Musical with Per Gessle’s songs

Teater Halland got green light from Per Gessle to use his music in their upcoming musical “Halland Love Stories”. The approximately 2-hour-long (plus break) musical’s premiere is set to 2nd March 2018 on the Main Stage of Teater Halland in Varberg and then they will tour with it in other theaters of Halland and neighbouring regions in Sweden. There will be 4 actors in the musical.

The theater plans to ask the audience, those living in Halland to tell them their own love stories and from this collection, to Mr. G’s songs they will create a musical which will be a celebration of love.

According to the theater’s director, Anna Sjövall, Per thought it sounded like a very funny and nice idea. The musical will consist of Per’s Swedish songs and it will be a bit like Mamma Mia!

 

SVT talked to Per about the project and he said many of his songs are somehow rooted in Halmstad and the west coast so it felt nice that the theater thought of him. To the question which of his solo songs Per could relate spontaneously to the theme “Halland Love Stories” he replied:

“På promenad genom stan” or “För bra för att vara sant” are very much home for me. There are several songs on my new album (out in April), which also belong to Halmstad. Small town genes never disappear.

Per says he quite often receives international inquiries on various musical projects and ideas. It will certainly happen “down the road” when everything feels right. To the question if he has ever thought about writing a musical Mr. G replied:

No, but I’m still young.

SVT asked Per what songs he listened to more than once this year so far. Per says Linnea Henriksson’s new song “Säga mig” is very good. Bon Iver’s latest album is wonderfully weird. Mr. G says that after his trip to Nashville he ended up in an old-fashioned country-coma. Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson and such. Adorable. Alex Shields’ “New York City Ways” has been hot in the kitchen since Christmas, but he is biased there, as he was involved in writing it.

 

WANTED – Complete Borgholm gig on DVD

The demand to see Roxette’s complete Borgholm gig(s), recorded on 25th-26th July 1989 is h.u.g.e. There is an evergreen discussion among Roxers since the ’90s and we just can’t conclude what might have happened to the recorded materials.

Collage of some WANTED pictures shared during the flashmob.

The discussion started again during the last days of December when Sandra Knospe came up with the idea to organize a flashmob to show how many of us want the complete Borgholm gig on DVD. The plan was to post one or more screenshots of the live scenes that are already available of the Borgholm shows. The idea was of course supported by tons of us Roxers. Sandra created a cool ”WANTED – Complete Borgholm gig on DVD” background pic on which anyone could insert their own preferred Borgholm live stills. Those who were more into completely ready stuff either reposted others’ pics or posted the well-known What Do We Want meme generated by Zoltán Dúl stating ”Who are we?” ”Roxers!” ”What do we want?” ”The full Borgholm-gig on DVD!” ”When do we want it?” ”For Christmas 2017!” Clear messages on both types of pictures.

We had been waiting impatiently for the time (2nd January) to come when we could all ”spam” Roxette’s Facebook page with our pics. If you check posts by others on the page, you’ll see that quite some Roxers joined the flashmob. We all love such happenings.

Later we got a little spam back from Mr. G. He shared some Memory Lane Monday pics on all the Facebook pages he is handling. At the same time, we could realize he saw the flashmob posts, but all he ”reacted” on them was sharing the old RXB article that collected those live materials which should be released one day, as well as posting the official video to Dangerous with the text ”Summertime at the Borgholm Castle. /P.” Oh. Yeah. THAT’s the summertime we would like to know more about. 😉

3 years ago Per posted on Roxette’s Facebook page that they were ”having discussions with EMI (Warner) about re-releasing all VHS/DVD Rox live + documentaries from the past. How about that? Maybe a huge box set? Rox channel on YouTube? Guess the hardest part is to find the stuff in the vaults….” A week later Mr. G was excited to post another update telling ”Hope to get most of the live VHS & DVD releases from the past out in the open (in top quality) for your insatiable eyes and ears to enjoy. It’s a little messy in the archives at the moment due to the huge EMI/Warner-merger but I’ve got new batteries in my flashlight! We’re on the case, promise.”

To help the team what to look for in the archives, Tomasz collected all possible live performances worth to release in an article.

It seems that the mess still couldn’t be sorted out completely, however, according to the rumor TDR shared there will be a DVD box including ”Sweden Live! (Norrköping 1988), Look Sharp Live (various 1989), Live-Ism (Sydney 1992), Crash!Boom!Live! (Johannesburg 1995) and Room Service (Stockholm 2001) from the Telenor webcast” without extras.

Last June when we interviewed Per, he still couldn’t tell us details about the DVD project. All he could share was his thought that ”the first things that should be made available are all those old live VHS-tapes and DVDs that’s not around anymore”.

Since most people nowadays don’t even have a machine to play VHS, it’s always nice to see old materials being released on DVD. Blu-ray is in this case out of the question, as those old tapes are probably not of real high quality for a BD release. But ”just” re-releasing old stuff is a bit sad. We are sure there is more to include.

Back to the original topic, Borgholm. What happened to the live recordings? Has there ever been a complete recording? Of both Borgholm shows and rehearsals maybe? Or was it just some footage we could already see in this or that video and on Look Sharp Live VHS? Nah… with such technology back then, shot by an American crew it’s impossible. There must have been a complete recording. Or if not complete, there is surely much more than what we could see so far. But where is that material hiding? Deep down in a cellar? Is it lost? Did the tapes get burnt? Or? Just for the record, we are happy with any raw cut material as well. It would look sharp as an extra in the DVD box. 😉 Haha.

Until we find out what happened (hope dies last…), you can still enjoy these videos and keep your fingers crossed: Listen To Your Heart, Dangerous, Paint, Dance Away, Cry, Silver Blue.

P.S.: Borgholm being such an important place in Roxette’s history, we are very happy about the fact that at least Per will play there this summer on his solo tour.

 

Metal tribute to Roxette

After the lullaby hits by Baby Roxers in 2016 there seems to be a Rox metal project in 2017.

GS Productions is a Russian independent music label. In November they announced an official metal tribute to Roxette and they called for participants. They say they have an official permission from Roxette and that all information about the compilation will be announced on Roxette’s website. There we can’t see anything yet, but GS Productions posted on their Russian social media site (vk.com) the final list of metal bands participating in the project and which of them covers which Roxette song. Joyride and Fading Like A Flower seem to be very popular, since these 2 songs appear twice, each covered by 2 different bands.

Tracklist:

  1. Metal Priest (Germany) – “Joyride”
  2. The Nameless Cult (Russia) – “Sleeping In My Car”
  3. DEOS (United Kingdom ) – “It Must Have Been Love”
  4. Dominia (Russia ) – “Wish I Could Fly”
  5. Seduced By Suicide (Brazil) – “How Do You Do!”
  6. Nightmare Council (USA) – ”Things Will Never Be The Same”
  7. The Great Crusades (USA) – “Fading Like A Flower”
  8. WOLFHEART (Brazil) – “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye”
  9. Strigampire (Canada) – “Dangerous”
  10. A Sorrowful Dream (Brazil) – “Spending My Time”
  11. Ole Alexander Myrholt Project (Norway) – “Stars”
  12. Catamenia (Finland) – “Joyride”
  13. Somnent (Italy-USA) – “Crash! Boom! Bang!”
  14. Depressive Mode (Turkey) – “Salvation”
  15. Anfel (Russia) – “Fading Like A Flower”
  16. Arrant Saudade (UK.Chile.France) – “Listen To Your Heart”
  17. Revelation (Belarus) – “So Far Away”

There is a teaser on YouTube that includes the titles of Roxette songs and the above mentioned metal bands next to the hits. However, in this video there are 2 additional bands and tracks vs. what GS Productions posted on their site. The additional 2 songs are Almost Unreal (From Autumn) and Milk and Toast and Honey (Paid Charons Fare).

The release date is set for 1st September 2017. The compilation’s cover design can be done by volunteers as GS Productions states and the best one will be chosen by Roxette. Hm. Let’s see what happens.

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time Roxette songs get metal arrangement. There was that Swedish Hitz Goes Metal project in 2011 where The Look, Listen To Your Heart, Joyride and Sleeping In My Car were covered and 2 years later on Vol. 2 (Japanese release only) there was Dressed For Success. Not sure how often any Roxer listened to these versions though.

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 Christmas songs

Somehow we could sense it wasn’t just a random post by Per yesterday when he shared the whole lot of the podcast series of Gessles nio i topp. Now we can see it was because there is a Christmas edition! Woohoo! Per and Sven sat together and had some Xmas fun their own way. They say they did it because of the very successful first season of Gessles nio i topp. Listen to the podcast HERE!

Per actually dislikes Christmas songs, but even in his career one of the biggest hits started out as a Christmas song. It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted) came out in 1987 and it became a gold record in Sweden. But the song became a worldwide hit only after it appeared in the movie Pretty Woman.

Mr. G’s Top9 Xmas songs:

9. Sjömansjul på Hawaii (1945)
8. The Who – Christmas (1969)
7. David Bowie and Bing Crosby – Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy (1982)
6. Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (1973)
5. John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band – Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (1971)
4. Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody (1973)
3. The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York (1987)
2. Joni Mitchell – River (1971)
1. Charles Brown – Please Come Home for Christmas (1960)

 

The only Swedish Christmas song Per thinks is quite good is Sjömansjul på Hawaii from 1945. The music played on Hawaii guitar is quite cool, he thinks. Next song on Per’s list is The Who’s Christmas. One can find it on the double album, Tommy. Per says he is fascinated by that album and he can still listen to it from A to Z. The 7th best is Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. The single became one of Bowie’s best selling in his career. Since Bowie hated Little Drummer Boy, he didn’t want to sing it and this way it was Crosby who sang that part and Bowie sang Peace on Earth which was written and added to the song especially for Bowie and Crosby. Per suggests you watch the video of the TV show. He understands why it became such a classic hit.

Song No. 6 is I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard, one of the best British glam rock bands. Per tells when Gyllene Tider got a contract at EMI in 1979, Lasse Lindbom was the producer and they made a Christmas album, Glitter, Glögg & Rock ‘N’ Roll with various EMI artists. 24:de December was GT’s debut song and Per also wrote Swedish lyrics to the Wizzard song and it became Om Jag Bara Fick En Elgitarr Till Jul performed by Lasse Lindbom Band on the album.

5th fave Christmas song is Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band. Per still has the original single in his collection. The coolest glam rock single according to Mr. G is Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade. Per thinks one of the most known Christmas songs is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl. Joni Mitchell’s River is magical music. And the No. 1 Christmas song is a fantastic one from 1960, Please Come Home for Christmas from Charles Brown. Even Eagles and Jon Bon Jovi did covers of this song.

It turns out Sven likes Christmas, he thinks it’s wonderful. Per asks if it isn’t sad that Christmas starts already in September nowadays and Sven says yeah it’s strange that Christmas songs start playing when birds are still singing. Per says he thinks Christmas is terrible nowadays, but he remembers it was nice when he got e.g. records for Christmas like Patterns by Ola & the Janglers in 1966. It’s an awesome album, he thinks.

Besides hearing some lovely ho-ho-ho’s, we get to know that the guys continue with their podcast on Swedish Radio in spring 2017. Awesome news!

 

CONTEST: Win a Roxette stamp booklet!

Santa thought it’s nice to surprise you all with a little retro contest. You surely remember that 25 years ago Roxette was honored by being featured on a Swedish stamp. The “Rock och Pop” theme stamp was released by the Swedish Post on 5th October 1991 in 3.6 million copies (source: a Swedish stamp site).

roxette_stamp_booklet_01
Photo shows the cover of the booklet

Per said at the time:

We’re not even dead. We thought it was a joke at first. I know ABBA was a stamp in 1982, but it’s not something that happens every day. It’s nice to have the entire Swedish nation licking your back.

Some months later he said:

That was a kick, of course. It was almost like being knighted, I guess. I have used them a lot. I used to send cassettes to my record company with them. They can’t refuse the music that way.

 

The stamp was also released in a special booklet featuring Roxette on the cover and including 6 stamps (2 Roxette, 2 Lena Philipsson, 2 Jerry Williams) and 3 postcards (1 Roxette, 1 Lena Philipsson, 1 Jerry Williams).

Now this booklet is what you can win! We have 3 of them to give away! In order to participate, answer the following questions correctly:

  1. What was the face value of the 1991 Roxette stamp? – 2.50 SEK (we also accepted 250)
  2. Which Roxette studio album was released in 1991? – Joyride
  3. Was there any Roxette tour in 1991? – Yes. Join the Joyride! World Tour 1991/92

Send an e-mail with your name, address (so we can send the booklet in case you win) and the correct answers to the questions to rxbcontests@gmail.com until 23:59 CET, 21st December 2016. The lucky winners will be announced a few days later. Good luck!

 

Contest terms and conditions:
– In order to participate, you have to send an e-mail to rxbcontests@gmail.com with name, address and correct answers to the
3 questions. We will consider all e-mails we receive until 23:59 CET on 21st December 2016.
3 winners will be picked randomly among those who have participated and sent the correct answers.
– You can only participate once, any attempt to participate twice or more times will lead to your disqualification.
– Prize won’t be paid out in cash. Prize will be sent by registered
mail only once.
– Winners will be announced on this website, on our Facebook page and will also be notified per e-mail. You’ll be required to answer the e-mail confirming your address.
– RoxetteBlog.com will not enter into any correspondence regarding the result of the contest and is not liable for any damages, loss or expenses that may result in connection to the prize.
– All submitted data will only be used for the purpose of the contest and in case you are the lucky winner, to send you the prize.

 

Update on 22nd December 2016: The 3 winners are: Lana Sachse, Yonita Marto and Travis Wilhelm. They were notified via e-mail.

Per Gessle’s cookhouse

Per’s latest posts made many fans wonder what Mr. G is cooking again. First you see him posting a video, getting ready to work with Clarence. In a different time zone. Okay, it’s music in the making, not just a random holiday. Then bang, there is a Sunday selfie with Anders Herrlin, Clarence Öfwerman and Per. Anders? Hm hm… Then it comes to your mind that Anders is very much into soundtracks and you remember Per said in an interview quite some time ago that he is working together with Jonas Åkerlund again on a soundtrack for Jonas’ new movie. Jonas is indeed working on a new film. The title is Lords of Chaos and it’s based on a true story. It was announced already in May 2015 that Jonas is directing this movie, but the shooting was a bit delayed for whatever reasons. Now it seems Mr. Åkerlund is very busy with it and the project is in pre-production phase.

Back to Mr. G’s new dice, the storyline on IMDb states: A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in a very violent outcome.

Black metal… Aha… What does Per have to do with black metal??? Oh my… Then ooops, he posts a picture of Christoffer Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman hanging out with a cutout Alan Jackson (famous country musician) and he writes ”Chris, Anders & Clare preparing yet another heavy metal arrangement.” Heavy metal… so why Alan Jackson? Just to confuse us… Oh, Alan Jackson has a good-looking country bar in Nashville.

Back to the movie. You check anything related to the ”music by” section of Lords of Chaos, but all you can find related to sounds / music so far is that Mattias Eklund’s name is stated as re-recording mixer / supervising sound editor. Mattias was there to edit sounds for Small Apartments as well. You know, the movie with beautiful soundtrack music by Per Gessle.

So is Per making black metal music together with Anders, Clarence and Chris? Or are they all there in Nashville for country music only? Haha. This guy is certainly not running out of projects. Good for us!

 

PerAndersClarence_US
Picture taken from Roxette’s Facebook page

Update on 2nd November 2016: Helena Josefsson joined the gang in Nashville for 3 days & they are recording together with Jessica Sweetman (British singer / songwriter). Jessica says: “Yesterday [1st November] I was recording in the Blackbird Studios in Nashville with Per Gessle from Roxette. I am so happy that I am going to be featured on a song of his that he is releasing next year. Per and his team are such wonderful souls and incredibly talented musicians. I feel blessed I have had this opportunity of collaborating with them on this project.”

Update on 5th November 2016: Drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow joined Per Gessle & Co in Nashville. Elizabeth also worked together with Helena Josefsson and Christoffer Lundquist at AGM a month ago. Elizabeth says: “Just wrapped up tracking drums for Per Gessle! It’s an honor to play for a songwriter I listened to on the radio since before I can remember. So grateful to keep growing and learning. Thank you!”

 

What Per Gessle played with this pick stays with this pick

For obvious reasons, during the past few months there weren’t as many plectrum updates as used to be, but then in July something popped up on a certain Instagram account. Per Gessle posted a picture of a guitar pick saying ”New guitar pick, flipside!”. We all started wondering what the text (What’s been played with this pick stays with this pick) and sealed-lips emoji on the plectrum could refer to and it didn’t last too long to find out it had surely been produced for private gigs.

We had to wait 2 months to see where the pick was used and it turned out it was the only occasion Per played it. It happened at a birthday party at A.b.b.e.y. R.o.a.d. S.t.u.d.i.o.s. Wow! It must have been an awesome feeling to play at such a historical & magical place.

What the pick (1; 2) says is not completely true though. Of course we don’t know the full setlist, but we know the band played The Look and more importantly, they also played Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång). Huh? Who would have thought that Per would EVER play THIS song at THAT place? Yep, it was a Swedish business man’s birthday party after all, but still! It’s just amazing!

Fortunately, Mr. G was generous enough to share the pick with the greatest plec collector among Roxers, Sandra Knospe and this way the PLECtionary could be updated. Woohoo! Check it out!

We asked Sandra how she feels about having this item in her collection:

I remember that Per mentioned in the interview about the guitar picks, that he considers it a mission to help me find Plectrum-Nirvana. And I also remember how shocked (in a positive way) I was when I read this back then. That alone was more than I ever could wish for. Of course I didn’t dare to believe that he actually would make it true. But he really did. More than just once. And I still can’t believe it. I am so happy and grateful that he helps me to keep the collection complete. And it also makes things so much easier. It sometimes is like pulling teeth if you try to swap a missing pick with somebody, esp. such rare ones that have not even been played at public events. So thank you again, Per, for being such a kind person and also for making the hunt much easier. I can’t find the right words to explain good enough how much I appreciate that. But I so do!!!

Huge thanks again for the updates, Sandra and much appreciation to Mr. G for making it possible!

PLECtionary_update_20161020
Photo by Sandra Knospe

 

Roxette announce 3rd single and video contest

Roxette have announced today that the 3rd single from their latest album, Good Karma will be ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?”. It was no real surprise, since Mr. G already talked about it in the interview we did with him some months ago:

5054197420924_ROX_WHY_WT.indd

Addeboy vs Cliff have just finished a fab uptempo version of ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?”. A song of mine done in Addeboy vs Cliff-style. It will hopefully be released later this year.

So the time has come. Better said, the time will come on 4th November, as the release date is set to that Friday according to Ginza.

But it’s not just a simple single release (on CD and in digital form). Marie and Per ask you to be creative and they give you a chance to appear in the official video to the song. All you have to do is record a 10-20 seconds video of yourself, friends or a situation to where you associate to the song and upload here. You don’t have much time to do that though. The deadline is next Friday, 21st October. For more details you should check out the terms and conditions. Make sure you use #WhyDontYouBringMeFlowers when you upload your video to any social media site.

The winner submissions will be part of the official video. It’s a nice idea. And hey, it means there will be an official video, not just a lyrics video. Does it also mean that besides the parts with the winner clips there will be Marie and Per in the video as well? Good question… Not much time left until we see what happens. Fingers crossed for some really creative clips and a fab end result! Good luck to all participating Roxers!

 

New vintage, new label for Per Gessle’s Kurt & Lisa

The Wineagency announced that vintage 2012 of The Per Gessle Selection’s successful Kurt & Lisa wine will be available for order at Systembolaget.

Mr. G posted about the samples and testing of this vintage in July and August 2015. Per said it was hard to choose between the last 2 samples, because both were awesome and he said it might be the best Kurt & Lisa so far.

Wine lovers will surely find it out soon and the collectors can be happy too, because the wine is out with a new label, of course. As Mr. G told in the Allt om Vin interview, this new label for each vintage thing was inspired by the American Sine Qua Non winery, which each year has new fun designs and names for each vintage.

If you are in Sweden, you can check it out and order Kurt & Lisa 2012 at Systembolaget.

K_L_2012  kurtochlisa2012

 

First ear candies on Per Gessle’s new record label

While we are waiting for the third single to be released off Roxette’s 10th studio album, Good Karma, Per Gessle is busy with releasing singles on his new record label, Space Station 12.

The first release was Good Harvest’s own interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock and the second is Fanny de Aguiar’s debut single, Sinking Deep. If you haven’t listened to the songs yet, you should! Both acts sound quite outstanding.

 

PG_wearing_SS12_tee
PG in his SS12 tee. Pics from Roxette’s Facebook page (1,2)

Per about Good Harvest:

The first time I heard Good Harvest, I was completely cracked by how tight they are singing. It’s incredibly brilliantly done, while it hits straight in the heart. This kind of timeless quality is what makes you immediately want to hear the song again.

Good Harvest about the first meeting with Per Gessle:

To meet Gessle is in many ways like meeting a living legend. But he was really nice and it felt very relaxed. He offered coffee, cake and a record deal in his apartment in Stockholm and later that night he came to see us at a gig we had in town. We worked with the same business manager as Gessle last year and from him we have already heard about “Per” in a familiar way. But of course it still feels a little weird when an e-mail from Per Gessle pops up in your inbox …!

Fanny de Aguiar about Per Gessle:

Per is the kind of person who makes music and appreciates personal expression. At least this is the impression I got. I haven’t met him in person many times until now, but we are in contact via e-mail. I often send him over what I’m working on in the studio and then he gives me feedback and shares his ideas and concerns. It’s so simple!

 

Per seems to be proud of the first releases and artists. No surprise he promotes them even on Roxette’s Facebook page (GH1, GH2, FDA1). Well, I think most of the Roxers’ education in music (at least partly) has been provided by PG himself over the years. I don’t only mean Per’s own music (solo or Roxette or GT), but his record collection, the roots and music history. Now we get some more ”education” about today’s music. Today’s music which is different to the mainstream pop world where most of the songs sound the same. And that’s exactly why Space Station 12 will probably be distinctive of any other record label. Releasing something different. As Mr. G says:

My ambition with Space Station 12 is to create an environment with strong roots in the history of pop and rock. I would love it to become a label you as a listener can identify with, just like I did with Atlantic, Stiff and F-Beat Records when I grew up. SS12 will be a home for strong musical personalities, brilliant songwriters and curious producers.

So, good luck to Good Harvest and Fanny de Aguiar, as well as Space Station 12! Looking forward to hear the next artists on this label. In case you are also curious about what’s next, follow SS12 on Facebook.

 

Marie Fredriksson interview from 1984

Another fab interview popped up in Elisabeth Elle Sandberg’s archives. Some weeks ago she shared an interview she did with Per Gessle in 1985 and now it’s Marie’s turn. Elisabeth did an interview with her in 1984, probably on 15th May, just some days before Marie’s 26th birthday. How awesome it is! Thanks a lot again, Elisabeth for sharing such gems with the world!

The interview starts with the intro telling that Marie Fredriksson has recently released her single ”Ännu doftar kärlek”. It is a ballad that Marie has written together with Lasse Lindbom. On the back side there is a song written by Per Gessle, ”Tag detta hjärta”. What happens in the future will depend very much on how the single is received. The upcoming LP is released when it feels timely, possibly in August.

Marie tells Elisabeth that it was planned that the LP would be released this spring. They wanted to wait a bit, so they had time to write some more material. She says she will go to the studio again in June and record 3-4 songs that they have written now. Possibly they release another single in summer and it depends on how it goes with it. She will probably record a video and it will be very exciting.

Marie also talks about the fact that most of the material on the LP she wrote together with Lasse, but there are also some songs that she herself has written both music and lyrics to. Martin Sternhufvud also made a song that will be included on the LP which is damn good and Marie is very proud of. Per wrote a song that is the B-side of the single. Marie also worked together with Björn Holmgren, who is a director in Halmstad. He is very good at writing and has written some children’s plays. On the LP there is a song he wrote the text to and Marie wrote the music.

Miss Fredriksson tells Elisabeth that she is happy that Lasse and she have been able to write so well together. They didn’t know it, just tested it for fun and it worked damn well. Everything is exactly as Marie imagined, but she says they have to see if it sells. You’ve done what you could, you’re only human. But if people don’t want to buy it, you have to do something new. Marie thinks the mmost important is that she is satisfied and she 100% is.

Elisabeth asks Marie if she can make a living on music. Marie says it’s OK. She was on tour with Gyllene Tider and she got paid. She managed to have her apartment in Halmstad. Later in the summer she will tour with Lasse Lindbom Band. She will be there as a guest, just as she was on the Gyllene Tider tour. In autumn, when her LP is released, she will go on tour and will go with Lasse and they will have the same band. Marie says they should not work as Dan Hylander and Py Bäckman, but Lasse does his songs and Marie hers. There will be two performances, so the audience get double value for their money. Then they do the end together. After that she decided to go on a bigger tour. It will be her first thing, which she is in charge of. The musicians will be Pelle Andersson and Pelle Sirén from the X-models. They are not known, but very talented. Probably Janne Bark as well, but it is not decided yet. Even Backa Hans (Eriksson, Elisabeth’s comment) who have played with Lundell and perhaps Göran Fritzson from Gyllene Tider. It’s a great mix that feels very fresh, and there are some new people.

Elisabeth asks about the band Marie played with last summer. Marie says unfortunately she doesn’t play with them now, but it was fun and they are thinking about doing some gigs together this summer, maybe in August. They have some contacts in Kungsbacka and Falkenberg, who would like them to come back. But with them she does only covers, no own songs.

Elisabeth is curious about how it feels to be on tour with Gyllene Tider. Marie says she had a blast and it was really fantastic. It was very fruitful for her. This spring she learned a lot about stage experience and how to talk to the crowd. She performed one song as a guest. They were on tour for 5 weeks and they became like family, so it was sad when the tour ended. And it’s not only the band, because Gyllene Tider you meet every now and then as they also live in Halmstad, but also the crew who take care of everything from sound to lights, they won’t see each other for a long time.

Marie is asked what she thinks about Swedish female rock singers? For example, Py Bäckman and Anne-Lie Rydé. According to Ms Fredriksson, Anne-Lie Rydé is really good. Py Bäckman is a wonderful text and music writer. Her latest LP is very good. She has also written a text for Marie and she is now making music to it. Marie says she saw Anne-Lie Rydé when she was in town last  time. She is very good on stage. But Marie likes Py Bäckman’s depth. Elisabeth asks about Efva Attling and Eva Dahlgren and Marie replies that she liked Eva Dahlgren’s latest LP ”För väntan”. Marie thinks Efva Attling is very professional on stage. Marie says if she goes to a concert or is listening to an album, then she wants to feel something.

Talking about Swedish male singers Marie says Mikael Rickfors is very good. He sings very well and writes good songs. Marie thinks that Mikael Rickfors and Lasse Lindbom are the best male singers in Sweden. She listens closely to the voice and the feeling in it.

Elisabeth asks Marie if she remembers her first gig. She does and it was very interesting. No one has ever asked it so far. Marie’s first performance was horrible. She was 7 years old and was singing for many people. There was her mom and a lot of old ladies. It was kind of a celebration, some sew meeting. “Oh, then little Marie could sing”. She was singing Rönnerdahl. She was standing there in a nice dress. She did not look at the audience, but at the floor all the time while she was singing, so the ladies didn’t hear a damn thing of what she sang. She was so nervous and afterwards she started crying, came home and was completely broken.

After that, Marie was singing in a lot of children and youth choirs while she went to school. She often sang in churches. Then she went to learn music program at a college for two years, where they sang a lot. Then she started singing jazz. Marie will never forget the first time she sang to a thousand people. It was with Strul, which was the support act to Eldkvarn. It was the first time they had a really big audience. Earlier they had crowds of 400-500 people. When they walked up on stage, everyone cheered when they started to play. It’s probably the best memory she has of Strul. Then there was an occasion when they played for 450 people with several other bands at Kattegattskolan. They played last and it went so well they got to do more than one encore. Marie thinks it was in 1977. These are wonderful memories and Marie is grateful.

Marie ends the interview with saying one shouldn’t be giddy with success. You must be able to be with ordinary people, otherwise you can’t write. If she becomes a diva, it won’t work. Then she couldn’t write. You must live the everyday life to get inspiration for new songs. Marie thinks that one person is not worth more than others just because she made an album. She thinks it’s important to think this way. You should be just like you were before.

Interview_with_MF_by_Elisabeth_Sandberg

 

12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per Gessle

In this 12 Peaks, Per Gessle and Sven Lindström feel like teenagers and talk about one of their favourite subjects on the planet, The Beatles. Huge thanks to Sven again for sharing the program with us! You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 22nd August).

Mr. G’s 12 favourite hits from The Beatles:

  1. 12 Peaks of The Beatles by Per GessleHey Jude (1968)
  2. A Day in the Life (1967)
  3. Taxman (1966)
  4. I Am the Walrus (1967)
  5. Something (1969)
  6. Dear Prudence (1968)
  7. Rain (1966)
  8. I Feel Fine (1964)
  9. I’m Down (1965)
  10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)
  11. Run for Your Life (1965)
  12. Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

In PG’s book The Beatles is the biggest there ever was, the most influential band in his life. All their songs are masterpieces, so it was pretty easy to pick 12 favourites. It would be really difficult to find 12 bad Beatles songs, so there won’t be a 12 Peaks show like that.

Per says one of the best songs ever written is ”Hey Jude”. He thinks it’s brilliant and it changed the world for so many people.

The second song on the list is ”A Day in the Life”. When Per first heard it, there was just magic all over the place in his little room. His brother had the album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Per was listening to it all the time.

Mr. G’s 3rd fave hit is ”Taxman”, a song written by George Harrison and released as the opening track on the Revolver album, which is one of Per’s favourite Beatles albums. But he can’t really make up his mind about which album is really his favourite.

The fourth song is something completely different. Per thinks it’s one of the wildest songs he knows and every time he hears it, it puts a smile on his face. It’s ”I Am the Walrus”, John Lennon in top shape. Sven and Per are of course 2 of the biggest Beatles nerds and they talk about the hidden messages in the song, namely, the lines of Shakespeare’s play, King Lear which one can hear in ”I Am the Walrus” in the background in a radio broadcast.

”Something” was written by George Harrison and it’s on the Abbey Road album, which is a stunning piece of music. Another most favourite Beatles album for PG. ”Something” is probably the most mainstream track, covered by so many artists.

”Dear Prudence” has a beautiful melody, a simple production and it’s mesmerizing to hear this track. Per just loves the song forever and ever.

”Rain” is the B-side of Paperback Writer and it’s a magnificent song. The vocal performance by Lennon is just amazing. Per also loves the glasses everyone was wearing on the sleeve. Sven says things were starting to get slightly psychedelic then.

The intro to ”I Feel Fine” just blew Per’s mind when he was a kid. It’s still fantastic, but in those days you never heard anything like that. PG loves the great harmonies and the great voice of John Lennon in this song.

Before Per and Sven get down to the next hit, Per mentions Sven wears a Rubber Soul watch. Sven says it doesn’t work, but never mind. The clock is always quarter past Ringo. Haha.

”I’m Down” is a hidden gem according to Mr. G. He can’t remember which single had it as a B-side, because he always played this song all the time. [It was the B-side of Help! /PP]

”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song written by George Harrison and it was also a stunning piece of music when it came out and it still is. There is Eric Clapton on guitar.

”Run for Your Life” is fantastic pop music. It’s from Rubber Soul, which is a great album and everyone loves it. It’s a jukebox and John Lennon’s voice at this time is just the best there is.

Per picked ”Strawberry Fields Forever” as the last track on his Beatles list. He thinks it’s a magnificent piece of recording and is a highlight in pop history for Mr. G. It’s still very unique and at the time it came out you never heard anything like this. Per says it was always so cool with The Beatles that they did so many different things all the time. You could never know what to expect.

Before they play the last song, Per and Sven talk about PG visiting John Lennon’s house on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. Strawberry Fields was a place close to where John grew up. Per says it was very special to visit the house. They kept it intact, how it was when John grew up and the guide showed them a little room inside the door at the main entrance where John and Paul were singing, because there were great acoustics inside. Per says he was standing there and started singing to see how it feels like and it sounded fantastic in there. It was almost like an echo chamber.

 

Per Gessle interview from 1985

A fab interview with Per Gessle was done by Elisabeth Elle Sandberg on 9th February 1985. Elisabeth, who was 18 when she did the interview at Per’s apartment in Halmstad, decided to make it available online after 31 years. Great decision, I must say. What an interesting reading after all these years knowing what Per achieved in his solo career and with Gyllene Tider, as well as with Marie in Roxette. Awesome! Thanks a lot, Elisabeth!

Elisabeth starts the article with placing the interview in a time perspective. In 1983 Per released his first solo album, Per Gessle. The following year, in February, 1984 came Gyllene Tider’s English album, The Heartland Café, which did not sell particularly well. During this interview in 1985 Per started working on his second solo album, Scener. Gyllene Tider broke up about a month after this interview and Per and Marie formed Roxette in 1986.

On the day of the interview Per was in the process of looking for images that would illustrate the lyrics of his second solo album. He says it’s really hard. The only image he found good was a picture of his mother. Elisabeth asks if there were no pictures of himself and Per said he wouldn’t dare using them.

Elisabeth asks Mr. G why he is doing a solo album when he is fine with the band, Gyllene Tider. Per says he doesn’t have a good answer to the question, but it’s good to change the environment sometimes. However, there is less reason to make a solo album now than before, because Gyllene Tider’s music is closer to him than it was before. But after doing The Heartland Café album he decided that the next one should be a solo album.

Elisabeth asks if the next GT album will be more full of hits and Per replies that the main difference is that it will be in Swedish again. Another difference will be that he won’t write more than 1/3 of the album and gets the others write too. He thinks that if there is a reason for them to continue to play together, they must move on and everyone should contribute to the creative side, so it doesn’t become 12 Per Gessle tunes. There would of course be songs similar to Sommartider, but he hasn’t written so much yet. The idea is to make it a more danceable up-tempo album.

Elisabeth asks if Per thinks the fans will come back and Per says he hopes so, but he sounds a bit uncertain. Per says they are probably the oldest band at this level in Sweden and the audience they had in 1980-81 are four years older now. At that age musical taste changes quite a lot. According to Mr. G, each artist is just as big as their last song (The Heartland Café album sold 30 000 copies). They have, after all, a fairly large audience still and if they make a good album, he thinks they can be huge again. Per was surprised that The Heartland Café was selling so much anyway, because many people didn’t have a clue that the album was released, but that’s only because it was in English.

Per says Teaser Japanese sold quite well as a single, but he thinks it was totally wrong, a stupid thing. Mr. G says it was his fault that they did an English LP. He just wanted them to invest in Europe, but one shouldn’t throw out 300 000 SEK on an LP that no one wants to buy. Instead, one should record a single and test it. If it doesn’t work, one should make another single. Now he thinks the whole year they worked on The Heartland Café was a waste of time.

Mr. G says the fans bought the album Puls in autumn of 1982 and it is much to ask that they wait for a new Gyllene Tider album. They will release a new single after his solo album. It’s a bit useless to compete with himself. He says a song is finished and its title is “30 skäl” [this is the song Anna recorded in 1986 – PP]. Per says it’s very danceable and is possibly out sometime in July-August.

Per says his songwriting is changing all the time. The biggest change was in 1982 when he bought a piano. Elisabeth asks if it was hard to bring the piano up the stairs (since there were a lot of stairs to reach Per’s apartment) and Per laughs and says “they said” it was. The piano was built exactly in 1900 and he found it in a shop in Falkenberg. Since he bought it, he started to write music using the piano and it allowed him to write differently.

Per thinks it’s great to read his old lyrics. He doesn’t write the same way anymore. He doesn’t know why. Today it would be really hard to write a song like (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän. Blå December was an attempt to write a short story, a narrated story in pictures.

Per says he started writing English lyrics when he was 13-14. He couldn’t play any instruments, so he just wrote the lyrics. He started playing the guitar in 1976.

To Elisabeth’s question regarding what Per thinks about Swedish music he replied that it’s exactly the same today as when Gyllene Tider had their breakthrough. There are great artists like Ulf Lundell, Dan Hylander, Eva Dahlgren and others who survive, but nothing new appears. He believes that a new generation of 17-18-year-olds will do great things soon. The record companies working with them will be great. Today the record companies are run by older people. The record company Stranded woke up now with bands like Ratata.

Per says many people wonder how he can write songs for Herreys och Pinks, but after all, those are the most-selling artists in Sweden and Per makes a living from writing music.

Elisabeth asks Per which producer he would choose for his next solo album or Gyllene Tider’s next album. Per thinks Gyllene Tider needs a producer more than himself. His solo albums are much clearer than Gyllene Tider’s. He thinks there are tons of good producers, but perhaps above all two. One of them is Trevor Horn, who is a tech pro. He produced Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes. He is fantastic. The other is a guy called Robert “Mutt” Lange, who did The Cars’ latest LP. Per was stunned when he heard The Cars’ latest LP. That’s exactly what they should have done long ago, but they don’t have the resources.

Per says it’s so ridiculous that the record company still wants to have a new album in English. But they can’t spend more time on it, because then it will be the same thing again. Abroad they are competing for airplay time with all other Capitol artists such as John Waite, Tina Turner and David Bowie. And it is impossible.

To the question if he is interested in writing soundtracks or musicals, Per replies that he would like to do soundtracks and also instrumental music, it would be fun, but about musicals he thinks they are so boring.

Elisabeth asks Per if he remembers the first time he was standing in front of an audience. Mr. G says he was always singing Staffan Stalledräng. He and a guy called Peter Nilsson worked as troubadours and were singing at hospitals. There he learned how to sit with a guitar and sing for people. He says it was useful and helped when they played with Gyllene Tider. But he thinks he is still nervous. But that’s just because people have other requirements today in any context. Per says if you are at a family party, people always want you to sit down at the piano, sing and play. Stuff he hates, because he can’t. He can barely play the piano.

To the question which concert he was fascinated by, Per replies that there are several. Bruce Springsteen when he was in Sweden last. It was an incredible concert. He is just like an artist should be. He captivates his audience. Then Joni Mitchell when she was in Sweden. Per says he saw David Bowie on his recent tour in France. Randy Newman alone with a grand piano is the best there is. Staffan Scheja and Björn J:son Lindh are also beautiful. Per says there are so many ways to experience a concert, however, actually he doesn’t like to go to concerts. It’s rare that he goes to one and almost never at Scandinavium, because it’s so boring.

He is asked if he goes out to dance and his reply is he does. If he likes dancing? He says it depends. He thinks it’s fun to dance sometimes, it depends on what mood you are in. He tends to go out in Halmstad, but he doesn’t go out to dance only, but to eat.

Regarding what he produced so far Per says Rita & The Rip-Off. He would really love to produce more, but it’s hard when you work with yourself. This new album he is doing he produces it together with Lasse Lindbom. He thinks it’s good for all bands, no matter how much experience they have, to have a producer. You need an objective person all the time. If you work for a long time with your material, you become snowed in what you are doing. Producing other artists would be fun. Per thinks he is pretty good at it and he laughs. Then he goes off and gets more coffee saying he always drinks so much coffee. It’s part of his plans to produce more. The problem is that he likes working in Halmstad. He finds it boring to stay at a hotel in Stockholm.

Elisabeth asks Per what he would like to be able to do what he still can’t do. Per says he would like to be a better musician than he is. He would also like to be able to read music. No one he knows can do that. When one is working with other musicians, often older musicians, it’s an incredible advantage to be able to write and read music. When Per hears or knows what he wants in a song, he is humming it out. He thinks it’s a handicap. He would also like to be able to sing better, to have a larger vocal range. He went and took singing lessons four times, but he says he is not one of those who can do it, for example, every Tuesday. It’s rare that he is home. Mr. G says he had season ticket for Drott’s matches, but he saw only one game during the season, because he wasn’t home. He says it’s useless this way and he can’t have anything definite.

Elisabeth asks Per if he plays football and Per says they play soccer every Monday in the summer, he and some neighbors. He says it’s funny. He played football when he was little and he always found ball sports fun. He is also playing badminton quite often.

The interview ends with a question about what Per is doing now and he replies he is trying to get an agent in Los Angeles, and it goes pretty well.

PG_Elisabeth_Elle_Sandberg

 

12 Peaks of The Kinks by Per Gessle

1 month after we shared Mr. G’s 12 Peaks of Roxette, now it’s time to listen to another 12 Peaks. Sven Lindström kindly shared with us the program about one of Per Gessle’s favourite bands of all time, The Kinks. You can download the sound file in 3 parts from HERE (link is valid until 26th July).

Per listened to The Kinks a lot when he grew up and he still does. It’s timeless music and great songwriting by Ray Davies. Mr. G’s very first LP was The Kink Kontroversy. Per bought it from his brother (7 years older than PG) who needed money for cigarette. Per still has the album which he thinks is a brilliant one, having a great sleeve with a Guild guitar on it.

Sven and Per talk about what the magic behind The Kinks is. Per says The Kinks come from some sort of British R&B and evolved into a very British pop institution. Ray Davies’ songwriting is the essence of the whole thing, but they are all great musicians and together they combine the band’s fantastic sound. Per thinks The Kinks in general were an underrated band. They were a little bit out of tune all the time, but that’s what makes them so special. They had wonderful guitar riffs.

The guys talk about the band’s drummer, Mick Avory. Per thinks one can hear he’s got his R&B background and he became a great pop drummer. Sven also mentions what a cool voice Ray Davies has, it sounds like he has a perpetual cold.  Per says Ray’s voice is in perfect harmony with his brother’s, Dave Davies’ voice.

Mr. G picked songs mainly from The Kinks’ early days. Here is the list of his 12 favourites:

  1. 12PeaksofTheKinksbyPerGessleDavid Watts (1967)
  2. Till the End of the Day (1965)
  3. Waterloo Sunset (1967)
  4. Sunny Afternoon (1966)
  5. Lola (1970)
  6. Tired of Waiting for You (1965)
  7. Set Me Free (1965)
  8. Where Have All the Good Times Gone (1965)
  9. Days (1968)
  10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion (1966)
  11. Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home (1966)
  12. Sweet Lady Genevieve (1973)

When Sven tells before The Kinks broke through, they made 2 flop singles, Per reacts ”yeah, well, most of us did” and laughs. Per says he adored Till the End of the Day when he was a kid and still does. The guitar intro is the best. Waterloo Sunset is one of the best pop songs ever written according to PG. It has such a beautiful melody line, such beautiful lyrics and it’s just magic in 3 minutes. It was an inspiration for Per and took the characters, Terry and Julie from this song and used them in a Roxette song, Me & You & Terry & Julie. It’s a little homage to Mr. Davies. Per met Ray Davies once. It happened in London at the BMI Awards. Ray had a Swedish girlfriend at the time, so they chatted a bit. Per says Ray is a great guy.

Sunny Afternoon is THE summer song for Mr. G next to Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful. It was a big hit in Sweden, one could hear it a lot on the radio. Per had it as a single and played it over and over again. Lola is one of those brilliant songs Per wishes he had written. He just loves it. The lyrics have typical Ray Davies phrases with double meanings all the time. Sven says it might be the first ever song about a transvestite. Per says ”maybe… as we know. But we’re from Sweden, so what do we know…?” Haha.

Sven asks Per to list the best pop groups ever, Per’s Top10, but Mr. G says after The Beatles topping the list there are many bands at the 2nd place, e.g. The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.

Besides talking enthusiastically about The Kinks, the guys even share the recipe of semla cake, NOT. Haha. But they know it’s a bun with some cream in it and has a sweet little thing inside. The sweet bun by the way was offered for Sven by Åsa, ”sweet wife” as Per refers to her. How lovely!

 

Spanish interview with Per Gessle about Roxette

Sebas E. Alonso did an interview with Per Gessle at the end of June for Spanish jenesaispop.com. Here you can read a summary of it in English.

Per and the reporter are talking about the updated sound on “Good Karma”, but keeping the DNA of Roxette. Mr. G says that for this album they have 2 more songs recorded and there are 3 others they didn’t record in the studio. He says if he doesn’t like a song, he leaves it and focuses on something else. To make a song takes a long time. If he makes a demo and he doesn’t like it, he leaves it completely. A song has to pass several processes before reaching the studio.

Per says all songs on the album are special. “From a Distance” was originally a ballad, atmospheric, without a groove. But they had many ballads, so they took Marie’s voice and gave it to Addeboy vs. Cliff. It became an uptempo song, they added a guitar and new voices. What’s on the album is the second version. It was the last song they recorded.

Mr. G says it’s cool that people still listen to their songs and every time he hears e.g. “It Must Have Been Love” at the airport or at the supermarket it feels great.

He talks about the band The 1975 from today’s music and that he likes their production, but he also still listens to ‘60s and ‘70s music. To the question if Roxette is a pop or a rock band Per replies they make pop music, but with guitars.

Regarding “Good Karma” Per says Marie thinks it’s their best album ever, but he thinks it’s rather just a good album. The best they could do now.

About “April Clouds” Mr. G says they had two ballads, “April Clouds” and “Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” and they thought that one had to be the final song of the album. They decided on AC, which is organic, no synthesizers involved but real instruments. They don’t think of it as a farewell song, but many people interpret it so, and this is how things work. You do something and people interpret it as they want and this is how it should be.

The reporter asks about Marie and Per says he talked to her the day the interview was done (22nd June) and she was fine. Sometimes she can’t get up and has to sit, but other days she feels good and can even take a walk. Per says they haven’t talked about a future concert at all. It doesn’t look like there will be more concerts at all. But Marie sometimes surprises us and if she wants to do something, Per is there. But there are no plans at all.

Per talks about the fans, their support over the years and that it was a great rehab for Marie. He says even now when they decided not to do more tours they have their fans’ support.

Regarding how music changed nowadays, Mr. G says today the artist is like a brand, especially in the EDM world. David Guetta and Avicii are trademarks and are presented as brands, and they (Roxette) are not a brand. They want to be a band. Today in Sweden for example, Spotify is 90% of the market. No one is interested in the artists or producers anymore, however, he still buys physical albums besides listening to Spotify as well.

About the US Per says it was lost when their company was sold in 1992. They were planning the “Joyride” world tour, but the guys at the record label only wanted to work with people they knew and they didn’t know Roxette. Since then, things didn’t work. At the same time, to get the American market they had to spend 6 or 7 months there and when Marie became pregnant it changed everything. Since about 1993, when they started recording “Crash! Boom! Bang!” they didn’t do enough to keep themselves there on the market, they were not playing in the US. The last time they played in New York and Los Angeles was amazing, but it was not as massive. Per always says that they left America for the rest of the world. It required too much effort, they should have spent too much time there and Marie refused it.

Regarding “It Must Have Been Love” the reporter asks Per if he gets paid every time Pretty Woman is on TV. Per laughs and says he hopes so. He was asked if he thinks he could have won an Oscar with IMHBL for the best song and Per says he thinks so, but since there was an earlier version of the song, it couldn’t be nominated. And he laughs that it was him who told about the older version, so he should have just kept his mouth shut.

They talk about “Baladas en español” that it was the record company’s idea to record that album. Rafael Gil helped them to pronounce the words correctly and he says they got some critics. The reporter says there were no problems with the pronunciation, but the lyrics in Spanish were rather crappy. Per says he can say only “una cerveza, por favor” in Spanish.

Per closes the interview with the thoughts of being fortunate. If you look at the whole thing in perspective, it’s a miracle that Marie survived her illness. They did a tour of 200 concerts for 1.4 million people and it has been a blessing to work for 30 years in this. Marie doesn’t have cancer or anything, she is simply affected by the disease. Maybe they can make more music together in the future.

PG_spanish_interview