MICK Burgess chats to Europe's Joey Tempest ahead of their gig in Newcastle next week

You`re back over in the UK very soon for a 9 date UK tour. How do you feel ahead of the tour?

We`re looking forward to the tour very much. It`s always amazing for us when we play in the UK and Ireland. It`s always special for me to be over here.

You`re actually married to a Northern lass too. That must make your show in Newcastle on 17th September a special one for you?

Yes, it does. Hopefully there`ll be lots of friends and family at the show. I love it up North, people are very open and friendly and they love their Hard Rock up there. I love playing in Newcastle.

You have 11 albums to choose from including your latest, Walk The Earth. What sort of setlist are you putting together for this tour?

We want add a few tracks we haven`t played on this tour so far from Walk The Earth and some others too so we`re very conscious to put together a great setlist. We`re thinking of doing a rotating setlist so one night we do some songs and another night we do different songs. We`ll also be doing some from Bag of Bones as we really like that album. We`ll look at the earlier albums as well as there`s some songs there that we could rotate in. Kingdom United is my personal favourite from the new album and we`ve been rehearsing that so hopefully it`ll creep in in time for the tour.

Of course, there`ll always be space for The Final Countdown and Rock The Night. Does it surprise you how these songs have taken on a life of their own over the years?

I had no idea it`d take off like that. We were onto our third album and The Final Countdown was written as a show opener. I had the riff from my school days but I was only able enough to write a song around it later. We thought it was too long and that we couldn`t put it out as a single but I felt it was special; quite different and unique. We always enjoy playing live but I didn`t have a clue that it`d take on a life of its own. We just thought of it as another song in our set. It`s just crazy.

If you were going to tempt someone in to discover life beyond the hits, which 5 songs would you pick to get them hooked?

Thats quite difficult as the last three albums in particular mean a lot to us but I`d probably say Last Look At Eden, Firebox, Walk The Earth, War of Kings and Not Supposed To Sing The Blues. Those songs mean a lot to mean and have a pure organic feel with strong melodies and great playing.

You have a new album out a short while ago, Walk The Earth. Are you pleased with the reaction it`s received?

Yes, it`s been amazing. We wrote it quite quickly and wrote a lot of it on the road. We think it`s one of our best albums so the reaction we received made us feel great. We even won a Grammy in Sweden and we`ve never won one of those before

Do you feel that you are all contributing more as writers than in the early days?

It`s very different now. A song can come from anywhere and I`ll feel them out and see if I can come up with a melody and as a songwriter, I really enjoy putting stuff together but we all contribute and all come up with ideas that we work on together. It`s great team work.

You even worked with Chris Difford from Squeeze. How did that collaboration come about?

I`ve known Chris for many years and we worked together on a couple of my solo albums. We got to know each other and he had a studio in Devon and I was there doing some stuff and we met there. He is such a fantastic lyricist and sometimes when I`m working of specific lyrics in a song I think that it`d be great to have Chris on board so there were a couple of songs where I knew he`d be great to work with him and we co-wrote The Siege and Kingdom United Together.

Next year will also mark 40 years since you and John Norum first put Europe together. Are you planning on marking that occasion in any way?

I`m not sure if it`s quite 40 years yet but it`s getting close. It`s certainly around 40 years since me and John first met each other. The 40th anniversary of Europe will of course be a big thing for us so we`ll have to see how we decide to celebrate it.

Your tour finishes in the UK on 24th in Brighton. Where do you head next?

We head over to Europe and will do Italy and Spain and play all over for a month. We go home for Christmas and next year we`ll do more touring as Walk The Earth still has legs and we want to play that for more people. We`ll also write next year and will start recording our next album in 2020 and then do more touring to support that.

  • Europe play at the O2 Academy, Newcastle on 17th September. For tickets go to ticketmaster.co.uk.