Rockunited caught up with Europe’s lead singer Joey Tempest before a gig in Germany on their European tour. The band is promoting their new album “Start from the Dark” and the band is obviously enjoying the warm welcome that they’ve received on their tour.

Rockunited: I was in your show in Helsinki just recently and it looked like you really had a good time on the stage.
Joey: Oh yeah, especially in Helsinki. That was the first gig on the tour and it’s just show fantastic to play with John again in the band and also all these guys… we knew each other since we were teenagers. It’s like a family, we take care of each other and we really enjoy starting this new phase of our careers too. We want to do this for a while, then more albums and become a working band again.

Rockunited: Have you paid any attention to what kind of people come to your shows. Are they expecting more of the old stuff or are they looking forward to the new material?
Joey: It’s both actually. We are surprised and also very happy that younger people are coming to see the show. And it means a lot to us that we can reach out to a new generation. But I think for us, of course a lot of people still come to see “Rock the Night” or something like that and hear the old songs. But there are also people that are interested in the new material who think that we are still good and can write new songs and play live. So it’s been both. And it’s a period of transition for us when we have to play both old and new songs and mix it up a bit. And it’s a lot of fun for us.

Rockunited: Ian’s drum solo is a bit different from the usual drum solos, who came up with that idea?
Joey: I think he did. He just sampled some records and stuff and then played to it. Tonight we’re not playing the drum solo, sometimes we do it and sometimes we don’t. We mix it up.

Rockunited: Lately many of the 80’s rock bands have toured a lot but also the ticket prices have gone up quite a lot. For example in Helsinki the tickets cost 45 euros. It’s about 400 Swedish crowns. Do you think that the price is as high as it’s gonna get?
Joey: I hope so. I know how it is myself. If I go to see the show and sometimes when I pay myself I just say: “Oh my god the ticket prices are high these days!” I hope they don’t go up anymore because I want the fans to feel that they can afford to come to see their favourite band.

Rockunited: Despite the prices at least in Finland the shows are sold out quite often so there is definitely a demand for hard rock music.
Joey: We have a long history with Finland, we played some festivals there already in ´84 when we were only 20-21 yrs old and we’ve always come back to play. We’ve noticed that they like hard rock music and most bands, like Iron Maiden or anybody, will tell you the same thing because the love playing there, it’s a great hard rock audience.

Rockunited: How’s the welcoming been in other countries?
Joey: We play Germany tonight for the fist time, we played in Denmark and we had great response. The audience was so loud, 107 decibels or something, it was some kind of record. We don’t read our reviews often but we had a good one, it was 5 out of 6 so we’re very happy with the Danish gig. Scandinavian gigs were fantastic, obviously our home gig in Stockholm was sold out, it was magic. So we’ve had a good start and now we’re on to the rest of Europe and we’re looking forward to that.

Rockunited: Your new album is a bit different than the way you sounded in the 80’s. What was the general situation when you started to write the album?
Joey: We just wanted to capture us in this moment in time. So what we did was... we didn’t connect with the record label, we didn’t have friends or family and we recorded it pretty much in secrecy because we wanted to do what we wanted to do. We wanted to sound like we do in our rehearsal space. We invited an old friend Kevin Nelson who works with live bands a lot, he’s a great live engineer, and we just wanted him to record us the way we sound in rehearsal. The only thing we didn’t want to do was to go back in time and do nostalgia or to do an 80’s album, that’s out of the question. We just wanted do something 2004 and make it fresh and it’s gonna be a surprise to some people. It’s gonna be a surprise to some of the Europe fans that just like the keyboard and all that stuff. But this is more guitar-based and this is a beginning, this is a start from the dark, something new, the new phase. I’ve noticed with lot of fans that first they were surprised but then they listen to the album 10-15 times and now they begin to find the melodies and find the beauty of it. And hopefully it’s an album that will last a long time, that’s the idea.

Rockunited: But basically you definitely wanted to step away from the 80’s sound?
Joey: Yeah, and we just want to make a statement where we stand right now and move on. We kept some of the melodies, of course, like in “Hero” or “In Flames”. It sounds a bit like Europe but bit dryer sound, a bit more guitar driven.

Rockunited: Did you have any contact with Key Marcello when you started the band again.
Joey: We contacted him but it seems like he’s a very busy man. He’s got his own band called K2. He’s a very talented producer and song writer and he lives in Gothenburg and the other guys live in Stockholm so it sounded like he was a bit too busy. For a while we talked about having two guitars on some of the shows but he had too much to do, that’s all.

Rockunited: What kind of process it was in general when you wrote the new songs.
Joey: In general, John and I started. John sent a couple of riffs to me in London and I worked on them and then sent them back to him and then he sent them to the rest of the band. Me and John kicked it off with a few songs, “Gotta Have Faith” and “Start from the Dark” and after that I started writing myself, again, like I did in the old days. I wrote maybe 4-5 songs and wrote one with Mic. I went over to Stockholm to jam and then I brought the tapes over to my studio in London. So it was back and forth between London and Stockholm all the time. It was a fun process because it was quite quick, we sort of wrote the album in six months and recorded it in forty days with rehearsal and mixing and everything. We just wanted to capture the moment right then, we didn’t want to work on the album for few years and then start over... just capture it right there.

Rockunited: Have you been afraid of how the old fans might react to your new album. I have here a comment from one fan and I’ll just read it to you as he states it. “Who came up with the idea of tuning the guitars down for the new album? And what was it good for anyway? What is the next step, masking yourselves zombies and going on tour with Marilyn Manson?”
Joey: (laughs) That’ll be fun actually. No, we just did what we felt like at the moment. The riffs we were writing were detuned, it sounded fresh to us. We had to detain ourselves in the rehearsal and it sounded cool to us. It’s just something we did on this album and you never know what’s on the next one. And as I said, we surprised many and some people like it, we’re just happy that it’s done and we’re happy with it.

Rockunited: So things are looking up for Europe right now.
Joey: We have a good vibe at the moment. We have a good relationship with Sanctuary in Europe, the record company there. Sony has done a great job and also our Japanese record company. It’s like a good feeling at the moment; people are beginning to discover Europe again, the new stuff and also the old stuff. So it’s a good feeling for us in the band. The best thing about it is that we’re building it up slowly from the ground; it’s just word of mouth and working on tour and rock journalism. We’re building it up from the ground and it feels really good.

Rockunited: Anything you’d like to say to the fans that are following your comeback.
Joey: Everyone who visits, thanks for the support! Thanks for believing in us and not forgetting us. The album seems to be making waves and it seems that people are getting used to it and liking it. Also our live concerts, we’ve just started and we’re looking forward to playing everywhere and I just wanna thank everyone for remembering us, really.

Rockunited: Europe’s official website is , I just wanted to confirm that.
Joey: Yeah, that’s the official one. We have a diary there and we mail out pictures from the shows and we try to write diary every day about what’s going on with the tour. Also some samples from the new album there.

Rockunited: Thanks so much for talking to us.
Joey: OK, no problem. Thanks.

This interview was conducted by Petri Kautto, with additional questions provided by Endre "Bandi" Hübner. Photos by Petri Kautto and Kimmo Toivonen. Special thanks to Katja/Sony.

(c) 2004 RockNowRockTheNightUnited.Com