How Swede it is
By: Gerri Miller            From: Metal Edge - No. 10, 1987

Scandinavian rockers invade America
After racking up platinum awards #1 awards worldwide for their "Final Countdown" LP, the five Swedish rockers known as EUROPE finally followed their hit videos to our shores this spring, concertizing on a month-long warm-up tour that gave audiences a taste of what's to come: They'll return for more gigs from July through September.

Interviewed as their initial American onslaught began, lead vocalist Joey Tempest and drummer Ian Haugland agreed that EUROPE's well-made videos for "The Final Countdown" and "Rock the Night", which capture them in concert, were responsible for their pre-tour success. Their third clip, "Carrie", was "done in a studio and is a bit more serious," says Joey, adding that there may be a fourth, for "Cherokee".

Videos have also showcased the undeniable visual appeal of the band, and while Joey and Ian acknowledge that their good looks are an asset, "Kids don't put a poster up of us without listening to the music," Joey says. He believes audiences relate to EUROPE because "we're ourselves on stage, just having a lot of fun."

Off stage, however, they limit their revelry. "Our policy is when we're on stage the next night we don't do any partying," says Joey.

"You can't do 100 % work if you're hung over," Ian adds. They feel they owe each audience the best possible show. On days off, they love to hit the town, but they don't get many of them.

"There are never enough hours in a day," Joey sighs, but he's not complaining.

"This is what we want to do most of all," says Ian, and it's worth any sacrifices they have to make. After all, it's what they've been working towards all their lives.

Joey's songwriting talent emerged when he was eight years old, and Ian, whose desire to hit things began with his mom's pots and pans, began playing drums in 1977 when he was 13, taking great inspiration from skinsman Cozy Powell. In 1979, formed a band called FORCE with guitarist John Norum, a high school friend who'd previously played in rival bands in their home town of Upplands Väsby, outside Stockholm. Another schoolmate, John Levén, eventually replaced the original bassist, and Mic Michaeli joined on keyboards, but Ian didn't enter the picture until later.

As vocalist and skinsman for a "Rush-influenced" band that entered the same national competition as FORCE, Ian met Joey in 1982. That contest resulted in victory, a record deal and a name change for Joey's band, which Ian joined in the summer of '84. The lineup changed once again when John Norum was replaced by Kee Marcello late last year.

As for other changes, the band is contemplating leaving the Nordic north for the sunny Bahamas, where the climate and tax rates are more favorable, the location more central- Fame hasn't affected them, Joey insists.

"We've had our feet on the ground from the beginning and I think we'll keep it that way," he says, yet acknowledges that it's harder to make real friends now. "Everyone wants to know us but it's difficult to see if they want to meet you honestly or because of this."

While "we don't want to isolate ourselves," fame tends to confine them to music industry circles,, where they don't constantly hear: "Oh wow, you're in a band." Starting and maintaining relationships is difficult and "takes a lot of understanding from the girl," says Ian, who - like Joey - aims to settle down eventually. Both are saving up for future houses now.

Musically, they're coming up with ideas for the next record. "I think of it every day, about what I want to do," says chief songsmith Joey. "It comes down to writing what you feel - that's what I did with 'The Final Countdown'. That song came right from the heart," he says, but vows that he's not going to clone it for the next LP.

Nevertheless, with "such a success, it's a great challenge to go on to the next album," Joey concedes. "We want to establish the band, and it's tough." But with solid musicianship and a lineup Joey believes "will go on forever," the five Swedes are off to a rocking start. Says Joey determinedly, "Everybody has one goal: To reach the top."

Back to the Articles menu