Eleven straight questions [inteview italian version click HERE] with guitar-wizard (and vocalist) Kee Marcello (ex-Europe and Easy Action).Welcome to Pisa Kee! This is not your first time in Italy and in Tuscany. What are your expectations for this italian “date” and what do you like the most about our country?
«Thank you. I played in Pisa a couple of times through the years, and I love it and Tuscany in general. I have to say, i feel like Italy is my second home! I’ve played in a whole lot of cities and regions and have many faithful fans/friends all over the place. Besides that I really enjoy spending time there. The foods – the wines! Need I say more? Over the years I’ve met a lot of talented Italian musicians, who are playing with me on this tour. They are: Marzio Ker (guitar & backing vox), Roberto Basett (keyboards & backing vox), Roberto Capetti (Bass & backing vox)
and Fabio Minelli (Drums & backing vox).»
Your last album is Redux: Europe, a collection of Europe classics re-recorded with a new approach and more heavy arrangements. How has the record been received by your fans and by the “public”?
«There’s one new original song too, the title track “Redux: Europe”. It was originally written for a EU celebration arrangement held for the signing of the Maastricht treaty back in 1993. I was asked to write a piece for electric guitar and orchestra, and the idea was that the chorus was going to be performed by Luciano Pavarotti. Unfortunately this ceremony never happened, and i forgot all about the song until one day in the studio when I found the sheet music in an old folder in a drawer! Me and Ken Sandin rewrote some parts and made it into a band song. Another curiosity on the album is “We Go Rocking”, my first major band, Easy Action’s, biggest hit. The US band Poison stole it and put new lyrics on it. I sued them and we settled out of court. A couple of years ago Bret Michaels, the singer of Poison, seemed to have “forgotten” ever hearing about either Easy Action or the song theft, so I thought I’d “remind” him about this: in this version I rewrote the lyrics so that they are about Poison stealing my song! The album “Redux: Europe” peaked at no 9 on the Swedish sales charts, and I must say I’m happy with that result. Being a metal act and reaching top 10 in Sweden is really good.
Although we have a lot of successful metal bands from Sweden (In Flames, Hammerfall, Hardcore Superstar, to name a few), they don’t have nearly as big careers in Sweden as they have in the rest of the World. It’s strange, but a fact. I guess it’s hard to be a prophet in your own country!»
Your discography and production have been distinguished by finding new sounds and exploring new kinds of hard rock music. Why have you felt the need to disclose and discover you music past?
«Because this is the way I always heard them songs in my head: more rough with a different attitude in the vocals. I’m not saying Joey Tempest is a bad singer, he’s great, but too clean for my taste. My favorite singers are Bon Scott, Gerry McGafferty (Nazareth), John Waite (Bad English, Babies), even Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. I have to feel that the singer really means what he’s singing. It’s also for the fans that never get to hear these songs live if they go to see the Europe live.»
Do you have any plan to publish your biography “The Rockstar God fergot” in Italy? In your opinion which has been the most difficult “thing”, and the most easy “thing”, to write this book?
«Yes, but I don’t have a set release date yet. The most difficult thing was probably to see how close to death I was when I lived in the Caribbean and in LA and abused Cocaine in a big way. I’m lucky to be alive! The easiest thing was to write it – I’m a writer since childhood, and I really wanted to be an author or an artist before I got my first electric guitar, that was it!»
Do you get any specific musical memory that has been “painfully” to remember?
«Perhaps when I was in a project called EPIC guitar. All the big guitarist names on the EPIC label where doing an album together. Me, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Neal Schon and Vernon Reid. It never happened because Stevie died in that helicopter crash. RIP Stevie. You are missed.»
Europe broke up in the 1993 after the tour of “Prisoners in Paradise” (in my opinion the album is one of the “peaks” of the band). What did’t work with the group at that time?
«Grunge!! We realized it wasn’t the time for a new Europe album and decided to take a “break”.»
You joined Europe in 1986 for the Final Countdown tour. How has been your “journey” from your band Easy Action to the the covers of music magazines, gigs played in front of thousand people and to a band that was in the music-charts of every country? At that moment have you felt a little bit “confused”?
«Mind you, I’d played in front of thousands of people and been on covers of music magazines with Easy Action before I joined Europe. was the first Swedish act to sign a US major label deal – With SIRE in 1983. I think I was the one best prepared for what was happening when we hit that unbelievable success – partly of Easy Action but also, I was a couple of years older than the other guys in the band.»
On new years eve 1999 Europe made a reunion-show in Stockholm with two guitar players (you and John Norum) and a line-up of six musicians. So the question is: could you tell us something about the reasons you are not anymore involved in the band?
«I thought the 6 man group was a good idea. They didn’t want me in the band, and I have no idea why. On top of that they owe me millions which they never paid me. That’s just money, I’m disappointed of the way they treated me if anything. Iron Maiden have all their guitar players in the group, because they realize it’s all about music. What makes Europe tick? I have no idea. Money?»
How about the bands you admire the most and your main influences as guitarist?
«Thin Lizzy where great. Me and the guys in Easy Action hanged with them both in London and Stockholm, and I can say that I’m proud of getting to meet Phil Lynott. His singing style was completely unique – it doesn’t matter what singer they would get in todays version of that band – none can replace Phil. I love Patto, Mike Patto was an amazing singer, and the guitar player Ollie Halsall is one of my biggest influences. RIP.»
Are you still in touch with any of the guys from Easy Action? Any chance of a reunion for this great band?
What’s in store for Kee Marcello?
«New album out in Europe September 1st, touring all over Europe. A 2-bill with Glen Hughes is in the planning. We’re doing a 3-bill called “Scandinavian Glam Pack” staring December. It’s Pretty Maids/Kee Marcello Band/TNT. It’s going to be good!»
Thanx a Lot Kee!
«Thank you! See you in Pisa! Cheers.»
Kee Marcello (+Aphasia) – 10 August The Jungle (ore 21:00, ticket 8 euros) the Jungle (via del Porto Santa Lucia Est – Teatro Politeama in via Tosco Romagnola n.656 Cascina)