Why You Should Know Him
Swedish rocker Kee Marcello is perhaps one of the most underrated shredders of the period. His solos feature some of the cleanest technique you will ever hear—blazingly fast legato picking patterns and arpeggio sweeps, yet he knows when to dial it back and really make the guitar sing with big, bluesy bends.
Marcello began his career with the Swedish Glam band, Easy Action, in 1981. The band released their first, self-titled album in 1983, following it up with the 1986 release of That Makes One. During his time with Easy Action, Marcello collaborated with Joey Tempest (vocalist in Europe) for the charity project, Swedish Metal Aid, producing the song “Give a Helping Hand.” Having established a relationship with Tempest, Marcello was offered the job of lead guitarist for Europe when John Norum left the band.
Marcello joined Europe at the right time, as The Final Countdown had just been released and brought worldwide recognition to the band. The album went triple platinum in the US and reached number one on Swedish, Swiss, and French charts. Marcello played on The Final Countdown tour, and he even appears in a few of the videos from The Final Countdown despite not actually playing on that record. But he did write and play on the subsequent follow-up, Out of This World. And if you thought John Norum could shred, wait until you dig into this record! Out of This World features some of the most spectacular melodic, neoclassical guitar solos and soaring lead tones you will ever hear in classic hard rock. Marcello’s guitar playing on this record stands out for both his outstanding leads, as well as the fantastic supporting parts that know how to share space with keyboards.
Marcello often solos over more than one chorus, giving him the freedom to lay down a musical motif and really develop it over the course of a song. The combination of compositional and technical skill of Marcello’s guitar playing make Out of This World a must-have album for any guitar shredder’s library of ‘80s greats.
Marcello got his tone on Europe’s Out of This World album with Larrivee guitars, and a Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster played through a modified Marshall JMP 100W head.
The amp had an integrated mid boost designed by Tommy Folkesson, Mats Gran, and Kee Marcello. Unfortunately, they don’t quite remember what they did to create that sound, so the secret may be lost forever.
His electric guitars were equipped with a classic pickup set: Seymour Duncan ‘59s in the neck and JBs in the bridge.
Where Is He Now?
Marcello went on to release numerous solo albums, beginning with Shine On in 1995, Demon Divine in 2004, and Redox: Europe in 2011. He has been busy contributing to many projects as a guest musician, including a guest solo on the track “Coerced Coexistence” by fellow Swedish melodic death metal band, In Flames, on their 1999 Colony album.
In 2011, Marcello released his autobiography, The Rock Star God Forgot, an appropriate title for such a talented and often overlooked guitar master. An English translation was later released in 2012.
Marcello released another solo album, Judas Kiss, in 2013 and in 2016, he was signed to Frontier Records where he released his latest record, Scaling Up (review here).