The band’s evolution was followed this year with the latest album, where its leader, Joey Tempest just held the heights. We’re all wondering what’s coming this year, what plans the band has, what are Joey’s plans for his career in the future.
His fans also expect a new solo album, among others, but it does not seem to prefigure any plan for this project.
I’m really happy at the moment of our last three records, I think we’re on a really interesting and fun trip, right now I’m not thinking of anything like that but it’s not impossible to do another album one day or play with some friends or do something else. It will not happen soon because we are having too much fun.
The last recorded albums brought to the band the gratitude and respect of the audience. No wonder the number of concerts has increased considerably in recent years.
Now we have more experience, a deeper expression, we are slightly more blues and soul … Maybe we are better musicians, we have turned a lot and we have performed thousands of concerts. In addition, today we record records more live. We do not fix them so much, we are more spontaneous. We are also more experienced and have a different expression. We were young in the eighties and nineties. We were looking for our way. We had a great time, we did the best we could, ha ha. The second period is great because we own our music, we control our tours, we have a company that runs everything. We make all the decisions in the dressing room. It’s great to have the power.
The band’s front man – Joey Tempest will never renege on everything that The Final Countdown gave them and recognizes that they were years in which they greatly enjoyed. But it is clear that the pop world, in which they also caused a revolution, is much more volatile and unstable than rock, where they feel more comfortable.
But still, what it will be next after the great album “WALK THE EARTH”?
The album was received positively by the audience, so this year the tour will continue to other lands, where the band will concert and promote the latest album released on the market for the first time in 2017 – “Walk the Earth”.
It has been great. And we want to keep spinning with this record because it’s good. We enjoy it. We played five songs from the new album. We have recently started to incorporate Turn To Dustand Pictures into the repertoire. It’s a pleasure, we really like this album, said Joey.
Yes, indeed, Walk The Earth is a very interesting album; diverse and varied.
We have a lot of fun playing it because it is different from the rest of the material.
The band has evolved significantly through frequent appearances and world tours, and the band’s experience is easy to spot. One thing is certain: in the ruthless world of contemporary rock, it is not enough just to be talented if luck and accumulated experience (2 determinant factors in the current showbiz) are not on your side.
We are currently in the rock community, which is what we like. To become a very big band was a bit strange, because we are a group of guitars. Those years of The Final Countdown and Out Of This World were a bit weird because we appeared on posters and in the pop music scene. And really pop music was not our thing. Now we are very comfortable getting very good reviews and we even won a Grammy award in Sweden. We had never achieved it before, and we have achieved it with Walk The Earth. Classic Rock magazine says we’re making our best albums now … Being part of the rock community and being respected, that’s what we love. The world of pop is very variable, you can not trust it; You can trust the rock community.
And so what it comes next?
We are going to compose next year. Of course, we write all the time but not in a serious way. We only collect some ideas. Next year we will compose and rotate. We will tour more for new territories than in Europe, although we may do festivals. We are going to record the next album at the beginning of 2020.
Interview given by Joey Tempest to Swedish Television, after Europe got inducted into the Swedish Music Hall Of Fame. It was really a big pride and great honour, that a rock band from Upplands Väsby has ever know it.
If you could choose to either win 208 million in the lottery or top the charts in 26 countries with your song, what you would accept? I would top the charts in 26 countries. EUROPE did it with the big hit “The Final Countdown”. Welcome Joey Tempest!
JT: Thank you
Rep: And that is the part of the reason why you were inducted into the Swedish Hall of Fame.
JT: It could be. We stumbled into the establishment last night. Hard rockers from Väsby; but, it might not be something we’ve been striving for, but now it feels great! Earlier, this year, we won a Swedish Grammy too, We’re like : “What’s going on”? Really cool!
Rep. It is not just because you have worldwide success, but also because you changed Swedish music history. What was it that EUROPE could contribute when you burst onto the scene?
JT: We started early. We played Hard Rock and there weren’t that many other band like us. We met record companies and they turned us down before we won the “Rock – SM” contest.
Rep: Could you name those who turned you down?
JT: Nah…..Maybe some other time; They were like, “You should sing in Swedish and your guitars shouldn’t be so loud…..” ; So, we followed our own path and won “Rock- SM” after playing two songs in the final. And, the prize was to record an album. That’s were it started.
Rep: It’s nice that you mention guitars, because guitar based music has been on the decline.
JT: Yeah, I hope so?
Rep: It’s unfortunate…. You hope so?
JT: Really! (laughs) No, but it is very important to record like they did in the 70’s. That’s what we do. We recorded “Walk The Earth” at Abbey Road.
Rep: What was like that?
JT: That was fantastic! They still have all the old equipment. I sang with the compressor that John Lennon had used. We used some equipment that Pink Floyd had used. So, we were like: “That’s great!” We’re on an adventure. So, we done six albums since we came back.
Rep: What does a week in EUROPE‘s life look like in 2018?
JT: If we’re on tour it’s full-on. Business, as usual. At home, I have two sons and it’s a blast.
Rep: You live in England?
JT: Yeah, I lived there for a long time.
Rep: Why did you choose that?
JT: I was in London early on, when I was 12, 13. Mom and Dad took me there. I felt at home there already back then. Later on, I met the woman who is now my wife in 1992, in London. So, that became our city. I’ve been there, ever since.
Rep: Your mom was with, last night.
JT: Yes, she was at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Rep: What did she think?
JT: She thought it was a great night; she got to sit up front, but they had set up five chairs for EUROPE. But, we managed to get one more chair, so it was the six of us, including Mom. So, she got to be in the band. That was fun.
Rep: What it was here role? Was she in the background back in the day, baking buns?
JT: Mom and Dad were there. They were surprised that I started to play guitar before and after school. So, they started to look at me like: “What is he doing?”But, they’ve always supported me. Both Mom and Dad have stayed positive over the years.
Rep: Do you still have a relation to Upplands Väsby?
JT: Yeah, Mom and Dad still live there, and so does my brother, Thomas. So, I am there, pretty often. Now, there are rumors about making a memory plaque or (…..) I don’t know what they’re going to come with. They can’t make a statue for someone who’s still alive (laughs)… That’s the rule. But, we thought that when you’re on your way from the Arlanda Airport towards, you could see a Mount Rushmore! (big laughs) Five faces or six, if we include Mom.
Rep: That would be really funny!
JT: That would be fantastic!
Rep: Where do you find the drive and desire to tour all the time?
JT: We’ll be going to Australia in a few weeks to do a big tour over there.
Rep: For the first time, right?
JT: Yeah! We’ve toured everywhere else but never there. But, they have been pushing for it and we have many fans there. Where do we find the inspiration? We’re five guys who met each other when we where teenagers. We took the train to the Johanneshov Stadium to see Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy. We had dreams and started to rehearse. And it’s the same guys today. So, we have so many memories together and we have so much power together. There’s a collective soul. We write together nowadays.
Rep: Have you gone to therapy like Metalica did?
JT: Laughing, let me put it, this way. We’ve gone through various stuff with certain band members….Things have happened. Not any big brawls or anything. But, we have gone through everything and now, we’re on the other side and can be grateful for everything that happens.
Rep: It’s like a marriage! (laughs) The hardest part is the first 50 years! 40! Then it all works out!
JT: Thank you!
Rep: Thank you for coming! Give your Mom our regards!
As a retrospective of the current year, about Europe’s concerts and performances, we could say without doubt everything is Superlative. Europe along with his charismatic lead singer has shone from all points of view; audience, sales, concerts, etc. Europe, the legendary band has made great strides with remarkable progress comparable to the young years; if their songs were more melodic, and the lyrics more simplistic, they are now powerful due to the remarkable force of the contemporary Rock, the originality of the orchestration and the deep sound of the last successful album ” WALK THE EARTH”. Joey Tempest, the gorgeous singer of the Swedish band, is always ready to bring news from the band, bringing up the latest news from their concerts and tours of the year that is just over.
“I think thatEurope seems to be in a perennial musical journey: this time, to move forward and beyond all we have done in the past, we have decided to take you into a time machine, recording an album also recorded using vintage instruments and equipment in the legendary Abbey Studios in London”.
Recalling the last album “Walk the Earth”, the singer tells us how everything started and where the warm sound comes. “A few years ago we recorded the album “Bag Of Bones”, and with that record we said goodbye to the past and we moved to the future, since then we have recorded in the best studios, with the best engineers of the sound because we wanted the rock’n’roll to be recorded in the best possible way, not too modern, not too plastic, not too metallic, it needed it to be warm, full of expression”. It seems that the band has continued this rhythm so far as the concerts exploded and the fans seemed to be getting bigger. Not only “Bag of Bones” has been recorded alongside famous producers, but also “War of Kings”, along with the great producer Dave Cobb (the producer of the new album), intelligent and prepared on the equipment and recording techniques has seen an expected success. It seems more than ever that Europe has missed its target and never missed it.
As for the last album “Walk The Earth”, it was a very spontaneous and organic record, Europe members have written the music for 3-4 months, they have had generally a productive collaboration between them with changing ideas, had written the lyrics, sounds and then they recorded it quickly. There were so many ideas, also for the texts, and once entering in the studio, very immediately, they were very excited about what went out.
Despite the crisis the world has been making in recent years, the music industry is rebounding, and the rock’s edge is more pronounced. The secret is generally to believe in what you are doing. How would the future stand out in the vision of Europe, of course in the music field and in their current career.
“I think it was perfect for this album but we did not plan it, we do not design an album, the only thing we plan is to choose great people to work with or work on big equipment, we choose to work in a great atmosphere but the rest depends on the moment, the luck and the spontaneous ideas we have, it’s exciting to make these albums so fast”.
The intention of launching the album Walk the Earth tends to unite the people and giving a wave of hope to the world, singing for the people is the right way to do this is what Europe try to do and they do it right. The proof lies in the power of the lyrics, in the texts of the new songs on the last album “Walk The Earth”, songs like:“Election Day” that are funny, “Kingdom United” about old England, the old United Kingdom, “Turn To Dust” is interesting too, it’s about philosophy on life and death, “it is difficult for me to be the judge, all the songs have their particular vibrations”. There are also new elements in Europe’s philosophy on life, the release of the single “The Siege”, where French Revolution is presented as the main subject and this model of a modern democracy is like a new hope for the humanity. Also the video for “The Siege”, has once again great atmosphere, being very expressive and profound. “Before starting it all I wanted to find out how modern democracy was born and where it is going and “The Siege” ended up being part of this concept, a sort of photograph taken during the French revolution, which had effects on the whole of Europe, on the world, we thought it was a great event and it was interesting to write a song like that”.
A wonderful year ends for the band Europe, waiting for the new challenges for the next year. We are waiting here and forever, hoping to see you growing more and more as you have accustomed us to.
This year, Joey Tempest and his band have performed a wide range of concerts in Europe and around the world. Impressions gathered in a bunch of information that Joey had the kindness to share with us. Joey – the vocalist and leader of Europe, is one of the most important icons of the rock scene thanks to all the years of trajectory and successes harvested in the musical field.
With his recent tour, this year, Joey Tempest discussed about the current situation of the band and about its history without forgetting, the mythical and the great hit of the band, which is already well-known. In 2017 the band released a new album titled “Walk the Earth” and went on a world tour.
“It was absolutely fantastic to play this album, ‘Walk The Earth’. We felt awesome playing it this year. We played “Pictures”, “Turn To Dust”, “GTO”, which we like a lot since we launched them. We will be all 2019 on tour and in 2020 we will launch our next work”.
The band worked amazingly in a studio not at all known to them: Abbey Road is also one of the best studios in the world, but at the same time they have all the equipment they have recorded with John Lennon, Pink Floyd or The Beatles. “We brought the oldest equipment and combined it with the latest equipment to record our materials. It’s a great place, and in fact, I’ve written a few things, like the studio lyrics that are on the piano, with acoustic guitars … it’s a very inspiring place”.
The band seems to be more united than ever, and Joey assures that “we are more open than ever today because the songs are composed together and it is interesting for me to get ideas from Mic Michaeli, John Levén or John Norum, that they come from another source, which makes them more revitalized. That’s why the songs sound different, because we offer opportunities for these ideas and we do not let them escape today”.
It’s absolutely certain that Joey and the band want to test their fans with these new compositions to surprise them with their unlimited capabilities. Otherwise:“we can not be but who we are, but our past is there and we have chosen to go further and we are happy because we have won the respect of the rock community around the world.” The last six albums have made tours all over the world and this is what we do. We are confronted with our past, but we have made progress.
When it comes to the great hit, world-famous it is amazing how far a song like “The Final Countdown” has come. “I wrote it when I was in school, we got it for the third album and it has become a classic. For us it is another song on the album, we did not rehearse it or listen to it at home. We just play it live, and we love it because it brings us closer to the public and unites it with each other. We are happy about it”.
After each concert, the band takes a moment to relax, talking about the concert just finished. “We all sit down together and talk about how the concert has gone. Except for a tour, we do it and we chat and drink some water. Then we go to the hotel or the tour bus … well, actually, not all, that’s two or three. I like to go home where I find my two children and my wife, I love my family”.
During his career, Joey gathered a series of events that influenced him and brought him more or less pleasant memories: “We played in front of 50,000 or 60,000 several times, it was amazing. We played in many ways, from 1,500 people to 15,000 each year. But, we also did our first tour in Sweden and the promoter did something wrong … I do not know what happened. There were 12 people, but we played anyway. I do not know why, he did something wrong and nobody came. We had a good time even though and in those times we enjoyed playing around”.
“We are in a great moment right now because we own the direction that our music takes, we decide the tours and all the decisions are made by us. It’s a wonderful thing to have all that control over the future of the band, to have control of your art. There are many things, but we have power over our music and now we have taken the reins of the part related to the business, which is very good.
Regarding the less pleasant situations on stage during the band’s tours, Joey Tempest has shared some of them, which marked him in particular: “There have been several falls … I remember one from several meters to the moat in Denmark and I got my hands dirty. I was on stage and suddenly I disappeared. I was lucky for not hitting my head. I’ve had big falls seven or eight times in my career, I’m lucky to be fine.
I also broke my pants … my leather pants, so I had to pull the wardrobe a few times. The leather pants, when adjusted, there is a point where they do not give more than themselves.“.
After the release of Europe’s 11th album, the group has made a remarkable world tour this year, all over the world. Europe has enjoyed the international audience’s appreciation, and the efforts made since the filming, recording and studio activity have been fully rewarded. Distinctions and applause of the audience are the truest proofs of these relentless artists.
“It is always amazing for us when we play in the UK and Ireland and it is a special moment for me to be here”, said the singer.
Since the artist is married to a wonderful British lady, these places have become so familiar to the performer, especially since his family and friends from here doesn’t miss any concert.
“Hopefully there`ll be lots of friends and family at the show. People are very open and friendly and they love their Hard Rock up there. I love playing in Newcastle”.
The band played at Royal Albert Hall, when they did even some promo, the days before the concert. So, it was an incredible place and an excellent choice to perform there.
“I was talking to the guys and we were all saying how special it will be to play there. We grew up seeing that Deep Purple had played there with an orchestra and a lot of other people have played there like Eric Clapton, as well as all of the classical concerts so it has a great history”.
Over the years, the group has collaborated with many producers and artists, favoring the way to an expected success. From this point of view, Joey Tempest thinks:
“I really enjoy putting stuff together but we all contribute and all come up with ideas that we work on together. It`s great team work”. We’ve been working even with Chris Difford from Squeeze; I`ve known Chris for many years and we worked together on a couple of my solo albums. We got to know each other and he had a studio in Devon and I was there doing some stuff and we met there. He is such a fantastic lyricist and sometimes when I`m working of specific lyrics in a song I think that it`d be great to have Chris on board so there were a couple of songs where I knew he`d be great to work with him and we co-wrote The Siege and Kingdom United Together”.
Regarding the latest Walk the Earth album, Joey explains: “Siege” has a connection with the French Revolution, and the “Kingdom United” refers to the Magna Carta and the struggle for democracy.
“I just wanted to write about those subjects as they are of interest to me. I was thinking about a concept album but didn`t really want to do that so that`s why there`s songs like GTO on there to move away from the more serious themes to give the album more balance and I realise that we are entertainers too so I didn`t want to get too deep into the serious stuff. I think you can touch upon those serious political matters but didn`t want the whole album to be that serious”.
And in the future, after finalizing the concerts scheduled this year, the band will take a deserved vacation for Christmas and will continue the following year to reach some other countries with the well-known album “WALK THE EARTH” :
“We head over to Europe and will do Italy and Spain and play all over for a month. We go home for Christmas and next year we`ll do more touring as Walk The Earth still has legs and we want to play that for more people. We`ll also write next year and will start recording our next album in 2020 and then do more touring to support that”.
Europe has already announced the dates for concerts scheduled this year in the UK. Thus, the British audience will be spoiled in September, on the rhythms of Europe titans. The band’s long-awaited concerts will kick off on Friday, September 14th, at 7pm in Manchester Academy, in an atmosphere of effervescence, typical of Europe’s band members.
Europe have announced a series of dates in the UK launching the “The Earth” Show in Manchester, which will be finalized in Brighton on September 24th. The dates also includes a show at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London with special guest and support from Scottish rock-blues King King.
It is very important to mention that before the start of the concerts in UK, Europe made their massive return to the historic Ulster Hall in Belfast to begin their “Walk The Earth” U.K. tour. And when it comes to “Walk the Earth”, Joey Tempest says: “As a dad I do fear for the future of my two sons,. “That’s why the lyrics of our new single Walk The Earth talk about being ‘caught in the middle of a lightning strike’. The song asks the question of who’s shouting out for all of us. We need our leaders to bring us together, and right now we have the opposite of that. All of us should feel welcome”.
So, “TOUR THE EARTH” in the UK, is waiting for you as much as possible on British stages, here are the official dates announced by the band:
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.”
The hard rock band Europe is Väsby’s musical pride. Today they were awarded a prize of Upplands Väsby municipality for the efforts over the years and for always lifting Väsby.
This spring, the Väsby boys made pride when they were selected for the Swedish Music Hall of Fame. And now there’s another reason to celebrate. In conjunction with Europe’s concert at Gröna Lund on Friday evening, August 31, 2018, Upplands Väsby municipality shared a special prize for the hard rockers for the efforts they made for the hometown of Väsby through its more than 30 year career.
“There is a pride in Väsby over the rock culture that Europe and other artists from the city have contributed to,” says Maria Röstberg, Culture and Recreation Manager.
The honors award is a symbol to honor the success of the band, and thanks for their attention over the years to the municipality in Sweden and abroad.
“You are a very good band and amazing ambassadors for Väsby,” said Mathias Bohman (S), chairman of the municipal council, at the handover.
“You always speak Väsby in all respects,” said Maria Röstberg.
The band received a statue designed by Concretum Arte. They were also invited to sign a guitar, christened to Europe, who usually hang in the “Europe” room in Upplands Väsby Music School. The guitar will be part of the exhibition currently in the Messingen Entrance Hall, which commemorates Väsby as a music venue, and points out that the cultural school (now music school) is 70 years old this year.
The band members themselves say they have Väsby to thank for very much.
Early memories: first gig, Vilundahallen was it? Väsby fans, it was full. It was such support for us from the beginning. Väsby fans went everywhere in Sweden and supported us and helped us win rock-SM, says singer Joey Tempest.
– Absolutely. Upplands Väsby was the city with the most rock band. It was where it was, it was the rock’s Mecka. Hopefully it’s still, says drummer Ian Haugland.
“It was fun, first gig was probably the people’s house, New Year’s Eve,” says bassist John Levén.
– I love Väsby, the guitarist John Norum starts. I have very nice youth memories from Väsby. I do not think you can find a better place to grow up than Väsby, we had a lot of fun when we were younger.
“Yes, it was where we took our first, staggering steps like musicians, or as” rockers wannabes “maybe one should say. So it’s still somewhere, that’s what the keyboardist Mic Michaeli says.
“Out of This World”has been released 30 years ago (on 9 August 1988) and it is the fourth studio album of the band. With the help of Epic Records, the album was a commercial success selling over 3 million units worldwide, peaking at number 19 on the US Billboard 200 chart and reaching high positions worldwide. It was recorded at Olympic Studios and Townhouse Studios, in London, England.
“Out of This World“ was the band’s follow up album to the successful album The Final Countdown, but it did not match the success of its predecessor. The album peaked at no. 19 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album is Europe’s best-selling album in Switzerland. “Out of This World” achieved Platinum status in the United States, platinum status in Switzerland and gold in Canada.
Out of This World included the hit singles “Superstitious”, “Open Your Heart” and “Let the Good Times Rock”, all of which had accompanying music videos. “Superstitious” was released in the fall of 1988 and became arguably the band’s most recognizable song from the album. Its music video received heavy airplay on music television.
Reviewing the album, AllMusic contributor Andy Hinds writes that “Europe produces made-to-order lite metal with admirable craftsmanship and occasionally memorable hooks.
In the summer of 1988, the band travelled the U.S. together with Def Leppard. However, the band’s management considered a promotional tour of Europe (the continent) more important and made the band withdraw from the highly successful American tour.
After the promotional tour was over, the band set on rehearsing for the upcoming Out Of This World Tour, which began with a bombastic show (60,000 visitors) in Mumbai, India in November 1988. Then the band flew to Japan, where they filmed the video for “Let the Good Times Rock”. The scheduled tour of Australia was, however, unexpectedly cancelled. From January to April 1989, the band toured all over Europe. In some places, in Germany particularly, the band did not manage to fill up the arenas and concert halls like they had done during the Final Countdown Tour, despite more and more good reviews from the musical press.
The interview was released in may 2018, by the Australian press, when EUROPE toured for the first time in this country.
When I hear the name Europe I immediately think of their string of fine recent releases this millennium, especially the last four albums – the classic hard rock of ‘Last Look At Eden’ (2009), the bluesy ‘Bag of Bones’ (2012), the epic ‘War of Kings’ (2015) and maybe the best of all, their latest and harder hitting ‘Walk the Earth’ (2017). Europe since they ‘found the Blues’ working with producers like Kevin Shirley and Dave Cobb have been a revelation.
For many though Europe was one of the most memorable Rock Bands of the late eighties and ‘that’ song (‘The Final Countdown’) rocked a million teenage dreams back in 1986 and has made radio it’s home ever since. It’s a wonderful thing for a band to have such a huge hit, and as Joey tells us in the interview it “opened many doors.” If you think that Europe are just about that song though and the huge ballads like ‘Carrie’ then you really are missing the best bit. Europe are in the form of their lives and producing some of the best rock out there at the moment and if you don’t believe me then 35 years into an amazing career they are making their way to Australia for the very first time.
We caught up with Joey a couple of weeks out from their first dates down-under!
Mark: Hi Joey how are you?
Joey: I’m good thank you. Where in Australia are you?
Mark: We’re based in the West, in Perth so we’ll be seeing your first ever date down-under!
Joey: Oh fantastic! Our debut! (laughs)
Mark: That’s right (laughs) you might just get some good first night reviews from us! I know it’s the first time for many of us down here but I was lucky enough to see you back in 2015 on the Monsters of Rock Cruise when our live show blew me away, but before that, and I’m searching for the date would have been back in the day when you supported Bon Jovi in the UK, what a show that was too!
Joey: Wow, that was in I think 1989 in August and it was Skid Row, Vixen, Europe and Bon Jovi! I’m pretty sure it was ‘89.
Mark: I think you’re right, what a line-up that was. As far the music of Europe goes I’m very much a recent-era man and I just can’t at the moment choose between ‘War of Kings’ or ‘Walk the Earth’ as my favourite album.
Joey: Yeah I know!
Mark: How do you reconcile the two eras of Europe – before and after the hiatus, do you see it as one long progression or is it the ‘new’ Europe and the Europe of old?
Joey: I think it’s a bit of both, it is a progression I suppose, there were tendencies on some songs in the early period that were more ‘alternative’ or if you like slightly more progressive, particularly on ‘Prisoners’ I think, ‘Prisoners’ was meant to be more organic, more leading into what we’re doing now. We were meant to record that album completely live but we ended up living in L.A. and recording it in the sort of standard way that you did then. But in the second period we started from scratch, just being organic, dynamic and just following our hearts, never listening to anyone outside the band, and trying to find our own way in the studio, finding great engineers, finding great studios and learn about the craft and recording, taking control, owning our music, licensing it out to people: so it was a new start in a sense. We took complete control and then went on an adventure sonically exploring the musical universe in our heads. And it’s culminated, yeah I think, with ‘War of Kings’ where it really started and then with ‘Walk the Earth’ we took even more steps into the unknown with songs like ‘Turn to Dust’ or even ‘Election Day’ maybe. Kind of pushing it further, I mean ‘Wolves’ we never would have done anything like that. It’s interesting, it’s a progression but in the new period we have just disregarded anything else and we are just following our instincts and learning our craft.
Mark: It must be great to have that freedom, and I guess that a lot of that freedom must stem from the worldwide hit ‘that’ particular song was, is that how you view that song at least in retrospect? The song that opened things up for you?
Joey: Of course, ‘The Final Countdown’ was on our third album and it opened a lot of doors obviously. We got to tour around the world and we became what we wanted to be – like Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy a successful band touring around the world. ‘The Final Countdown’ helped us get out of Scandinavia and Japan which we’d toured before. So yes it helped us but it doesn’t have so much to do with the new period. Sure we love playing ‘Final Countdown’ a lot but musically, yeah, it’s kind of an avant-garde song. It’s kind of different, and in that way it’s similar to what we do today but melodic-wise and the way it’s written we don’t express ourselves that way anymore, but we love playing it live.
Mark: I’ve listened to a lot of your music over the years and one of my favourite records I think was that self-titled solo record you put out just before Europe reformed.
Joey: Oh thank you yes.
Mark: I know that as a band you’re firing on all cylinders now and producing some of your very best material to my ears at least so I imagine it’s far from your mind but do you think there is another solo record in you and would you do anything differently next time?
Joey: I don’t think about that now, but it’s not impossible. We’re having a lot of fun now, we’re getting a lot of good reviews and it’s great touring, so I don’t see solo thing right now but I don’t think I can rule it out completely, it’s the ultimate freedom, you can go wherever you want and you have fun with that, but we have so much freedom in the way we write with Europe now that I don’t feel the need right now.
Mark: There are rumours of a huge treat for fans down-under – the entire new album plus a second set whee we walk through the ages from the first album to date?
Joey: Well, that rumour has been circulating but we’re meeting for rehearsals in a couple of days and what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna mix everything up. We’re gonna do a span of the whole Europe catalogue, so we’ll definitely play the big songs that the people know in Australia but we’ll also introduce the band, the band members, do some features. Introduce a legend like John Norum on guitar I mean what a treat for Australian fans just to see him play, I could just stand and watch him play!
Joey: Just him coming to Australia is a huge thing! (laughs) But no we really want to do a fan thing, feature the band members, play a lot of songs and maybe three or four from the new album. There won’t be more than that as we have so much to play, we have other albums as well as the new album and we’re also going to go back to the first two albums and do a couple of songs from the. So it’s going to be something for the fans, a big party and a lot of music!
Mark: It certainly will be. Talking of those songs, when you first started to write and how you write now: has the creation process changed a lot over time? And what still excites you about that whole process of creation?
Joey: Well it has changed in a very simple and fundamental way in that I write with the others now. In the very early days of Europe and since a very young age I was always interested in writing songs, so I was a little ahead of the guys. They were practicing their instruments but I was already interested in song-writing, and I started very young when I was nine or ten my mum said I would scribble down words and I had chords, so that was my love and I’ve always had that. But during the years the other guys have caught up and they’re such great writers. So basically today I write with Jon Leven – he sends me riffs and stuff, Mic sends me stuff and John Norum always comes up with a couple of rockers, and Ian in the studio always has a lot of great ideas so it’s taken the pressure off a little bit too, it’s a team effort and everybody’s soul is in there and so it’s very different today as everyone writes together whereas in the early days I wrote pretty much everything.
Mark: Are you someone who sets aside time to write or someone who is constantly scribbling down notes, lyrics and chord progressions?
Joey: Yeah, I have two young boys so it’s hard to find time sometimes but I do try to sneak out to the studio and I do write down words and if I hear anything or have a melody line I’ll record it on my mobile. But then I will take time to write and I will do a fits generation demo really, really rough before I take it to the next stage and then I’ll call the other guys and say if you have ideas send them to me and then I start putting melodies on their ideas and that’s an ongoing thing, it’s like a cycle between every record.
Mark: I guess technology has made to so easy now, but do you think it takes anything away from the process? I know that you recorded the album in a room together – you seem to have found a great balance?
Joey: Yeah, yeah we were in Abbey Road and we recorded it in the ‘old style’ that’s why we used Dave Cobb, Dave has produced our last two records and he wants us to record completely live using room mics, just like The Stones recorded – he does it the right way – the way that you should record Rock and Roll and that’s why these records sound warmer and so organic and they also have a bit of a punch as we use young engineers to give it that ‘punch.’ So we record the old fashioned way but with some new tape technology involved. That’s very important to us a lot of bands make the mistake of using a lot of stuff on the computer, plug-ins and stuff, but we don’t do that we only use out board gear, and that was great because at Abbey Road we could find the console that Pink Floyd has used, we could find pre-amps and compressors that John Lennon had used and The Beatles and they were still working, and that’s what is so good about Abbey Road – they keep things working. So we used a lot of stuff that we’d heard on records we’d grown up with and we combined it with modern technology. We’ve very geeky and very nerdy and we want to work with great engineers in great studios and stuff.
Mark: I think you can hear that in the records, especially the last few, and warmth is a great way to describe it. What music moves you as an artist and has it changed over the years? I get a lot more Blues in ‘new’ Europe as well as a heap of other things
Joey: Yeah I mean if there’s one artist that we picked up on in our new phase that had to be Audioslave, they really kicked off the new millennium with ‘Cochise’ they started it right the way they recorded. We bring that album into every engineer and every studio we work with and say this is the benchmark, this is how we want to sound, and then when Rivals Sons came with ‘Pressure and Time’ that blew our minds and that was when we realised that we needed to get a producer like that, who produced that record! And it was Dave Cobb so we called him and thankfully he wanted to work with us. And also Joe Bonamassa has done some good stuff with Keven Shirley, and these people they record in the right way, fresh with the right console and the right methods and that is very important to us – so that inspires us.
Mark: Take it all the way back for us, you mentioned that you were writing when you were very young but what was it that made you realise that music was going to be your life? Was there a defining moment or a gradual realisation? When did you know that music would be your life?
Joey: I think it was very early on, I was so excited by music. Even when I was ten, eleven, at twelve I had my first band and it was just kids from school and we were just goofing around but it was so exciting to me that even then I thought “I can’t not be doing this.” And then I was always in a band and writing for that band, all through my early teenage years and then I met John Norum when I was about fourteen, he was thirteen or fourteen –I saw him pay with his band and I thought “Oh my goodness, I need to play with this guy”, and he’d seen me play too with my band too and we knew we needed to form a band. So we just met one evening and decided to put a band together and that’s when we started ‘Force’ and that’s how it began.
Mark: And that’s when you knew in that first I guess serious band that you knew there was no turning back?
Joey: There was no turning back after I met John Norum and I was then about fourteen or fifteen. A sixteen we started playing some shows around where we lived, we sort of organised it ourselves and the a few years later, I was nineteen, John was eighteen we entered this Rock competition and we won it, we wrote our own songs and we recorded our first album – that was the prize. That was ’83.
Mark: After Australia it’s back to a big European Summer with some Festival dates and a European and UK Tour, and I see a date at my old stomping ground of Nottingham Rock City!
Joey: Yeah we tend to go back there we kinda like it, it’s a cool place to play.
Mark: tell us about the Rock Festival scene in Europe, it seems so rich these days, we just got Download Festival down here last year after an absence of Rock Festivals for a few years, but Europe has always embraced those big days. What’s it like to play that circuit?
Joey: It’s quite a cool scene, a lot of those Festivals have been around a while now but even the newer ones have been around the years or so now, it’s a great atmosphere and it’s a great way of meeting other bands and also other bands audiences, it’s a great day out and we get to headline quite often or we get second or third on the bill with the big bands so it’s really good for us, we get to spread the word and play some new songs. And of course it’s cool to hang out backstage and meet the other artists.
Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any great album just to see how the magic happened what would it be and why? What’s the album that still resonates with you?
Joey: (laughs) Wow there’s a lot of them! A lot of albums but an early one that I would have lied to have seen would have been ‘Space Oddity’ with David Bowie, that song in particular sounds so fresh and it was so well written and orchestrated and the guitar and the drums they used sound perfect, so yeah, that would have been amazing to see and I would have learned so much and that was the first singe I ever got so it really mesmerized me and the lyrics stayed with me and when I wrote ‘The Final Countdown’ lyrics I remember having that as an idea of leaving Earth and floating in space and I remember ‘Space Oddity’ was a big influence on the lyric of ‘Final Countdown.’ But that record still is amazing and there’s a remastered version now, well it’s been around for a while now and that sounds great. So a great record, a magic recording, magical.
Mark: Back to the tour now! For an artist with a back catalogue as rich as yours, and as a band who in 2018 are making such great new music how on earth do you pick a set-list? How hard is it?
Joey: It is crazy. A few years ago we did a handful of shows celebrating ‘The Final Countdown’ so what we did was play ‘War of Kings’ in its entirety as the first part and then we played the ‘Final Countdown’ in its entirety for the second part, and it was the most strange and amazing gig we’ve done because we got to play where we were ‘right now’ how we felt, how we were writing and that made us feel so cool, that made it all worthwhile and then you had a nostalgia kick with ‘Final Countdown’ so it is difficult but that was an easy way of satisfying self-indulgence you know. But there are a lot of e-mails going around and we’re meeting up in a couple of days for rehearsals and there is a lot of back and forth, there are some songs that some members refuse to play, there are some songs that three of us want to play and we compromise, but there is a ’red thread’ if you like, there are selective songs that over the years we agree on and those are the ones in the setlist. And to be honest we are not the greatest band at changing setlists too much over the years, but it is nice to put a bit of variety in there and change things from night to night sometimes. We’re getting better! (laughs)
Mark: Just one final easy question – what is the meaning of life?
Joey: (laughs) the meaning of life is just two things – good family and a good rock band! That’s it.
Mark: I think I’d agree with you there!
Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time my friend, all of Australia is waiting to see you, have a safe trip.
Joey: Looking forward to seeing you Mark, thanks, bye-bye.