Mic Michaeli. Ian Haugland. John Leven. These names can only mean one
are back with their classic line-up. To call this union long-awaited is
Recent festival gigs have proved beyond all doubt that the audience
certainly hasn't forgotten. They also proved that
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
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
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
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
won.. the prize was to record an album.
but just like ABBA would have become big with or without their
Eurovision Song Contest victory,
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
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
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.
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.
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
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"
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
then, is great about them now. If not better. Listen for yourself.
story taken from
the band official website.