EUROPE Update - John Levén tells all
By: Gerri Miller            From: Metal Edge - 1990

Swedish rockers set up shop in L.A.
EUROPE dropped out of sight after releasing "Out of This World", without touring America. EUROPE put Europe first. But that's about to change, as bassist John Levén reveals.

Gerri Miller: "EUROPE toured for a few weeks prior to "OOTW"'s release with Def Leppard. Why didn't you come back to the U.S. after that?"

John Levén: "We had promised to over to Europe and do a month of interviews and a promotion tour - the worst month of my life. We were supposed to come back. We were supposed to do South America, but we canceled that because 'Out of This World' wasn't doing that good. The biggest mistake was leaving the Def Leppard tour."

GM: "Do you think the album would done better if you'd stayed?"

JL: "Definitely. This time we want to be here, concentrate on America. We paid our dues in Europe."

GM: "Your American fans feel pretty neglected, if our mail is any indication."

JL: "I can't understand that. It's not really our fault. It was a management decision. This time we're gonna do exactly what we want to, and we want to be here."

GM: "L.A., specifically."

JL: "Yeah. There's a lot of bands here, it's creative, you meet a lot of people. But we're rehearsing so much we haven't really been out much."

GM: "Do you think you wimped out on the last one?"

JL: "Yeah, I could agree on that. We were sort of afraid 'cause 'The Final Countdown' was such a huge success. It's hard to follow that. We're still proud of it, though."

GM: "How much is written so far?"

JL: "About six, but we're gonna do maybe 20 songs."

GM: "Any titles?"

JL: "The first song on the demo is 'Seventh Sign', it's when the holocaust is and the skies will be blood red. Kind of drastic. 'Wild Child' is my songwriting debut, with Kee and Joey, and 'Yesterday's News' I wrote with Kee, Joey's doing the lyrics. It goes: 'I'm so down I'm reading yesterday's news.' Joey wrote 'A Little Bit of Lovin'. We're writing together this time. We come in, sit down, and start jamming."

GM: "As opposed to Joey coming in with completed songs."

JL: "That's exactly what we're not going to do this time."

GM: "Choose a producer yet?"

JL: "We sent a tape to Bob Rock, but he's doing Little Caesar until December. If we're ready to go before we'd have to go with someone else, maybe Beau Hill, Terry Thomas. It's got to be the right one. It's hard, the rough mixes on 'The Final Countdown' were much heavier than the mixes. People always tell us we're better live than on record. I know, we all know. We want to bring that out now. As soon as we release the album we have to hit the road, but if we wait for Bob Rock, it's probably going to be springtime."

GM: "Which has been more difficult: Getting started in the beginning or maintaining your success now?"

JL: "Before success there's no pressure. But once you make it you get all the pressure. People are counting on you to write good songs and you have to be better than you were the last time. But we try to forget that."

GM: "You toured EUROPE and Asia after the Def Leppard tour, right?"

JL: "Yes. We went to Bombay, India. That was weird. You see people dying on the streets and you walk two steps, you're in the hotel and the rich people are in the disco. Then we went to Japan and Taiwan. 50 000 screaming Chinese. One of the shows, the electricity went out, everything went black. The only thing working was the back light. We jammed and they had flashlights on us."

GM: "Any current romantic attachments, John?"

JL: "I don't have a girlfriend. I have girlfriends."

GM: "What do you think of the girls in L.A.?"

JL: "Wild. They pick you up. They find out you're in a band, they get a little bit too impressed. There's no sport - it's too easy."

GM: "Can you pick a favorite EUROPE album, song, and video?"

JL: "Album, the latest one. Song and video, 'Let the Good Times Rock'. I like the live stuff, I like to see us on stage best."

GM: "Will there be another home video?"

JL: "Not until we start touring America. We didn't shoot anything on the last tour. But I'm sure we will next time - You'll be seeing a lot of us this year."

- John said he planned to get a scorpion tattoo on his back ("I'm a Scorpio") and a panther on his right arm.

- John has a new endorsement deal with Yamaha - he's having some new basses made and they'll market his signature model once he designs it.

- John, who loves the sun, prefers L.A. to his native Sweden and may move there. He still has a place in the British West Indies, but finds it "too slow there."

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