EUROPE's new arrogant style

By: Jörgen Holmstedt            From: OKEJ - No. 24, 1987            Translated by: Louise

EUROPE are on their way to make the big mistake which often leads to downfall. Suddenly they have forgotten who helped them on their way to the top. Everything is measured in money. The first alarming sign: The failure of the cooperation with the ticket sale for their concert at the ice stadium. Just when EUROPE would go back to the studio undefeated, a big black spot comes up in the end of the protocol of "The Final Countdown" conquering of the world 1986 / 87.

In this summary there are only triumphs - until the last gig, the one on Johanneshov's ice stadium on November 6. That was when EUROPE should make their grand exit for one year.

* The last concert of the huge success "The Final Countdown"
* The first gig in Sweden for almost a year
* The introduction of the
"new" guitarist Kee Marcello, for the home public.

These were the lines that were used again and again in the weeks before the happening on November 6. On top of this it said that the whole thing was arranged by EK Entertainment, Polygram Records and Marlboro, the cigarette brand in question. Which is hard to believe that anyone missed - Someone is watching closely out for anything the band is involved in, this is what OKEJ has experienced every time our articles weren't to their taste.

An organization called "A Smoke Free Generation" had supposedly complained about this. And Thomas "Coco" Ericsson from the co-arrangement company EK Entertainment, who OKEJ talked with, says: "I fully understand that EUROPE are backing out of the gig. 'A Smoke Free Generation' has threatened to smash the gig!"

But this turns out to be a lie, because "A Smoke Free Generation" says that they have never threatened with anything like that. And it's quite clear, because an organization that works to improve people's health would never smash concert gigs and thereby risk hurting people. No, it was all very bad reasons the leaders of the band gave us. Otherwise, it is very clear that it was the lousy ticket sale that was the real reason for them breaking the contract.

To find out just exactly how many tickets were sold has been difficult. OKEJ have talked to Polygram and EK Entertainment (Marlboro International Music Association had no one available). No one has been able to come up with a number of sold tickets, which helps the suspicion even further, since the record company and concert arrangers always have numbers when it's going well, but when it's the other way around, they just don't know!!!

But OKEJ has contacts everywhere, and has found out that when the concert was cancelled the day before November 6, only 2600 tickets had been sold. This can be considered as a failure for a band like EUROPE. The ice stadium can host 11 000 people. Anyone can understand why Hot won't ruin their gold band's reputation by letting Joey Tempest and Co. end one and a half years of touring by playing in front of a big hole in the crowd in a sports arena. Then again, how afraid do you think EUROPE would have been of the none-smokers if people had been fighting over the tickets, ice stadium sold-out, the black market on its top...?

Instead it became a small gig of their own at a small club in Stockholm - and there EUROPE at least showed that they can still fill up such a small place. Now of course you wonder why their popularity seems to have fallen so drastically. Many signs indicate that the fans don't like Kee Marcello as the EUROPE guitarist. When his first concert in front of the home crowd doesn't seem to be more interesting, something's wrong. No one can question Kee Marcello's musical competence, but the people miss the unbelievably popular John Norum with his natural charm and radiance.

The days before the gig, reality hits: People aren't interested! The tickets aren't selling. EUROPE have overrated their greatness. Bad, very bad. This had to result in that the last we saw of EUROPE was failure.

Didn't know
Then EUROPE break the contract "because we didn't know that a cigarette brand was sponsoring the gig", in which even the talent hunt "Star 87" was included. In other words, the band and their Hot Management are saying that they hadn't seen the big announcement!

Arrogant and refusing
The worst thing is that EUROPE are changing along with their success. The management want the band to come off as undisturbed, nice and sympathetic guys. A picture which doesn't really look like the one the international press has seen lately. Look at the articles in the music magazines of the world from the last couple of months. There's absolutely nothing about EUROPE! Not even in the German "Bravo", the English "Kerrang", Japanese "Burrn" and so on.

The band are trying harder to avoid the press. Suddenly they sound arrogant and their attitude is refusing. When EUROPE spent several days in Stockholm, OKEJ weren't allowed to come near them. Not even our reporter Anders Tengner got to know anything about the video-shoot of "Cherokee", even though Hot and the band knew that we would want to do a report about it, and they'd said earlier that it was no problem. When we later wanted to print some pictures from the video, as a compensation, we are told that it costs money - 2000 dollars a piece. Weird.

We, who love EUROPE's music and are proud of them - as long as they kept both their feet on the ground. And Kee, who came in as late as last year, had a cooperation with OKEJ, called Unistar Records, where he produced records for his girlfriend Karin Risberg. Since then we have obviously died.

The signs are becoming more and more clear: EUROPE are on their way to make the same mistake as the other so-called "Superstars" have done. To only think about money, money and money again. That's where the downfall always starts. Another example of this is the concert that they were supposed to give in cooperation with the "Star 87" arrangement. It was called "charity", because EUROPE themselves were discovered in a talent competition. But what OKEJ seems to have discovered is that EUROPE were paid between 500 000 and 700 000 Kronor.
(Between 64 000 and 90 000 US Dollars) And they have kept the money even though they broke the contract!

EUROPE and their manager Thomas Erdtman talk and act as if they were immortal. But experience tells us that such actions lead to a certain and soon death. Bright exceptions are to be found in the business: Alice Cooper, who has been going on for nearly 20 years, is one of the world's nicest people, John Farnham (20 years as a pro) too. Or Iron Maiden. They have been one of the world's greatest rock bands for almost eight years - and they always treat their fans and the press in the best way. Phil Lynott, tragically gone, can also be mentioned in this group of people. He was always there if he had the opportunity and will be admired and remembered for this for a long time.

EUROPE seem to have forgotten who helped them on their way. And neither does it seem like they have heard the saying: "It's best to treat people nicely on your way up, because maybe you'll meet them again on your way down." Instead EUROPE and Thomas Erdtman seem to have been hit by the success and are talking about five years' planning which includes several years of not doing anything. With movies and musicals in the end. Why create a band if you are going to take holidays for several years and "absolutely not release any yearly albums"!?

This was the story of the big ice stadium concert that ended up as a small club gig. And if EUROPE don't change their attitude, this can also be the beginning of the story about their downfall. Maybe Joey and his men have started another one of their famous "countdowns". One that involuntarily leads straight downhill...

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