00_coverFrom the title you might guess that the interview is about the plectrums. 😉

While we’ve been working on the PLECtionary, I did an interview with Sandra and she happily shared some more details about her passion, the guitar picks, as well as some further nice stories related to these precious little things. Enjoy!

 

Patrícia Peres: – First of all, huge thanx for your hard work with this PLECtionary. It’s awesome to have all plecs’ photos and knowledge at one place. How did it all start for you? Which is your first memory and which was your first plec?

Sandra Knospe: – You’re welcome. It was fun to do it.  I love going through the plecs once in a while. It all started in Helsingborg 1996 at the second Gyllene Tider concert from the Återtåget tour. That was also the day when I got my first plec. I found it after the show, somewhere on the dirty ground. I saw Per throwing the plecs away during the gigs and I was just curious if I could find one. I knew chances were low. It was like searching a needle in a haystack together with all the other fans who knew that there might be something to find on the floor that’s worth to pick up. And it felt like a triumph when I finally succeeded, it was kinda thrilling. I was surpised to see that it was customized. I didn’t know that before. That made it even more interesting, of course. But back then I did not really start collecting in the way I do it today. I was just happy that I found it. The wish to make my collection as complete as possible came later in 2003 when I received an envelope from Per with 10 different plecs including real rare ones from 1989 and 1991. So I had a few different ones thanks to him and also from the Rox tour 2001 and Mazarin tour 2003 which I attended as well. I liked the design and little phrases on them and I wondered how many customized plecs by Per exist at all and wanted to find out how they looked like and from which tours they were. So I started some investigations. From then on the hobby turned into a passion.

PP: – So the first plec you got 17 years ago. Wow! How many picks do you have actually? How many of them are Per’s plecs and to whom are the others related?

SK: – Oj, need to count… Without the doubles it’s 114 different plecs (and 3 of them in different gauges). 71 from Per plus 2 from him which are not customized, 17 from MP, 4 from Christoffer plus 1 from him which is not customized, 4 from Micke N-S, 1 from Jakob Johnzén, 12 T&A studio plecs and 2 plecs of which the origin I don’t really know. One of these two could be a tech plec as well and the other one is dedicated to someone whose name is Tedde. No idea about it really, but on the other side it says ”WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. So I guess it comes from Per at least. All together (including the doubles) it’s 224.

PP: – Who would have thought that there are so many plecs related anyhow to the Rox World. I know the whole collection is very close to your heart, as one day when a friend asked what you would take with you in a hurry if there would be fire in the house, you replied: ”The plecs, the plecs!” But which is the most precious item if you can choose only one? What is your story behind it?

1_SK_300x170SK: – Urmmm… I would rather get my ass burned before I would leave any of them behind in case of a fire. A fav plec? Hard to say, it even changes from time to time. Maybe the ”LOOK SHARP! / IT’S ONLY PLAYBACK” plec, because it’s probably the oldest one. Even if mine is not in top condition. I got it from a friend with the right connections. But then again, it could also be one of the plecs that have a more sentimental value to me, like the plecs Per sent me in 2003 that made me start collecting more purposeful. They are indeed very special to me. Tough question. So many goodies, really can’t decide. Sorry.

PP: – I can totally understand you. I can’t choose any favourite either, as all of them are beauties. Is there a pick you don’t like at all? Maybe because of the design or anything else.

SK: – I wouldn’t say there is a pick that I don’t like at all. I’m maybe not so much into the latest GT picks with the record and the cassette on one side and the GT emblem on the other. That might be because I am not a fan of pictures on plecs. I like it simple. A cool phrase is better than anything else. The ”WOODY / VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” pick for example is a great one. Great colour of plec and print and a cool note on it. Simply perfect.

05_tourism_coverPP: – Aw! Yes, that’s a perfect plec indeed. I know you’ve been hunting for the Another Day Another Dollar plectrum (which is on the cover of Tourism) for years. Was that the most difficult plec to get?

SK: – I would say so, yes. It took me almost a year to convince the guy I got it from to make the deal and it did cost me a lot of my nerves and doubles to make him agree on it. He always wanted money for it and I only wanted to swap against other picks. An almost neverending story, but in the end I succeeded. Patience pays off sometimes. And if you are a plec collector you REALLY need to be patient. The older and rarer a pick is, the harder it is to find someone who has it AND is willing to swap it. Unfortunately, the hunt isn’t getting easier.

PP: – It must have been a tough negotiation indeed, but I’m sure you felt it was all worth it when you could hold it in your hands. Which plecs are you missing now exactly? Do you know all the plecs you are missing or there might be plecs you don’t even know about?

SK: – I am missing all picks that are not included in the PLECtionary. I doubt that I know about all of the existing picks. I wonder if Per still knows all of them or has kept at least one of each of his customized picks at all.

01_frame_LLI was also told that there are at least 2 more different versions of the ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” plec besides the one I have, but I have never seen any other version, so this still remains a mystery to me. I at least know I am missing 6 more colours of the NOTP picks 1st edition and one more colour of the NOTP 2nd edition and the white ”WODDY / HEJ DIN TOK JAG ÄLSKAR DIG” pick and the white ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” pick, both with black print. I only know 3 sources where I have seen the white MNS-plec so far. 2 belong to collectors who would never ever swap it and the third source is the guitar pick frame from Per that is hanging in Leif’s Lounge at Hotel Tylösand. And all 3 sources are out of reach for me so I am still desperately searching for it, fearing that this hunt will never come to an end. I stood in front of this frame at LL countless times already, admiring its content, always telling myself that hey-hey-hey, maybe one day I will get this plec, too. It’s almost an obsession, haha. I even asked at the hotel if there is a way to get this frame, already knowing that I would fail badly, and of course I did.

PP: – Oh my God! I was also standing in front of that frame last summer. Tempting to take it off the wall. Haha. Funny you really asked the staff if it is possible to get the frame in any way.

SK: – Oh well, asking is for free. I guess it’s like with any other collection. There is always something missing. And what the ”White Album” by the Beatles from 1968 means to a record collector, the ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” pick means to me. But let’s see what happens in the future… In case anyone knows about more Per or related picks, please feel free to contact me via Facebook. I am always eager to expand my knowledge.

PP: – And how is that with the Night of the Proms plecs? They exist in several different colours, but how many colours are out there altogether?

SK: – 17.

PP: – You say first edition and second edition when it comes to these plecs. I see some of them were not used, but you have them in your collection. Why weren’t they used and how did you get to know about their existence?

13_SK_300x170SK: – Micke N-S (the backline technician who takes care of the important things on stage, including Per’s guitar picks) told me about it when we had a small talk in the hotel lobby in Mar Del Plata in Argentina 2012. He said it was the first print, but Per didn’t like the font on one side that was used for it (same font as for the Party Crasher tour picks earlier that year), because it made the many letters of ”GOOFIN’ AT THE PROMS” look too fuzzy. And it’s true. You can barely read it and it’s too much text for that kind of font on such a small plec. MNS told me 800 were made and never used. I don’t know if they threw away most of them. But I was lucky to get at least eleven last year in Gävle before the GT concert, thanks to MNS. I soooooo appreciate this!!!

PP: – Lucky lady! How was it in the old days? Was it harder to catch a plec during gigs or find them on the floor after the concerts? I think Per started throwing much more picks to the crowd during the latest Roxette world tour and last year’s Gyllene Tider tour. Do you think so, too?

SK: – You’re right. At the last GT tour the pick holder even was extended but MNS still had to change it, because Per was running out of plecs once in a while. And they must have had tonz of plecs for the GT tour. Even the crew threw them into the crowd or at each other before GT went on stage. Tobbe (one of the guys in the crew) practised before almost every concert and his throwing-technique really got better and better until the end of the tour, haha. At the last concert they even bombarded Linnea Henriksson and her band with the picks. Seems they needed to get rid of it and found a funny way to do so. A tabloid stated 5000 were made for GT 2013, however, I don’t trust tabloids that much, but judging by the way they threw ’em out it could easily be true. As a comparison, it was stated in another tabloid decades ago that for the Rox tour ’88 or ’89 it was 800 picks that were made. So yes, a lot more picks around these days.

In the past I was a master in finding picks on the floor. That has changed somehow. Whether the people are more observant nowadays or I just got older and therefore became too slow.

© Thomas Evensson
Check plec No. 72 in the PLECtionary

PP: – You get older for sure. You even mentioned in ”Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” that you’re not 20 anymore. We all know you were following Roxette to several countries. In which country did you find it the most difficult to catch a plec?

SK: – Argentina had some tough competitors. The plecs Per threw there were literally catched out of the air. At all the concerts I have ever attended I managed to catch 4 picks out of the air. Not easy, I can tell you.

PP: – Sometimes it’s difficult to catch even a ball in the air. Plecs are so much smaller, so I can imagine it’s not the easiest way to become an owner of a plec. I have 3 plecs in my collection from you. The black-red Roxette World Tour 2011 plec with Leif on it I got from you when you visited me in Hungary last year. I remember you had several picks with you. Do you usually bring your doubles with yourself while touring, just in case you can swap plecs with other fans?

SK: – That was the plan in the beginning. Having 7 different picks for one tour lately makes it hard to find or catch one of each. And of course I want to have the sets complete. Most of the time you have more of the same and miss out on other plecs from the set. If that happens you can just ask around who found which pick and try to get it swapped if it’s one you don’t have yet for something they don’t have yet. But I skipped that after I learned that I can get help here and there in another way if necessary. And Micke N-S is throwing so many plecs after the concerts that chances became much better to get all the different picks (at least if you do a few concerts). But it’s always like a predator-feeding when he throws them. First everyone is gathering in front of Per’s mic stand, waiting for MNS and when he finally throws them, people go crazy. A football dress might be a good option if you wanna risk it… Most of the time I stand a bit further in the back. Micke can flick them faaaaar, you know.

PP: – It indeed became a routine after each gig. Fans not leaving the venue, but gathering in front of the mic stand. Anyway, do you remember how many plecs you found at gigs / received from Per / from technicians and how many you swapped?

SK: – Naahh, it’s too many by now that I could remember all. The ”special” ones I do remember though, e.g. the old and extremely rare ones I got sent by Per or the two he gave me right into my hand during a gig or the plecs that I catched out of the air when he threw it or picks that I got personally from him when I met him somewhere. But not all. Including the doubles I have 224 picks at the moment. Impossible to remember the way I got each of them. But most I got from Per and MNS or catched / found them during / after the gigs. The proportion is quite evenly spread between these 3 possibilities. Some picks I also got from dear friends who don’t collect picks themselves. They know about my passion and helped me a lot. I am really thankful for that. I swapped the less.

PP: – I know you never sell your doubles, just swap them and you even mentioned that the guy wanted money for the ADAD plec first, but did it ever happen that you paid money for a plectrum instead of swapping?

7_SK_300x170SK: – No, it has never happened that I paid for a plec. I have principles when it comes to plecs and money. No matter what, I will never pay for a plec or sell one. But sometimes it’s hard to stay with these principles. Someone once offered me 700 USD for the ”IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP” plec. I even had it twice, but I still refused to sell it. I told the guy to get me a pick that I still need instead and then we could swap. He always told me I must be mad to refuse his offer and I always told him he must be mad to offer me that amount at all. We talked a lot and this discussion went on for almost a year with some breaks in between. In the end we really managed to get a deal done without money. It’s the deal with the guy that I mentioned before already. He got me the ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” plec and I gave him the ”IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP” plec and some other doubles in addition.

But I have to admit it’s really hard to keep your principles when you get such an offer. It’s damn tempting esp. when there is a tour ahead and you just have bought tix with a value of more than 1000 EUR. Sure the extra money would help to make the planning of the tour easier or get your bank account back to normal, but nope, making money with plecs is not what they were made for. For sure that wasn’t Per’s intention and I respect that. I rather get angry when I see people making business with it. And that happens when you are crossing the way of a plec trader and not a fan. There is a big difference between these two types (not only the love for a certain band). Most of the fans simply collect plecs that have a sentimental value to them because of the memories they share with it. And no matter what, they wouldn’t sell their beloved picks for any money in the world.  While pick traders have no kind of sentimental connection to the picks whatsoever. For them it’s more the thrill of getting rare picks that seem to be impossible to get or make money with such picks. They sell or buy picks for tremendously and ridiculously high prices.

I belong to the fan section and  of course I do share sentimental values with many of the picks. And these special picks I would never swap either.  And never sell. I only swap the picks that mostly are not from Per and don’t have a ”big” history for me.

PP: – Oh yes. There was the complete GT 2013 plec collection (7+1 plecs) on eBay the other day and the highest bidder offered 325 EUR, but it still didn’t reach the minimum amount of money the seller wanted for the set. Then there was a set of 51 different PG/Rox/GT plecs for 5150 USD… This is absolutely insane. Can’t understand neither the seller nor the bidder in these cases. Anyway, besides being a good catcher, you are also smart and lucky enough to find plecs even after a concert ends. That’s one thing. But how did it feel when Per gave a guitar pick right to your hand when there was the Leifs Lounge gig in June last year? /This moment can be seen at the very end of this video./

SK: – Thrilling moment!!! Picks like this have an extremely sentimental value to me and I would never ever swap them!

PP: – Did it ever happen before?

SK: – Yes, once. During the Party Crasher tour in Munich. Wohoooo. Lucky me!

PP: – Holy God! I wouldn’t think you say yes to this question. I thought it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Awesome! Has Per ever asked you which plecs you are missing (I know he asked it once on Facebook) or if you have this or that pick and then gave that certain one to you?

SK: – Except for this comment on FB, no. Would be cool to just send him a request and then get what I asked for, ha. But I am not blue-eyed. I can imagine he has better things to do than to ask and then check his glass bowl, trying to find the fitting pick to a fans request. It’s not that I didn’t try to ask him, though. When you don’t see a chance to get the missing plecs anymore you start getting desperate, you know. So I once asked him for the ADAD-pick. I got an envelope with some picks inside as a response and with those I could swap me the pick that I had initially asked him for. So it worked out somehow in the end.

Oh and speaking of him answering fan mail. I just need to say it here, even if it’s off topic but it just has to be said: It’s AMAZING that he does that personally. With an agenda like his, I admire that he still finds the time for such things and it seems he spends some time with this here and there, because I know a LOT of people who got envelopes with plecs inside as a response from him. So did you, right? I don’t take this for granted and highly appreciate it. It’s just so likeable and I am grateful every time I think of it.

PP: – It’s not off topic at all! And yes, I’m also among those lucky fans who got mail from Per. Finding such an envelope among your bills in the mailbox is the finest thing. Your heart is beating faster until you get into your flat and when you open it, it feels like Christmas. You can already feel there are plecs inside, but anything you find in the envelope brings you to Himmel no. 7. I can only agree with you. I don’t think any other artist takes so much effort, spends so much time and pays so much attention to fans like Per does. He is simply the best. Much appreciated!

Back to your collection. What about Chris and the technicians? Have they ever asked you if you are missing any of their plecs?

SK: – Naah, I think they have other interests. But Chris, the nice guy that he is, brought me the picks from the American leg of the tour and I am thankful he did. I wasn’t attending that part and had no clue how to get them otherwise and esp. these are real beauties with Per’s signature on them.

PP: – There are also non-customized non-PG plecs in your collection. Are they as important for you as the others?

SK: – They belong to the collection and I am happy with every pick that I can get to make it grow bigger (as long as it belonged to Per, Chris, MP or one of the technicians). But OK, the value is not as big compared to the others. But I have a nice non-customized pick that I got from Per in Antwerp during the NOTP-tour 2009 which has a quite big value for me. It’s a simple tortoise Fender medium gauge pick. But it was among a handful of picks that he gave me when I met him behind the arena after the concert. I shared those picks with the other few fans who were at that meeting afterwards, but I kept this non-customized one because it’s heavily used and you can even see traces of some teeth, so he must have been chewing on it. (I at least hope it was him.) So in a way, this is a very special customization and something you don’t get each day, muahaha.

PP: – LOL! Well, we often see him licking the plectrums before using them, so why not also chewing them. Per teeth and DNA. What else could you ask for? Oj. Back to the non-PG plecs, which is your favourite non-Per guitar pick and why?

SK: – The red ”VOLLSJÖ ANGUS” pick from Chris. The ”jellyfish” and the note just rock! OK, and the psychedelic T&A pick is also very nice.

03_plec_keeperPP: – Lookin’ cool indeed! Anyway, where do you keep all the plecs? Are they in a box or a frame? Can you see both sides of them?

SK: – I keep them in a Mahogany wood box which is actually made for 2 EUR coins. It has 3 tablets inside and fit 105 picks. Good alternative if you don’t own something else. There are unfortunately, no companies in Germany selling pick frames or boxes. At least not the kind I want to have them stored in. But I would love to have them on the wall or in some double sided displays one day. There is a cool guy in the US who produces custom made guitar pick displays and other stuff. Check him out on FB if you like. One day I will buy me some custom made displays there, but it has to wait until we get a longer tour break.

PP: – A longer tour break. Hm hm… Hard to decide whether I wish it would happen or not. Our bank accounts would be happy for sure, but our souls need tours. Let’s see what happens. Those custom made displays would be a nice investment. By the way, do the plecs need any special care? How durable is the printing on them?

SK: – I wouldn’t put them into the sun 24/7 and putting adhesive tape across the print is also not recommended, but otherwise there is not much to take care of. The older white ones darken a bit with the time if you don’t store them in a dark place, but shouldn’t be a problem for the newer ones. The metallic printing of the latest Rox plecs is a bit of an exception. Especially on the red acoustic pick and the 727 pick from 2012 the print comes off very easily.

02_coverPP: – Your cover pic on Facebook is very unique. When you uploaded your first version and I saw it, I was like W-O-W! It looked awesome! Since then your collection was growing and growing, so you updated the cover pic, too. It’s a fabulous confetti ocean! You even shared it on Roxette Official to ask if anyone had your missing plecs for swap. Per also shared your photo with a ”Wow!” comment. Did anyone contact you then?

SK: – Thank you. Great that you like it. After Per shared it on RO, I only got a few PMs from people asking for plecs. No one who wanted to swap. I guess there are just not many people out there having what I’m looking for. But I won’t give up.

PP: – Fingers crossed for you to obtain the missing bits of the collection and good luck with future plecs! Thank you very much again for building up the PLECtionary and sharing all the stories.

SK: – My pleasure! I feel kinda flattered that you are interested in it. So thanks for asking. And whoever has the picks that I am still missing and is interested in swapping, just send me an e-mail or a message on FB. All swappers are welcome!

 

Pics with SK watermark are copyrighted. © Sandra Knospe