Europe are gearing up for a busy 2015; they’re releasing their new album War Of Kings and will be embarking on an impressive looking tour.

R13: Hey Joey, how’s your busy day of press treating you so far?
JT: Its been good; pretty relaxing not like the French or Italian promotion days, but that is partly my fault as I say I’m only coming in for one day and then they cram 30 people in a room. They all meet in a hotel lobby and get ushered into a room. So, this is really nice. It’s nice to take some time just for the important things.

R13: You’re about to release your new album ‘War Of Kings’, what can we expect to hear on that album?
JT: It is a really cool album, it is our tenth album.
R13: I was surprised this was only your tenth, it seems like bands churn out so many albums these days.
JT: I met Klaus and Rudolf yesterday in Paris and they said that Scorpions had released 18 studio albums. I thought ten was a good number!
R13: Quality, not quantity.
JT: Ah well, you know, we had a long break… but this is our tenth album; it has a deeper expression. We used a Mellotron and some old vintage gear. Dave Cobb got involved in the writing of three or four tracks and elevated the songs. All the guys in the band have written this; I used to write more or less everything but they’ve caught up now and are great writers. They’ll send me ideas and I’ll finish them and sing on them, build melodies and put them together but the ideas and beginnings come from them a lot of the time now. It is amazing, the whole bands’ soul is in it.

R13: Do you think collaborative writing is something you and the band will continue to do in the future?
JT: Absolutely, we have done it on the last couple of records and they are getting more and more into it. I was into it as a kid; my mum said I wrote my first song when I was 8 or 9 as I was scribbling poetry and had a guitar. So, my love for song writing was before I learned any instruments. When I was starting bands, I was the only one interested in writing our own tracks rather than just doing covers. I wanted the whole band to write when we met for rehearsals as I found doing covers a bit boring. In the very beginning we would sometimes play a UFO track, but we started writing our own stuff very early on.

R13: You've referred to this album as the record you’d been waiting to make since you were a kid, what did you mean by that?
JT: It was more to do with the vibe of it; albums have had such a big part of our lives, some that became like a bible; an atmosphere, and that’s what we wanted to find on War Of Kings; to find some instruments that would define it and make it a signature record so when you hear it in the future you instantly recognise it as War Of Kings.
Vintage effects were used to create a vibe during production, we always wanted to make a real album that has a journey from the first to last song.

R13: ‘War Of Kings’ and ‘Bag Of Bones’ were both recorded live, is that your preferred recording method and is it something you’ll continue to do?
JT: Since doing it on Bag Of Bones we are never going to go back, it’s something you can only do if you have Kevin Shirley and Dave Cobb producing as they’re so brilliant at recording stuff. With them at the helm you can just play and have fun, they will record the sounds and make it work. If a producer is not so experienced, he will want you to perfect everything because he wants it to be perfect. We have learnt to trust ourselves to play live in the hands of good engineers and producers, so we’re always going to try and record like that.

R13: Does that method of recording speeds up the recording process?
JT: It does; we spend around two weeks on the main bulk of the album, and another week doing overdubs. We only spent about three weeks on the album so it is really good if it works for all involved. The creative feeling for everybody including the producer is intense during two weeks but then your mind starts scattering, so we captured everything during two weeks.

R13: As you mentioned earlier; Dave Cobb has produced this album; how did you come to work with him?
JT: We listen to music in our dressing rooms a lot both before and after shows, we were introduced to Rival Sons a while ago, but last year we heard their latest record and thought they were still amazing and Dave was still an amazing producer so we knew that we had to give that guy a call. We asked management to get in contact with Dave and we thought he wouldn’t even take the call but he said “I used to play drums to them and I’d love to produce those guys.”

R13: The album is being supported by a massive tour; how are you feeling about hitting the road?
JT: It is our biggest UK tour in a long, long time we are very excited. We go to America, festivals throughout that summer before moving on to the European leg of the tour. It’ll be a lot of fun and take us up to Christmas.

R13: This tour includes your first show in Ireland in 25 years, why has it taken you so long to return to the Emerald Isle?
JT: I used to live in Dublin so personally I have been back but the band hasn’t been there for over 23 years so Dublin will be a really special night. We release the album on March 2nd and play Dublin that same day. It’ll be a great starting date.

R13: As a performer, how do live shows today compare to the shows you performed 30 years ago?
JT: It is kind of nice these days, the tempo is a bit slower. In the early period everything happened very fast and everybody wanted a piece of you. You can take it in more now and enjoy the shows; some of our years playing are just a haze.

R13: Have you adjusted to seeing iPhones being held up instead of lighters?
JT: That’s a huge difference! The audience is different now too, the audience are able to sing along with more now. Audience participation has definitely increased but it’s still a rock show. Europe are very lucky our shows usually turn out ok but we had some hairy moments in the beginning! We’d be booked for shows and only 12 people would turn up but that was the early, early days!
R13: At least there was someone there! I was at a show recently where it was literally the support band, me and my plus one, a fan and his girlfriend. It was so awkward!
JT: That is crazy! I wouldn’t know whether to clap or not in that situation!

R13: How does being a musician today compare to being a musician back in the Eighties? Is it still fun?
JT: Back then things were difference, there was a lot of being spoilt by record companies as they knew they were going to recoup all the money from record sales. We were one of the biggest bands in the world for a while, and to be there in the eighties was amazing. It is nice to have been through that but at the same time it was such a circus but we were trying to keep our feet on the ground because we knew we had to make another album and wanted to go on tour. To be thrown into the pop world with the crossover song was very weird for us, we had to do all these playback shows for 2-3 months were we weren’t really playing. We feel comfortable now because we have gained the respect of the rock world.
There was a time where we were touring around the world and playing festivals with Duran Duran asking ourselves why we where there but it was a lot of fun and it opened other doors for us. It meant we could tour in the UK and the US, which is what we wanted originally so it was great apart from the promotional tours with playback shows. Playing live shows in New York, London were amazing; we ticked off all our dreams and had a lot of fun.
In terms of a long term career which is what we have now managed to have, I do think we did the right thing by not going too crazy and not trying to repeat the success of Final Countdown, we new we had to go on a new journey if we wanted longevity. When we started the band again, we made a decision not to make another 80’s album, write new material, work with different producers and go on a journey.
We are very grateful, we were in our twenties, we stayed in the best hotels, had limos and bodyguards. We always had somewhere to go after every show… it’s all just a big blur.
R13: That might be a good thing!
JT: I think so, I may not need to remember those days too clearly!

R13:Obviously, the business itself has changed a lot in that time; music and musicians are a lot more accessible, what are your thoughts on streaming and social media?
JT: I’m not so keen on the streaming side of things, I believe that we should release albums and let them breath for three months before streaming begins. I think I may try to get people to join me on that and put some pressure on. We need to support the business and support each other.
We were very on with social media and we work it quite hard, we started making our music available through our website really early on. We embrace it. We used to have a fan club in San Francisco, sometimes we could go by there but we could never keep in contact with fans. Now we see them on Facebook, we can follow other forums, we have about 20 decent Euro sites where we can get a glimpse of what people are saying; that’s a good thing!
The business itself has gone down, we don’t sell as many albums but we are a band that believe albums and videos are important, we put a bit of extra effort in there. I was a bit disappointed a few years ago when bands started saying they weren’t going to put out any more albums as that just means people are just going to listen to your old songs, you will become void. It is important for people to make products, you just have to budget things different.
R13: As technology has developed, it has become much easier for people to release songs or videos with a smaller budget.
JT: Exactly! Patrick has done an amazing job on the War Of Kings video, he makes us look cool. Videos help, people see them and want to see you live but things have changed; then again, a lot of things have stayed the same.

R13: Can you still remember what inspired you to pick up a guitar or start song writing?
JT: Well, the radio and TV were pretty bad in Sweden. Sometimes on the radio I’d hear David Bowie and Elton John so they inspired me. My sister who is four years older than me had a stand up piano and a guitar, but she didn’t really play them. Without them knowing I picked up the guitar. My father’s friend taught me a few chords and I was off. Out of the three kids I was the one who played the instruments. That interest in music just stayed with me, I had my first band when I was ten, we were called Made In Hong Kong.
R13: Cute! Where did that come from? Did one of you read it on a label somewhere?
JT: The drummer is now an author and has written some good books; he had a sense of humour, I think he came up with it.

R13: On a slightly different note, you have also created a beer; how did Demon Head come to be?
JT: We always like to have a couple of beers after a show, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad. We’ve always talked about creating our own so we did it. We went to some microbreweries near where we lived and tried different hops and malts; we developed something that we really liked ourselves. Demon Head is the name of a song on Bag Of Bones which we thought would be a really good name for the beer, we developed a label from some merch. We really like it, we are going to ship a load of cases over for the UK tour, when we have meet and greets with fans they can try some.
There seem to be a lot of cool beers in England at the moment, I don’t know if it is big breweries making them and labelling them so they look cool.
R13: There’s a massive craft beer movement here with a lot of independent breweries popping up.
JT: Iron Maiden’s beer is quite good, but that’s more of an ale and we are lager drinkers. Have you tried the Iron Maiden beer?
R13: I have, it’s quite nice. I prefer dark ales though. I haven’t tried yours; purely because it’s not in the UK but maybe in March…
JT: It’s not out here yet, but you may get to have some on the tour.

R13: That’s about all I need unless there’s anything you’d like to add.
JT: No, that’s great. Sorry for talking too much, I always do that!
R13: No need to apologise; I like talkers even if it does create more work!

Tickets for Europe’s UK shows are available at; this writer is slightly jealous of those of you who will get to try Demon Head.