Although John initially enjoyed the success, he soon realised that fame and fortune had its price, "I always considered myself a musician and Europe a travelling, hardworking rock band. That was all changing. We had to do silly playback shows and appeared in magazines next to Samantha Fox and Rick Astley. I have nothing against these people, but Europe had nothing to do with them. We were still listening to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and UFO, and all of a sudden we became this bubblegum band with poodle hair."
John Norum took a brave step. Instead of choosing the security of newfound fame, he decided to leave the band and in October 1986. "When John left Europe, it was the beginning of the end for the band",” says Europe singer Joey Tempest, "John is a unique guitar player. His sound is very raw and in your face, and at the same time very melodic. There is nobody like him. I always have John in mind when I write my songs. I continued to do so even after he left. That's how great he is."
The following year, John Norum released his first solo album, the aptly titled Total Control. It expressed his love for true musicianship and traditional hard rock, "during the last few years with Europe, the band became too polished for my taste", says John, "The records were dominated by keyboards, while the guitars were pushed back in the mix. This (the solo album) was what I really wanted to do." Europe struggled on for a few years, before putting things on hold in the early 90's.
After the Total Control album was released, Norum toured the world with various bands, working with former Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes, Don Dokken, and the LA Blues Authority series. During this time, Europe was never far away and John kept in touch with Joey Tempest, they pair even shared a stage in 1992 for a one-off show at a festival in Stockholm. This was followed on New Years Eve 1999 by a full blown Europe reunion and, soon after, plans were announced for a new Europe album. The Start From The Dark album was finally released in 2004 and it was the album every Europe fan was hoping for - dominated by John Norum's crunchy guitar riffs, just like in the good old days.
Although Start From The Dark restored John's faith in Europe, it did not mean the end of his solo career, far from it, his new solo album Play Yard Blues will be released in the UK on July 5th by Mascot records.
John Norum - Official Site
John Norum - No. 1 Fan Site
Mascot Records Official Site
Mascot Records Myspace Site