The Carouser’s Michelle Godding is graced by the presence of Swedish rockers Europe at this year’s Ramblin’ Man festival, where they are continuing their tour and preparing to rock the Saturday night Ramblers! We meet vocalist Joey Tempest and drummer Ian Haughland of Europe soaking up the Saturday sun and greeting us with a cheery smile.
The Carouser: Welcome to Ramblin’ Man guys! How are you enjoying the day so far?
Joey: Ah, it is a beautiful day today in England and this festival has a really great vibe. I’m lucky enough to be living in England permanently however. I’m always reminding my wife how lucky we are to live in such a great country- I’m always saying “this is where it all started y’know!” It’s really a pleasure to be playing on the same day as so many fantastic bands, so yeah, we are a happy bunch of Swedish boys today!
Absolutely! You’re playing here with Thin Lizzy again and have been touring with them for quite some time, how’s that going?
Ian: Oh yeah it’s always great with these guys, we know each other really well now and it’s always great to be with them on tour, they’re really cool guys.
Joey: It’s like a family reunion these days!
It must be really great to tour the world with a band that you get on so well with – beautiful! Do you have any pre-gig rituals to prepare you for such big shows?
Ian: Yeah, I’m usually needing to stretch or focus on something to distract myself…
Joey: Some of us do, like John [Norum] he usually warms up his fingers but I just usually like to go around annoying people asking “are you SURE you want to wear that?” Usually I do a few vocal warm-ups, depending on how trashed I am- if I’m not trashed, I get out the acoustic guitar, try some vocal scales, otherwise I just go out on stage; I’m pretty lucky that my voice just seems to look after itself.
The next issue of The Carouser is going to be based on ‘Idols’- some that we have loved and lost, and others that are still with us today. Can you tell us about who your idols are?
Joey: Rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zep, Thin Lizzy of course. A lot of live touring bands that we used to go and see a lot in our teenage years.
Vocal influences would be David Coverdale (I stole half of my moves from him and he knows it!) and Phil Lynott- he always just looked like he was having so much fun and I wanted to do that as well!
Do you have any crazy drunken stories from being on tour that you’d like to share with us?
Ian: All of it was drunken! [Laughing] Either alcohol or mental illness related for sure!
Joey: We did tend to get thrown out of hotels in the 80s, a lot! Particularly because Ian just wanted to swim naked in the hotel fountains! [Laughing]
Ian: Oh yeah absolutely- I mean, why not?
So what are the drinks that got you (and still get you) in the skinny-dipping-in-fountains level of drunk?
Joey: Oh we are beer men! Strong Scandinavian beers. Generally Swedes don’t drink mid-week but in Sweden we have “little Saturday” which is on a Wednesday and a day where you can have a mid-week beers- that’s the excuse anyway! [Laughing]
What do you think about so many bands releasing their own branded alcoholic beverages?
Joey: Oh it’s great and we have one as well- well, we’re working on getting it out there more! It’s called Demon Head!
Oh great! We’d love to get our hands on some! Are you only into Scandinavian beers or are you a craft beer fan too?
Ian: Oh Craft beer is definitely more Jon’s [Norum] thing! He loves that kinda stuff…
Joey: Yeah, he’s into that whole fruit flavoured beer thing! He’s an expert on the alcohol percentages in different beers, it’s the first thing he looks at when he gets a beer.
It sounds like Europe would make great drinking buddies!
You are one of the bigger bands to come out of the Swedish heavy metal scene, in comparison to smaller underground bands like ‘Heavy Load’ who also released records in the ‘80s. What’s your opinion on the Swedish heavy metal scene?
Joey: We are very lucky to have achieved such great success, worked with some amazing people, and have had a lot of producers want to work with us!
Joey/Ian: We know a lot of Swedish bands actually- Neon Rose and Tears are some of our favourites especially- you should check them out!
Ian: It is lucky that we have gained such success, because we don’t know how to do anything else!
Well you are and always have done an amazing job so keep going. We are very excited to see you play this evening here at Ramblin’ Man, as well as in November in London!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, it’s been a real pleasure!
Photography By Grace Chapman-Duke
Interview By Michelle Godding
Words & Editing By Kay Kay MG