Resuming the countdown
By: Charrie Foglio            From: Hit Parader - 1990

Scandinavian rockers hope to regain commercial momentum with latest LP
EUROPE have relocated in San Francisco and are currently putting their finishing touches on their new album. Joey Tempest, Mic Michaeli, Ian Haugland, Kee Marcello and John Levén are also gearing up for their upcoming American, knowing that 1990 is shaping up as a make-or-break year in the career of this Swedish quintet.

Hit Parader: "Why did you choose to spend so much time in San Francisco?"

Joey Tempest: "It's one of our favorite towns, Stockholm, San Fransisco and Vancouver... in my case anyway. Also, we have management and friends here. We like the climate... it reminds us of Europe a little bit."

Mic Michaeli: "We've already been here for a couple of months. We split up over the summer then got back together in August. Some of us headed off to the Bahamas and the others stayed in San Fransisco and Los Angeles."

HP: "How did you write the songs for the new album?"

JT: "We have a big warehouse and we rehearsed every day trying to get songs together. It was a little tough for me though. I have to feel good about the things around me in order to have a creative side. Luckily, everything's great at the moment. We wrote for almost five months for the album before we felt it was time to start thinking about going into the studio."

MM: "We've actually been working seven days a week now and there's lots of new material to choose from. Usually when we write, someone comes up with an idea and we work on that. If there's no idea for a week, there's all sorts of other songs to record or arrange. There's always something to work on. I guess it's the same for everyone. You can't just sit down and say: 'Now I'm going to write a song.' It just comes along, but you have to keep on playing all the time."

Kee Marcello: "We try and spend five or six hours each day just rehearsing the old songs and getting some new ideas together. We try and do that every day on a continuous rehearsal schedule."

HP: "Is EUROPE looking at a new direction on this album?"

JT: "We've got a lot of ideas. I think we need to continue to to work on the songs and see what direction the whole project will take. It's mainly EUROPE stuff, melodies... it's pretty heavy though. Since we've been living out of a suitcase for three years, the songs are kind of 'nomad' sounding. Some of the stuff is wild but, as I said, the EUROPE melodies will always be there."

HP: "What about the band's image? You've been looking a bit different thee days."

JT: "We don't think about the image. Have we really changed that much?"

MM: "We just do what we feel is us at the moment. It's really hard to judge whether there's been a change or not or what the change is. What's important to us is our music. We're going in a more focused direction now. In the beginning, when we were writing, it was a bit split up. Now, we're getting into really good shape on the songs."

HP: "A lot of things have changed for you over the past years."

JT: "Yeah, it's funny because you think of bands going out and touring for a long, long time, like one-and-a-half years. We actually hit the road three years ago. We've been living out of suitcases for three years. It changes things. We see a lot of places, we are privileged in that sense."

MM: "But you get a little bit rootless. We still have our roots but since we're traveling all the time you never feel really at home. You have your suitcase, and your bandmates, but no real home."

JT: "You never stay in one place long enough to get settled... but it's a lot of fun. We're a privileged band in the sense that we could go pretty much anywhere in the world to play. After 'The Final Countdown', we became known all over the globe. It went Number One in 25 countries! We can go all those nations and it makes us very happy to know that all the corners of the world welcome us. That's what we want to do; we've got to tour. But we are emphasizing playing America this time. We're going to do four months here straight off, as soon as we get the album done."

HP: "What are some of your future goals?"

JT: "Well, we would like to have a long, long headlining tour over here because we haven't done that yet. We've been here too little to do a big tour. Also, we'd like to tour in Australia. We haven't been there yet. Maybe we'll do a good live album, that would be great. What else can we do? Right now we just long to get back on the road. I mean we are on the road right now in a sense, but playing for audiences all the time is what we want to do."

HP: "Any surprise gigs before the album's release?"

JT: "We like to do crazy and weird things. If we come to a town and we have time to stay over, we'll take some of the equipment with us and do a club or something. We'll probably end up doing a lot of those things because you need to do that to keep fresh on the road. You need to have fun. Otherwise it's going to be boring in the long run. You'll see, when we tour here, there are going to be big surprises. So keep an eye out!"

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