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Interviews : “It’s going to be a little bit different from what we do normally” – An interview with Joey Tempest (Europe)

By on May 8, 2018

Europe – Joey Tempest

The band Europe, after almost 40 years is finally travelling to Australia for a series of shows in May. Ex-pat Swede and the band’s vocalist, Joey Tempest, was available for a chat from his adopted home of London.

“The Final Countdown” (The Final Countdown– ’86) is a cut that almost anyone over the age of 35 will recognise as a cultural landmark, it was a massive hit that dominated the airwaves of our childhood and teenage years. For many in Australia, an introduction to the band was via the all-pervasive Smash Hits series of albums, specifically Smash Hits ‘87. “The Final Countdown”, was in a sequence just after the saccharine ditty that introduced the world to Kylie Minogue’s mousey voice via “Locomotion”.

Tempest is proud of Europe’s accomplishments, particularly the success of “The Final Countdown”, here is what he had to say when asked for his thoughts on the songs enduring popularity.

“It’s pretty amazing. It was from our third album, but I wrote it quite early before the band started recording. The actual riff was done when I was still a teenager. When we recorded it, we knew it was special.”

Something that might surprise the reader is that the cut is almost an accidental hit, Tempest offers the following comments candidly.

“We felt this is six minutes long, we don’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s a feeling, it’s like a soundtrack. Then it was just left like that and we started to worry, but then we realized this song has got a life of its own, it’s out there doing its thing. We still love playing it live. We don’t listen to it at home or rehearse it, we don’t need to rehearse it, but we do enjoy playing it live together… It wasn’t meant as anything else than that sort of an Avant-grade kind of album track.”

Europe is far more than a one mega-hit band. They have some serious hits to perform through their set that includes “Carrie” (The Final Countdown), “Superstitious” (Out of This World– ‘88) and “Open Your Heart” (Wings of Tomorrow– ’84). All of these tracks (and more) had an impact on charts around the world through the 80’s, however, it’s important to note that six of their 11 albums were released after 2004. Talking about the show that Europe is bringing to Australia, Tempest says the audience will be getting something unique that recognises the past but keeps a focus on the band’s output post new-millennium.

“It’s going to be a little bit different from what we do normally. We tour a lot, but this time we felt like trying to do over two hours to start with and trying maybe even to separate, have a little break in the middle so we can feel like we’re doing a new start. Also, we wanted to maybe bring some features to show the band members. John Norum (guitar) the legend… I saw him the first time when I was 15, he was 14 and we started Force together, to be coming to Australia is a huge thing. To see him play, he’s just astonishing. We’re going to try to put him some features, other things and songs as well, but other than that maybe Walk the Earth (’17), will get three songs and then Bag of Bones (’12) and a few songs from those, but the big songs from the ’80s, then maybe even go back to the first and second album, do some early stuff. It will be a big span, great music, great features. We want to make it special, so this will be a little designed for Australia.”

Listen to the full conversation with Joey Tempest here.

Catch Europe this May for their ‘Tour The Earth’ debut Australian appearance.

May 16th – Perth Concert Hall, Perth
May 18th – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
May 19th – Palais Theatre, Melbourne
May 22nd – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
May 23rd – The Tivoli, Brisbane

Tickets on sale now! Grab your tickets from Ticketmaster Australia, except Sydney Ticketek Australia.


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith