Joey Tempest of Europe chatted with Mick Burgess prior to the start of their UK tour about life in Europe and their lastest album Bag of Bones.

You’re back over in the UK for 9 dates starting in Birmingham on 21st November. Are you looking forward to playing for your UK fans again?

It’s always a hoot! It’s great to bring Bag Of Bones to Britain. It’s like giving something back after all the inspiration this place has given us all through the years.

What sort of show can people expect from Europe in 2012?

We’re putting together a more dynamic Rock show with an acoustic set in the middle of the gig. It really sets the second part of the show up good and proper.

Will you be adding any vintage songs to the set alongside the classic material and newer songs?

We’re not known for being the most adventurous of bands when it comes to changing the set list. We play what we love to play and that’s that. But lately we have been throwing in a song here and there that we haven’t played for a long time. But by having around 5-6 songs from our new album it’s a new kind of show in any case. Throw in some of the big classics and “Bobs your uncle”!

Are you finding that each time you go out on the road you are seeing more and more new faces in the crowd as word gets out as to what a great show you put on?

Last Look at Eden really opened things up for us and invited a younger generation on-board. We’re lucky! Our music seems to transcend well.

The North of England holds a special place for you as your wife is from up here. Will you find some time to visit some friends and family while you’re up here?

I love the north of England. You can frequently hear proper Classic Rock on the radio stations. Great people too! It’s really good to play our kind of rock up here. The audience really connects. They know a whole lot about classic rock. It’s in their whole being.

Your latest album Bag of Bones came out a few months ago and received great reviews. Do you tend to read reviews these days or do they not bother you that much anymore?

Always nice to have a few favourable words said about your music. If someone writes something not so good it doesn’t really stick with you and bother you anymore.

How do you see Bag of Bones as a progression from your last album, Last Look at Eden?

Bag of Bones is a touring bands record. It was done spontaneously and quickly with lots of attitude and emotion. How rock albums should be made!

Is your first single, Not Supposed To Sing The Blues your response to those who say a band like Europe should not sing music that is based in the Blues?

Perhaps, but even more so a response and reaction to ourselves and our own past and history. I’m still kind of shocked that a band from the suburbs of Stockholm can express themselves this way. All traces of where we come from more or less obliterated!

This is your highest charting album in the UK since the early ’90s and your highest in The States since the ’80s. Do you feel that the hard work you have put into touring since the classic line up got back together in the early 2000s is now reaping its rewards?

All the five of us have to focus on is to stay together and keep working. The rest seem to follow.

Some people still associate Europe with the ’80s but you have now released four albums since you reunited and are very much different musically than you were back then. Do you feel you have more in common with the classic bands such as Deep Purple, UFO and Thin Lizzy than the Hair Metal bands of the ’80s?

We were part of the 80s. But we grew up listening and taking inspiration from the bands from the70s and perhaps some early 80s records. We weren’t really that inspired by the 80 bands around us. Def Leppard opened a lot of doors though they were the first hard rock band to be cross over and be played on commercial radio. Bands like Bon Jovi and Europe were not far behind.

Do you have more musical freedom these days to express yourself as a band the way you want rather than being pressured by a record label?

Although we always wrote and decided what music to produce and release, these days it’s even more rewarding. We control all aspects today. Touring, merchandise and image control. Being on the biggest label in the world in those days CBS/ Sony there would be compromises. But these labels were powerful. If a band needed an extra “push” they had the capacity. These days it’s very different. The power is in the hands of the artist. You just got to make the most of the opportunities out there.

While many of your peers from the ’80s seem to be struggling in the current climate, Europe is thriving. Why do you think you have managed to survive in the fickle music business where many others have fallen by the wayside?

Surprise yourself and your fans and believe you can better yourself with each record. That’s a good platform. Also, there’s a special chemistry between these five band members that makes all the difference. We’re blessed in that sense.

Most great bands through the ages are based around the singer and lead guitarist whether it’s Page and Plant in Led Zeppelin, Jagger and Richards in The Stones or Tyler and Perry in Aerosmith. What is the connection between you and John Norum that gives Europe it’s spark?

We’ve always been like brothers, since we started the band together.

We have fallen out sometimes but always found our way back due to mutual respect and admiration of each other’s work……it goes a long way!

John Norum is a great guitarist both technically and melodically. Do you think he gets the recognition that he deserves as a guitarist.

I think he’s beginning to. More front cover stories around the world with each record we make. He’s one of the greats of his generation. No doubt!

Your reunited line-up has been together over a decade now. What is it that keeps you all going as band?

We just try and communicate with each other. Good or bad stuff. It’s just one of those things. 5 guys who were meant to crash into each other and create something.

It’s almost as if Europe have had two distinct phases as a band. What words of wisdom would you give to Europe at the start of their first phase with the benefit of your experience that you have now?

Don’t take it too seriously!!

It’s been 10 years since your last solo album. Are you totally busy with Europe at the moment or might you work on a new solo record at some point?

I don’t see a solo record anytime soon. I can’t really combine the two.

Christmas is just around the corner. What will you be doing for Christmas this year?

We tour all the way up to the 22 of December. So collapsing in a big heap over Xmas most likely…..part of it in London and part of it in Stockholm.

What about 2013? What do you have lined up for next year?

We will continue touring with Bag Of Bones and play some festivals and start writing Europe’s 10th album. What a cracker that will be!

Europe’s new album Bag of Bones is out now on earMusic.

Europe’s “Bag of Bones” UK tour starts November 21 at the Birmingham o2 Academy. Very special guest on all dates is StoneRider.

UK Tour Dates

Birmingham O2 Academy (Nov 21)
Glasgow O2 ABC (Nov 22)
Manchester HMV Ritz (Nov 23)
Newcastle O2 Academy (Nov 25)
Leeds O2 Academy (Nov 26)
Nottingham Rock City (Nov 27)
Bristol O2 Academy (Nov 29)
Cardiff Coal Exchange (Nov 30)
London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Dec 1)


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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