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Interview: Kee Marcello

Rock Stars...

Guitarist Kee Marcello played with Europe in the late 80's and early 90's, replacing John Norum but before that he was a member of Easy Action. Since leaving Europe he has released a solo album and has just released 'Melon Demon Drive' on Frontiers Records by his new band, K2. I had a brief chat with Kee Marcello just before K2's debut gig that night at the Underworld.

Thanks to John Dryland at Cargo for arranging the interview.

K2 is almost like a band as opposed to a solo album?

This is like my second solo album so to speak. I did one prior to this., 'Shine On' and I was tired of shredding with Europe so I wanted to do something very vocal. So I made it more singer/songwriter with my vocals. I did a couple more projects Red Fun in '93 with the drummer from Easy Action. Since '98 really I want to combine everything my melodic solo playing and my vocal style, with some heavy riffs. I wasn't able to finish it off until I met Snowy Shaw, an amazing drummer. I realised he was the man necessary to make this happen. I wrote the songs in two weeks.

Will this be a full time band or a one-off?

I don't really know. I recorded it in my own studios, so I just wanted to do my dream album and I am really happy about it.

It is a very modern album and it may surprise fans?

I think it will but I hope fans don't expect me to sound like I did in '87 (laughs). Some will be disappointed but the ones that appreciate my guitar playing are going to be very happy. They will have never seen me fronting a band but having said that its actually Snowy whose front of stage. We have the drums in the middle with me and the bass player on the side. At festival we have the drum on two ramps so I can run up and down.

Is this gig tonight (at the Underworld in London) the very first live date by the band?

Yeah, we are coming straight from rehearsals. We have a couple of festivals in Sweden and maybe touring this fall.

>B> Have you enjoyed the guitar playing on this album more as with a band like Europe you're expected to stay within a certain style.

I was expected to copy John Norum's playing and had to keep within the Europe sound. But here I can freak out, you can hear it and it sounds like I don't give a f*** man. I wanted the feeling of a three piece. I was worried as it s radical with just no overdubs and us. What you lose in detail you gain in rawness and heaviness, I love power trios so this is my dream come true.

You have to do more. I have never met any HM guitarists who've complained when you say you 'Have to do some more' (laughs). Play louder and some more!

Are you involved in the Europe reunion?

I was involved in the best of CD and DVD but I felt my time in Europe is done. I couldn't picture myself going around the world playing the 'F' song again.

I wasn't even going to mention that one!

It's time for someone else to take over the torch.

What Europe songs did you enjoy performing live?

I loved a lot of the songs, like 'Superstitious' and 'Stormwind'. I have really good memories from Hammersmith Odeon and 'Stormwind'. 'In The Future Will Come' and 'Seven Doors Hotel' is another Hammersmith Odeon one. I am a Hammersmith Odeon fan as I was saying to John (Dryland) earlier. One of the best venues on the planet.

What countries surprised you with their reaction to Europe?

I didn't even know they had a competition but we were voted Band of the Year in India back in '88. We filled this massive cricket arena, 65-70,000 rockers. It blew me away that these fans knew my name. In India you just didn't expect it. We were one of the bands that broke SE Asia like Taiwan. One of these gigs had a problem with the diesel generators and we lost the lights and PA. We only had stage sound and it was pitch black and people started to pick-up flashlights. Somebody told us afterwards that this was the first rock concert and people cam prepared thinking they'd better bring a flashlight. It was unbelievable.

Is there any unreleased Easy Action material or a DVD?

We are doing unreleased demos and a Swedish TV show plus a video we shot in London. Plus a motion picture where we act and it's by a B-movie director in Sweden. I get my head cut off. This guy said 'I like to shoot at nigh time as you don't see that much'. It's called 'Bloodtracks' which we shot in '84 or '85.

What would you like to have achieved by this time next year?

I'd like to tour England properly and Europe. It's easier to get gigs now in the last five years.

What do you listen to now?

I enjoy In Flames and there is so much out there. I listen back to records to see what is out there.

Message for your fans..

Thanks for hanging in there. Its amazing to see the response on the Internet and to see that they are so devoted. Next time we will do a longer tour.

Interview © 2004 Jason Ritchie

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