EUROPE's Joey Tempest - Exclusive Q&A Available
September 1, 2009, 10 years ago
BraveWords.com scribe/photographer/radio personality Mitch Lafon has issued the following exclusive Q&A; with EUROPE's Joey Tempest:
Q: Since the band's reformation, you seem to have concentrated your efforts on the European market. What are your plans to bring Europe's new music and a tour to North America?
A: "We intend to focus on America in 2010. Then we can give it our best attention. Right now there is so much interest around Last Look At Eden in Europe so we have to run with that."
Q: In the '80s, the band seemed overly controlled by the music labels that wanted a safe pop and radio friendly band. The last three albums are a lot heavier on guitar than in the past. Are you happy to have the freedom to create your own music? Tell me about the new music.
A: "The labels had much power in the 80s and beginning of 90s. We had a million dollar contract directly with CBS/SONY in New York. They were very powerful but also difficult to control. It was hard to get all our ideas across. These days we own our music, we plan our tours and we also have direct contact with our fans. It's great to have the control and the freedom to captain this ship ourselves. We do exactly what we want and it seems to be working."
Q: From '95 to 2002, you release three solo albums. Do you plan on releasing more solo albums and how different was the process of making a solo album compared to working within Europe.
A: "I learned a lot from doing my three solo albums and I'm proud of them but I can't combine it with Europe. It has to be one or the other. So much of my being goes into it and Europe was my first love. Maybe one day I'll do another solo project but I don't have any plans at all."
Q: The band seems to have shyed away from the nostalgia touring circuit and instead have focused on being a modern band with new music. Why so focused on making new music? And how important is it for the band to establish themselves as a current act? It certainly would have been easier to join a "big hair '80s" touring package.
A: "When we started again the plan was to think long term, be creative in the studio and re-establish ourselves again. We knew it would take time and a lot of work but It's finally beginning to pay off."
Q: Arguably, your two biggest songs are 'The Final Countdown' and 'Carrie'. Looking back what can you tell me about those songs? How important were they for you and your career? And do you still enjoy playing them?
A: "Let me put it this way. We don't listen to 'Final Countdown' in the car but we love playing it live. Its got that magic and it brings everyone together. It was written for the show and the fans. We wanted an opener for our live show and our third Europe album. The song was well over 6 minutes long so it was never meant to be a hit or anything. It was an album track. A damn good album track. These days we play 'Carrie' with only acoustic guitar and piano live. We make the audience sing the choruses. its nice to bring that song back to basics."
Q: Tell me about Last Look At Eden. How did the songs comes together? What was the recording process like? Are you excited about playing these songs live?
A: "This is our probably our favorite Europe album ever. It groves. It's got more blues. It's sexy... And it rocks. we didn't over-think anything just followed our instincts and had fun. We wrote a lot of it still touring on the Secret Society album so it has that live feeling in the riffs and expression. Everyone contributes with ideas and arrangements although I write most of the material. Norum and Mic usually send me ideas to London. We also meet up in Stockholm to write together in our rehearsal room. This time me and Leven (bass player) wrote a song 'The Beast' together as well."
Q: What are the long terms plans for Europe or do you even have any? Do you just keep making new albums or do you see a point where it ends and you do a farewell tour?
A: "We usually plan 2 years ahead and we will be touring 2009 and 2010 all over the place. We're aiming for a new CD in 2011."
Q: Will you be recording any of the live shows on this tour for a DVD or live album?
A: "Yes, we do record selected shows whenever we tour so it will be the same on the LLAE world tour."
Q: What are your thoughts of the current state-of-affairs of the music business? Is the long play album dead?
A: "For our type of band its quite exiting times. If your a good live band there are plenty of places to play. We can still record albums and release them worldwide. We also work hard on the internet to stay close to the fans. It's true... CD sales have gone down a lot but with our type of music there are still people that want to own a CD and look at the artwork, etc."
Q: Looking back on Europe's career what are some of the band's high points and low points? After the "break-up" in the early '90s did you ever think you'd work together again as Europe and how pleased or surprised are you that the reunion is now it's its eleventh year?
A: "We always knew that we would get together again. It was only a matter of time. We never said we closed down the band completely. That was more speculation in the media. We just wanted to have a break after 10 years of touring and 5 albums. The "break" however became a bit long as we got involved with solo projects and other band formations.
We are now very lucky to be here again and getting some recognition. It's an amazing time in the Europe camp right now."
Europe’s new album, Last Look At Eden, is released by earMUSIC on September 14th. The band tour the UK in February 2010. Further info at europetheband.com.