Exclusive interview with Per Gessle: ”Boogie shoes are allowed!”

We are all very excited about Per’s upcoming tour and also the new album. Both we at RoxBlog and fans are very curious about some details, so we put together a few questions and sent them to Mr. G after the news came out.

RXB: – Hi Per! The question was never IF, but WHEN you would hit the road again. We’ve been wondering if it’s high time for another Gyllene Tider celebration, but you first teased and now suprised us with a European tour called ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Would you mind telling us more about how the idea was born?

PG: – Hello! Yes, the idea came up during the rehearsals for the summer tour last year. The band sounded very special and it just occurred to me that it would be interesting to play Roxette songs with these amazing players and their instruments. I suddenly had violin, pedal steel, dobro and several  wonderful voices available. I hope my gut feeling was correct. I’ll know when we get together after the summer.

RXB: – In 2009 you were called ”the man from Roxette” in all materials, now it’s more direct, potentially better marketing-wise ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Some fans think it sounds quite controversial, like you would set up your own ”Roxette tribute band”. Have you hesitated choosing that name?

PG: – No, I think it’s a great name since it’s exactly what it is. This is my personal version of Roxette. I play Roxette-songs I’ve written, music that still is such a big slice of my life. In the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform  but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one.

RXB: – In the press release it’s mentioned that this tour’s idea was ”blessed” by Marie. Have you been in discussion with her about your plans regarding this tour?

PG: – Of course.

RXB: – It’s no secret 2009 was a success music-wise with fans being positively suprised by the setlist, band and the whole atmosphere, but it was more challenging in financial terms. You even mentioned in one of the interviews that you were forced to finance the tour yourself. Has this experience influenced planning of this tour in any way?

PG: – No, I’m a musician, songwriter and an artist. My mission is to play, write and perform. Sometimes you make records that sell well and get lots of airplay and streams and you make money. Sometimes your music doesn’t work commercially.  Same with tours. You win some, you lose some. That’s the name of the game. That’s how the music biz works.

RXB: – What can a fan expect? Would that be 100% of Roxette (we still hope for your live take on ”Vulnerable” and ”A Thing About You”) or will it be more balanced setlist with songs also from your long English solo career including ”The World According to Gessle”, ”Party Crasher”, ”Son of a Plumber” and ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – I don’t know at this point but most of the songs will most certainly be Roxette-songs. I’ll probably sneak in a couple from the new solo album as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – How would the concerts in 2018 differ from the tour in 2009 – except of you being 25-year-old this time (18 back then)?

PG: – Hahaha, I don’t know yet. Different players, different point of views.

RXB: – How final is the current tour plan? Are there any further dates in additional countries in the can?

PG: – Could be more gigs poppin’ up.

RXB: – Do you consider taking this tour outside Europe – to South America or Australia maybe?

PG: – Maybe. I’d love to play South America, Asia, Oz, South Africa, New Z, Canada and the US as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – What was your role in deciding where to play or was it all in the hands of touring agencies?

PG: – The tour is put together by Live Nation. They’re doing a great job. We all strive for the same thing; to play where it’s possible.

RXB: – Many concerts are seated. Was that your clear intention with this tour? Does it mean we get more ballads this time?

PG: – No, it’s because my audience is getting older and many of them prefer seats. If you want I’m sure you can stand up. Boogie shoes are allowed!

RXB: – In 2009 you said the ”Party Crasher Tour” was the best gift for yourself on your 50th birthday. Is the 2018 tour another self-made present for your next birthday?

PG: – No, I don’t think in those terms. Quotes like that just pop out of my mouth when I talk to the media.

RXB: – Do you consider ”Per Gessle’s Roxette” being a one-off project or something you could do in the coming years more often?

PG: – I will continue to play my Roxette-songs as long as  I can. It’s who I am and where I want to be.

RXB: – In autumn you are not only touring Europe, you also release your first English solo album in 10 years called ”Small Town Talk”. First you planned to have an English song on each of the 2 ”En vacker…” albums. Was it during the recordings when it came to your mind to rather release a ”complete” English version some time later?

PG: – I got really positive reactions from BMG Europe re the Swedish albums so I decided to go for an English version as well. The hardest part was to translate the lyrics since they’re quite personal and almost impossible for me to re-write. I got help from Sharon Vaughn out of Nashville to make new interpretations on a few of the tracks. She’s amazing and has been a big help.

RXB: – The first thing we realized when the tracklist for ”En vacker dag” was available was that the English duet was missing. Will that missing song with Jessica Sweetman see the light of day on ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – We know already that you do a duet with Nick Lowe on the forthcoming album. Helena Josefsson is of course in the picture as well. You posted a selfie with Linnea Henriksson the other day. Does it mean there will be an English version of ”Känns som första gången”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – Which songs from the 2 Swedish albums will land on the English one?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – It’s your sister on the cover of ”En vacker natt” and your mother on the sleeve of ”En vacker dag”. Will you have the same family vibe for ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – No. STT will have little old me on the cover.

RXB: – Oh, and before we forget – any plans to release the 2017 ”En vacker kväll” tour on DVD / Blu-ray in the nearest future?

PG: – Yep, there will be an amazing DVD from the Halmstad-gig very soon. It looks and sounds great.

RXB: – And what about releasing past Roxette gigs we mentioned here several times?

PG: – Yes, there will be old Rox live shows out this year as well. No rest for the wicked.

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour!

PG: – Cheers.

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