How Mic Michaeli grew up
By: Thomas Järvelid
From: Upplands Väsby's homepage - The late 90s
"Could you tell us something about how you grew up,
and what it was like to grow up in Upplands Väsby? Which interests did you have except for music?"
Mic Michaeli: "Funny, safe, quite boring. A lot of building tree houses and playing war in the forest as a kid. We trespassed at the Stora Wäsby castle, rode our bikes to Kairo to swim in the summertime, hiding porn magazines in the forest, starting a forest fire with Staffan Carlsson, trying cigarettes and tobacco (which also were hidden in the forest). Was like most kids, I guess. Tried to play soccer and hockey, but soon I had to realize my limits. It started to be more and more about music and I started my first band when I was about 14."
TJ: "The Public Music School is very popular in Upplands Väsby today - did you take any lessons there? Did Upplands Väsby's community contribute to your band so that you could rent practice rooms and so?"
MM: "Guitar lessons 1-2 years. Piano lessons 1-2 years. Boring but still a bit useful. (At least the guitar lessons). The band I played in before EUROPE stayed in a ABF room and we also had a study-circle which meant that we got some money from ABF. But nothing from the community."
TJ: "Which of you guys in EUROPE went to Vilunda Gymnasium?) (loosely translated: Vilunda High School)
MM: "Joey, Jompa (John Levén) and me."
TJ: "Many of those who play in bands on Vilunda usually play at graduations and similar occasions. Do you know if any of the others in the band had stage experience before they played in 'Rock-SM'? (You didn't join until 1984, how was it in your case?)"
MM: "I guess we all had some kind of stage experience from different music festivals and concerts which the music society arranged in and around Väsby. Jonta (John Norum), though, had played together with Eddie Meduza."
TJ: "Was it hard to keep up with both school and music, or did you do like Yngwie Malmsteen, only bet on the music?"
MM: "Not everything, but of course the school did get sacrificed."
TJ: "How would you describe the typical 'EUROPE sound' to someone who has never heard you? (If there actually is someone who has never heard it)."
MM: "I have no idea."
TJ: "Which bands or which musicians have meant the most to you, in a musical way, as inspiration?"
MM: "Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and more."
TJ: "If I got it all right, EUROPE started their first tour in 1984, and that was when you joined the band. Did you know the other members before then?"
MM: "The first tour was in 1983. The second one in 1984. I joined the 'Wings of Tomorrow' tour (1984). I had met all the members before, but had mostly talked with Joey and Jompa."
TJ: "Was it difficult to join an already started tour?"
MM: "I was there from the beginning of the tour."
TJ: "How long did the 'Wings of Tomorrow' tour last?"
MM: "I have no idea. My memory doesn't work properly. I don't remember such things."
TJ: "I've heard that your drummer at that time, Tony Reno, left the band because of intern conflicts with the manager at that point, Thomas Erdtman. Is that something you know about and can possibly answer?"
MM: "It had nothing to do with conflicts with Erdtman, it was more of a lack of communication within the band."
TJ: "It has often been said that Thomas Erdtman tricked you with your contract, what was that all about? And how do you feel about him today?"
MM: "I won't go into details, but I think it can be put like this. He abused the fact that we at that point didn't care about the money at all. We just wanted to play rock 'n' roll."
TJ: "Everybody probably remember how the hit of this millennium, 'The Final Countdown', conquered the charts all over the world. How did you get the idea to write this song? The lyrics are so unusual."
MM: "Joey wrote the intro already in 1983 / 84. Originally Joey wrote it to be played every evening as an intro for when a discotheque opened (Galaxy at Berns in Stockholm). Later on Jompa suggested: 'Why don't you make a song using that?' And then Joey did that. The lyrics, I think, are all inspired by the feeling in the music."
TJ: "Many people were probably surprised by John Norum leaving the band. What was the real reason?"
MM: "We grew apart both personally and musically. Today, though, there are no problems with either of those."
TJ: "How did you 'find' Kee who came to replace John?"
MM: "We succeeded in smuggling out tapes from the recording of an Easy Action album (with Tommy Nilsson on vocal) and liked his guitar playing."
TJ: "Now you were welcomed as real stars and played at sold-out arenas all over the world. Do you have any idea how many concerts you gave?"
MM: "Have no idea. I don't remember such things."
TJ: "How did it feel to become 'the world's hottest hard rock band'? Did you ever as a rock star long to be away from the 'spotlights' now and then, I mean the fans and media chasing you around the world?"
MM: "It was tough not to be able to be anonymous once in a while, especially because I had a family."
TJ: "Did you suffer from performance anxiety when you released 'Out of This World', thinking about the success of 'The Final Countdown'? (A lot of bands can't make a follow-up after such a big success, but you did it quite well!). At the same time I have to praise the amazing keyboard riffs!"
MM: "I guess there were quite a lot of performance anxiety, especially for Joey. Thanks for the praise!"
TJ: "Which of your albums do you like the most personally?"
MM: "'Out of This World', I think. I haven't listened to the albums for a long time."
TJ: "In 1991, 'Prisoners in Paradise' came out, and so far it's your latest album. How does a musician motivate himself to make a new album?"
MM: "No problem. The songwriting is the drive itself behind it."
TJ: "Do you have any idea about how many records you have sold during your career?"
MM: "Have no idea about things like that, but I've heard a number on around 9-10 million copies."
TJ: "Only few Swedish bands today can live of music, how much money did you make per album, and how much more money did Joey make (since he wrote most of the songs)?"
MM: "Different amounts for different albums. I can't answer how much more Joey made, but definitely more than the ones who didn't write lyrics."
TJ: "Before I end this, it would be cool to know what you and the other guys are doing today? We have seen that you, Haugland and Levén are playing in Brazen Abbot together with Joe Lynn Turner. Could you tell us something?"
MM: "Levén: Besides Brazen Abbot, is playing in a band called Southpaw.
Haugland: Cover bands. Among others 'Haugland and Friends' and 'Captain & the Crew'.
Norum: Solo career. Popping up as a guest artist here and there.
Marcello: One solo album. Produces. Studio musician.
Tempest: Solo career. Writes songs.
Michaeli: Different cover bands. Produced an album by Paulo Mendonca. Writes songs, sometimes together with Joey. Lately been involved in an Internet project, a music site / portal. (Do come by for a look, it's still under construction): www.lumumba.com"
TJ: "A big thank you for doing this!"
MM: "You're welcome!"