Europe: The North American Invasion Commences

Europe2015Europe: The North American Invasion Commences

The mighty Europe is ready to invade the states in support of their majestic War Of Kings album, which will include stops at The Grove in Anaheim on January 20th and The Saban Theater in Los Angeles on January 22nd!  Expect a tremendous set from all periods of their illustrious career, including their massive hit The Final Countdown!  Highwire Daze recently spoke with drummer Ian Haugland to find out more about the upcoming War Of King Tour, his own past work with Glenn Hughes and Candlemass,  whether he still enjoys playing The Final Countdown after all of the time, and other epic of intrigue.  Read on.,.

What can one expect from a live Europe show in 2016?
Well, we try to put together a show, obviously with older songs from the 80s that are a little bit more well known to the audience. We do some stuff from the more recent Europe albums. We basically try and make a very good show with ups and downs, a lot of movements and dynamics.

I noticed our friend Gabbie Rae is going to be opening for you. How did she end up on the bill?
I think that it was through the management. I’m not sure if she got in touch with our management, or however it came together but I got basically a question from them – what do you think? Would this be a good support act? I saw a few YouTube clips with her and she was really, really good. Very powerful voice and very positive personality on stage. I think it’s going to be fun to have her supporting us on the tour.

On to War of Kings. How do you think it compares to the classic Europe releases?
I would say it’s one of the albums that sounds like the closest to the bands we grew up with. Zeppelin and Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc. It’s very organic. Very much alive, as close to what Europe sounds live onstage. That’s basically how we recorded the album as well. We went into the studio and set up, we played all five of us live in the studio. Very few overdubs, guitar solos and lead vocals but basically everything was recorded live. You can tell that, the vibe is so alive.  Compare it to how we did it in the 80s. It was, band just went in and did every instrument separately, you know? I mean, OK you get it perfect but at the same time, it gets a little stiff or stale. This is probably the album that is the closest to what Europe will ever be live on stage.

What are a few of your favorite songs on the new record to play live?
I love War of Kings. I kind of love the mid tempo songs where you can, have the drummer play that heavy groove. I like that. Also, I like The Second Day, I think is a great song. It’s kind of varies from show to show and day to day. Those two songs are my two favorite. Hole in My Soul, is that the name? [laughs] I don’t know my own songs. The second song on the album. That’s a great one to play live too. It’s real energy.  (Editor’s Note: It’s called Hole In My Pocket).

10403611_10152871657239210_2617736816223203605_nYou were in a lot of other bands during the Europe hiatus, what ultimately brings you back to Europe?
The chemistry is so unique between us that you can’t deny it. It’s just so overwhelming, when the five of us get together on stage or in the studio, it’s just something magical that happens between us.

During that time you worked with Candlemass and Glenn Hughes. What was it like working with those two?
It was great. It was a good time to have a break in the 90s. I have family here, and at the time, I had a chance to be there and raise my kids which was great. Also, to play with a fun artist of different styles like Candlemass and Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple. You learn to deal with different people and different situations, nothing is like the other. You develop a sense of a feeling, different personalities and adjusting to these personalities. It was a lot of fun. I think touring and playing with Glenn Hughes, that was a big honor. Glenn is one of the original members from that band. The three of us from Europe had a chance to record and go on tour with him. We went to Japan and recorded a live album with Glenn Hughes that consisted of 75-80% of old Purple songs. Songs we grew up on, songs that inspired us to become musicians. Being on stage with Glenn Hughes and playing these songs, hearing the audience, cheering us. That was a big ego boost.

Are you currently involved with any other projects outside of Europe right now?
Not really. I’m working as a DJ in Stockholm at the classic rock radio station, so that’s basically what I’m doing – call it my daytime work if you want. I don’t see it as work myself – I see it as an extension of my personality. We’re playing the kind of music that I was digging in my room as a teenager. I have stories to tell about all the songs we play on the playlist, so it’s as I said, an extension of my personality. So, I’m not really involved in any other projects.

Complete this sentence – if I have to play The Final Countdown again live, I’ll…
Be as happy as the time before I played it. To me, playing that song – every time I play, it it’s like playing it the first time. Every time you play it, it’s a new audience. So it’s basically the feeling of playing it the first time every night. The energy rush and the energy bouncing back from the audience when they hear the intro, it’s better than sex I have to tell you. It never fails.

Outside of The Final Countdown, what Europe album would you like to play live all the way through and why
I have to say one of my favorite albums is Prisoners in Paradise, because I think it’s an underrated album. It came at a time when grunge basically killed the whole 80s movement. That album never got a fair chance, I think. So many great songs on that album. Every time I hear it, it’s like – I’m pissed off because it deserved a better destiny than it got. That’s the album that I would love to try and play.

Is there any Europe song that you would like to see in the set list one day that you don’t currently play?
Yeah, definitely. Any of the songs from Prisoners in Paradise. We play maybe 2-3 songs from Prisoners in Paradise, but any of the songs that we don’t play from that album I would definitely like to play. Halfway to Heaven – I love that. Homeland is a great song. There are so many great songs on that album that I’d love to play again.

Lastly, do you have any messages for Europe fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Come to the show! You won’t be disappointed. It’s going to be a party. All the great songs that you learned to love, also a bunch of new stuff that you’re going to learn to love as well. Come around and we’ll have a blast.

(Interview by Ken Morton)

1/19/2016 – San Jose, CA @ Rockbar Theater
1/20/2016 – Anaheim, CA @ The Grove
1/22/2016 – Los Angeles, CA @ Saban Theater
1/23/2016 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live
1/24/2016 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box Theater
1/25/2016 – Chandler, AZ @ Wild Horse Pass Casino
1/27/2016 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada Theater
1/28/2016 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Badlands Pawn
1/29/2016 – Shawnee, OK @ The Grand Events Ctr
1/30/2016 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
1/31/2016 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
2/2/2016 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
2/3/2016 – St. Petersburg, FL @ The Concert Courtyard @ Ferg’s
2/4/2016 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
2/5/2016 – Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Casino
2/6/2016 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

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