Between the late eighties and early nineties, the heavy metal/death metal scene came alive in the country of Sweden, spawning many different sub-genres including Viking metal and black metal. Quite a few rock n’ roll musicians have emerged from that country including guitar virtuoso, Yngwie Malmsteen and the hard rock/heavy metal band, Europe.
Europe has been rocking this world since they formed in 1979. Some of their biggest and best hits are songs we sing to the minute we hear them grace the radio waves…like Carrie, The Final Countdown and Rock The Night. The band has never lost their fan base and continues to grow with new ears listening everyday. When Europe’s U.S. fan club was granted an interview, they launched a contest for fans of the website, to come up with questions for the band. What follows is that afternoon spent on Facebook with drummer, Ian Haugland.
First, let us say it is an honor to be able to do this interview! You have so many fans around the world and we have found a way to bring them together with our page “Europe Through the Years.” The page was started in hopes of bringing the American fans together, but because of the mutual love for your music it has become a fan page for fans all over the world. As you may know, we ran a contest with fans on the page to help us choose questions for this interview. There were too many questions to use all of them, but we chose some that we thought covered what the majority of your fans would like to know… and because of you and all the fans this interview has become a dream come true! We also solicited some questions from some of the DJs who have been supportive of the band’s new music.
A: Ian: Absolutely, Bag Of Bones (BOB) is the Europe album that takes us closest to our roots and influences ever. In a way BOB feels like it should’ve been our first album. We’ve gone down a totally new and exciting path!
Q: If you could re-record, or re-write any song of yours what would that song be and have you ever considered re-making and releasing any songs under the Europe name that you did under the name Le Baron Boys or your solo careers? (Jessica Wylde, DJ, PowerhouseMix Radio, USA) (Angel Evans, Europe’s American Fans)
A: Ian: In general I think we try to look forward and focus our energy on writing and recording new music, you know re-recording old songs takes as much time in the studio as recording new songs! However we been talking about putting together a “best of” in the future, and I’m sure that if and/or when it happens we will remix and possibly re-record some old stuff together with some new bonus songs. We’ll see!
Q: What have you learned by Bag Of Bones and what makes it different from all the others you have released? Can you describe the new album in one word? (Norma Jean, DJ, Red Eye Radio, USA)(Puri Belen Sanchez Fernandez, Murcia, Spain) (James Wright, Belfast, UK)
A: Ian: The lesson learned is this; great rock albums are made by a group of talented creative musicans playing together in the recording studio at the same time, overseen by a great preferably South African producer by the name of Kevin that helps kick the writing and recording sessions in the right direction. BOB equals Eargasm!
Q: If, (or better said when) touring in the states, which Music Festivals would you be interested in and which new line-up and bands coming from your country do you like? (Joker, DJ, Extrememetalradio, USA)
A: Ian: I don’t know the names of any of the American festivals, but any festival with people that can dig a great kick ass rock n’ roll show would do for me! I also think it would be great fun to do package tours with other bands. Fingers crossed!
Q: Did you ever think that you would still be a bad ass rocker with the enthusiasm and energy of a rookie singer, continuing to make great music and amazing concerts at this point in your life? What is your secret?(Eva Tomorrow Europe, Spain) (Love from Megan Kirby,Kansas, USA)(Angel Evans, Europe’s American Fans)
A: Ian: I think it’s amazing that we can still be doing this thirty so years after we started. I realize more and more how lucky we are! I think there’s a number of reasons why we’re still here, but I think the main reason is that we’re still passionate about our music and have fun when we work together as a band.
Q: Over the years your writing skills have evolved, and you have proven to feel comfortable in writing in a language not native to you. What is most important to you in the process of writing your songs? Fan approval, Press, or the way you feel about it? What kinds of works have inspired you most? (Sandra Lanzo,Italy)(Eva Tomorrow Europe, Spain)
A: Ian: I think Europe’s music has always come from the heart and the soul of us as a band. I don’t think we would be around if we made music according to other people’s taste and opinion. We make music to satisfy ourselves and if somebody else likes it, that’s fantastic… And we’re so lucky that you do!
Q: Have you ever been disappointed while on stage because you played something wrong or because you caught a negative feedback from the audience and how do you react in these cases? What fan reaction impacts you the most and is there one moment of fans approaching you for autographs, pictures, etc. that is most memorable to you?(Gabriela Ortiz, Argentina, Cinzia Cacciari, Italy)
A: Ian: I fuck up something every show… I could never play the whole set perfectly. Then again that’s what makes it exciting I think. Every night is different. I used to get pissed off before in the 80′s when I made mistakes on stage, but now I just realize that fucking up is a part of being me and being alive. I can’t really remember getting upset by anyone in the audience ever. I think it’s really cool to see when people sing along to our songs.
Q: Bag of Bones is your ninth studio album. Through all these years Europe has always been able to reinvent themselves, gaining the respect from those who used to criticize the band. How much can Europe still give to the present and future music scene? (Stefania Morese, Italy)
A: Ian: I see Europe’s career as journeys thru the world of music, we’ve been to some exciting places but there’s so much more to see. The fact that people who never cared for us before suddenly starts diggin’ us I think is a proof that we must be doing something right!
A: Ian: It started as a song title that Joey came up with at the end of the Last Look… tour when he felt really drained burned out. Then when we were talking about a title for the new album we thought Bag Of Bones just sounded cool and seemed to fit in well with the musical direction we had taken.
Q: What led you to the decision and how was it to work with Kevin Shirley as your producer? (Fernanda Pucciarelli,Argentina)(Cynthia Glover, Europe’s American Fans, USA)
A: Ian: I think we all liked his earlier productions with Aerosmith, Rush & Journey. But it was definitely his production on more recent albums with Joe Bonnamassa and Black Country Communion that made us approach him. We met him in Stockholm last summer and felt right away that this guy was right for us.
Q: Was there a song called Out of This World? If so, why was it never released? (Rickard Bodin, Sweden)
A: Ian: Joey was working on a song called, Out of this World, back in 1987 when he was writing for the album OOTW, but it was never finished. I believe he thought it sounded a little too much like a “Final Countdown Part 2″.
Q: You guys have been all around the world, you’ve visited so many different lands. Is there any place you haven’t visited yet because of a sad situation there, like extreme poverty, war, no technology, but you would like to visit and how would you make your music reach these places? (Alenka Ban, Slovenia) (Mariela Serrano, Brazil)
A: Ian: We’ve been to many countries with different cultures, religions, political situations, and I think it’s fantastic to see how our music reaches out to the hearts of the people in these countries. It makes you realize the beautiful power of music and that we’re all fundamentally all the same no matter what color, religion, or political belief. I think this is one of the most important and inspiring forces that makes you wanna be a musician.
A: Ian: I can honestly say that BOB is the greatest album to date, it’s the first album that we totally achieved what we set out to do. We tried to do this back in 1991 when we recorded Prisoners in Paradise but the record company wouldn’t support our ideas then.
Q: What words of encouragement would you give to fans who support the band everyday, through your official website, the forum, the tour blog, and from sites like “Europe Through the Years” on Facebook? (Eva Tomorrow Europe, Spain)
A: Ian: I would say thanks for supporting us and making it possible for us to do what we love the most, making music and playing live in front of you guys. Without you we wouldn’t be here!
Q: How would you like to be remembered by the fans through the years? (Vonny Perez, Chile)
A: Ian: That’s a tough question… hopefully for the music but also for being an inspiration for other people and musicians, and for bringing out a few laughs and giggles.
Q: We thank you for sharing your music and your lives with us. And more importantly, our deepest and sincerest heartfelt thanks for allowing us to come on this magical, musical journey with you; thank you for allowing us to “Bring It All Home” with you. Our lives are richer because you’re a part of them. May God bless you and yours for all of your days.