The final countdown hasn’t begun for Europe because they continue to create music after three decades. Their music has stood the test of time and they are a band who is stronger than ever with the culmination of their talent and life experiences which is apparent in their songwriting. Europe was a band who never gave up on their dreams and weren’t swayed by early record company naysayers.
The vision of Swedish rock band Europe has evolved greatly over the years. The band officially formed in 1979 and immediately started putting in a lot of hard work to prove themselves as a top notch rock band. The beginning of their rise to fame all started with the band’s self-titled first album which was released in 1983. The band’s second album, Wings of Tomorrow, gained them worldwide attention and is what got them signed with Epic Records (now Sony Music) in the ‘80s.
In 1986, Europe rose to international fame with the release of the album The Final Countdown, which was their third release. It sold an amazing seven million records worldwide and the title track is one of the most recognizable rock songs in the history of music. The single was number one in over 25 countries. At this time, the band began touring all across the world. The band has had many hits over the years including Rock the Night, Carrie, Superstition and Cherokee.
As a follow up to their 2015 album, War of Kings, the band recently released the title track and first single, Walk the Earth and both the single and the album are receiving rave reviews. Europe has tested their boundaries and the band has released an album that establishes the band as one of the most contemporary rock bands of current times. Screamer Magazine sat down with vocalist Joey Tempest to talk about the band’s latest album release, Walk the Earth, and their long journey to unbridled success.
Tempest found his love of music at a young age. “I heard Elton John on the radio at nine or ten, and a lot of the music I picked up from my sister,” he reminisced. His earliest influences include Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Mott the Hoople. Tempest began writing songs at the young age of nine. When Europe came together, Tempest said, “We encouraged each other and it became second nature. We listened to other bands for techniques and played music every day.”
“It’s been a long journey and we’re not that band anymore. There is deeper expression and lyrics. We want to try new things,” said Tempest, “We’re simply a different band today. Ever since we started up again in 2004, we have constantly explored our limits and new parts of our musical universe. After around 1,000 shows, we feel comfortable just improvising, jamming and pushing our lyrics and songwriting with much more ease.” He explained that the trick is to move forward and sideways. “The last three albums have been the most interesting to make,” he said. Tempest points out that the band has been together recording and making albums longer than the early period of the band. Europe released a total of five albums in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Walk the Earth is their sixth album and they have taken their time recording it to ensure it’s a work of art that builds a new relationship with both listeners and the media. They are changing their musical direction with this new release and breaking boundaries, which can be heard in the new music.
Walk the Earth is something that the band is very proud of. “The album is more adventurous and more striking. There are a few more peaks. It’s not the original Europe…it’s slightly left field of what the classic Europe sounds like,” Tempest said. He has grown into an accomplished songwriter, which is an important asset to have in a band if they are going to stand the test of time. The band’s abstract journey has taken them on a different path that many of their band counterparts of the ‘80s. They are constantly moving forward and while live shows show a display of nostalgia, their recording time does not.
A video was recently released for the self-titled track, Walk the Earth, and can be seen HERE. Tempest said, “Walk the Earth is one of the songs that we’ve been most proud of.” The song is a melodic rock anthem that has a strong sound with a big meaning.
“The album has gained quite a momentum and we had the best producer who was quite particular to find the best sound,” said Tempest. Their producer, Dave Cobb, is based in Nashville and has worked with artists such as Rival Sons and Chris Stapleton. The band gave him a call and booked two weeks at Abbey Road Studios in London. They spent their time writing together and rehearsing. Cobb listened to every song and helped the band find the best sound possible.
The band took the time to write from the heart and the songs hold deep meanings. Turn to Dust is a riff that keyboardist Mic Michaeli came up with over ten years ago, and they have wanted to record it for a while. “This song asks the quintessential question of life. It’s all about living in the moment,” Tempest said. The band knew that this was a great album closer. Haze is a song with a riff heavy vibe that is Black Sabbath inspired, according to Tempest. He said, “It’s dark, spiritual, psychedelic…Dave (Cobb) changed things around a lot and this was some cool work in the studio.”
Even though the members of the band are entertainers first, they couldn’t resist the chance to voice their opinions in the song, Election Day. “I met with a professor and we talked about what has happened to democracy and what’s going on in the world today,” said Tempest. The discussion and ideals helped create this song, which embodies their political beliefs.
The band will continue to challenge themselves musically and they have little regard for outside influences and opinions. Even though there has been plenty of growth within the band, they still love performing their biggest hit, The Final Countdown. The year 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of their milestone album and they performed several “The Final Countdown Anniversary Shows” across Europe. The show at The Roundhouse in London can be seen in a July 2017 DVD release, The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Show – Live at the Roundhouse.
Europe is a band who is having fun evolving their music and songwriting. They are having the time of their life taking this new journey in their career. The band is currently on tour oversees and hopes to expand the tour into the U.S. They also just finished up performing shows with Deep Purple, a dream of theirs since they were kids putting together a band. “We’re so proud of the new album and hope to get to the U.S. soon,” Tempest said. They have recently announced nine UK dates for 2018 as part of their Tour the Earth tour. In addition, they will embark on a tour throughout Australia for the first time next year.
The band has sold over 25 million albums since their formation and have traveled all over the world playing their music for adoring fans. There is much more to come from this legendary rock band, and they will undoubtedly continue to bring new ideas to their music to keep getting closer to their roots. Europe is Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitars), Mic Michaeli (keyboards), John Leven (bass) and Ian Haugland (drums).