Exclusive interview with Joey at the resting home

By: Stefan Johansson            From: OKEJ - No. 4, 1986            Translated by: Louise

It's here at the health clinic that Joey is fighting the mysterious virus. "I was about to give up this career. But now I've got the strength back."

This is as far from Jack Daniels bottles in the suitcase, a hamburger with fries and mayonnaise on tour or late hotel nights with chips and beer as you can get: A peaceful and calm resting home which used to be a manor. Rock'n'roll? Well, there's gonna be.

"Welcome guys, we were just about to have lunch. Come and have some with me!"

Joey Tempest, this 22 year old hard rock singer on his way to creating a name for himself in the world, opens the door to one of the buildings at the manor and is as fresh as a daisy.

Freshly squeezed carrot juice, mush, a vitamin C drink and a bunch of vitamin-tablets is today's menu for Mr. Tempest. "It doesn't taste good," Joey says and forces down the viscous mush which is called 'bjäst'. Not good, but extremely useful. At least for one of the country's best singers who's got to get his voice going.

After some time and a bunch of pages in the notepad, I ask Joey how he feels. He looks very serious and says: "I'm getting better. If I get to rest for a couple of weeks more, I'll be able to sing again. I feel much stronger now. And I mean my whole body, not just the voice."

You readers have probably followed the whole story about "Joey Tempest's magical virus", about how he tried to record the vocals for EUROPE's third album "The Final Countdown", but failed.

"It's been a time in hell," Joey says and eats some salad.

While Joey tried to rest, came back and really worked hard to get his voice back, the taximeter of American Epic Records has been ticking. EUROPE is big business and the price of "The Final Countdown" is getting close to 2 million Kronor (256 000 US Dollars). Joakim Larsson from Upplands Väsby became Joey Tempest and bet everything on becoming a big international star. Right when he was going to take the final step, he failed.

Now he has stood up and says: "Okay, of course I have felt a major pressure both from the record company, from Thomas (Erdtman, manager) and from the rest of the band. But I am only a human being."

How did it happen? What happened? Joey Tempest has stayed low the whole time and hasn't said anything.

"There have been so many rumors here and there and I understand that the fans are really concerned when they don't get any information." Then he laughs and says: "It's even been said that the band is going to split up. That has never been discussed. I don't know where people get these ideas from."

This is Joey's own story about what happened: "We went down to Switzerland in September to start recording the album. Two guys, Ian Haugland and John Levén, already had a cold when we came down there. They passed it on to the rest of us, but at that point I only thought it was a normal cold. When I was going to record the vocals, I felt that something was wrong. I rested and tried again. Once in a while I got dizzy standing behind the microphone. The mistake I made - which I have learned from now - was that I sang. I should have quit right from the start."

"Infection and allergy"
"Oh well, we went to a doctor in Mauer where we were recording and I got some penicillin. At the same time I went back to Stockholm to do 'Swedish Metal Aid' on TV, and it turned out great. But at the same time I felt a big resistance against singing. When I came back I went to a voice specialist in Zurich. He filmed my vocal cords and I got to see them on video. 'Dear God,' I thought, it looked pretty bad. Now it was confirmed that I had 'an infection and allergy'. Then I decided to go home to Stockholm and rest."

"After a while I decided to try again. I went down to the Soundtrade Studios and recorded the vocals for the title track of the album. But I could only do one song. Thomas and I discussed different solutions and we decided that some time in the warm sun would do the trick. After a short while in Florida we went to the producer's studio in Atlanta, Georgia."

I love life...
"I sang some songs and felt very poor. I was simply depressed, all down. It was during the time in Atlanta I thought about giving up. I thought that my career as a singer was over. I thought about what I'd done wrong to end up in this situation. But I'm not the kind of guy who gives up that easily, I love life way too much. Now I'm back around. My voice feels stronger and I hope it's going to last. Our fans have waited so long."

Not psychic
I ask Joey directly: Rumor has had it that the voice problems might be psychic, that you simply could not handle the pressure from the record company, for example? "It's definitely not wise to say it is psychic. I'm really a very strong person and I know exactly what I have done. But once in a while I have wished that it was psychic. Then it would be easier to do something about it."

If everything goes as planned, Joey should now be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to record the vocals for "The Final Countdown". Then the album will be mixed at "The Hit Factory" in New York and if everything then goes as planned, the album will be released in March or early April. In May EUROPE will start a tour in Sweden. 15 concerts in ice stadiums. "I'm really keen on performing live...yeah, it even tickles in my body."

New way
Joey Tempest has developed a new way of singing. He has a more mature voice than before, which the material on the album will show. "I've bet everything on finding a style which is my own. Because of these problems I've been forced to learn myself to sing in a new way," he says.

One way to fix a cracking voice is to sign yourself into a resting home. Joey spent two weeks at the home together with Ian Haugland. Exercise, healthy food and lots of fresh air is what the resting home at Skebo Herrgård offers. Both Joey and Ian have more or less been fasting. "I've lost 6 or 7 kilos, I think Ian has lost at least 10."

Ian sits right next to him, pinches his own disappeared double chin and nods. For two weeks Joey Tempest has given up his habits, changed his lifestyle and feels a whole lot better now. "You have to go all the way and do it, otherwise it won't work. And you have to be two people, that's the best thing when the food hallucinations come...."

Sausage crazy
Then both Joey and Thomas Erdtman burst into laughter and tell the story about the last time they were at Skebo Herrgård: "One night we were crazy for some sausages. We sneaked away from the manor and went to the hot-dog stand in the neighborhood. "One hot-dog," we whispered, and he knew exactly where we came from. He told us that he was often visited by people who were at the manor to fast. They came to him, cloaked and hooded, wearing glasses and whispering "fries and a grilled sausage, but quickly!""

This time Joey could cope without a hot-dog. But he and Ian have often been at the Rimbo store to rent videos. "The first days it was really tough. Exchanging your normal lunch for a couple of glasses of "healthy stuff"," Joey says.

The daily food program at Skebo Herrgård is:
09:00 - Breakfast: A glass of linseed water, a glass of potato water and a glass of blueberry water.

13:00 - Lunch: Freshly squeezed carrot juice, bjäst (mush), vitamin C drink, vitamins tablets and a plate of raw vegetables.

17:30 - Dinner: Warm vegetable bouillon and a vitamin drink.

"In between it's all about drinking as much as possible. Preferably a lot of herbal tea." Joey admits. "Of course you long for a beer, for example, but you've got to be strong-willed. After a week here you feel pretty useful. You feel proud of yourself."

How's it going to be after the treatment?

"I think I'm going to keep on living healthy, but that doesn't mean you can't get drunk or eat junk food once in a while."

When "The Final Countdown" will be released, it will have been two years since their last album, "Wings of Tomorrow" came out. The fans have been waiting for a long time, even if some very vital signs came from Joey Tempest in 1985. EUROPE recorded "Rock the Night" and the music for the "On The Loose" movie, Joey Tempest kickstarted Tone Norum's career nicely, and he wrote 'Give a Helpin' Hand' for the "Swedish Metal Aid".

All the rumors say that something big is on the way: "The Final Countdown" is the best EUROPE has done yet and by far better than the international big ones.

"It's funny," Joey says and leans back, sitting in one of the dining rooms at Skebo Herrgård. "It feels like I can see into the future. I know when a song is going to be a hit. I can feel what is going to happen with a song I've written."

Then he stops talking. He has seen something with "The Final Countdown".

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