'Stic' (Dutch Magazine)

3rd March 84


Steve Hogarth in 1984


The British rock band Europeans poses a question. "Dear audience, in June we will release our second studio album. We don't yet know which songs will be on it. You can decide with us. Which songs do you like best?"

According to this uncommon formula, the Europeans compile their new album. It is of great importance to the group that the sales figures are better than those of the first album. Those were not so good. But the British quartet yearns for recognition. A next album will hit the pop music lover's fancy. Brought about with the participation of the audience, or, with nice things for the people. As always one can look at it in two ways.

An audience that chooses will certainly not be against the will of the record company. The Europeans find great (financial) support with them. BBC-tv came recently with a special about the group. The still young band is working at their third album in little more than one year and possesses tour schedules that for the time being extend to November.

"We're short of time", Steve Hogarth, keyboard-player and singer, describing the state of affairs around the new album. "We have now seven or eight new songs. During concerts we notice from the audience whether a song deserves another approach. Our object is not only the reaction of the audience. Because we're so short of time we even use the soundchecks as disguised rehearsals." Together with Fergus Harper, bass-player and singer, Hogarth writes the lion's share of the songs. Also for the new album. As on the album 'Vocabulary' the couple don't shrink away from packing up personal experiences in a song. Naturally about love as in 'Burning Inside You' and 'Love has let me down.' Little sensitive, however, is the English music press given a good hiding in the song 'Writing for Survival.' Hogarth: "In that song, the band as a whole has opened fire upon the British pop magazines. We have a very malicious music press. Europeans aren't going very well with the NME and Sounds, to mention just two. God knows why, they don't like us. And that does not only concern the music. They think we make fun of what we do. We're not original according to them. They just hate everything that has to do with us. It is an extreme prejudice; every time we're in the spotlights they catch us."

"In 'Writing for Survival' we make clear that pop journalists write because they have to. Because there has to be bread on the board. That is something few people realise. We think that most readers see the music press as an incorruptible phenomenon. A pop magazine is to the mass equal of the Bible, with in it stories about groups they should listen to. It's not that at all. A music paper is simply a facet of the commercial reading market."

'Writing for Survival' leaves no room for doubt about its contents. On 'Vocabulary' there are songs with lyrics that could use some explanation, like 'American People' that at first sight deals with the arms race. Hogarth: "In fact it is a perfectly simple lyric that describes the Americanisation as it is taking place now in Great Britain. Not only the American nuclear arms, also a restaurant concern like McDonalds play an important part in that process. Not to forget the American pop culture."


Europeans in Germany

"We don't want to judge. Almost all of the lyrics on 'Vocabulary' are situation sketches. They are in fact observations, meant to make other people think 'Of course we do have an opinion. We are against the stationing of nuclear rockets because someone somewhere happened to make such an agreement. It is absurd that an agreement like that justifies the import of nuclear weapons. That might be the situation in Holland. In Great Britain there have been nuclear arms for some time. So it doesn't make that much difference if a few are added. The only thing that happens is that you keep an idiotic affair idiotic."

Europeans played during the mass demonstration against nuclear arms in October in The Hague. Still the band don't see music as an interpreter of political ideas. Hogarth: "I think it horrible that musicians often don't see the consequences when they play political songs for thousands of people. With that they pitchfork themselves into politicians. I'll have none of that. I hate politicians."

Europeans Promo Pic


Most politicians get little credit. Maybe the only resemblance with the Europeans. The band still have to come upon the first successes. 'Vocabulary' did not come to the notice of a large audience, despite all the pains the group took. Four songs were remixed by the New York disc jockey 'Jellyband Benitez'. The Europeans immediately condemned the recordings and started again, guided by producer David Lord, who may consider Peter Gabriel and Tears for Fears his regular customers. Overdubs with female background singers, among whom Kiki Dee, also wouldn't do. The group made an appeal to the gospel singers Carol Kenyon and Sylvia Butt, who together with Kiki Dee, who had remained, rounded off the vocal parts.

Without remixes and female singers did the Europeans call at the Amsterdam Milky Way, on their way through Holland, West Germany and Belgium. During the soundcheck, a rehearsal. The new songs were examined later on by about 300 visitors. They did not give their verdict. But they did dance to the older songs.

Translated by Inge Kuijt


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