shows. Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne – I did a deep dive into all of it.”