Two years ago it may have seemed that Europe, the metal band that gave the world “The Final Countdown,” was down for the count. But a Geico car insurance ad has changed things in ways lead singer Joey Tempest never imagined.
The ad shows the band in an office lunch room singing their 1987 hit “The Final Countdown” while a microwave timer counts down the last seconds before a frozen burrito is fit for consumption. Chances are you’ve seen the spot, unless you’re living under a rock — a hard rock, of course.
That sort of publicity was one of the reasons why Tempest agreed to do the ad in advance of a U.S. tour that brings the band to the Music Box on Sunday, January 24.
Europe's "The Final Countdown"
...featured in a Geico insurance ad
“We had the tour planned for a while,” Tempest tells the Reader from a concert venue in Geneva, Switzerland. “We were offered the ad and we agreed to do it...we could get a new recording of ‘The Final Countdown’ and look like we look now.”
Tempest, a native of Sweden who has lived in London for 26 years, had no qualms about doing a commercial. He says Iggy Pop had good results with a similar spot in England and believed it would raise the band’s profile to a level in the states it hasn’t seen since the mullet was an non-ironic hairstyle.
It’s a gamble that has paid off in dividends, both in publicity and song royalties.
“That re-recorded version of ‘The Final Countdown’ hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts,” Tempest says in a tone that suggests he’s proud and shocked at the same time. “It’s the first U.S. No. 1 we’ve had.”
Previously, the band’s biggest hit was “Carrie,” a 1987 power ballad that hit No. 3.
- Sunday, January 24, 2016, 8 p.m.
1337 India Street,
$40 - $600
On Europe, the continent, Europe the band plays arenas with bands like the Scorpions. The Music Box is much smaller, but Tempest believes the Geico commercial demonstrates that the band insists on playing with passion whether it’s a stadium or an office lunch room.
“We want to bring intensity, whether it’s a small club or a big venue,” he says. “We give it our all.”
Europe’s current lineup has been together 11 years and has released five albums. Tempest hopes the tour and higher profile help get those albums released stateside because he believes the group is better than it was in its hair-band heyday.
“We still love big riffs, but we dig deeper now and express emotions that are bluesy and spiritual,” Tempest says.