At the age of thirteen me and my buddy Anders Hedlund was playing squash towards a garage door on a parking lot in the small town of Umeå in the north of Sweden when one of us came up with the brilliant idea of turning the racket around, playing it as if it was aguitar. At the time I had no idea what an impact this would have on my future! We were heavily into Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, and we decided to form a band then and there. Unfortunately we didn’t have a dime to our names, neither any musical instruments, so the dream was seemingly impossible to catch. After weeks - months of relentless persuasion of my parents into buying me an electric guitar, my prayers (read brainwash) seemed to have panned out. On Christmas eve 1973 I opened the case and laid eyes on my very first guitar – a second hand Hagstroem Impala. It was love at first sight. Six years of practising and playing in bands later I’d discovered that I was outgrowing Umeå. I packed my guitar and bags and took off for the bright lights – big city: Stockholm. I got a job in a hospital emptying trash with hepatitis infected syringes and tran-sporting dead people to the morgue. It wasn’t a great job, but it had an obvious upside … if I did my ”stiff runs” fast enough I would get lots of time over to go down to the dressing room where I kept a guitar in my locker. Thanks to those corpses I got lots of invaluable practising done every day during fully paid working hours. Thank you dead guys. Or as Alice Cooper would have put it; I love the dead.
[ THE OPENING ]
When I joined the glam/punk act Noice in 1982 I got my first taste of the rock’n’roll life style. The platinum selling band was creating hysteria, pulling major crowds wherever we played. The tour I did with them has gone down in history as ”the tour of scandals”. We ended up in the tabloids more often than not, and we had to get police escort back and forth from almost every gig. During this tour I learned how to play a guitar solo while running and ducking for eggs, tomatoes and even rocks, because not all the guys in the audience appreciated the effect we had on the women in the crowd. I got along especially well with the bass player, Peo Thyrén, and it wasn’t long before we started scheeming on ideas for forming a new band, since we felt that Noice was doomed to fall apart anytime. A lot of this had to do with the keyboard player Freddie Hansson and his self destructive way of life. Between gigs me and Peo started to hang out in London, picking up the club vibe and listening to bands like The Southern Death Cult (later just ”The Cult”), Killing Joke and The Specimen.
Back in Stockholm we hooked up with vocalist Zinny Zan, former drummer of The Nymphomaniacs (whom later became Hanoi Rocks), Freddie Von Gerber, former drummer of Intermezzo and Noice and Danny Wilde (later to form Road Rats with Conny Blom from the Electric Boys). This five piece band felt ultimate and we were psyched, completely ready to take on the world.
[ THE CALLING ]
In 1983 the self entitled album by Easy Action was released on SIRE Records world wide. Our music was a witches brew of hard rock, metal and punk, and you could hear influences from Alice Cooper, David Bowie and The Sweet but also from The Clash and Ratt. Our manager had met record industry legend Seymour Stein at the Midem fair in Cannes, and we subsequently became the first Swedish band to ever sign a US major label world wide recording deal. Danny Wilde decided to leave the band and was replaced by Chris Lynn, who had quite a reputation for his mean riffing in the band B-Films. We did a lot of touring in Scandinavia and loved every minute of it. Lots of people came to the concerts and we had some memorable pyrotechnics going on in the show. At one point a girl ended up in the hospital after trying to get up on stage when she got too close to the Bengalian fires.
Easy Action (and Hanoi Rocks) created the Scandinavian glam wave that a lot of US bands were influenced by, but for some reason we never got properly credited for it. Zinny Zan later moved to Los Angeles and formed Shotgun Messiah, while I found a new singer named Tommy Nilsson, who just had moved back to Sweden from Paris, France where he had a million selling record. With this amazing singer and a state-of-the-art production of the album; That Makes One, we know got lots of interest from US Labels and David Geffen of Geffen Records was keeping the hot line open with EA:s manager Niels Kvistborg.
One afternoon while the band was getting ready for the photo shoot for the front cover, the phone rang in the studio. It was Europe’s manager Thomas Erdtman offering me the guitarist spot in the band.
[ THE WORLD CALLING ]
I joined Europe in october 1986, right after the release of The Final Countdown. During the fall of 1986 the title song which was releasedas the first single started to chart all over Europe. It eventually became a number one in 26 countries all over the world. During the rehearsals for the upcoming Final Countdown World Tour we stepped up in venue sizes three times to meet the pressure of the increasing ticket sales.This tour broke us in lot of territories like the US and South East Asia. Everywhere we went the crowds went crazy, and it marks the definite international breakthrough for me as a guitar player.
I got offered to record a solo album for Epic Records, but for different reasons it didn’t happen. Also, we were so busy travelling the world that there was no time for indulging in anything else. The recording of the follow up to TFC started in London January 1988. “Out Of This World” was produced by producer super star Ron Nevison and it took us all over the world once again. We played in front of 60.000 people in Mumbai, India, and 40.000 in Vina del Mar, Chile, and broke some new ground all over the world. We did a legendary tour in the US with Def Leppard and the band had never sounded better. Over half a million people came to see us on that tour. I was now friends and colleauges with a lot of musicians that I earlier had worshipped, and it felt like the world was my oyster. At this time I’d been living in the Caribbean for a couple of years, first in Nassau, Bahamas and now as a resident of Turks & Caicos Islands in the British West Indies. Prisoners In Paradise was recorded in Los Angeles, produced by Beau Hill. Once again we took the band on a world tour, which would later proof to be our last.
[ THE BREAK UP ]
In 1993 we decided that it was time to call it hiatus. The winds that were blowing in the music business weren’t going our way, and it didn’t make us feel like we wanted put out a new Europe album right then. Epic, our label, wanted another album, but we said no. Grunge was the new thing and a lot of labels fired their ”hair bands”, as we were referred to back then. I almost immidiatedly started working on an album with Freddie Von Gerber, my old buddy from Easy Action, and we released Red Fun later that year. Parallell to this I was experimenting with songs in the singer/songwriter style, and this eventually lead to the recording of my first solo album; Shine On in 1996.
On new years eve 1999, on the millenium night, we did a reunion concert with Europe in the heart of Stockholm. We played an unforgetable gig in the middle of Stockholm Stream on a special built raft in front of 500.000 people. An invitation to make a special guest performance in Vina del Mar, Chile at the Quinta Stadium in 2002 gave me the inspiration to write the song ”Hey Romeo”, which I performed in front of 40.000 chileans later that year. The writing of song as well as the visit back to Chile to play in front of a huge crowd got me inspired again. I wrote, recorded and produced Melon Demon Divine in my own studio, GEM Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden, and it was released in 2003.
[ THE FUTURE ]
Today, with thousands of concerts in front of millions of people all over the world under my belt, I feel more inspired than ever. My long time partner in crime, bass player Ken Sandin and I hooked up with the two Brits in the band in 2010. Jonny Scaramanga on the guitar and Paul White on the drums now complete the line up of Kee Marcello Band. On January 13, 2012 the new album REDUX: EUROPE will be available world wide. The same day my two first albums, REDUX: SHINE ON and REDUX: MELON DEMON DIVINE will be released, remastered with a total makeover. At the same time we will embark on the REDUX: EUROPE WORLD TOUR.
To baldly go where no band has gone before – the quest for world domination has just begun!
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