KEE MARCELLO ,Legendary Guitarist and Former member of Europe in a candid chat with Anylouder !!!

0

Well 2017 could not have started better. Anylouder caught up with KEE MARCELLO , Guitar Extraordinaire and former guitarist of International rock legends  EUROPE for an exclusive interview . He was great to talk to and very humbly agreed to do the interview with us .Here is the interview –

Hi Kee Welcome to Anylouder . Whats happening for you lately ?

K: Thank you! I released my fifth solo album ”SCALING UP” on Frontiers Records in October, then I did a sold out stadium concert tour with my project ”Rock Of 80’s” all over Sweden. During the RO80’s tour Kee Marcello Band did release parties in Gothenburg and Stockholm and we will continue the Scandinavian leg of the ”Scaling Up Tour” with 4 Swedish dates Jan 19-22. After that rehearsals for ”Rock Of 80’s – The Show” which will run in Gothenburg, Sweden from Feb 9 – mid May. Both the drummer Darby Todd and the bass player Ken Sandin from Kee Marcello Band will participate in the show. When the show have days off KMB will do gigs around the EU. We’re f.i. doing the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milano April 29. After the last RO80’s show in mid May the ”Scaling Up Tour” will continue, first in Norway, then continuing out on the continent doing festivals in the EU.

Tell us about your comeback tour with Matthew Scott .

 

K: I suppose you mean ”UK comeback tour”? Matthew is a friend since many years, and he put together a UK tour in the fall of 2015. Although I’ve played gigs and festivals in the UK since the release of my second solo album ”Melon Demon Divine” in 2003, this was the first proper UK tour i’d done since the Europe days. It was a lot of fun, and it was amazing to reconnect with the fans after all this years. We also recorded a tour live DVD: ”Kee Marcello Band Live From The 3rd Stone” which will be released later this year.

This created interest for more UK dates, so we concluded with a 2016 UK tour in September. Matthew has been instrumental in recreating a following for me in the UK, without his enthusiasm and ambition it never would’ve happened. Now we have plans to keep on doing UK runs every year.

How did Europe happen ? How was the whole experience for you ?

 

K: I was in the band Easy Action when I produced a charity record called Swedish Metal Aid in 1985. The project was initiated by the journalist Stefan Johansson and together with Bob Geldof we used his unique Red Cross contacts to make sure the money ended up in the right hands, the starving people of Ethiopia, whom was then suffering from starvation of epidemic proportions. We gathered all the Swedish rockers to sing on it, I was the producer and Joey Tempest the song writer. The project was a great success topping the charts and selling platinum, bringing our contribution to it. (I’ve got a framed official thank you letter from Sir Bob Geldof somewhere). It was a great project.

I think that collaboration showed both me and Tempest that we definitely should work together again. So in October 1986 I joined the group. I did three World tours and recorded two albums with them before we decided on a hiatus in 1992.

During those years we became the biggest band on the planet, and wherever in the World we went, it was complete chaos! We were number one on the sales charts in 26 countries and sold some 30 million records, it was a slam dunk success story. Although I don’t regret those times, I’d never want to experience the sheer craziness of it again! It was impossible to get any privacy, no matter where in the World we were. 

All and all it was a great experience though, and I would never have it undone.

Easy Action was itself a great band . Why do you think it didn’t garner the same commercial success as some the bands of the era ?

 

K: When it comes to Easy Action, one really have to distinguish Easy Action mark I from mark II. Mark I was more of a glam hard rock band (with Zinny Zan on lead vox) while mark II was AOR (with Tommy Nilsson singing lead). I formed the band in 1982, and the first album was released on SIRE/Warner USA in 1983 (we were the first band  from Scandinavia ever to sign a US major label deal), but I guess we were just a tad too early. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that the US glam wave hit it big. A lot of them have later admitted that they were more than a little influenced by the Scandinavian glam wave with bands like Easy Action and Hanoi Rocks. A symptomatic fact is also that the US glam band Poison plagiarized an Easy Action song called ”We Go Rocking” and called it ”I Want Action” on their debut album. They were sued by my then publisher, Warner/Chappell Music, and there was a settlement out of court in 1989.

Easy Action mark I broke some new ground in the UK, and did a lot of touring, mostly in Sweden though. You have to remember that in the early 80’s there simply weren’t any internationally successful Swedish hard rock bands. Hard rock were supposed to come from the US or the UK, bands from the nordic countries, GAS and Benelux, etc, weren’t really taken seriously. (The only exception possibly being the Scorpions). All that changed with Europe’s mega success some years later.

In 1986 Easy Action mark II just had finished a new album that a lot of major labels in the US were fighting to lay their hands on. It was called ”That Makes One” and it was my baby. I wrote and produced it, and this was thought of to be the real break for the band. But then fate came in and changed everything around: I got offered to join Europe, and after my departure, being the band leader, main writer and producer of the band, the US labels lost interest. Soon after that the band broke up.

That’s the biggest regret in my career: ”That Makes One” remained the best kept secret in the World of AOR because of my departure and the bands demise. Among the hardcore AOR fan around the World the album has got a serious cult status since the past 20 years, some thinking it’s the best ever in the genre.

In the back of my mind, this will always been my ”sliding doors” moment: Would Easy Action have become amazingly big had I stayed in the band? Now we’ll never know.

How did ” The final countdown tour ” which was also the first world tour of Europe take place ? How was the reaction back in Sweden ?

 

K: Like I mentioned earlier, this was the first time a Swedish rock act made it really big outside Sweden, so the media attention was insane. We were in the papers and on the news almost daily. And since the song ”The Final Countdown” pretty much exploded on the charts all over the World, there was always something new for the journalists to cover. The tour itself was all sold out arenas and an entourage of fans following us everywhere. It was way crazier than you could possibly imagine that it was. We toured (the continent of) Europe, Asia and then the US, and it seemed to be just as crazy wherever we went. Amazing.

I remember being on tour in the US talking to my mother on the phone in Sweden, and she told me exactly what I’d been up to the last week. It was all in the papers to read!

Tell us a bit about  The Rock star that God forgot ? Why that title for your autobiography ?

K: Well, the title derives from a poem by Robert William Service named ”The Land God Forgot”, and for a while there I felt like God forgot all about me! When the success of Europe happened we started making some money, and the tax situation in Sweden was horrible back then. We quite realistically figured that this money flow wasn’t going to last forever, so we emigrated as a sort of tax evasion maneuver. In 1987 I lived in Nassau, the Bahamas, then in London for a year, then Turks & Caicos Islands in the British West Indies, then LA, then San Francisco, then LA again … well, you get the picture. I wanted to experience the World. Somewhere along the way I lost my way and the second time around in LA I found myself stuck with a nasty cocaine habit. It got to the point when I realized that I had to go back home to Sweden before it killed me. The habit followed me to Sweden however and it kept on escalating until I finally managed to get a grip of myself. That’s when I met the love of my life, Pia, who is now my wife since 17 years, and that’s also where my solo career begins. The first album ”Shine On” from 1995 marks a turning point in my life. She made me see the World from a more clear-eyed perspective and got me back on track. Most of the songs on that album is about her. 

But since, I’m happy to say, it feels like God has recalled who I am. 

I’m no longer forgotten!

What are the gears that you use. Any new endorsements lately ?

 

K: I work with Marshall Amps and Gibson Guitars. I use JVM 410HJS with greenbacks, and the Gibson LP:s I use are modified with Lundgren ”Heaven 57” pickups {http://lundgren.se/mics/humbucker/} and True Temperament frets {http://www.truetemperament.com} and of course Floyd Rose. I’ve been using FR on almost all my guitars since the recording of the first Easy Action album back in 1982. 

My black LP is a prototype for my signature Gibson LP that I hope I’m going to be able to premiere soon. I use Parkwood acoustic guitars {http://www.rvrb.se/blogg/2015/10/19/Kee-Marcello-valjer-Parkwood-Guitars}, and I should also mention that I’m obsessed with Pickboy Jazz 1.5mm picks, and now i’m happy to say that I’m getting my signature ones {http://www.osiamo.com/Kee-Marcello}

 

How did your fascination with horse racing start ?

 

K: I’m sort of a household name in Sweden, and in 2015 I was asked if I wanted to participate in a reality TV show where celebrities learn how to become Harness Race drivers. Since I’d never tried, and it sounded both deadly and crazy, my reaction naturally was: ”- Hell, yeah, of course I’m in!” It was an amazing journey when I learned that I got this intense contact with the animals, and they seemed to like me. I was for some reason able to communicate with them, which made me win all the races, and finally I won the whole competition. That became the start of a new fascination, so after the TV show ended I did the course for 6 months and I’m now a licensed Harness Race driver!

I love these animals, for me the horses are my way of getting healthy breaks from my hectic career.

After working with so many different artists and touring so many places ,where do you think you stand now ? What have you learnt all these years ?

K: Well, that there’s always someone you haven’t worked with yet that you would like to work with, there’s always somewhere you wanna go where you haven’t played before, and there’s still stuff you haven’t learned yet. You neither graduate, nor retire from my line of work – it’s an endless journey. And that’s the magic of it. That I’ve learned!

 

Any plans for India ?

K: I played at the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland in December 2015, which was a great experience. I’d love to come and perform with Kee Marcello Band all over India, and I think my agent is working on it as we speak.

. Tell us about your future projects .

K: Sure: The UK Live DVD ”Live From The 3rd Stone” will be released during the spring, RO80’s shows until May, touring with KMB all summer, into the fall, a project album called ”Kee Of Hearts” together with Tommy Heart, the singer of Fair Warning, to be released during the fall.

Thank you Kee…Leave a message for your fans in India 

Thank you! 

To all my amazing fans in India: Hope to see you in concert very soon! Be safe and take care of each other. Love/Kee

 

Check out the videos here :

 

 

INTERVIEWED BY : ASHIQUR ROHMAN 

 

 

 

Share.

Comments are closed.