EUROPE Frontman Checks In From Japan

EUROPE frontman Joey Tempest has issued the following update:

"Back in Japan!

"As I am writing this on my computer we are travelling at the speed of 300 km/h and we can see Mount Fuji through the windows of the train.

"Although it was only two years ago since we were last in Japan, it always feels special to tour in this country. There are a few things that are different when you play over here. First of all, the band and the crew travel between gigs on the 'bullet train.' A trip that would take around eight hours on a tour bus takes around one and a half hours on the train. The 'fans' follow us around everywhere. Some of them will travel to every concerts of the tour. They want to have autographs, take pictures and give us presents. Sometimes we have to buy an extra suitcase just to get all the presents home.

"The concerts usually start at 19:00 but in some cases at 17:00. This is a bit strange for us since we are totally 'jet-lagged' and at 17:00 our internal clocks are 10 in the morning (9:00 for me since I live in London). We sometimes talk about this in the dressing room. It feels like we stumble into the gig in the afternoon without any warning. No build-up. The audience are also completely quiet before the show so there is no noise to get you going. However once the show is on the way you forget all about that.

"The Japanese audience is fantastic. They scream and sing very loud during and immediately after the song. Then they go completely silent. I think they do this out of respect for the artist so that they would not interfere with the band when they talk onstage. They also want to hear if there is anything out of the ordinary being said on stage between songs. I have heard stories of artists that have come to Japan for the first time and thought this behaviour meant that the audience didn't like their performance. This couldn't be further from the truth. I should also mention that the Japanese audience is very loyal and will stay with a band for as long as it exists.

"In 1983 a journalist called Masa Itoh found a copy of EUROPE's first album in an import record store in Tokyo. He contacted TT Tsutsumi at Victor Records in Tokyo and advised him to sign this band for Japan. TT sent a letter to the fan club in Stockholm (there was no other contact details on the record sleeve). The letter luckily ended up on the desk of our manager and the rest, as they say, is history. We are still friends with Masa and TT and we try to meet with them every time we have an opportunity.

"Our road crew really enjoys touring in Japan. It is so efficient. Everything is organised down to the smallest detail. The local crew helps out with everything and they make thing much easier for our boys. This is a nice treat for our crew since they worked so hard on our previous tours.

"All in all, I think we have been to Japan around 10 times over the years, and by the looks of things it seems that we will have many happy returns."

EUROPE's latest music video, "Always the Pretenders", has been posted online at YouTube.com. The song comes off the band's new CD, "Secret Society", which was released in the U.S. on November 7, 2006 via Sanctuary Records. An e-card for "Secret Society" is available here. An audio interview with EUROPE frontman Joey Tempest has been posted online at this location. The interview was conducted with an Italian journalist on October 5, 2006 and covers a variety of topics, including the group's new album, "Secret Society", the "secret" formula for the band's success, and EUROPE's legacy.

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