DATE OF INTERVIEW:
25th August 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: ‘Last Look at Eden’ has got a fantastic production and mix too which is kind of also retro sounding and modern in itself…I understand you co-produced the album as a band with Tobias Lindell?
JOEY TEMPEST: Yes.
(Joey Tempest on Europe's wide ranging influence)
"There’s a strange thing that’s happened lately - some metal bands have come up to me and said they listened to our first two albums and got inspired...Opeth and also Arch Enemy."
Europe onstage at Bloodstock Open Air, Derbyshire, UK, 16th August 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Christie Goodwin
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Europe Website:
Official Europe MySpace:
Wings of Tomorrow (1984)
Thanks to Peter Noble and Will Taylor at Noble PR for offering and arranging the interview.
The Final Countdown (1986)
Out of This World (1988)
Prisoners in Paradise (1991)
Europe 1982 - 2000 (1999)
Rock The Night - The Very Best of Europe (2004)
Start from the Dark (2004)
Secret Society (2006)
Last Look at Eden (2009)
Europe 1982 - 1992 (1993)
MD: How was your working relationship with him, and were you very specific and pre-decided about the kind of sound you wanted for the songs before the recording process commenced?
JT: Well, we usually bring a couple of reference CDs to our producers. We don’t take any chances. This time, we brought Audioslave’s first album and Black Stone Cherry’s second album, which are fantastic sounding guitar albums. He knew exactly what we meant, and he’s been producing heavy bands for a while now, and he was also a Europe fan when he was a kid - he’s younger than us. He really liked working with us, so when we contacted him he was very happy. It was great. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll producer, and had great ideas. He was the one that came up with the idea to go to Prague and do the symphony orchestra on four tracks, and he pushed the limits with us as well, and try this and try that, so he was very instrumental as well for this nice product to come out.
MD: The orchestrations are fantastic on the album and work really well, I think, too. It reminds me a little of some symphonic goth metal like Within Temptation…particularly on the title track.
JT: It just turned out that way. We were never really aiming for that, but it turned out that way, and that’s quite exciting. We were thinking more along the lines how UFO used their string sections sometimes when we listened to them a long time ago.
MD: Do you get inspired by any new bands that you hear in the scene?
JT: Yeah, there are some bands like Muse, the English band Muse. And I like Kings of Leon - I think they have a great singer there and great expression. What else?…Black Stone Cherry I like. There’s a Danish band called Mew as well.
MD: I’ve not heard of them actually.
JT: They’re quite avant-garde and different. I would like to see them live. They all come from the film world; I think they got into film first. Their videos are very interesting.
MD: Do you hope that you remain trend setters in the 21st century and other bands still gain inspiration from listening to your music? You know, do you ever get anyone saying “ah, we’re really inspired by your new music”?
JT: There’s a strange thing that’s happened lately - some metal bands have come up to me and said they listened to our first two albums and got inspired. There’s a Swedish band called Opeth and also Arch Enemy. Arch Enemy have actually done two covers of Europe songs - ‘Scream of Anger’ and ‘Wings of Tomorrow’.
MD: Arch Enemy have? I didn’t know that.
JT: Michael, the guitar player, who was also in Carcass earlier, is a big John Norum and Europe fan. We played with them in Czech about a month ago or so and we checked them out, and they checked us out, and it’s kind of exciting that we get invited to Bloodstock, and Hellfest, and extreme metal fests, and it goes well as well. After the shows, extreme metal bands come up and say “yeah, yeah, that was a great show, we used to listen to your early stuff.” It’s amazing. I think people are not afraid to say that now. I think there was a time in the nineties when people didn’t even talk about eighties music but now it’s okay to admit to certain things. [laughs]
MD: I think the image with the big hair and whatever, it’s not as trendy to admit you were into Europe back then!
JT: Exactly! Because it’s such a long time ago, the melodies shine through a bit more and you sort of forgive the whole look and the era; the overblown look and everything. So the music sort of shines though now and that’s really good.
MD: I guess a band like Arch Enemy are extreme in places but they have a lot of melody in there as well so I guess that could derive from Europe. Are you a fan of Arch Enemy yourself?
JT: Yeah, we like Arch Enemy, I think they’re exciting. I mean, they’re a different kind of band, of course, but when the guitar solos come you really hear some influences there from perhaps John Norum, or Michael Schenker, or Gary Moore, and it’s kind of exciting how it all links together.
MD: And they played Bloodstock two days before you, didn’t they.
JT: Yeah, they did.
MD: You mentioned Opeth…are you a fan of Opeth?
JT: Oh yeah, I like the last album a lot, and we did meet them last summer at another festival, so we know them a little bit but not too much.
MD: How does being on the road with Europe nowadays compare to the eighties? Do you have the same mentality for touring now or is it a different kind of mindset?
JT: Slightly different. We don’t go on long tours anymore for a year, or six months, or whatever like we used to do. We try to keep a limit of a few weeks and then go home to our families. We have to plan things better now. It’s different now because we own our music, we control our touring, so it’s quite a nice position to be in.
MD: Yeah. Less excesses than in the eighties I imagine!
JT: Yeah, you just go with it and then overdo it a bit too much, and you know…
MD: I read recently that you have a keen interest in Formula 1, and you used to race cars with your dad pre-Europe.
MD: If you hadn’t become so successful with the band, do you think that would be your ideal career?
JT: Probably. I mean, my dad was very interested in motor racing, and my brother has done it. He’s just one year younger, and he’s been doing it with his sons and everything. I probably would have continued that, but the music was so powerful and ready to go when I was about fourteen or fifteen, so nothing else had a chance really! [laughs] I was competing, and my dad was a mechanic for a number of years, but I started when I was eight until I was twelve or thirteen so it was when I was very young.
MD: Did you do big races as a child then?
JT: Oh yeah, I did some competing and things. It went quite well, but then I met John Norum and my life changed forever!
MD: Particularly after ‘The Final Countdown’!
JT: Yeah! We were in a band called Force when we were probably only sixteen or seventeen years old. We met when we were fourteen or fifteen, but started Force and then a few years later we renamed it to Europe and we entered a rock competition and won that. We couldn’t get signed because we had too long hair, we sounded English, and the Swedish record companies were very scared of that. I mean, if you sounded like Abba you were okay, but if you were inspired by British hard rock then they didn’t want to sign us. So we had to win that competition to move ahead and we did, and a lot of youngsters bought our first album, and then Japan started, and then we did our second album, and Germany, and then America…so it sort of snowballed from there, but we just sort of believed in what we were doing. We were very much influenced by British rock. That was it.
MD: You proved many people wrong then! Finally, having already achieved so much in your career as a musician, do you have any unfulfilled ambitions or aspirations in life?
JT: Re-establish Europe - that’s the main game plan right now. It seems to be working. We haven’t had this much interest on the previous albums that we have for ‘Last Look at Eden’ so it’s amazing. So I guess the only thing I can say right now is if we can get ourselves re-established in the UK for instance, maybe in America, that would be a really nice goal. We’re gonna keep going, you know. A three year plan then…2009/2010 we’ve got Germany in November…we’ve got a big European tour with the UK as well in February…the beginning of February for six dates. Then we’re doing Japan in March, and then festivals in America.
MD: Brilliant. And you're doing a one-off date here in November…
JT: No, no, November is Germany, so that must’ve been a misunderstanding. We’re coming in February for the UK.
MD: Ah right, I thought you were booked for a date in London this November.
JT: Ohhhh, I see what you mean…yeah, we are actually doing a small gig.
MD: That’s the Classic Rock sponsored one?
JT: Yeahhh! You’re well informed! Almost more informed than us in the band! [laughs] We’re very excited about that. It’s a small gig, and it’s gonna be more of a showcase sort of thing. There’ll be some press there and some fans. I don’t think it’s a big show, but it’s a very important show and we’re very much looking forward to it. We have a good interest for the first time from Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine, and it’s amazing for us, so we’re really privileged in getting recognition here finally.
MD: I suppose after Bloodstock, that’s all gonna kick off now hopefully.
JT: It’s a nice feeling.
MD: And 180 pages of people ranting about Europe on the forum has got you all that attention…good or bad!
JT: I know, I know! [laughs] It’s amazing. It’s good to cause a bit of talk!
MD: Absolutely! Right, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you. That’s me done, so thank you very much indeed.
JT: Thank you sir, and hope to see you on tour.
MD: Absolutely, and good luck with the rest of your career with Europe!
JT: [laughs] Alright! Thank you very much.