Metal Hammer Special: EUROPE Fan Mag
By: Jo Bailey            From: Metal Hammer - 1988

Nordic good looks, some hefty musical ability and a knack for writing tuneful rock anthems and ballads. A recipe for success? Well, it certainly is for Sweden's most popular musical export since ABBA. EUROPE put paid to the old idea that winning "best band" competitions are the kiss of death. For Joey and the crew, a televised battle of the bands in their home country led to a record deal, fame and fortune. But it wasn't all that simple, surely?

Joey learnt to play the guitar at an embarrassingly early age. A friend of his father taught him how to play the three rock chords on an acoustic guitar he borrowed from his sister. Joey also remembers hearing Elton John songs on the radio and trying to pick them out on their piano at home. "I've got good ears so I picked it up very young. Same with the guitar. I don't know when but I learnt it when I was between seven and nine."

And he's been writing songs since then.

He was a fairly solitary child, and still enjoys his own company. He used to practice at every available opportunity. At school he found a lot of like-minded friends, he remembers: "I met people who did the same thing so I formed my first band when I was ten. It wasn't very serious, but we put make-up on and performed in front of the class. I was the singer, we had only one snare drum and a bass played through a cassette player in the classroom. So it must have sounded awful."

They sang "You Keep A Knocking But You Can't Come In" over and over again. Joey kept up this aural barrage for a while with the same two chums and got pretty serious. They were only ten or eleven when they got real instruments. Joey's was a guitar bought by his parents, then he was playing rhythm and singing. One of his fellow band members started playing guitar too, they had two guitars and drums and christened themselves Jet. Joey joined in a fairly fluid young local band scene and eventually settled down with a drummer called John More and a guitar player called Tony Reno.

They dubbed themselves FORCE and started rehearsing seriously. With their long hair, and playing hard rock they hung-out in the evenings being what in Sweden passes for rebellious, and played and played (mostly in schools) for two years. Joey's father helped out with the driving when it came to their gigs. By 1980 Joey had teamed up with John Levén (on bass) and with John Norum on guitar, they were aspiring amateurs, looking up to melodic heavy metal bands of the ilk of Rainbow, UFO, Zeppelin and Purple.

They were already playing a lot of original material (penned by Joey), and had earned a strong and supportive local following - and even a fan club. They were different to the bulk of the other bands at their level in that they sang in English, a factor which initially put off local record companies who maintained they'd never get anywhere unless they sang in their native tongue! Joey's girlfriend of the time sent a demo that they'd put together to a competition being run by the guy who was later to become their manager. Joey and the rest of the band didn't know she'd sent it in.

There was a four or five part live contest and then the final which was broadcast on national TV. EUROPE won out of about four thousand bands who'd originally submitted tapes (it was the largest competition of its kind ever held in Sweden), the first prize was a contract with a local record company and the chance to record their first album. Two of the songs on the demo that had garnered them a place in the competition surfaced when they went into the studio in 1983, namely "In the Future to Come" and "The King Will Return".

The deal they won was with a Swedish independent label. Joey says of their win: "The prize was a prize, there was no big production at all, but we didn't even know anything about recording anyway so we just went there and did it, and it didn't take long to record at all, just a few weeks but it was fun."

From then on things took off very quickly in Sweden because of the competition and their debut TV performance in its final, their eponymously titled debut album made it to number 8 in the local charts. Despite any misgivings they now have about going into the studio so green and inexperienced, Joey says: "We are still very proud of that and the songs. I never look back and say something was bad because you always do the best you can, so you should never put things down that you have done."

Somehow a tape was sent to Japan from London and the Japanese picked up on one track in particular, "Seven Doors Hotel", written long before the competition. Not surprisingly the one-off album deal was extended, and EUROPE went into the studio again in Stockholm, to record the follow-up. Leif Mases twiddled the knobs for them at Polar Studios for the album that featured tracks including "Wings of Tomorrow", "Dreamer" and "Scream of Anger".

In 1984, with "Wings of Tomorrow" in the can, Joey and Thomas Erdtman (by then their manager) went on a trip around the world to see record companies on both American coasts and in Japan. They signed with Victor Records in the land of the rising yen who had wanted the whole band to go over and perform, but they felt it was just too early so Joey went on a promotion-only trip. CBS picked them up for the rest of the world, buying them out of their indie deal in the process. By the end of '84 the band were sufficiently known and admired outside Sweden to feature in the top 12 of a Japanese poll of "Favorite International Acts."

"Wings of Tomorrow" was released in early '84 and Ian Haugland joined as stixman in late August of that year along with Mic Michaeli who they recruited on keyboards. How Ian became involved is further proof that these competitions can be worth entering. He says now that "the band Trilogy that I was in, was playing at the same competition. They chose me because they remembered that I was a good drummer at the competition.

"Also before this, we used to play the same music festivals in the suburb areas where we both came from. There were three big bands in the whole suburb. There was FORCE, Moon and Trilogy, but I thought 'Joey's mob' were so much better than all the other bands. I looked up to that band."

Ian had got to the point where he was starting to think: "Either I have to find a famous band in Sweden, or I would have tried to do like Yngwie and move to America because I wanted to be a musician." Fortunately the offer from EUROPE came just at the right time. Despite having been offered a full-time job at Arlanda airport where his father had worked for years, Ian said: "I never took any full-time employment, because somewhere in my thick skull I thought to myself I want to go away whenever I want to. I wanted to feel that freedom."

Their previous drummer left because by that time "the band had developed a serious attitude and he wasn't that serious about it. I think he wanted to treat it like a hobby. He formed a band called Geisha, I think. I don't know whether they did anything. I think some of the guys played with King Diamond."

Ian's parents bought him his first drum kit, he was lucky in living a big house in the country "so we didn't have any neighbors to disturb. I actually had my own flat in an old kitchen that I had rebuilt myself. I put padding on the walls and I had my drum kit in there."

He remembers what first got him really hooked on rock drumming: "I played the song 'Light in the Black', which has a very driving double kick drum rhythm pattern which I really got caught up with and I thought: 'Oh, I want to play in a rock n' roll band and be able to do the same things.' It was actually Cozy Powell that got me there. He was the inspiration."

Ian's previous bands included Vox Humana (influenced by Ultravox and Gary Numan), Spectrum, then Toxic (who played a mixture of The Ramones & Status Quo), and then they formed the first of many Trilogy line-ups.

"The idea was a really Rush influence and we wanted to play really complex instrumental heavy metal, lots of solos. I was the lead singer, so I was playing drums and singing at the same time."

For a while with one one of the bands, Ian was singing and playing keyboards, using a drum machine most of the time; he didn't play the drums for almost a year but "got fed-up with it because I felt I was getting too deep in the keyboard, I wasn't really a keyboard player, I was a drummer."

He still messes around on a couple of synthesizers and is hoping to use some sampled sounds during his drum solo on the forthcoming tour, but doesn't see himself as a real keyboard player at all.

When Ian joined, they were still with the independent label and the band had just come off their Swedish tour promoting "Wings of Tomorrow", and then they had some time off from live work. They had to rehearse to break in the new members, and in the middle of October embarked on a Swedish tour. The first show was in "a big shed in the woods," as Ian remembers, "There were about two or three thousand people there, it was like a combined live gig and discotheque. That's the way they do it in Sweden if you're a band, you do this big club tour and they combine the disco with the band."

"The second gig we did on that tour was in Stockholm, it was this big amusement field called Gramerlune (Gröna Lund?), that was pretty big really; there were about ten thousand people there. I was really nervous before, but after I felt like I'd done something big."

That tour lasted for about two and a half months playing three gigs a week. When they came off that tour, they recorded the single "Rock the Night", that was the first version with "Seven Doors Hotel" on the B-side. That was when they signed the deal with CBS. They went back out on the road in Sweden this time playing sport centers. It was remarkably successful, given that the only fresh material out was that single. By the summer of '86 they were ready to start rehearsing new songs for the upcoming album. Kevin Elson's interest in the band had been made known, and they met up and rehearsed and did the pre-production in Stockholm. In the September of '86, they hot-footed it to Switzerland to record the album. The basic tracks took two months to lay down in the studio. Although "The Final Countdown" was eventually to be six months in the making, covering five studios in five different cities.

Ian had no previous experience - bar one single which they'd produce themselves - to compare Kevin with as a producer, but he remembers him as being easy to work with. In retrospect the problem from the drummer's point of view was as follows: "I let him lead me into what to do and what not to do. When I look back at the recording of 'The Final Countdown', I feel that it was not exactly me playing all the time. It was me but with a guy telling me what to do. I felt I was guided too much, but I suppose it was the best thing to do in that situation when I didn't have any experience. It sounds good, but I'm more pleased with the new album."

Joey says that in going to Switzerland with Kevin Elson as producer (a choice wholeheartedly endorsed by their record company, not least because of his track record (sorry!) which included Journey's multi-platinum "Frontiers" as well as collaborations with KISS and Heart): "We went more professional after 'Wings of Tomorrow'." At the time Joey knew this was the big one, the classic third album "Will it, won't it be the one to break through" syndrome. He said then that "every song should be 100 %. we can't settle for anything less."

All ten tracks, except "Carrie" which was co-written with Mic Michaeli, had been penned by Joey, luckily they were of the necessary caliber. He went on to say of working with Kevin that "he was perfect for us, he's a real hard worker with no time wasted."

EUROPE have always been true to their loyal fans back home in Sweden, apart from the constant traveling around the globe that's been Joey's lot since 1984, "don't forget during this time between '83 and '86 when we recorded 'The Final Countdown', we toured a lot in Sweden, we did a lot of outdoor gigs in the summer. We have given the Swedish fans a lot. Before we moved out of Sweden in 1987, we probably did about six big tours in Sweden. So we spent a lot of time working there. We got a lot of experience working there. I guess that's why we were ready when we did 'The Final Countdown'."

They were ready, not just to record the album that was to go on to be such an enormous success worldwide, but to deal with that success when it happened. Joey explained how they deal with the arguments that inevitably arise when you spend so much time with the same people: "We talk about it. If two people in a band argue, the other guys in the band will try not to cut in and just let those people get to it and then it will be fine because we don't bear grudges. So the band is very good, we are strong now."

On its release, "The Final Countdown" sold 50 000 copies in five days in Sweden, and the first single, the title track, went to number 1 in two weeks, giving the band their fourth consecutive gold disc from their homeland. In May they embarked on a triumphant sell-out Scandinavian tour which included two nights in Stockholm, which were filmed and the footage incorporated into the new video clip for the single.

Their first live foray outside their native Sweden was in late '86 in Japan. They played eleven gigs, on a tour of 6000 seater theaters. Ian's major recollection of those shows (apart from the traffic jams in Japan which really are extraordinary) was of the crew running about the stage and auditorium on barked orders of the stage manager. When they had completed their appointed task, they all went up to him and kow-towed before going off to their next task.

They were back in Sweden just before the Christmas of '86, and embarked on another Swedish tour in early '87. Round about that time they slotted in a one-off showcase gig for European CBS & media people at the Circus Krone in Hamburg. The "Final Countdown" tour started in Spring '87, it took in England and America, debuting in both countries for the first time. In America they went out as headliners doing "theater gigs between about two and five thousand capacities. It was very nice because you knew that all the people that went there, went there because of you. After the American tour in the summer of '87, we went back to Sweden and in the autumn of '87 we did a festival tour, we played one big festival in Denmark, Roskilde, and then we went up to Iceland and played one gig there. That was fantastic because we were the first rock band since Led Zeppelin to play there," said Ian.

They went from Iceland to Vancouver to attend the CBS convention. It was held in a big ball room and according to Ian, "all the CBS people were there dancing and getting drunk!" Then it was back to Japan almost a year after doing their first Japanese tour. They played at a big charity festival in aid of famine relief. EUROPE were the only international band on the bill, the rest were Japanese.

The first single to really happen outside Sweden was "The Final Countdown". It had hit the number 1 spot in Sweden on the week of the release of the album, but the first countries outside Sweden where things started to happen were Holland and Belgium, then it spread to Germany, France and everywhere else in Europe. The band were in Japan when they heard that the first single was starting to take-off, they celebrated by quaffing champagne in their manager's hotel room.

They realized that it was all finally coming together when the tally of number 1 successes started to come through. Eventually, by November of that year, they were to clock up number 1's in 14 countries, and top 10 in most of the others; the album quickly went gold in Germany and France. Ian said: "We couldn't really believe it was happening so fast with that one song. I would say when we got to America, we put it all into perspective but funnily enough, 'Carrie' was bigger in the States. It went all the way up to number 3, but I think if the record company would have been more supporting by that time, I think 'Final Countdown' would have done better."

The album "The Final Countdown" was to spawn four top 10 hits in the States: "Carrie", "The Final Countdown", "Rock the Night" and "Cherokee". Their growing popularity over there was demonstrated by their shifting over 10 000 copies in a week of the album before they'd even played a note on an American stage. Their first tour took in 25 shows in theaters. They were helped immeasurably by being on "high rotation" on MTV. Talking of videos, "Cherokee" is a particular favorite, it was shot in the area of Spain where Clint chewed on his cheroots for Sergio Leone, and borrowed heavily from Spaghetti Westerns. During the filming there was a massive grass fire, but luckily none of the band or crew were hurt.

It was during that second Japanese tour that John Norum had started talking about leaving. Ian told me how it happened: "He never told anyone in the band, by that time he was only really speaking to the tour manager and he'd told him that he would probably leave the band in a couple of months. That was a weird feeling because just about as it was starting to happen, John was thinking about leaving the band. So we all started to think about a new guitar player and we all came up with Kee Marcello. It was weird that we all had the same guy in mind."

John finally told the band that he was leaving, but he agreed to do the Swedish tour that was already booked; once that was over, the band talked him into doing another promotion tour. That promotion tour was the very last time he worked with them. By then there weren't bad feelings according to Ian, because: "it had always been like us four and John by himself. So there weren't any particular bad feelings in the end because of the situation. We just accepted it and during the Swedish tour, we talked to Kee about joining the band. The first time we asked him, he said no because they were doing the photo session for their new album, well, that's understandable really."

Kee's band was called Easy Action, they were on the brink of releasing their new album, and that's why he said no first; the timing just couldn't have been worse. All the members of Easy Action were old mates of his, so he didn't want to drop them in it and in addition he had a production agreement with a Swedish guy he was due to go into the studio with. While EUROPE were on their Swedish tour, they tried to reach him constantly to get him to agree to join them. A couple of weeks after the tour, they popped the question again and he said: "OK, I'll do it for you."

What finally made him change his mind according to Ian, was when a girlfriend back in Sweden said: "How can you be so stupid to say no to this offer, if anyone else in the band got the same chance, they'd go for it immediately."

So by the time they went out on that promotion tour, everyone knew that Kee would be in the band. Kee was actually in the band before John left. They met up with Kee in Sweden a couple of weeks after the promotion tour and he got the gig without doing any audition at all. Ian remembers: "We got together and we rehearsed about three or four songs just to get him into the band, and in the beginning I remember when he was supposed to play the solo in 'The Final Countdown' and he didn't manage to do it, and I thought: 'Oh God, maybe he can't play.' Kee had his way of doing things and John had his way."

"So Joey had to show him how to do it. He learnt it in about ten minutes but we doubted him for maybe a minute, but he did an incredible job learning all the solos that John did and adding his own things into it. He did all this in a couple of weeks just before we went on the European tour. He was working like 24 hours a day, like starting songs and trying to get into solos. Actually the first time we appeared on stage together with Kee was on a big TV show in Germany, 'Peter's Pop Show', so the first appearance Kee did, he was playing a fake guitar."

They knew he could play really, and Joey had already worked with Kee on the Swedish Metal Aid single which they'd co-written. Kee fitted in perfectly from the very beginning, and he and Joey carried on trading creative ideas as they had for that earlier single.

John Norum was reported in "The Sun" that May as saying the reason for his departure was that "Joey Tempest and I disagreed about everything. Joey began playing childish tricks on me to try to upstage me during our concerts - but if I did the same to him, he wouldn't speak to me for hours." Now we all know how reliable "The Sun" is, but even in the "In His Own Words" of this illustrious organ of November '87, John's tone is a little bitter, so perhaps the parting wasn't as free of acrimony as is being made out.

There don't seem to be too many ego problems in the camp now what with Joey being the front person and the main writer. As he said: "We have talked about that many times because I want to talk about it, because I always loved to have a band. That's my dream, otherwise I would probably try to do a solo thing and Thomas would suggest to me, but he know how I am. I want the band and I want to be part of the band because that means that you have a family and you have got people around you. It would be lonely to do all this as a solo thing. I have never dreamt about doing that; when I get older, I might sit at home and do some writing on my own, and I might release something, but that's far, far ahead."

When the adulation gets too much, and there are "a lot of towns in Europe where we can't walk out at all," Joey always remembers the chastening fact that "at the same time it's flattering because you think: 'Well, what if the magazines didn't want to ask us one single question." He's a man with a single purpose, "if I do something then I want to be the best at it." And he admits that "I like to impress people and if you impress as many as possible, that means you are going to sell a certain amount of albums and that can bring you to number 1. So basically I'm trying to do the best I can on all occasions without trying to put anyone down on the way. I try to be modest and respect people on the way. That goes for the band too, I'm not the ego, I don't want to stand out from the rest."

Another important ingredient is their management (who incidentally were very helpful in sending biographical info for this fan mag. Thanx chaps!) Joey said that when the time came to gird their loins for the fourth album, "we have been working together as a team of course, and when we spoke to each other before 'Out of This World', we said: 'We've gone this far, hey let's go again,' because 'Final Countdown' is a tough one to follow up."

The Bahamas became home in June / July of '87, newspaper reports at the time said there had been a management raid on their office, and in addition Joey had missed his call-up date. They didn't choose the kinder climes over there because they knew they'd be writing over the winter, but because of the tax situation and its proximity to America. They thought they'd be doing a lot of work in the States and figured it was a good choice.

It also sorted out the conscription problem, as Ian explained: "Since we moved out of Sweden, it solves itself because if you don't live in Sweden, they you don't have to do military service; but I had to delay it for two or three years but I got it postponed and since we left Sweden, we don't have to do it."

They're still not sure if they'd have to do it if they went back to live in Sweden full-time. Ian continued: "It depends really, you can never tell. A lot of sport stars like Björn Borg, they don't have to do it. They moved out of Sweden and they moved back, and they didn't have to do it. So it depends on what kind of moods they are in and if they have a lot of people doing Military service. So there are a lot of different aspects."

So they left all that stuff behind and decamped to an island group in the Bahamas, and Joey, Kee and Mic started writing songs. They weren't in each other's pockets though; John, Ian and Mic stayed in one house for a time while Kee and Joey were actually staying on another island. After a while they moved to the island where the others were and moved into the same house.

Ian explained how the writings works: "The whole band get together and put ideas in. So we all have a very big input to the songs. I like that situation because Joey is very open-minded when it comes to coming up with ideas; you can say: 'I don't like that part, why don't you try something better?' And he'll say: "Yeah sure, if it works out better, why not.' So we all put a lot into the songwriting and especially when we started rehearsing for this album, 'Out of This World', because Kee has been working as a producer and arranging everything for many years, so he has a lot of experience in that field. He constantly comes up with ideas, and we tried them out which leads to our feeling more and more like a band."

"When John was in the band, Joey gave us the tapes to listen to and we just rehearsed the things as they were on the demo tape, because John never came up with any constructive suggestions. Since Kee came into the band, we became more experienced in our music."

Joey says of the lyric writing that "it's not a matter of translating lyrics that I wrote obviously in Swedish. That doesn't work for me at all. The trick is try and think in English."

Rehearsals for the album took place at the Nomis complex here in London. Ian remembers: "We were next door to Jimmy Page which was quite funny, and we had Status Quo across the corridor. It felt quite weird when you went down to the canteen to have a cup of coffee and you met Francis Rossi. I went to the loo and I was standing there next to Jimmy Page having a leak. It was really funny standing next to the guy whose music you were brought up with."

Talking of James Page Esq., he's someone that Ian would dearly like to work with, "not in a band situation, but I would love to play on one or two tracks. John Bonham is one of my biggest influences ever and I know that Jimmy Page and John Bonham worked together very closely to create all the rhythm patterns in the Led Zeppelin songs. I would love to work with Jimmy Page at some point, just to get the idea of how he works."

"I would love to spend some time doing session work for different bands just to broaden my range, but not as a full-time job.  I think the only way to become a better musician is in a band if you tour and play a lot together, you get very tight as a band and the sound is very good, but sometimes you have to have new challenges, maybe even just for a jam session; as good as you are, it could get into a rut."

After "The Final Countdown" they toured a lot, and Ian reckons with that volume of gigs "you get a lot of experience that way. We like to rehearse the material very well before we go into the studio. We spent almost two months rehearsing before we went into recording this album. We went through the arrangements and the whole songs, and we built up the drums around the bass guitar. We took every song from basics and built them up, and maybe Ron didn't have to bother with the drums so much, but I don't think he ever told me: 'You should play this or that.' Looking back, I think maybe Kevin was a bit easier as a social person, but I would say that Ron was better to work with as a person because he was very experienced, he knew exactly how he wanted it to sound."

Ron has after all worked on about eighty albums. "That's right, it's like you're working for him. It's like every day going to the factory and knowing exactly what screw you're going to screw in."

Kee Marcello also liked working with Ron, he said before they went into the studio that "we don't want a Mutt Lange-type production with police sirens and bombs falling in the background, that's not our trip," and although Kevin Elson had been hotly tipped to work with them again, everyone was happy with the job that Ron did. He started with them on the actual recording at London's Townhouse Studios on March 15th this year.

Why were they still using a producer, rather than doing it themselves? Joey answered that one: "I did produce an album once and I would probably do it again, maybe later because it's too much emotional work - I wrote the songs and I produced it. Kee is a good producer, he has produced before, but we decided to use outside producers to hold things together and to have another objective ear. Because the band is going to be in music, it's going to be an album made by musicians and those albums might be a bit tricky, a bit too serious. Because the producer takes it down to earth, he can see what the musicians do, he has to keep certain musicians in their place and bring out more from the others. They have to do that, they know all that stuff, but you can never do that if you sit down with five guys, they argue about everything. You have to have somebody to take care of it."

It was at Ron's suggestion that they re-work "Open Your Heart" from the "Wings of Tomorrow" album, it's been a long-time live staple. Ian said: "We were talking about doing a new version of it for a long time. It was actually Ron who said: 'Why don't you put this on the album,' because it didn't get the right recognition with 'Wings of Tomorrow', so we arranged for it to be put on the album, and it is actually going to be the second single off the album."

Eventually they started earning from their success, but they didn't go out with a shopping list to rival Santa's. Ian told me: "We had a lot of debts to pay off to the record company and to the management because between '84 and '86, maybe the first tour that we did outside Sweden, we were not gaining any money; we have almost broke even on the tours. I would suggest recently that we have got even with the record company and our management. People always tend to think that you are a millionaire just because you sell millions of records. They don't realize that you have to pay off your debts."

So none of them have rushed out and bought the Ferrari yet! Ian said: "No, I don't think I will ever, except for when I'm about 50 and I can sit in my house and and do whatever I want to, but right now we don't even have a proper place to keep the Ferrari. It's not a very big point having a Ferrari down in the Bahamas, so when I need a car, I just rent a car. Actually I have a car in Sweden that I use in the summertime when I go back to visit my friends and stuff; I have an old Beach Buggy. I saw the color on a pair of ladies shoes, it's spectacular, it's a mixture of pink and orange. So when I went to the guy that was supposed to spray the car, I brought this ladies shoe with me and I said: 'I want this color.' He felt really bad when he went to the guy that mixes the colors and said: 'Yeah, I want this color,' but it turned out really good so I called it the Peach Buggy."

It's an oft repeated point, but EUROPE are much heavier live. Ian took up the cudgel. "Yeah, so they say. With 'The Final Countdown', the songs in themselves are kind of heavy, but the sound is a bit studioish, I would say and when we play live, it's a bit heavier. When we recorded this album, we wanted to sound more like EUROPE, more heavy, live drums and heavy guitar riffs. So I think the new album is a bit more heavy and live-oriented than 'The Final Countdown' was."

They're continuing their long-standing association with the video company MGMMM for the clip for "Open Your Heart", the filming was done in Soho in central London and in an old power station in which they built sets to make it look like a recording studio. Nick Morris directs their clips with Fiona O'Mahoney producing, and Ian commented that he's never sure exactly what they're going to do for their videos since "this director has always got some weird ideas...!"

Unusually the band went out supporting Def Leppard in the States for a two month tour this summer, between July 15 and August 22. It's unusual not least because the dates took place prior to the release of their fourth album. The tour was very well-received nonetheless and Ian cites it as the highlight of his year so far, it was great fun, apparently and a good time was had by all, especially the day they discovered that "Hysteria" had gone to number 1. Well, they had to join in the celebrations, didn't they?!

They rehearsed the "Out of This World" tour in Sweden, the tour is due to kick off in South-East Asia, then taking in Australia and Japan with a few weeks off scheduled around Christmas. Then they're touring Europe through until March and then it's back to the States. As Joey modestly pointed out, they all hope that "the company have kept the album up there, so there's a point in us going there after the European tour."

On the road it's as expected with the crew playing small tricks on the band, especially when it's the last gig of the tour. Ian remembers one occasion in particular: "You never know what to expect. It wasn't on this tour, it was when we were touring in Sweden and one time the roadies had put milk and flour on the snare drum. Because it's white, you just can't see it. I started to play and got covered with this mess!"

For Joey the constant touring and recording have meant compromises as regards more personal matters. "Since '84 it's been total commitment on my part. I have been living and breathing music, I'm still doing it and I guess that's why I never really had a private life, that has to wait."

There's no talk at the moment of solo projects, Joey said. "I think Kee might have been considering some before he joined us, but now he sincerely understands how much work there is. There's no way he can do it. I mean if we decide in the future to take some time off, somebody might do something, but now we don't have any plans at all."

Even soundtrack possibilities have had to be shelved, again as Joey said: "We have thought about it, we turned some down because everything has been so focused on the albums. We haven't had any time to do anything on the side."

They had a helluva task to follow the mega success of "The Final Countdown", which at the time of writing has shifted six million albums worldwide and spawned singles which sold four million copies. In a review of a UK show from the "Final Countdown" tour, John Peel wrote that "they are aware of rock conventions, but are not enslaved to them," he went on to say that the keyboard solo contained "outbreaks of what sounds suspiciously like Händel."

As long as they keep that awareness and use their eclectic influences to their best advantage, there can be little doubt that EUROPE will continue to make not the hardest metal in the world, but certainly some of the finest well-crafted rock.

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