Joey Tempest. John NORUM. Mic Michaeli. Ian Haugland. John Leven. These names can only mean one thing: Europe are back with their classic line-up. To call this union long-awaited is an understatement.
Recent festival gigs have proved beyond all doubt that the audience certainly hasn't forgotten. They also proved that
Europe have never been better. All of this will be confirmed by the new album Start From The Dark and the forthcoming concert tour.
Everyone privileged enough to have been able to catch the band live during the summer all seem to agree. The band is heavy , they are having fun. They are focused and in great shape. They play with authority. And, most important of all: they are hungry for more ,and eager to prove that there are several more chapters in the success story
Europe. Looking back, the strengths of the bands classic line-up seem so obvious. The combination of Joey Tempest melodies and John NORUM riffs. The bands exquisite musicianship and friendship. The way their playing fits together. All of this, and a fresh and modern edge, can be found on Europe's first new release in many years. Drummer Ian Haugland described the reunion as simply returning from a lunch break. That says a lot about how tight these guys are.
Joey and John met when they were around 15-16 years old. They had two things in common. They liked hard rock and they wanted to tour the world. Together, they went to see shows at Stockholm's Ice stadium, out band like Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake. They formed the band Force. When they got fed up with playing covers of their favourite bands, and started to write their own songs. Their confidence grew when they started playing around Stockholm. Rumour started to spread of the band from Upplands Vasby who spent endless hours in the rehearsal space and were an incredible live act. They soon had a local following playing in schools and small festivals around where they lived for no money at all, carrying their own equipment and having friends drive them around form gig to gig. Those days were fun recalls Joey,- it really cemented our belief in ourselves but it was kind of tuff finding places to rehears and there was a lot of people in the establishment that thought we were just a bunch of longhaired criminals.
They were told by record companies that they should cut their hair and start to sing in Swedish if they wanted a record deal. but they went their own way and had the strong belief that one day all the hard work would pay of.
Their national breakthrough came through winning a band contest, changing their name to
Europe in the process. A friend had, without telling the band, sent a demo. Out of 4000 bands around 80 were chosen to perform live around the country and ,Europe won.. the prize was to record an album.
but just like ABBA would have become big with or without their Eurovision Song Contest victory,
Europe would have made it anyway.
They simply had what it takes. In Sweden they joined the big league instantly. Their first release soon went gold and from then on they became the touring band they always wanted to be. At the same time they were enjoying their first success in Japan.
Their second album Wings Of Tomorrow confirmed and strengthened their position internationally. Before long, the band signed a worldwide deal with Epic in the U.S. and recorded their third album The Final Countdown, which shifted over 8 million copies. The title track went on to become on of the great anthems of our time and reached the top of the charts in 25 countries. The album's second single, Rock the night , proved that they were here to stay .The final countdown album stayed on the American charts over 70 weeks and had 4 top 40 singles with the ballad Carrie topping the charts as the third single.
It was around that time that
John NORUM left the band, Kee Marcello became a natural replacement. The following album, Out Of This World was a strong album, containing classics such as Superstitious and Let The Good Times Rock. Their fifth (and, until now, last) album Prisoners In Paradise recorded in Los Angeles was followed by another extensive world tour and the band was still on top.
but in a way that album was a victim of bad timing .. 1992 was the year of flannel shirts and lyrics of anxiety, "grunge". It was impossible to see who was in a grunge band and who was their audience. The musical climate was definitely wrong for
Europe's life-affirming hard rock. Instead of trying to be what they're not, they showed true integrity and took a break. It was also time to put down some roots for a band that had been on the road for 10 years in a row. This break became a lot longer than initially planned. Every member had the time to follow his individual musical path, whether solo or in other band projects. But it's probably safe to say that most of the 90s was spent in the shadow of the memory of this very special band from Upplands Vasby by in the northern suburbs of Stockholm. Two short reunion gigs ,one televised outdoors gig at the turn of the Millennium and one low-key gig at Stockholm's Hard Rock Cafe wet their appetite. And when John NORUM even described the rehearsals as magical, most of us realised that a full reunion was inevitable.
Now its the fall of 2004 and it the time has come for another dose of the most classic melodic hard rock to conquer the world from these shores. A lot of people are looking forward to this. Joey Tempest was recently (as the only Scandinavian vocalist) names one of the world's greatest front men by the prestigious British magazine Classic Rock.
John NORUM's trademark riffs, blues feel and classical equilibrium has influenced a whole generation of guitarists who look for that special bite and tone. And anyone who expect the band to be rusty in any way will be blown away by Michaeli, Haugland and Levin’s playing. These guys are friends from teenage years, they come from the same suburbs outside Stockholm and grew up listening to the same bands, got drunk at the same parties. Every member is an important part of Europe's sound.
Today they may still be inspired by the hard rock bands from the 70's but if you asked them what they listen to now they would probably mention bands like Audio slave, Velvet revolver and the Darkness. Classic hard rock music has survived the test of time and is again riding high on the charts around the world.
Start From The Dark has come to life organically, without the interference of A&R people. The band went for the "why fix it if it ain't broken" principle and asked Kevin Elson (whom they had worked with on The Final Countdown) to produce. -He is a good friend and is a great believer in recording albums pretty much "live" says John Leven.
The band recorded in Stockholm, where they feel at home. They have put the quality of the songs before any ego. And what songs! The first single off the album, Got To Have Faith, is a real statement and a great introduction to the album. But even if you had closed your eyes and pointed at a title, you would have found a great track. The album is guitar based, with some of the heaviest guitar riffs the band has ever come up with. The combination of Joey's voice and John's guitar sound makes you realise why this band can move so many people.
The Song writing started with Tempest /
NORUM finishing three song s together "Got to have faith", "Start from the dark" and "settle for love". After that everybody in the band knew they had something great to build on. Joey then got inspired and started writing new material for the rest of the CD that resulted in songs like Flames, Hero, Underdog and America. A very interesting and perhaps unusual song for the band is "Reason", written by Tempest / Michaeli. "The song is not political but touches a little bit on the fear that exists in the world today" explains Joey.
lyrically, Joey's focus is about the strong bond with his friends in the band but also a communication with the fans and reflections of what the band has gone through over the years,
John NORUM says that these lyrics are the best and most gripping Joey has ever come up with. That could also have something to do with that Joey has lived abroad in English speaking countries for over 16 years.
To sum up Joey says," being in rock band is like throwing yourself of a cliff and doing your thing 100%". I can see no end to this, you have to put everything else to the side and go with the soul of the band". This seems to be echoed in the words from the song "Flames" "Here it comes again, the desire to go down in flames".
This band comes from a generation where it's a matter of course to make an album that's strong from start to finish. And album for the fans. An album for themselves. The music is a bit meaner, a bit leaner. Any unnecessary sweetening has been removed. But the melodies remain. And the almost telepathic interplay between the members. Rest assured: everything that was great about
Europe then, is great about them now. If not better. Listen for yourself.

Europe story taken from Europe the band official website.





 Photo Galleries







  On Tour





Free blog counter