Joey Tempest Before becoming the well-known artist Joey Tempest, Joakim Larsson learnt how to play the piano and the guitar. He played football, ice hockey and competed in go-cart. Joey once came in fourth place in the Junior Cart Race, a Swedish championship. The bands he played with had names like Jet, Blazer, Made In Hong Kong and Roxanne. To summarise, he was a typical Swedish teenager. 1979 he meets up with John Norum. They form the band Force who immediately begin building a reputation and a fanbase in the suburbs of Stockholm. In 1982 they change the name to Europe and win the big music competition Rock-SM. The first prize: an album recording. The rest is…not history. But the end of the story for your average Swedish teenager. Europe releases five albums between 1983 and 1991, with Joey Tempest as the singer, frontman and songwriter.
It would be impossible to describe Europe without mentioning “The Final Countdown”. During the years with Europe, Joey wrote numerous international big hits, but compared to a song that’s topped the sales chart in 26 countries, sold 8 million copies, was played at the ending ceremony at the Olympics, became the musical theme of the millennium celebrations and is now a ringing tone in hundreds of thousands of mobile phones all over the world… That particular track makes it easy to forget how big hits tracks like “Carrie”, “Rock The Night”, “Superstitious”, “Seven Doors Hotel” and “Dreamer” really were. In March 1992, Europe end their final tour in Portsmouth and don’t play together again until – exactly – New Years Eve 1999.
After the years with Europe Joey takes some time off. But in 1995, his solo debut “A Place To Call Home” is released. Once again Joey uses his ability to write strong melodies, but this time in a different surrounding. In his own words, it’s his singer/songwriter album. The inspiration came from artists like Neil Young, Van Morrisson and Jackson Browne. The album was produced By Dan Sundquist and recorded in Stockholm and London using Swedish musicians. John Norum and Joey reunited for one of the tracks. Apart from his well-known vocal skills, Joey also shows that he’s a great guitarist. “A Place To Call Home” sold platinum in Sweden and was a big success internationally. Later the same year Joey goes on the road for his first European tour as a solo artist. The following year he’s nominated for a “Best Swedish Artist” Grammy. Four singles were taken from the album, ”A Place To Call Home”, “Under the Influence”, “We Come Alive” and “Don’t Go Changing On Me”.
The next album “Azalea Place” was released in 1997. Joey went to Nashville and the producer Richard Dodd. Dodd, with credentials as far stretching as the Mississippi River and artists like Travelling Wilburys and Tom Petty as clients, led Joey along a partially new route. Where “A Place To Call Home” had Joey writing all the material, the new album was written together with others. Among these were Chris Difford from Squeeze and Will Jennings. “Azalea Place was mostly written in the studio and was therefore more improvised and experimental”, Joey comments on the production.
“The Match”, “The One In The Glass” and “If I´d Only Known” were released as singles. “The Match” immediately became one of the most played songs on Swedish radio and the album achieved gold status. The following year Joey participates in Mike Batt´s Philarmania (the big rock tunes of all time with a symphonic orchestra). The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as backing, fronted by some of the worlds best rock singers. Joey performs Bruce Springsteen´s “Born To Run”.
In the autumn of 2002 it’s time for Joey’s third solo album, “Joey Tempest”. The title in itself suggests a lot. Not giving an album a “name” is, strange as it may seem, more of a statement. It’s a presentation without having to explain what you’re about. This is me, kind of… “Joey Tempest” is really more Joey Tempest. It’s a manifest of two decades of songwriting. The producer team behind “Joey Tempest” is “DeadMono”, consisting of Malcolm Pardon and Fredrik Rinman. They’re well known for their work with Eskobar, Lisa Miskovsky and Stakka Bo. Also collaborating on the album are Chris Difford, old Europe pal Mic Michaeli and the new wingman, the guitarist Adam Lamprell. The album has been allowed to develop very organically. It’s taken some time, but time well spent. Joey’s started collaborations and has followed through based on instinct and recommendations. Friends have suggested other friends and so on.
The first session took place in Konk Studios, The Kinks old London studio, where Joey jammed with some English musicians who’d formerly played with, amongst others, Massive Attack. This session gave birth to “Magnificent”, “Kill For A Girl Like You” (B-side of the first single “Forgiven”) and “Sometimes”. Work continued in Stockholm, this time with Swedish musicians including Mic Michaeli. “Superhuman” originated from this session. After that, Joey kept on working with Adam Lamprell in a temporary studio in London. “Joey Tempest” is dimensions from “A place To Call Home” and “Azalea Place”. There’s a different atmosphere. The production hits you like sunlight in your eyes when exiting a subway station. It’s immediate, right on, direct. “I guess the new album shows that I’ve found my way back to playing in a rock band again. There’s a little more edge and weight to it compared to the previous solo albums. I’ve also re-discovered the way I wrote songs during the Europe days. A lot of the songs, like “Loved By Me”, have the old “Tempest” vibe, the melodies and heavy guitars but still with a hint of pop in there.” It’s not only in the studio Joey has regained the band feeling. He’s slowly but surely formed a band for the upcoming tour.
There’s a sense of the big city in Joey’s lyrics. London and Dublin are two cities Joey commutes between nowadays. “Dreamless and Magnificent have a lot of London in them. Losers is influenced by both London and Dublin. Living there can be very intense, almost chaotic. They’re tough cities and I´d never have written the lyrics I did without living there.” Some lyrics can also be related to his homeland, reflections on living abroad and learning to live with new people. This impression is emphasised by the fact that a lot of the lyrics were written, driving in the car, going to or coming from the studio. “It’s the way we live and it’s killing me And the silence here is deafening” You could say there are two sides to the eighties. Joey together with Europe successfully developed one of these. Now we for the first time get to hear the other side of his influences. “It’s impossible to live in Dublin or London without being influenced by The Smiths, The Cure, New Order and Depeche Mode and then understanding their importance for the current music scene.” With “Joey Tempest” Joey has succeeded in blending the two fractions. It is as much a new beginning as it is a summarisation of his songwriting. Along for the ride is his sense of melodies and the spot-on ability to write hooks, which has been there ever since the Europe days, the more low key style he showed with “A Place To Call Home”, and the will to experiment with “Azalea Place”. But that which was merely a flashlight on “Azalea Place” is now shining like a full size lighting rig. The suburban roads have now melted into one giant highway, leading into the big city.
from joeytempest.com 2002
BORN Stockholm, Sweden 19/08/1963
FIRST INSTRUMENT Stole my sister's nylon stringed 'landola'
LATEST INSTRUMENT Gibson j-45 (for stage)
FIRST GIG ELO at 'Hovet' in Stockholm. I was 13.
LATEST GIG Rival Sons (London 2012)
FIRST RECORD Space Oddity / David Bowie
LATEST RECORD Graveyard / Hisingen Blues
FIRST BOOK George Orwell '1984'
LATEST BOOK Keith Richards 'LIFE'
FIRST MAGAZINE Batman
LATEST MAGAZINE Classic Rock Magazine
FIRST MOVIE Tarzan
LATEST MOVIE The Pirates :)
FIRST CAR Volvo PV 1800 (very used)
LATEST CAR BMW
A FEW WORDS ABOUT 'BAG OF BONES' Finally, a decent rock record.
Joakim Larsson was born in Stockholm and raised in Upplands Väsby. He liked to play soccer and ice hockey in his childhood. The first time he met John Levén was actually at a soccer match. At that time Joakim dreamed about becoming a soccer player or a gym instructor. Sports was hisfi biggest interest at that time, but music would soon take over completely. The first instrument he learnt to play was the piano, because his family had a piano at home. One day he stole tapes with "Top 10" radio shows from his sister, Lotta. There he found his first idol, Elton John, and "Crocodile Rock" became his favorite song. Another big idol was Elvis Presley, and Joakim became more and more interested in Elvis' instrument, the guitar. So he borrowed Lotta's guitar and learnt to play, and a friend of his father taught him three of the most common rock chords. One day he heard the Nazareth song "Love Hurts" on the radio, and he liked the song so much that it became the first record he ever bought.
In fifth grade at the Odenslunda school, Joakim and a couple of class mates formed the band "Made in Hong Kong". They played concerts for the rest of the school, but the only had one song, "Keep A-Knockin' (but You Can't Come In)," made famous by Little Richard. So their entire setlist was just that song being played over and over again. The drummer only had a snare drum, the guitarist didn't have a guitar amplifier and Joakim sang through an old transistor radio. The band was influenced by his new favorite bands, Sweet and Slade. "Made in Hong Kong" changed name twice: First to Jet, then to Blazer. At first Joakim played the rhythm guitar, but he switched to the bass after a while. Later he formed the more serious band Roxanne, who became quite well-known in Upplands Väsby.
In 1978 Joakim went to see a concert with another local band, WC. He was particularly impressed by their guitarist. "When I was 15 years old, I discovered a guitar player, one year younger than myself, who played his instrument with heart and soul, and with a blues feeling that I'd never heard from a Swedish musician. His name was John Norum and after that day nothing would ever be the same again." Joakim and John soon became good friends, much thanks to their shared interest for music and mopeds. And one day in 1979, Joakim was asked to join John's band, WC. Joakim accepted, and suggested that the band could change their name to FORCE, after the UFO album "Force It". In 1982 FORCE was entered into the national talent contest "Rock-SM", and once again Joakim suggested a name change, this time to EUROPE, inspired by the Deep Purple live album "Made in Europe". After some consideration, the other band members agreed. EUROPE won "Rock-SM", and the first prize was a recording contract with Hot Records. It was during "Rock-SM" that he decided to take the artist name Joey Tempest. Joey was inspired by a nick name he got when he was on vacation in the USA some years earlier. "It was difficult for Americans to pronounce Joakim, so they called me Joe." Tempest was taken from William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest". He spent many school lessons writing song lyrics and practicing on signing autographs. Needless to say, the teachers weren't too happy about that.
In 1985 producer Dieter Dierks asked Joey to write a song for the German rock band Scorpions. He wrote the song "One of a Kind" and sent it to them, but he never heard from them again. In the same year he also wrote the song "Give a Helpin' Hand" for the project "Swedish Metal Aid". He was one of the lead singers on that single, which was produced by Kee Marcello. The money from the sale of the single was donated to the starving people of Ethiopia. The song "One of a Kind" was eventually included on Tone Norum's debut album "One of a Kind". Joey produced the album in 1986, as well as writing the songs and playing most of the instruments. John Norum, Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland also played on the album, which was the first album that Joey produced all by himself.
In 1991 Joey got together with John Norum to collaborate on John's second solo album, "Face the Truth", which was released the following year. The two of them recorded the duet "We Will Be Strong" and Joey co-wrote the song "Counting on Your Love". In 1992, the year that EUROPE went on hiatus, Joey met an English girl at the Piccadilly Circus in London. Her name was Lisa Worthington. She'd lost her wallet and Joey helped her find it. Half a year later she became his girlfriend.
Joey released his first solo album, "A Place to Call Home", on April 20, 1995. John Norum made a guest appearance on the song "Right to Respect". The album was influenced by singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne and Van Morrison, marking quite a change in style compared to EUROPE. "I needed a change from the EUROPE sound. I guess you could say that I had a reaction against the whole thing. I wanted to prove myself as a singer-songwriter for sure, but for me it was more of a journey to learn about making music. I went to see a lot of new young artists, got into stuff like Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, so I went completely the other way. I wanted to know where everything came from and how things started, and so that’s what I did." The album was a success in Sweden, peaking at number 7 on the Swedish album chart.
In 1996 Joey and Lisa moved to Dublin, Ireland. Joey's second solo album, "Azalea Place", was released on April 25, 1997, and it also peaked at number 7 on the Swedish album chart. It was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. "After my first solo album I went out to the States to work with Richard Dodd - who's this English guy living out in Nashville - on the second one, which kept me away from home for a long time. But it was something that I needed to do, I had to get it out of my system." The style of "Azalea Place" was more experimental than the first one, using influences from Irish and Spanish folk music. Joey played most of the instruments himself on the album. In the same year he recorded the duet "Running With a Dream" with Canadian opera singer Anna Maria Kaufmann. It was written by Mike Batt and was the official anthem for Germany's national team in the Soccer World Cup in France 1998. Joey also sang on four other songs on Anna Maria's album "Blame It on the Moon", and "Running With a Dream" was included as a bonus track on the German edition of "Azalea Place". In 1998 Joey recorded a cover version of the Bruce Springsteen song "Born to Run", which was included on the album "Philharmania", a collection of classic rock songs performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under conduction by Mike Batt.
On September 29, 2000, Joey and Lisa got married in Richmond, London. All the EUROPE members were invited, but John Levén couldn't come. "It was a beautiful wedding," John Norum said, "They had an orchestra there, playing Joey's songs. Joey laughed and was impressively calm the whole time. He made a cool speech." Eventually Joey and Lisa moved to London. In 2001 Joey, Patrick Isaksson and Anders Glenmark recorded a cover of the Pugh Rogefeldt song "Här Kommer Natten" (Here comes the night). It was the first time Joey officially recorded a song in Swedish, and the song was included on the compilation "Osannolikt Svenskt". In 2002 he co-wrote the song "Change" for the British duo Bowes & Morley, both former members of the band Thunder. The song was included on their album "Moving Swiftly Along".
The release date for Joey's third solo album, "Joey Tempest", was postponed many times, but it was finally released on October 21, 2002. This time Joey had gone back to rock, marking a heavier sound compared to his previous albums. "I've discovered the feeling of playing in a rock band again. The energy feels a bit like EUROPE. I've also found my way back to the songwriting that I did during the EUROPE time. Several of the songs has a Tempest-spirit. Melodies, the heavy guitars...." Mic Michaeli co-wrote three songs on the album. The album peaked at number 12 on the Swedish album chart, but received mixed reviews from the music press.
On October 12, 2007, Lisa gave birth to Joey's son, James Joakim, at a hospital in London.