google5fdb2843fc4f1b5b.html Rock Chic: Europe's Joey Tempest interview

Monday, 10 January 2011

Europe's Joey Tempest interview

Europe's vocalist, Joey Tempest, talks to Alaina Henderson for SouthSonic before Sweden's biggest hard rock band undertakes a nationwide UK tour next month.

Alaina: Hi Joey, thanks a lot for this interview. The main reason really is that we are coming to the Bristol show you are doing next Feb, are you looking forward to it?
Joey: Yeah we played in the same place, the Academy, last time and it's a good gig yeah!

Alaina: What do you think of the layout of the place? It's an unusual venue.
Joey: It is quite unusual and wide. We remember when we first came we wondered how it would turn out but afterwards we thought it was pretty cool. You can get really close to the band and you can stand on the balconies. It's a great place to play a rock show.

Alaina: Do you think the Bristol crowds are good? I'm from Bristol.....
Joey: Haha. We hadn't been to Bristol many times, so it was really good for us to come there. We have friends there and it's a good music town as well. I think there's some dance vibe going on ther and I know there's a good rock scene too.

Alaina: You're from Sweden right? So do you think UK crowds are very different to back home?
Joey: I mean, I haven't lived in Sweden for 20 years. I lived in Ireland for a while and the Caribbean, but Swedish crowds are very much into heavy rock. When we grew up we used to go and see Rainbow or Queen or Whitesnake. There's a great tradition for a lot of us to go and play in Sweden, but consider the UK as the 'cradle of rock' - you know the bands we grew up with were mostly UK bands. We like playing the UK because we feel like you know rock music. A lot of bands have played here and you almost invented hard rock. It's special, you feel like you know everyone understands the music and we appreciate that.

Alaina: There are a lot of younger rock fans here too who maybe weren't there the first time around. So that's kind of proof that you're never too young to get into this kind of music.
Joey: No no, especially when they make new music and tour now, you know. We played with Whitesnake in Italy in 2008. I love 'Best Years' I love that song and the new album but I was also asked to play 'Still of the night' with David (Coverdale) as well. They're still around and doing good stuff, but also the old stuff speaks to you, you know. It's not just pop music for the mind, it's like it speaks to the whole of you. Rock music has always been there and bands like us have to live through the trends and it's always been like that.

Alaina: Your new album is brilliant, I love it. I've listened to it every day.
Joey: That's great, great. It's very much connected to hard rock and classic rock, it's got everything that we grew up with and we didn't shy away from showing it on this one.

Alaina: I love the way you don't feel you have to go with the trends to try and get 'in' with younger crowds and things like that. You've stuck to your own sound which most people will really appreciate.
Joey: They will, and if you do it passionately and do your own thing, it works in the long term that way.

Alaina: It's important that you've still got that rock sound and you'll never lose that.
Joey: Exactly. John (Norum) on guitar - he always plays too loud, the songs are always gonna be guitar based haha.

Alaina: That's why we love it! Will you be playing a lot from the new album on this tour?
Joey: We were in England not so long ago so we're gonna switch things around a bit and find new songs. Perhaps play something from the Almost Unplugged album and also highlight 'Last Look at Eden' again with five or six songs from there. If you're very lucky, maybe a completely new song.
Alaina: That sounds really exciting. Do you play all the old stuff aswell?
Joey: Yeah, we toured a lot last year and we want to switch things around a bit and play some different songs, but we always play the old songs, the big songs obviously we play but it kind of varies.

Alaina: I know there's probably one song that you always get asked about and have to play, ‘The Final Countdown’. Do you ever think “Oh no, not that song again”, or do you think “Yes, we still love playing this and people love hearing it. It's still good”?
Joey: We love playing it live. We open our show with that song and we still enjoy it. There's such a connection when that song kicks in and at a show it's the perfect thing to play. All of us in the band appreciate it, but we don't need to rehearse it and when we're on stage it's perfect you know.

Alaina: What were your influences for this new album when you wrote it?
Joey: It's the third comeback album we did. Start from the Dark in 2004 was very raw. We're trying to get better at our art and try to find a contemporary sound, but we relaxed and didn't shy away from showing our influences and had fun in the studio. Maybe that's why this album is the best of them all because we weren't trying to follow anything or anyone. It's just so honest and that's why it worked so well.

Alaina: That definitely comes through and shows when you listen to it.
Joey: Exactly, I think so too.

Alaina: Who are your main influences artist-wise? You're such a big influencial, successful band yourself, who do you look up to?
Joey: We started very early on with Deep Purple Led Zeppelin because in Stockholm there was a lot of hard rock. Albums like Made in Japan by Led Zepellin. I've realised now looking back that they were more influential than I thought. So yeah, that's the way it went and now there are interesting bands of late like Muse and all of this is created from great stuff as well. Um, there's a new young band from America called Black Stone Cherry.

Alaina: Oh I love them, we went to see them this year!
Joey: Yeah great, great. I think young bands carry a torch for classic music and it's very much needed to push anything forward. Joe Bonamassa I think is great stuff as well.

Alaina: You've obviously gained the success, you're a huge band and have got everything going on. Is it how you always imagined it would be?
Joey: We've been so lucky and worked so hard on coming back. Getting respect from the fans - it's very passionate and from the heart. It was three albums before things started moving, but the feeling we have now having success from Last Look at Eden is the best ever. We were very young the first time around, and now we can really appreciate it. We have control over the situation and it's really great the moment. To have a job with friends is, I mean we've known each other from teenage years, touring and releasing albums. But it's hard and for new bands it's hard in the new climate selling albums and stuff, but we're very lucky to have a back up in all this.

Alaina: Are you with the same line up now as you were when you started?Joey: The Final Countdown line up yes. It's not the original line up although people call it that, but it's the line up that we broke with. It helps if you are with the original members because fans identify with that. It's like when it's just the singer leaves or the singer is gone. There are a lot of bands where they're doing reunion things with maybe just one band member. It's hard for the fans to connect with.

Alaina: Like Guns n Roses....
Joey: Absolutely, I mean Slash and Axl have to get together; there will be more of a soul you know.

Alaina: So with touring life then, how does it compare to when you were younger in the 80s? Has it slowed down at all?
Joey: We all have families and things. We tour quite a lot, we're a hard working band but we sort of try to plan it better so instead of going out for eight months we go for two, three or four weeks tops and then we have a break. We always take care of our own as well - that's the main difference, but we work quite hard still anyway.

Alaina: I suppose now you're established, it makes a difference. Now you’v got more time to relax as well as going out there touring you can have the best of both worlds I suppose?
Joey: Yeah we can but as soon as we're off the road we start thinking about the next record so it's the same old job really. We want to push it forward and do some relevant music and things that people like. It's a great job to have. It's hard at times; it's relaxing at times - even though we are established like you say.

Alaina: I think it's great that you are still bringing out new albums and keeping up with the touring. Is that the kind of thing that keeps you motivated, the love of it?
Joey: It's the love of it and also the collective solo: it's five guys. This line up is proof that we always give 100%. If there's a tour or we go into the studio nobody says “no, I can't, I don't wanna do that.” It's always “alright, let's do it.” I think that's why some bands are where they are, all members give 100% and realise they have a good job you know.

Alaina: Also, I was listening to your Planet Rock show. That's a kind of side line thing you've got, is that something you've always wanted to do?
Joey: Haha I don't know, it was just a fluke thing. I mentioned it to the press agency and said wouldn't it be fun to do something like that and they set it up with Planet Rock. I thought it was cool because people who had done it before, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Elliot. It's a great experience for me because I start to look at my record collection and go through my life what have I listened to and it's really exciting. Ian the drummer is a DJ in Stockholm for a similar rock station and he's on air everyday so you know, I'm not even close to that. I just signed up for the series and going to have fun this time and then it's back to writing again. We're gonna write the new album next year and do some touring and record it in the autumn next year.

Alaina: So you're touring at the beginning of next year, and then?
Joey: We're touring the UK in February and then we’ve decided we will do two months of festivals, as well as the tour. See you in Bristol!

No comments:

Post a Comment