Aftonbladet did an interview with Per Gessle and asked him about his cover of Nothing Else Matters under The Metallica Blacklist project. On 12th August 1991, Metallica released “The Black Album” and it took the band to the charts. Approximately four months earlier, Swedish pop wonder Roxette had released “Joyride” and was at the top of their career. This year, both albums celebrate 30 years.
Per about when he – among 53 artists – was asked to be part of the project:
I was hesitant at first because I didn’t know all the songs, but when I had to choose a song on my own, it was obvious to be involved. It is of course an honor to be asked.
To Aftonbladet’s question why he picked Nothing Else Matters, he replied:
It was on the radio all the time in the early 90’s and Marie and I always joked that it could have been an amazing Roxette ballad. And that’s exactly how I made it. I’ve used the classic Roxette musicians. We shortened the song properly, made a completely new intro and tried to create an atmosphere in the early 90’s spirit. We even added a typical “roxish” key trick. Lovely. I sang the song together with our two Roxette backup singers Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg.
What Per thinks about Nothing Else Matters from a songwriter’s perspective:
It’s basically a really good pop song. Nice and efficient chord sequence with a few small unexpected twists. Strong melodies that you can stretch. Sensitive text that is open to interpretation. Perfect score in my book.
Aftonbladet asked Per what it was like touching one of Metallica’s most respected ballads. Mr. G replied:
Very inspiring. From my side, of course, it was important to do it my way without directly caring about, or mimicking, the original. It was the song I wanted to work on. I wanted to make a Roxette production out of it. Nothing else mattered.
Aftonbladet asks if Per is afraid of any possible reactions from pure hard rockers who think he has touched their holy ground.
Haha no. It’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it.
Interviewer Per Magnusson notes that PG had a period as a hard rock fan in the early 70’s with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Mr.G confirms:
You’re absolutely right. When we were growing up, both Marie and I listened a lot to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and early AC/DC. And I liked Motörhead, don’t forget that!
To the question about his relations to Metallica Per replied:
The first thing I actually heard from Metallica was “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman”. Both were played all the time, everywhere you went. It was in the middle of the period when Marie and I travelled the most around the world. I have no other direct relationship with the band.
To the question if Per has ever met any of the members of Metallica he replied:
Absolutely. I have met Lars Ulrich several times. We have mutual friends both in the United States and in Europe. Last time I saw him was at a bar mitzvah in New York. He is a very nice and social person. He talks a lot so I left him to my wife after a while. She also likes to talk.
PG still is from the recordings of Nothing Else Matters.