|CDK Interview with Kee Marcello|
By: Felipe Palma
From: CDK - May 30, 2005
What are you currently up to?
"Right now Iím writing for the next K2 album, Iím doing it with ZAL, a songwriter Iíve worked a lot with in the past, and wrote some really successful songs with."
How has your solo album "Melon Demon Divine" been received?
"It got very mixed reviews, the critics either seem to love it or hate it! The feedback from my fans has been mixed, too. Some of them like the 'older'-sounding material, like 'Hey Romeo' and 'Coming Home' and donít like the idea of the modern production of songs like 'Raptor', 'Enemies' and 'EMD', and vice versa."
Why did you choose that title for the album?
"The title just revealed itself to me after a long night with a lot of drinks! It is supposed to symbolize the bright and the dark side of the album, the 'melon' (bright) songs being; 'Epic', 'Tattoo For Patto', 'Coming', etc. and the ďdemonĒ (dark) songs being; 'EMD', 'Evil Ways', 'Raptor', etc."
What happened to the band Easy Action?
"I left the band in 1986 when I joined EUROPE, and that was pretty much the end of the band, Iím sorry to say. They continued for a year with Chris Lynn on guitars (great guitar player!), but I guess the band was too associated with me for them to pull it off on their own."
How did you get the call for EUROPE and why did you reject the offer and later on you accepted?
"Their manager, Thomas Erdtman called me in the studio. The reason I rejected at first was because I just finished off Easy Action's second album 'That Makes One', and me and my manager at the time; Niels Kvistborg, had a lot of interest for it from majors in the US. That album was my baby, I put my entire soul into it, and it was very hard to let go of that dream. I knew that if I wanted to join EUROPE, the album was going to vanish. And it did. Epic US wanted to sign it, but declined since I joined EUROPE and was no longer in the band. So it was with very mixed emotions I finally accepted the offer. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if never left Easy Action!"
Since you became the guitarrist for the "Final Countdown" tour, what opinion did you have on that album and on John Norum's guitar playing?
"I wasnít overly impressed! I didnít care for the production and the arrangements. I liked the songs and Joeyís voice, but Norumís guitar playing came across rather blunt to me. It wasnít until later that I realized that heís actually a great player."
How was the experience for you on that tour?
"It was very mixed. In one sense it was fantastic with all the response due to the fantastic success of 'TFC', but on the other hand I was looked upon as 'the new guy', which made me feel kind of out of the loop. One thing that really annoyed me was that a lot of people thought that I was just some youngboy who won the lottery and got to play with the real guys! In Sweden I was already then very established as a player and a producer, and Easy Action actually had international recognition before EUROPE did."
Do you think that your incorporation to EUROPE changed the musical direction a bit?
"Iím sure it did. My musical influences were very different from those of the rest of the band. I was more into American stuff, and itís obvious that the sound changed with my guitar playing."
What is your opinion on the "Out of this World" and "Prisoners in Paradise" albums?
"I like them both. I especially like 'OOTW' because of the guitar sound."
From your point of view, what was the main reason for the breakup of EUROPE or the status of "on hold" for almost 10 years?
"Grunge was breaking through, and bands like EUROPE werenít as hot anymore. But the main reason was that Joey and me didnít get along. In the beginning, when I was hesitating about the offer to join the band, their manager promised me to take place in the drivers seat together with Joey, songwriting and directionwise. I wouldnít have accepted the offer otherwise. But when it came down to picking songs for 'OOTW', which I wrote and demoed 8 tracks for, I barely got one of my songs on the album ('Just The Beginning', Joey rewrote the verse lyrics). Thomas Erdtman and Joey never intended to seriously let me in on the songwriting, and this made me very frustrated. On 'PIP' I tried to tag on as cowriter on Joeyís stuff, but it never really panned out. Donít get me wrong, Iím very proud of how those songs and albums turned out anyway, but I guess the way I felt about it really took its toll on me. I tried to be 'just the guitar player' in the band for a while, but I just couldnít do it."
EUROPE had the chance to play in Chile at the Festival de ViŮa del Mar, what was it like playing in a festival that isn't a rock festival and how was the experience for you of being in Chile?
"I have very good memories of ViŮa del Mar, the people, the atmosphere, the food, the wine! It was a blast playing the show, and it really felt like people enjoyed it."
The festival of ViŮa must of had a in impact for you, that's why you decided to come back and present "Hey Romeo", can you comment this decision?
"I got the offer to come and be the 'guest star' of the competition, and I thought it sounded like fun. Unfortunately I got a throat infection that affected my voice badly, but it was great to be back in Chile."
What were you up to after the breakup of EUROPE?
"I recorded an album with ex-Easy Action drummer Freddie Von Gerber called 'Red Fun' (released Ė93), and I released my first solo album 'Shine On' in Ė95 and went to Nashville, LA and New York to cowrite with some people. In Ė96 I produced 'Happy Man Donít Kill' for ex-Hollies singer Mikael Rickfors. In Ė97 I formed a production company and went to the US to visit some majors. I started working with Zal in 98, and during a couple of years we wrote and produced for a.o. Pandora (3 albums) and the Moffats."
What guitar gear are you currently using?
"Iím playing a Randall RM 100 with the 'Plexi' 'Ultra' and 'Recto' preamps. Guitarwise Iím mainly using my Washburn CTS and my vintage Fender Strat -58."
You might have been asked this question a million of times, but why did you decide not to write and perform on the new EUROPE CD and why not tour with them?
"It was not entirely my decision! As you now know, there was a reason for us to split up back then, and although I know that you should never say never, I donít see myself playing with them ever in the future."
What is your opinion on the new EUROPE album?
"I think itís lacking in songs. They should have tried to make the fans happy instead, with an album that sounded like they did in the happy 80ís."
What is your biggest memory from your EUROPE days and how is your relationship with your ex bandmates?
"Probably the show at the Tokyo Dome! It was amazing to play at the worldís biggest indoor venue. We donít have any contact."
Kee, is there anything you would like to your fans in Chile and the readers of CDK, and can we expect you again in our country?
"Weíll see, after the release of the next album I would love to come to Chile and play with my band!"
Thank you very much, for your time and your music.
"Thank you for listening!"