RoXXXette On The Road entered the charts

RoXXXette On The Road, Roxette’s extremely beautiful tour photo book photographed by Anders Roos was published on 16th June. The book that includes 41 reflections by Per Gessle has 2 editions, a normal and a limited edition version in 300 copies called The Roxers Edition. The latter one is presented in a very cool hard case and includes 16 additional pages vs. the normal edition, plus a print from the book signed by Anders Roos and the book itself is signed by Per in silver.

The book entered the charts and it’s not even a week ago since it’s out. The positions show high interest in both editions, even if The Roxers Edition is not listed at too many selling points. Let’s see the actual chart positions!

Bokus

On the daily sales charts we could already see that the limited edition book topped the list (actually, it’s now already out of stock), but now the weekly chart is also available and we can see the normal edition is in the Top5 as well. Woohoo!

RoXXXette On The Road – The Roxers Edition: No. 1 in Culture category
RoXXXette On The Road (normal edition): No. 5 in Culture category

Ginza

RoXXXette On The Road (normal edition): No. 2 among all books!!!

 

Congrats for reaching such nice positions on the charts! Keep it up!

RoXXXette On The Road entered the charts

 

Update on 27th June: both editions of the book kept their positions (No. 1 and No. 5) at Bokus, while at Ginza, the normal edition became No. 1.

Interview with Per Gessle about Good Karma, melodies, songwriting and other groovy things

zdf_pgThere were quite some shorter and longer Good Karma interviews with Per during the past few weeks and he even provided all of us, Roxers with a fantastic opportunity, a Facebook live Q&A some days ago, answering 84 questions in 1 hour. After all this, we still had thousands of questions, so we put them together and shot all of them at him.

Even if Mr. G is always very busy with all of his parallel projects, he found the time to answer all our Qs. It’s really m.u.c.h. a.p.p.r.e.c.i.a.t.e.d. and we love all his detailed replies! And also the less detailed ones. Haha. Enjoy!

 

RXB: – First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time and answering our questions. Much appreciated! We know you are always very curious about the reception of your releases. Seeing the reaction of fans, your new album, ”Good Karma” is loved. How does it feel?
PG: – It feels fab. Since our fans are extremely varied and therefore very hard to please we didn’t expect anything like this. People, including the media, seem surprised by the direction we’ve taken and we find that interesting. You never know what people might think.
”Good Karma” has been created with a natural flow, we knew right from the beginning what we were looking for. However it’s been quite a difficult album to make. Not only couldn’t Marie join us in the studio except for her vocal takes and the technical challenges we went through took a lot of time and energy, especially from Christoffer. You need a low pulse and lots of patience to make an album like G.K.

RXB: – ”Good Karma” is the shortest Roxette album with its 38 minutes. Quality over quantity, but do you consider an album having a certain length when you start recording?
PG: – No. We record songs we like and use the ones we like the most. In the ”Good Karma”-case there are a few leftovers but we didn’t think they matched the quality of the other tracks so we left them out. Personally I think forty minutes is perfect for an album. You know you’ve succeeded if your natural instinct is to play it again.

RXB: – Your album titles are always short and simple. After the 10th studio album was released, which of your records do you think has the best title, taking into consideration the whole concept around that certain album?
PG: – I think they’re all pretty good. No, I don’t. I don’t really like ”Pearls Of Passion”. I don’t like titles with an ”OF” in the middle. It sounds pretentious. My original song was called ”Pearls AND Passion” but it was misspelled by EMI on an early draft and we kept it like that for some reason. And I changed the title and the lyrics of my song. True story. Have I told that one before?
”Look Sharp!” is a very cool title. ”Crash! Boom! Bang!” as well. And ”Charm School” and ”Joyride”. And ”Have A Nice Day”. And ”Room Service”. Hey, we’re brilliant at titles!

RXB: – You smiled in the Sat1 interview that the album leaked and so you could read on Facebook which songs people liked already before the official release date. Does it piss you off when such things happen?
PG: – No, it was expected. It’s almost impossible to keep things secret these days. There’s always someone who spills the beans. It goes hand in hand with our open-minded and ultra connected universe.

RXB: – Regarding radio, the last time a Roxette lead single went on air worldwide was ”She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)” in 2011. Unfortunately, in many countries ”It Just Happens” is still not played. Why do you think radios don’t pick it up even if there are news in the media about it?
PG: – Radio doesn’t work like it used to. In the old days you had music people who were in charge over playlists etc. Today most stations around the world play music selected by algorithms based on social media etc. It’s pretty tough to crack that system especially if you’re a ”vintage” band like us. It’s the same problem for most artists of our generation (and older). That’s one of the reasons most songs in the Top 40 chart sound pretty much the same and are targeted towards a very young audience who are on the internet all the time.

RXB: – You mentioned in several interviews that ”Good Karma” songs were not meant to be performed live. The previous two albums’ lead singles had you on lead vocals, which was obvious from promotional point of view as Marie wouldn’t have been able to handle new lyrics. How was ”It Just Happens” chosen now? Three singles in a row with you on lead vocals make us wonder.
PG: – No strategy. Warner wanted a ”classic” powerful Roxette-song as the lead single and off we went with ”IJH”. It’s a quite sophisticated song, coming from us. Maybe not the most obvious choice for a first single but I understand how they were thinking. Personally I consider ”IJH” to be a ”Marie-song”. Her vocals are the driving force behind it, not mine.

RXB: – ”Some Other Summer” might have a bigger potential. Do you expect it or any another song to be a bigger hit worldwide and that radios realize these tracks are worth to be on air?
PG: – No, I don’t expect anything. ”SOS” is a great pop song in my book, so are ”Good Karma” and ”Why Dontcha?” and a few others. But that doesn’t mean that I expect it to become a worldwide hit. It doesn’t work like that anymore. New balls, dear you.

RXB: – Talking about it, you gave ”Some Other Summer” to Sebastien Drums long before your original version was out. What was the idea behind someone else releasing your song before you do?
PG: – We had a mutual friend in the German music biz who asked us if we had a Rox-song Sebastien could use. And we had just finished ”SOS” so he got that one. I like the idea of doing unexpected things. Sometimes strange and wonderful things happen that way. But I never really understood Seb’s official version. There are a couple of other SOS-remixes he did that I prefer. But that’s me.

RXB: – The video to ”It Just Happens” turned out to be wonderful. We loved seeing you both enjoyed the shooting and Marie still loves acting. How was it working together with a new team?
PG: – It was cool. They all did a great job. We spent a day in an old building in the centre of Stockholm trying out the take away sushi and fooling around in front of the cameras. The rest of the shooting didn’t involve us at all but we certainly liked the result. It’s a beautiful little story that director Tobias Nordquist captured very well visually.

RXB: – We got used to the fact that MTV is mostly not about music and videos anymore and the clips are rather watched on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. What do you think is the purpose of a video clip nowadays?
PG: – I think most things you do promowise are made to remind the media and your fans that you’re still alive! If you release new music and don’t do anything, no interviews, no videos or no TV-appearances it’s really hard to cut through that enormous amount of information that surrounds us all. A video might pop up at an airport, department store or getting shared on smartphones. It’s all part of that big puzzle called the entertainment industry.

RXB: – We got very excited when in an earlier interview you mentioned you wrote some songs together with MP now for the first time since long. ”You Can’t Do This to Me Anymore” is now on the album and it’s certainly very different to what we are used to when you 2 put your talents together. Are there any other songs from this set of latest MP cooperations that might see the light of day?
PG: – I don’t know. We’ve written more songs together over the last couple of years but there are no plans of using them for the moment. Time will tell what’s gonna happen to them. MP sometimes got some wonderful and weird musical ideas and I try to glue them together with my humble ambitions. It’s fun. He’s very special. He still drives a very fast Suzuki-bike.

RXB: – You wrote 3 songs together with Addeboy vs. Cliff and they are co-producers on 3 other songs. How did it feel to work with others? You were never really into bringing new people in.
PG: – Well, I’ve changed. I had bumped into AvsC through other projects so I knew their style and what they were capable of. I basically asked them to send me some musical ideas, like sounds and grooves, bass lines and chord progressions, to see if I could make something out of it. And I could. I kept a lot of stuff they made, edited a few things out, added some new parts and wrote melody lines and lyrics. However, none of the songs we wrote together were specifically made for Roxette. They were just collaborations trying things out.
AvsC and me never worked together in the studio. It was all done via the internet. I loved the final result but actually never expected Marie to like it since it was pretty far out. Not quite ”classic” Roxette if you know what I mean. But she really loved some of the songs and so did Chris and Clarence. Off we went and put them on a rocket to Planet Roxette!
The ”Good Karma” track was co-written with AvsC but Chris wanted us to produce it ourselves so he could play some serious power chords in the intro. His guilty pleasure, I guess…. And Clarence added that ”Fading Like A Flower”-inspired keyboard intro. Very nice. Very catchy. Cheers.

RXB: – What’s the difference in the cooperation with Addeboy vs. Cliff between ”The Look” remake in 2015 when they got the basics and had to do something with it and when it was vice versa for ”Good Karma” songs and you asked them to give you baselines?
PG: – Well, the main difference is of course that the songs we wrote together started with them, not me. ”The Look” is my song which they ”interpreted” their own way. We did the same thing with ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”, which was written by MP and me, but the backing track was created by AvsC. And they’ve just finished a fab uptempo version of ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?”. Same thing. A song of mine done in Addeboy vs Cliff-style. It will hopefully be released later this year.

RXB: – The world is changing. You record parts in one studio, others in another and you don’t even have to meet physically to put things together. Isn’t it strange for you to record this way? Don’t you miss the ”personal meeting” touch in each phase?
PG: – It depends on what kind of recording it is. The more technical it gets the less you need lots of people around. It’s always, more or less, only one person who’s doing the job anyway. In Roxette’s case it’s Chris since he’s in charge of the computer and the digital funfair. My (and Clarence’s) job is to guide him through the audio jungle with our taste and our musical suggestions.
Chris has become an amazing tech wizard. Without him and his vast palette of sounds the Good Karma project wouldn’t have sounded as interesting. And he’s become a brilliant mixing engineer as well. He mixes a song, sends me his vision, I change or suggest a few things and might add or take away something, he sends me back an updated version. And we go on and on like that for a few days and nights. When we’re done we send it to Marie and Clarence for their approval. That’s how the Good Karma-album was mixed.
When you make a record like ”Travelling” or anything with Gyllene Tider it’s a different ballgame. Then it’s all about instant communication and ”playing” together. I like both ways. I would love to make a new Mazarin-style album one day but I also know that if I want a really hardcore updated production sound it can’t really be done in that ”organic” way. You have to do everything on the computer. It’s no big deal. I’m glad I enjoy both ways. And have the opportunity to choose.

RXB: – Besides the standard vinyl, there is a limited edition, beautiful, orange coloured LP as well. How many copies of the limited edition vinyls are released?
PG: – I wish I knew but I don’t. A couple of thousand is my guess. It might be less. Or more.

RXB: – There is a poster to this edition and it’s the album cover. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to include a poster on which you and Marie appear instead of the butterfly?
PG: – No, if we thought so we would have done it. We like the butterfly.

RXB: – On the vinyl there is a ghost track after ”April Clouds”. We tried to figure out what it is. Any hints?
PG: – No. Another internal joke.

RXB: – It’s the first time you and Marie don’t appear in any form on the front cover of a studio album. Why?
PG: – We wanted this project to have a symbol that we could use on lots of things. The album sleeve, the tiny stamp-sized pic used on iTunes and Spotify and Amazon etc. On merchandise and upcoming singles. The butterfly-image is beautiful and stands out and can be used in so many varieties. And it fits the music and the title.

RXB: – Now we understand the butterfly artwork, its X shape and the evolution it symbolizes. What is still not clear is the guitar and microphone appearing at a certain body part of poor butterflies. What’s that intended to be?
PG: – It’s up to you to decide.

RXB: – Then there is no instrument on the ”Some Other Summer” cover. Is that a coincidence or maybe you rethought it after reading some comments?
PG: – No. I haven’t even noticed that. Thanks.

RXB: – Warner seem to be enthusiastic about doing promo for Roxette and we are very happy to see all their efforts. How do you see your cooperation with them vs. EMI?
PG: – It’s a totally different market today so it’s really impossible to compare. Warner worldwide is very committed to Roxette and the Good Karma-project. We’re very happy.

RXB: – You say that you would never be able to write e.g. ”Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because you moved on as a songwriter. At the same time, each song on ”Good Karma” has your stamp on them. All the lyrics are Gessleish as usual and the songs have the classic Roxette sound. So it seems your songwriting basics stay the same, but something is changing. How do you see it?
PG: – Yes, it’s like that. I change a lot but I still stay the same. It’s good and bad. I have my trademarks and style which make my songs sound like me. It’s hard to close that door and I’m not sure I want to. The older I get the more I treasure my personality and my way of thinking. My creative challenge is to find new ways to express myself via new sounds and techniques and collaborators and partners. That’s what I’m trying to do.

RXB: – What was the most challenging in improving your own sound for ”Good Karma” and update your style of writing?
PG: – I don’t know. The idea behind the album, to make a quite complex production that’s not intended to be played live, was there from the beginning. I started to write songs with that in mind. And, like I’ve mentioned earlier, working with new collaborators became part of that task.

RXB: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”Good Karma”? Which song do you think someone who doesn’t listen too much to Roxette would definitely listen to by seeing its title?
PG: –”You Make It Sound So Simple” is my favourite title. It makes me curious.

RXB: – There are 2 ”Why don’t you…?” titles on the album. Even if they are different, with one being rather slangy, isn’t it strange to include 2 similar titles on the same album?
PG: – No.

RXB: – You say you are very satisfied with ”Why Dontcha?”, because even if it seems to be so simple, it’s very hard to write such a song. How do you know that a good song was written? Can you feel it from the very beginning once it was written that everyone in the gang will like it?
PG: – Yes, I feel it as go along writing it. If it doesn’t interest me enough I don’t finish it. I throw it on the fire. But that someone else will like it is a different matter. I never know.
I might finish my song, make a simple demo out of it. Then maybe I re-write it and make another demo before I play it to anyone. Every song has gone a long way before it’s presented to the people I work with.

RXB: – Are you impressed by any song on ”Good Karma” to the same extent as any of your biggest hits throughout the years?
PG: – All of them. This album was made at a certain point in our lives and we’ve done the best we could under the circumstances. I’m not the one to compare our new stuff to the old stuff. Every song and recording has its own history and destiny.

RXB: – Knowing the album was planned to be released earlier than this year, have the lyrics of ”This One” ever contained 2015? (”Oh gimme a coin and I will kick off a dream / In 2016”)
PG: – Yes. There are versions with ”2015” somewhere.

RXB: – The music of ”April Clouds” and ”Wish You The Best” is different and you also mentioned that ”Why Don’t You Bring Me Flowers?” was originally an uptempo song. How does the melody to the same song change in your head?
PG: – I don’t know. I just follow what feels right. If you have a lyric like ”April Clouds”, which mostly were written a long time ago and you make new music to it, the end result will be quite different due to the fact that you’re a different person twenty years later. You interpret the words and the meaning and the vibe differently because you’re older and time has gone by.
Making ballads out of uptempo songs are quite easy. As long as the lyrics are interesting and the melodies are strong you can basically do whatever you want with a song.

RXB: – We know it’s very early since ”Good Karma” is out, but is there anything you would change on the album now?
PG: – I would love to have another go mixing ”You Can’t Do This To Me Anymore”. It’s OK but I know it can be even stronger.

RXB: – Roxette’s live career is (most likely) over for now. There are so many concerts that are lying in the vaults and waiting for a proper release. You mentioned a potential box with all these. Can you please tell us a bit more about what concerts it would include? We hope for Norrköping 88, Borgholm 89, Zurich and Sydney 91, Unplugged 93, Johannesburg 95 and Stockholm 2001 – having them in a bit better quality wouldn’t harm!
PG: – No, I can’t because I don’t know. But you’re right, the first things that should be made available are all those old live VHS-tapes and DVDs that’s not around anymore. The ones you mentioned.

RXB: – Roxette Diaries stopped in ’95. But there is 21 years more of Roxette stories to tell. Any plan to mix ”Soooo-Christoffer” clips and HAND / Room Service footage into one motion picture any time soon?
PG: – No, not for the moment. But I’m sure things will pop up down the road.

RXB: – Because of the tour cancellation, reporters of course asked you about Marie’s health and then many times overdramatized the situation with stupid headlines. It felt like history repeated itself, but you handled it quite well. How is it going with those interviews when you expect they would rather ask about the new album? Can you change the direction of the interview and skip answering questions not related to the album?
PG: – Yes I can if I want to. But most reporters are interested in Marie’s health and our future plans together. I can understand that. It’s not a problem for me. I know how media works.

RXB: – Was the tour photo book originally planned to be published this June already before the tour cancellation? Or if no cancellation, would you have waited until after the tour ending in September?
PG: – The plan was always to have it ready for the summer of 2016.

RXB: – Anders told there were several tens of thousands of photos and he had a hard time choosing only a certain amount to send you to choose from them. How did it work for you?
PG: – I went through hundreds of pics and put a little red dot in front of those I found interesting. I think Marie did the same.

RXB: – Will there be any tour book signing sessions?
PG: – No signing sessions, no.

RXB: – Roxette is celebrating the 30th anniversary this year. We got a new album, we’ll get the tour book. Any vinyl releases of previous studio albums by chance?
PG: – No plans but we might put together something for Record Store Day next year. 31 years is worth celebrating too!

RXB: – You wrote books, you did radio programs, you appeared countless times on TV. Do you fancy some new technological tricks besides Facebook and Twitter? As a part of your artistic exposure in e.g. YouTube videos?
PG: – Sometimes I do. I like new things.

RXB: – Besides music, your wine world is another part the fans are curious about. Are there any plans for some new items in The Per Gessle Selection in the near future?
PG: – Well, the new ”Kurt & Lisa” vintage will be out later this year. The new vintage of ”The Improver”-champagne from Pierre Peters will come early 2017. We’re talking about making a nice Pinot Grigio and also a new red wine from South Africa. Time will tell.

RXB: – Is there any question you would ask from your hardcore fan base now, either related to the new album or anything else?
PG: – Not really. You guys seem to cover most of my universe!

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and good luck with all the new releases and your future projects!
PG: – Thanks very much. More to come, I promise!

 

/Patrícia, Tomasz, Kirsten, Judith, Sascha

12 Peaks of Roxette

It’s now 3 weeks without Per Gessle’s Swedish radio podcast series and we thought you might miss some more ear candy while non-stop listening to Good Karma. You surely remember Per and Sven Lindström have a program on Nordic Rox called 12 Peaks. The essence of it is Per Gessle choosing 12 songs according to the actual topic and he and Sven are discussing them. Earlier we shared some of these programs and now it’s time to share another episode. The one about Mr. G’s 12 favourite Roxette songs. You can download the sound file (in 3 parts) from HERE (available until 26th July). Thanks a lot to Sven for sharing it with us!

12peaksofroxetteAt the beginning of the show Sven mentions Roxette were playing in Halmstad yesterday, which means they recorded this part of 12 Peaks on 23rd July 2015. They shortly talk about the XXX tour which started in 2014 and was to end in 2016 which is the real 30th anniversary year. They also talk about the comeback in 2009 and that since then they had been touring. Per says their shows are rather greatest hits concerts and they are fortunate to have a big hit catalogue with so many songs that people love all over the world. Mr. G says they have so many beautiful fans out there.

Getting down to business, the guys start talking about Per’s 12 favourite Roxette songs. Of course, it was very hard to pick 12 hits, having released approximately 60 singles over the years.

I’ve picked songs that I really like and songs that I think are easy-going for people to recognize as a typical Roxette song.

Mr. G’s 12 fave Rox songs:

  1. Opportunity Nox
  2. A Thing About You
  3. Sleeping Single
  4. It Must Have Been Love
  5. How Do You Do!
  6. What’s She Like?
  7. Wish I Could Fly
  8. Joyride
  9. Breathe
  10. Listen To Your Heart
  11. (Do You Get) Excited?
  12. The Look

The first choice is one of Roxette’s best power pop songs according to Per. Opportunity Nox. Mr. G says they couldn’t make a video for this, because of Marie’s illness and that’s why they did the cartoon thing. Per says ON is the kind of music he raised on, bubblegum meets T. Rex. Opp Nox is one of Sven’s favourites as well. He thinks it’s power pop at its best.

The next song is A Thing About You. Per and Sven talk a bit more about The Ballad Hits and The Pop Hits and Per says when they planned to do those 2 compilation albums, he wrote a lot of songs in those 2 categories. ATAY is the first song on The Ballad Hits and the video for that song was the last they recorded before Marie got ill. Mr. G says it was the end of Roxette Chapter 1. Per thinks it’s one his best songs. The whole recording is based on Per’s demo, the guitars, the vocals and they just added things to it. It has a sort of mesmerizing melody, which is hard to write for Per, but when it happens, he is very happy.

They get back to 1988 with the 3rd song on the list, Sleeping Single off the Look Sharp! album. It was one of the first songs they recorded for that album. They were just goofin’ around in the studio and tried to create what eventually became the Roxette sound. He always loved this track, because the production is so sparse and it really shows what a great singer Marie is. For Per it sums up that whole era of his life. It was the times when he started feeling everything was getting together for Roxette. They started the programming thing. They kept the guitars and the keyboards, but most of the rythm sections were made by drum loops and drum machines. It opened up a new dimension for them. They didn’t release Sleeping Single as a single, because they didn’t need one more single off Look Sharp! and they were touring and travelling a lot and wanted to record a new album, so Per was writing songs constantly for Joyride.

They got really lucky when they were asked to write a song for a movie. We all know he didn’t have the time to write a new song for that project, so he gave them It Must Have Been Love with slightly changed lyrics. Per says it was a perfect bridge for them between the Look Sharp! album and Joyride. It’s probably their biggest song still today. They didn’t go to see the premiere of Pretty Woman, but they had a screening in Burbank, CA. An earthquake was happening at the same time and the whole cinema was grooving a bit. For the first watching Per thought the movie was kind of soft. It didn’t blew his mind at all, but when he realized the potential of the film he saw it in different lights.

Talking about the XXX tour again, Sven asks Per if they get excited by playing these songs night after night. Per says they’ve been lucky to have these fantastic crowds everywhere and the positive energy and love and affection they get from the crowds every night is amazing. So they don’t consider it like ”Oh no, not another version of Listen To Your Heart!” It’s a blessing to have those songs. Mr. G says it’s hard to describe how much fun they have by playing these hits.

How Do You Do! became a huge hit in Europe (in Germany it was No. 1 for 12 weeks or so) and a big one in South America as well. It’s always a crowd pleaser. HDYD was recorded meanwhile touring with the Joyride album. The band hated Per for doing the album Tourism, because on all their days off he dragged them into the studio to record. Haha.

The next song on the list is off the album Crash! Boom! Bang!, which was recorded (most of it) in Capri, Italy. What’s She Like? is one of Roxette’s finest songs with Marie’s vocals. Per thinks it’s an outstanding track in their catalogue. He likes the melody, but he especially likes the way Marie is singing it. It’s just amazing. When they recorded Crash! Boom! Bang!, they already had the Roxette sound, the production in their heads, so they just had to get down to the songs. The album was about putting all the things together what they learned over the last 5-6 years. Marie is a great R&B and pop singer, but she is definitely one of the best ever ballad singers. Per says Marie is one of those persons who can sing the telephone book and it just sounds amazing, you believe her. It could be a B side: ”Marie Fredriksson sings the telephone book”.

After the CBB tour Roxette took a break for a couple of years, Marie had her second child and Per got together with Gyllene Tider. Then in 1998 they reunited to record Have A Nice Day. The first single off the album was Wish I Could Fly. It was recorded in Marbella, Spain. When Per wrote the song it was an experiment for him, because he never really worked with drum loops in the sense that he did in the studio. It was a side step from the classic Roxette sound. Mr. G says, when time goes by, you get a little tired of your style, so sometimes you need to drag in new people to get new blood in the system. When he listens to the album today, he thinks it sounds like a natural progression from CBB. The sound of pop music had changed and they started working with a new engineer, Michael Ilbert.

Sven and Per talk about The Look. Mr. G tells the story of how surprised he was that this song became their breakthrough hit. Their plan was Per being the songwriter and Marie the singer, but Marie had never found PG’s bubblegumish, power pop segment of songwriting too attractive, so all these songs fitted Per much better than Marie.

Regarding Joyride the guys talk about a radio convention in the US where Roxette went to present the new album. There was the Kuwait crisis back in those days and the single was held back for 6-8 weeks. After the radio convention , radio programmers came to Marie and Per to congratulate on their next No. 1, because they thought it was going to be a monster hit. And it did became their 4th No. 1. Sven and Mr. G talk about the title that it came from Paul McCartney when he said songwriting with John Lennon was a long joyride. They also mention the line ”Hello you fool I love you” which came from Åsa, leaving this note on Per’s piano in Swedish. Sven jokes Per should give a slice of the royalty to Åsa.

The next song is Breathe, which Per wrote for The Ballad Hits. It’s one of his favourite songs. Sven thinks it’s an easily overlooked song, but listening to it now it sounds really fresh. He jokes saying to Per to stop pointing that gun at him. Haha.

Listen To Your Heart comes next, their 2nd US No. 1. For Per the song sounds really American, the style of the music and the production. When they recorded it, they were just a Swedish band without an international career and they never thought it would become a No. 1, however, they strived for US success when they decided to do something really American in the studio in Stockholm. When they started recording Look Sharp!, Per made T-shirts: ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world”. Back then it was just a silly joke. He asks Sven if he still has the tee. Together with IMHBL, LTYH is one of Roxette’s biggest songs. It got more than 5 million air plays on the radio in the US, same as IMHBL. Per says it’s amazing, Sven says it’s mindblowing and it helps to pay the rent.

Mr. G and Mr. L talk about the live performances again and Per explains in the past they tried to reproduce the albums live on stage, but nowadays it’s 100% live, without click tracks and all. Roxette live is a much more guitar-driven band, a much more rockier band than they are on the records. It’s much more fun for them to play like this and it’s much more organic.

(Do You Get) Excited? from the Joyride album is Per’s next choice. It’s a fantastic production by Clarence and it has great vocals by Marie. It was supposed to be a single in early 1992, but it never was. However, they did a beautiful video to it. There was a fusion going on between EMI and SBK Records at those times and the song just disappeared. They released Church Of Your Heart instead.

Per closes his 12 Peaks list with The Look. It’s still a big song for them and they just finished a remake of it (in 2015) with Addeboy vs. Cliff. It’s not that they ran out of new material, but they had the opportunity to be part of a commercial thing with a Swedish clothing company, KappAhl and they wanted to use The Look as the theme of their campaign. Per just felt if they do it, they should do a new version of it, so it sounds fresh and it doesn’t sound like 1989. But he realized he can’t do it himself, because he is still stuck in the old mode, so they needed fresh blood into the system. He gave the song to Addeboy vs. Cliff to think about it as a demo and do whatever they want. Then the guys came up with a backing track which Per thought was interesting. Marie, Per and their normal production team took the backing track, put guitars and keyboards on and vocals as well. So it sounds like The Look, but fresh. Sven says he sees Per keeps an eye on the new songwriting scene, keeping track of what’s happening. Per says he is really interested in what’s going on and in the record company where he is a co-owner they get a lot of music coming in. There is so much talent out there. Sven asks how it works when a songwriter who is doing it since 40 years teams up with a young talent to write songs together. Per replies it’s just fun to do that and he often gets comments like ”that’s so typical your style” when they start working together. In young songwriters Mr. G can hear that they are sort of developing their own style, but it takes time. You need to write a lot of songs, you need to find your taste, you have to follow your gut feeling all the time, you have to develop your own style in a natural way. Regarding The Look Per tells the story of how he wrote the song on the Ensoniq ESQ-1 synthesizer. He thinks when you buy a new instrument, you should write a song on it, because that’s the best way to learn how to play it. This is how The Look was born, while he was learning how to program the synth. He still has the synthesizer, by the way.

RoXXXette On The Road – review

We knew it since the beginning of 2015 that a tour photo book project was going on in the RoXXX World and in May this year we got even more eXXXcited, when it turned out the release date is as soon as June. 16th June 2016.

SPOILER ALERT!

The book is already out and what an amazing photo book it is! A real celebration of our beloved band’s 30th anniversary! The book already looks wonderful on the outside. The size, the cover picture showing Marie and Per performing in front of a beautiful crowd on the steps at the Sydney Opera House in February 2015, the design of how the title is written with the 3 Xs with stars inside them and the name of the authors how it appears and tells you what the book is all about. It’s about a tremendous amount of fantastic photos taken by a most talented photographer, Anders Roos and it’s about the reflections of a most talented songwriter, Per Gessle and they 2 together show you how it really is to be on the road, to be on the 30th anniversary tour, the XXX tour of a most awesome band, Roxette.

RoXXXette On The RoadYou open the book and the first wow on the inside comes by seeing a series of bird view shots of the stage from the very beginning of building it up through the concert till the very end of tearing it down after the show. It’s just fabulous!

After the impressum and Anders’ nice words you see the list of people, teams and companies involved in the touring life of Roxette and then the contents show you which concerts were photographed and the titles of Per’s reflections. Then you bump into Mr. G’s preface, written in May 2016 to make it clear that the reflections were written before they gave up touring. When you read Per’s words ”they [the reflections] were created when Roxette was still a touring band”, you can’t help feeling the same way you felt on 18th April when you got to know they had to stop touring. Tears in the eyes and you hear in PG’s words how hard it is also for him. But we all respect Marie’s decision of course and she has full support of all in the band and among the fans as well. No question about it.

Knowing Per’s sense of humour you can be sure that there won’t be too many tears on further pages of the book, but with his #1 reflection he still won’t let your tears dry up. You’ll experience it when you hold the book in your hands and read it.

The book continues with the list of gigs on the XXX tour. All shows from the tour start in October 2014 in Russia until the last Roxette show ever, 8th February 2016, Cape Town, South Africa. Suddenly, the cancelled show in Mainz, Germany is not on the list anymore, no matter how many T-shirts were produced, haha, but the corporate gig in September 2015, Warsaw, Poland is there. Strange to include it.

The first photos are from the band’s rehearsal in January 2015, before the New Zealand – Australia tour leg started and the last shots are from July 2015, Sweden, from the last Swedish show in Rättvik. It’s no exaggeration that you really get an all access pass with this book. You see places you have never seen before and become part of moments you would have never dreamed about being part of. Anders got access literally to everywhere. To the backstage, dressing rooms, gyms, buses, airports, hotels, ceilings, front rows, pool sides, stages, e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.! Being the fantastic photographer he is, he managed to capture the essence of Roxette very well with his camera. Anders has great eyes to see the band how we, Roxers see them. His shots show Marie and Per and the whole gang how they are. The photos truly reflect the down-to-earth band we love. All pictures show you the groovy mood related to the shows, but also the tiredness of travelling and waiting in between. The pictures are so dynamic that you would love to sing-along to Marie’s, Dea’s and Christoffer’s get together backstage and you would start dancing seeing the band on stage, playing 100% live, or you would even join the crew in building up the stage before the concerts. It’s absolutely awesome!

Besides all the above mentioned, you have some more tiny details in the photos, like Marie does have socks and even Pelle runs around barefoot. Haha. You see pics from different camera angles, close-ups and distance shots, tons of photos of Marie and Per (yeah, you get some bad hair day pics, too 😉 ), the band, the crew, the fans, venues, stages, studios, hotels and other strange places. Laundry, anyone? You flick through the book and over one page you start laughing, over another one you start aaaahing and then comes the aaaawing. Incredible!

What about the reflections? Per wrote 41 of them and each and every one of them is just adorable. You read a lot about him over the years and heard him talking about his thoughts in uncountable interviews. You would think he can’t tell anything new. Oh, yes he can! There are still some hidden thoughts and some of them are being shared in this beautiful book. As I mentioned before, he makes you ”cry” at the very beginning of the book, but then his sense of humour really shows up, as we got used to it. I won’t quote more from him, because I do think you should get the book and read all his reflections yourself to get to know more about his childhood and teenage years, how he step by step became who he is now, his paving the way to Planet Pop, his make-up, guitar and plectrum fetish, as well as what he wants to be in his next life. Haha. You will even get to know what Per’s biggest regret is. I tell you, this guy is hilarious! Besides all this, of course you get to know more about Roxette’s touring life, how the band works and worked before, Marie’s virtues at the studio and live and no, you can’t have any longer texts from Per without lyrics references. We like that!

How Per talks about Marie, the band, BoJo, the crew and the fans is always so heart-warming. I actually burst out laughing at his Roxette band bucket list and how he describes BoJo’s tasks. You’ll find some great words about everyone and you feel how much he appreciates the people around him. Let me quote him about the fans:

We’re used to having ”The Roxers” close to the stage all the time. I guess we’re spoiled by our adorable fans. … Roxette has got some of the most active, kind and generous fans imaginable. So many people all around the world have followed us through thick and thin over the years and it’s impossible to exaggerate the value of their love and support. What would we do without you? Let’s take a bow.

You must love him!

The book’s 41st reflection is a conclusion. Per makes it sound so simple. To get to know what he makes sound so simple, you have to get the book for yourself. But not only because of that. It’s really a must have book in a Roxer’s collection. You will all love each and every photo in it and all the reflections as well. If you attended any of the concerts Anders took photos at, you will probably find yourself in the book. Either in the crowd in front of Marie and Per or on a separate picture. The book makes you feel we are indeed a big Rox family. Marie, Per, their families, the band, the crew and we, Roxers. And we all love being part of this family, don’t we?

In case you want to have the standard book, get your copy at one of these sites: Ginza, Adlibris, Bokus, Amazon. There might be more selling points in the future. If you are interested in the limited edition book (300 copies), wait for some more info about where to get it. So far Bokus listed it.

ROTR_1  ROTR_2

All pics by Anders Roos.

 

Roxers’ favourite Good Karma tracks

You might remember Per’s Sunday reflection post. He asked which your favourite song is on Roxette’s brand new album, Good Karma.

SUNDAY REFLECTION. Howdy folks. So, the mighty Good Karma’s been out a week by now. Great reception. Thanks. One thing: what’s your favourite song? Just one, pls. Otherwise I’ll get confused! Cheers, P.

It was really hard for all of us to pick only one track, because all songs on the album are dear to most of us and our favourites are changing day by day or even hour by hour. Checking the comments under the post, some are having an album with exclusive extra tracks, like Joyride, The Look, Vulnerable and So Far Away, haha. Sticking to the real Good Karma songs, the title track seems to be the absolute winner. How about a third single soon? 😉

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