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Bag of Bones (album)

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Kevin Shirley

Bag of Bones (2012)
War of Kings (2015)

Release date
18 April 2012

Bag of Bones (album) httpsimagesnasslimagesamazoncomimagesI6

April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18)

October 2011–February 2012 at Atlantis Grammofon AB, Stockholm

Victor Talking Machine Company

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Blues rock

Europe albums, Hard rock albums

Bag of Bones is the ninth studio album by the Swedish rock band Europe. It was released on April 18, 2012 in Japan by Victor Entertainment and on April 25 in Sweden by Gain Music Entertainment. Bag of Bones is the first Europe album to chart in UK Top 100 Albums since Prisoners in Paradise in 1991 and also entered in UK Top 40 Rock Albums at number 3.


Europe bag of bones album track by track video interview part 1 2

Background and recording

Band decided to work with Kevin Shirley after they have heard his production on Joe Bonamassa's song "Ballad of John Henry". Before they met him, they've prepared about 12-13 songs.

Recording of the album began on October 3, 2011. and by the next day band recorded first song for the album, "Doghouse". By the end of the first week band recorded two more songs. Between October 24 and October 27 band recorded overdubs and guitar solos and band officially finished with recording of album on October 27, 2011. On November 7, 2011., Anton Fig entered recording studio to record percussions on several songs on the album, while Joe Bonamassa recorded slide guitar on song "Bag of Bones". Band members weren't present in the studio at this time. On November 13, Shirley finished the rough mixes of some of the songs on the album. After that, band decided to go in studio in early December to do some additional recording so the album can be ready for Shirley to mix it in early January 2012.

Tempest plays rhythm guitar on "Not Supposed to Sing the Blues" and in intro and breakdown on "Doghouse". He also plays twelve-string guitar on "Bag of Bones". During the recording session, band recorded four or five takes of each song. Later, Shirley listened all the recorded takes and suggested the best one to the band. After that, in this exact take, he put rhythm guitar from another take to get acoustic impression like there are two rhythm guitars playing simultaneously. Band used old analog recording equipement from sixties and seventies and recorded on a computer using Pro Tools. In January, Shirley started to mix album in his home studio and finished mixing by February 2012.

Composition and lyrics

"Riches to Rags" originates from a riff made by John Leven. Leven sent the riff to Joey Tempest and Tempest finished this song in a music rehearsal space that he rented in Shepherd's Bush by adding the chorus that he wrote and writing the lyrics which are about forgetting the past, moving on and re-emerging. Tempest explained: "We’re not doing that anymore, this is what we are. We are expressing ourselves exactly the way we want. This is it. We’ve moved on, we’ve crossed the line and we’ve lost our minds, this is it, take it or leave it, like it or not”, you know, that’s the attitude of the song. So that’s ‘Riches To Rags'".

"Requiem" is an instrumental composed by Mic Michaeli. Mic played this music while band was recording in the studio and Shirley said it would be good idea to record this piece of music for an intro. Originally, band named this instrumental "Requiem for the 80's" and planned to put it as an album intro, intro to a song "Riches to Rags", but in the end they decided to put it as an intro to song "My Woman, My Friend".

"Not Supposed to Sing the Blues" is a song that was recorded in one take. The song was written as an tribute to the sixties and all the musician who came from small places and turned the whole world upside down. It has references to Tempest's year of birth, Jimmy Page, Malcolm Young, Angus Young and Elvis Presley. It was also written by Tempest in music rehearsal space in Shepherds Bush.

"Firebox" was a song that was written later in writing process for the album. It originates from a riff made by Michaeli. Michaeli sent the riff to Tempest and Tempest composed the verse, chorus and solo part and wrote the lyrics for the song later on. Michaeli plays keyboards on this song with real Sitar sampled pattern.

"Bag of Bones" is a song that Tempest wrote in music rehearsal space that he rented in Shepherd's Bush. He wrote that song on his Stratocaster guitar that was connected to a rented Marshall amplifier. He came up first with a nursery rhyme in the beginning of song and built song from there. Lyrics are about Tempest's exhaustion that he felt after two and a half year of touring and also about 2011 England riots that started in London. Those riots are referred in line "My City Lies in ruins". Song is also featuring Joe Bonamassa playing slide guitar on it.

"My Woman My Friend" originates from a bass guitar riff made by Leven. He sent the riff to Tempest and Tempest at first didn't know what to do with it. Then he decided to combine this riff with an old piece of music from his archives that had a chorus and little bridge. He later wrote the lyrics for it, most of it during the recording sessions. Lyrics are about spiritual love and trials and tribulations of relationships and staying together with the same person for a long time. They talk about how wonderful spiritual love can be, how miraculous it can be and how disastrous it can be. On the album, Leven's riff is being played in the intro and the outro of the song by Michaeli on the piano.

"Demon Head" is a song that is influenced by Deep Purple.

"Doghouse" is a first song that was written for the album.

"Drink And a Smile" is a song that was written last for the album, after the album was finished. Tempest came up with a melody and Michaeli played mandolin and they came up with stomp progression. Later rest of the band joined in.

"Mercy You, Mercy Me" originates from a riff made by John Norum. He played this riff to Tempest at the rehearsal and Tempest liked it. Shirley also said it would be great idea to build the song around that riff, but at that time band didn't have a chorus for the song, so Kevin went outside for a fifteen-minute walk. By the time he came back, Tempest and Norum worte a chorus for a song and Shirley came up with a lyric that went "I heard you sing something like rise up" and suggested them to use that one, but Joey didn't have time to finish it. He wrote lyrics later in rehearsal space in Shepherds Bush and lyrics are inspired by walking on the London streets and thinking about why are some people are fortunate and why are some people sad.

"Bring It All Home" is a song that originates from a jam sessions between Tempest and Michaeli in San Francisco in 1990 and it's the same session where song New Love in Town also originates from. Tempest got the inspiration for the song lyrics while watching the film The Last Waltz (1978) and the idea for this song is that is the last song on the setlist that would be performed on the last Europe show. Lyrically is about saying "Thank You" to all the fans and people that supported them over their career.

Album information

On July 12, 2011, Europe confirmed that Kevin Shirley would produce the album. "I've been a big fan of Europe's work for many years," said Shirley, "The band is influential and highly underrated. I can't wait to make the upcoming album their most explosive to date." The recording sessions started on October 3, 2011.

The album title was announced on January 24, 2012. Drummer Ian Haugland said, "It's not [called 'Bag of Bones'] because we all have lost tons of weight or found a new interest in archeology or dogs... It's just because it sounds fuckin' cool!"

Vocalist Joey Tempest stated, "With Bag of Bones we've made a hardcore classic rock record with the blues knocking on the door," and added, "This almost feels like a 'prequel' to our very first album, with a 2012 punch."

In addition to being released as a CD and digital download, the album was also released as an LP. Tempest said, "With the new 'Bag Of Bones' cover, there is so much detail on it. It became a bit boring there for a while; everybody was thinking, 'CDs are small, so let's just make something simple.' But we have computers, so we can blow up the cover to use for posters and vinyl, so it's still worth going that extra mile to make great covers. And we're really happy we did that."


James Christopher Monger from AllMusic gave the album 3 stars out of 5 stating that "Bag of Bones offers up some gems in the blistering Euro debt crisis opener "Riches to Rags," the neo-prog-pop of "Firebox," and the Bad Company-meets-Cindarella balladry of the moody title cut."

Side A

  1. "Riches to Rags" (Joey Tempest, John Levén) – 3:05
  2. "Not Supposed to Sing the Blues" (Joey Tempest) – 5:13
  3. "Firebox" (Joey Tempest, Mic Michaeli) – 3:46
  4. "Bag of Bones" (Joey Tempest) – 5:31
  5. "Requiem" (Mic Michaeli) – 0:28
  6. "My Woman My Friend" (Joey Tempest, John Levén) – 4:25

Side B

  1. "Demon Head" (Joey Tempest, John Levén, John Norum) – 3:58
  2. "Drink and a Smile" (Joey Tempest, Mic Michaeli) – 2:21
  3. "Doghouse" (Joey Tempest) – 3:58
  4. "Mercy You Mercy Me" (Joey Tempest, John Norum) – 4:31
  5. "Bring It All Home" (Joey Tempest, Mic Michaeli) – 3:39


  • Joey Tempest – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars
  • John Norum – guitars
  • John Levén – bass
  • Mic Michaeli – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Ian Haugland – drums, backing vocals
  • Additional personnel
  • Joe Bonamassa – slide guitar on "Bag of Bones"
  • Anton Fig – percussion
  • Jeff Bova - orchestration
  • Production
  • Produced by Kevin Shirley
  • Mixed and engineered by Kevin Shirley
  • Cover art
  • Design by Ulf Lundén
  • Songs

    1Riches to Rags3:05
    2Not Supposed to Sing the Blues5:13


    Bag of Bones (album) Wikipedia

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