I’m not going to pretend that I’ve always been a huge fan of Europe. However, like so many of my generation there was always ‘that’ song which was enough to cause an instant grin and a desire to bust out the ol’ air guitar. Come 2008 I had more-or-less consigned the band to my past when, from out of nowhere, the ‘Last look at Eden’ album landed on my desk. Somehow, having had my senses comprehensively rearranged by the crushing, anthemic title track I picked my jaw up from off the floor and started trying to work out how to write a review that could effectively match the depth and quality of the album. Whether I succeeded or not you can judge by checking out the review here but what is important to understand is that here and now, some two years later, I still rate that album highly and still insist on playing it to whatever friend happens to wander through the door.
The success that the album bought was nothign short of revelatory but also thoroughly deserved. Joey Tempest and his merry crew have spent the last year and a half traipsing around the globe trashing every half-hearted expectation of them and proving that they have more than enough song-writing nous to not only compete with the new bands on the block but, in many cases, blow them off the stage. With a tour of the UK starting tomorrow, we caught up with Joey once again and managed to get hime to fill us in on how Europe have fared since we last spoke (check out our first interview here).
1. ‘Last look at Eden’ was the third album that you released following reforming and it seemed to mark a creative high point for the band – you must be very pleased with the reception it received?
JT Our Eighth album and we’re finally getting there. Learning to ‘let go’ and make a decent rock record. We are so happy with the response for this record. The biggest reaction from media and fans since the final countdown album.
2. You seem to have been perpetually on the road since that release – have you had time to consider any new material?
JT I think we’re done over 100 gigs now for the LLAE album and we’re touring this year as well. We have completed one new song that we are thinking of playing on this UK tour. Other than that, we are starting to get some riffs going.
3. With such a strong back catalogue behind you, was the temptation ever there to rely on that rather than to record new material?
JT We always said that if we are going to do this again, lets do it properly and re-establish the band again. With new albums and hard work. We are finally getting there.
4. ‘Last look at Eden’ was an album that sounded both rooted in classic, hard rock tradition and very forward thinking – what sort of bands do you like to listen to now?
JT I like new bands that are carrying the torch for classic rock and blues like Joe Bonamassa and Black Stone Cherry. Also like bands like Muse and Foo Fighters.
5. With you returning to England for another tour in quite a short space of time it seems like you have a special place in your heart for the country – is that true?
JT UK is the “cradle of rock” as far as we are concerned. This is where hard rock was born and it’s a privilege to be able to tour and build up a relationship with Britain again.
6. You’re also going to be filming the shows – will you be digging out any rare or special tracks for this performance?
JT We’ll try and pic some songs that we haven’t played in the UK for some time and also a brand new track, I hope.
7. You’ve played a lot of festival sets to crowds that, perhaps, aren’t Europe fans – do you tailor your own headline sets differently and in what way?
JT Sometimes you taylor it slightly, but we are the kind of band that like to play the songs we like in the band, so it’s not that different really.
8. What can fans expect from this tour?
JT Big songs, a new song and a whole lot of rock’n’nroll….
9. Can you tell us about the support act that you chose for this tour?
JT We wanted to find a new upcoming British band and I think Voodoo Johnson could have a great future.
10. From the music itself on the last album and the interviews that you’ve done since you sound amazingly positive about the music you’re making and the gigs you’re playing – can we expect you to continue for a good while yet?
JT The Europe camp is smiling at the moment……..but of course we want to take things up a notch. We want to make an even more Contagious and spontaneous rock album next time. We’re going into the studio in October.
11. ‘Last look at Eden’ is one of those records that flows incredibly well, would you ever consider playing it in its entirety?
JT Perhaps one day. That could be interesting…..
12. Do you have any specific ambitions at this point that you’d like to fulfil?
JT Just have great last summer of touring on the LLAE album and start working and recording the next album…….thats enough for now..
Europe’s Balls ‘N’ Banners UK Tour kicks off at the Glasgow o2 ABC on Thursday 17th February. 24 hour ticket hotline: 0844 477 2000, 0161 832 111, www.ticketweb.co.uk or www.ticketline.co.uk. Further info: www.europetheband.com
All photography (c) Denis O’Regan.