This morning there was a 2-hour-long program with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3. Listen to it HERE! He was today’s guest of Linnea Henriksson’s show, Hallå P3. The whole show is based on questions from listeners either via phone call, SMS or e-mail. Anyone could send questions to Per or call the show and ask him personally. How cool is that! The net time with Per without the music and news is more than an hour, so it is really worth a listen if you couldn’t catch it during the day. If you can’t really deal with Swedish language, here is a summary of what he was talking about.
Linnea asked him if it is possible for him to go out in town as a private person or there is always someone recognizing him. He said most of the time when someone recognizes him, he only gets positive energy.
People were asked on the streets to tell who they could see on the picture. They recognized Per, told what he is doing and many of those people even started singing his songs. Someone told she also thinks immediately about Marie anytime she sees Per. While listening to people’s comments, Per was constantly giggling. Lovely!
He was asked about some of his songs, Billy among them, about which he told it was inspired by happenings in his life. It’s a long song with long verses which is not too typical of him. Regarding songs like Tycker om när du tar på mej he told his lyrics about love are mainly about his dear wife. Yeah, we know it, but hearing it from him from time to time is still wonderful. Besides this he said he is a writer, so he also makes things up in his lyrics, of course. Funny that about Gå & fiska! now he said he probably wrote it in Malaysia when he was on holiday. I think we already heard a United States version of the story.
Regarding writing in Swedish and in English he told that over the years it became quite natural writing in English, too. One learns to think in English and it became better and better with time.
An old Roxette fan asked where the name Roxette comes from and Per told the story of choosing the title of Dr. Feelgood’s song, as well as the story of everyone thinking Roxette was Marie and he was her assistant.
Someone asked Per if he would do something totally different, a totally different musical project. He explained it’s not only Gyllene Tider and Roxette in his life, but he also did soundtrack for Small Apartments and now he is also involved in EDM, which is quite new to him. The listener said he was thinking about something for the older public maybe, like more acoustic stuff. Per said he is planning to do an acoustic album (and if I understood right, an acoustic tour, too).
Regarding taking part in Så mycket bättre (“So Much Better”; a Swedish reality TV show on TV4 where the basic premise is that each artist attempts to do their own version of another artist’s well-known song) he said it’s definitely not his cup of tea.
To the question how it feels playing in Halmstad he replied it’s always special. It’s nostalgic and romantic at the same time. His whole Mazarin album is about Halmstad, for example. Playing in Ullevi in 2004 was of course magical, but the whole 2004 Gyllene Tider tour was wonderful.
About an ordinary day of his he said he is working a lot, writes songs, spends a lot of time in the studio, he is handling Roxette’s Facebook page and he is doing some interviews. He is not the kind of person who is looking for tranquility.
Before the 2013 GT tour he did some acoustic versions of old GT songs (I guess some of them are demos we will get on The Per Gessle Archives in September) and one of them was played exclusively in the show. It’s Honung och guld from the album Puls. It starts at about 39:40 and ends at about 43:02. It’s an awesome version of this beautiful song. Be sure you are listening to Per’s killer voice and fab guitar playing!
He mentions Pugh Rogefeldt, John Holm, Ulf Lundell and even ABBA meant a lot to him from the early Swedish pop era.
He tells that he is an LP guy, he grew up with vinyls and loves physical releases, but nowadays music is spread all over iTunes and Spotify and of course, he is also listening to music via these possibilities. Still he thinks an album cover is very important. He told about the brainstorming for the Look Sharp! sleeve: superstars, journalists around, limousine, front page picture, fake ads, newspaper style.
He shares that he is incredibly unstructured when he has meetings, but one always has to follow his gut feeling not only when he has a meeting, but also when writing songs.
Mr G talks about his first jobs: distributing newspapers, weighing mushrooms (he was the only guy among appr. 300 girls) and playing as a troubadour in old people’s home and hospitals for eight months in Halland. He learned a lot from this latter one also about what is it like playing and singing in front of 5 people. När alla vännerna gått hem he wrote e.g. during those times. He also mentioned that once they brought a man out of coma. They played music in one of the hospitals and the man suddenly started moving.
To the question what he is interested in besides music he replied he never played golf in his life and never took a swim at Tylösand beach. When he was a child, they usually went to Frösakull’s beach. He said he is interested in music (yeah, besides music, he is interested in music, surprise, surprise), in art and he likes taking walks.
Per says MTV Europe meant a lot to them during the ’90s and also mentions all the videos cost millions those days.
To the question which songs changed his life he replied a lot of songs are changing your life, but for example, Refugee from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was one of the songs that changed GT’s and his own life, too. He also tells the story when he was a little child (1966-67) he played with his friends and they used cue sticks and mimed to songs of The Monkees, e.g. to I’m A Believer. The first time he saw David Bowie’s Life on Mars? video was also fantastic.
Linnea asked him which song he would choose to play on the radio and Per chose to play David Bowie’s Space Oddity for his son. He mentioned Gabriel is a computer nerd and once he surprised Per by sitting next to the piano, playing this song (if I understood it right).
To the question what is different for them when they play on the same tour, the same songs each time Per replied each night is different. They play 100% live and anything can happen. His ambition is to make each night as good as possible. He also explains there is nothing better than standing on stage in front of a huge crowd, playing live for them and hear them singing along your songs confirming they like what you are doing.
Regarding the upcoming Roxette tour he says their tours have always been based on their hits, but they also play some unexpected songs or new ones. Now he is writing Roxette songs again and they will start rehearsing in autumn.