RoxBlog interview with Per Gessle – “If you like the songs and you are open-minded a little bit, give it a chance.”

It’s more than a month ago that the news regarding the Roxette In Concert 2025 tour came out and there are several parallel projects going on in Per Gessle’s world, so I asked him if we could talk about all what’s happening around him right now. We talked about Gyllene Tider – the live album and the movie –, Per’s upcoming duet album, “Joyride – The Musical” and of course, the Roxette tour that starts in South Africa next year.

It has become marathon-long, but I’ve created sections, so that you can read it in parts, if you think it’s too much Per at once. I think it can never be too much Per, though. Haha. Enjoy!

I met Per via Zoom on Friday, 7th June. He was in Halmstad, I was in Budapest.

Per Gessle: – Hello!

Patrícia Peres: – Hello!

PG: – How are you?

PP: – I’m good, thanks. I’m impressed you are on time! Haha.

PG: – It’s a first! I don’t know how it feels, but it feels okay.

PP: – How are you doing?

PG: – I’m OK. It’s a busy schedule from this week and upcoming weeks as well, so I’m trying to cope.

PP: – You’re always so busy.

PG: – It’s too much now. This year is crazy, because the musical and the movie came at the same time, which wasn’t supposed to be like that at all.

PP: – Yeah, everything at the same time. Are you in Halmstad now?

PG: – Yeah, it’s nice here, but the wind is pretty cold. I was trying to take a short walk before, but I was freezing. It’s 11 degrees.

PP: – Oh, it’s 29 here. Haha.

PG: – Oh my God! So you need air conditioning.


PP: – Thank you for releasing Gyllene Tider live! It will be amazing to relive last summer!

PG: – We did a film as well, but it was just cameras on stage, so there is no footage of the crowds, which makes it sort of boring to watch after like five songs or so.

PP: – Ah, I wanted to ask if there is some kind of material for a DVD, because I remember Anders Roos was using cameras all over the place.

PG: – Yeah, we have the whole Ullevi show on footage, but I don’t know. Maybe we can use one or two songs in the future. We’ll see.

PP: – I’m happy to watch the whole thing. No matter how boring it seems to you. Haha.

PG: – I think it’s nice to have this album coming out. There is no point in releasing live albums, but now that the movie is coming out, you are getting a lot of media attention anyway. I think it’s a good album. MP did a great job mixing.

PP: – I already thought that it would be out last year, around Christmas, when you released the demos of “Good Karma”.

PG: – I don’t know why we waited. It was probably because of the movie. I can’t remember. We didn’t have any proper pictures, so we just made this old fashioned sleeve. We couldn’t find any good pictures in Anders Roos’ archives. There were pictures of me, pictures of MP, pictures of Göran, but there wasn’t a great band live thing, and so we thought we’d do it like this instead.

PP: – This will be out on 21st June and then the exhibition opens on 25th June.

PG: – Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

PP: – What will we see there? Except for your handprints.

PG: – They borrowed my old red guitar, and I think they’re going to recreate Michael’s childhood room he had when he was a kid, because he left it intact in his parents’ house still. Of course, he did, haha. I’m not really involved. I gave them some original lyrics, so they’re probably going to print them on bigger sizes.

PP: – That’s cool. I will check it out. Then the movie premieres in July.

PG: – Yeah, I’m going to see the movie again not this Monday, but next Monday. On 17th or whatever it is.

PP: – The final cut?

PG: – Hopefully, it will be the final cut, yeah. Last time I saw it, they didn’t have the end credits. It ends with Gyllene Tider playing Ullevi, sort of a short film thing, and it wasn’t there when I saw it. There were some additional things that had to be put in, like sound effects and stuff.

PP: – How many times did you watch it already?

PG: – Four times.

PP: – And do you still like it?

PG: – Yeah, I think it’s a great movie. I think it’s just what I hoped it should be. I didn’t want it to be like a big homage to a very long career. It’s basically a story about me, and growing up, and then getting together with MP and forming a band, and then the success happens. It’s really moving in parts and it’s really funny in parts. And the guys who play the band are wonderful. You really love them. And I think that’s the main thing, you get a great connection with those kids.

PP: – I started following them on social media, and it seems that they get along very well, and it feels like they became real friends.

PG: – Yeah, and it’s a good script. Of course, there are lots of liberties taken and not that many things are exactly the way it was. But nevertheless, it’s entertaining, and I think people are going to like it. I hope so. And I like the idea that it ends in 1982. So it doesn’t go on, and on, and on, and then gold records and bla bla bla… It’s not about that, really. It’s about five kids getting together and forming a band, which is a great thing even today.

PP: – You do a cameo in the film.

PG: – Yeah, I’m standing with a drink at Café Opera. Gabriel, my son is there as well. He is walking across the camera with a hat on. He looks really wonderful.

PP: – And the other guys in the band are there too?

PG: – Anders is in there, and hm…, I haven’t seen Michael, but he’s probably in there. I’m sure he is at several spots. Haha.

PP: – You yourself watch a lot of movies. How does it feel that you are the main character in a movie?

PG: – It feels OK. I thought it was going to be different. I thought it was going to be more emotional, but maybe it’s because I personally don’t recognize my parents, because they don’t look like my parents and I don’t recognize the house, because that wasn’t like the house I was raised in. Everything looks different, so I have to remind myself all the time while watching the movie that it’s about me. So at the end of the day, I’m not that affected by it. But Åsa got moved by it and Göran, the first time he saw it, it was just a week ago and he was sobbing.

PP: – He was already very moved during the shootings.

PG: – So people get affected by it. They have some test previews for different audiences, some tests that they do with movies, and they are getting really good reactions from people.

PP: – That sounds promising.

PG: – Normally, you only get the chance to be part of a movie like this when you’re dead.

PP: – Fortunately, that’s not the case.

PG: – You never know. There is always a risk when you do something like this, that it’s going to be terrible, and then you’re going to have to live with that for the rest of your life. But that’s always the risk. It’s the same with the musical or going on tour or doing this thing with Lena. There’s always a risk that it might screw up something.

PP: – Will there be a soundtrack to the movie?

PG: – There is a soundtrack, but I don’t know if it’s going to be released. I know that we talked about it, but I’m not part of it. It’s another company.

PP: – But you said that Valdemar was singing on it and the Roxette band was playing. So it’s not the other guys playing.

PG: – No, they can’t play.

PP: – But I think some of them can. I mean, Lancelot is playing the guitar, isn’t he?

PG: – Yeah, but in the movie, it’s Clarence, Christoffer, Norpan, the drummer, and Magnus Börjeson who is the bass guy, they tried to replicate the Gyllene Tider arrangements, note by note. It’s really hard to do, and it sounds really silly sometimes, but they did their best. And Valdemar is singing along with that. It doesn’t sound like Gyllene Tider, but it almost sounds like Gyllene Tider. You have to be pretty skilled to do that. It’s always funny to hear these guys playing Gyllene Tider tracks. Sometimes I do corporate gigs and we play “Gå & fiska!”, “Juni, juli, augusti”, “Det hjärta som brinner” with this band. It always sounds so funny, because they can’t play like Gyllene Tider can.

PP: – Yeah, of course.

PG: – It doesn’t work. It has to be done in a certain way. And nobody can play drums like Michael does.

PP: – It’s so funny that you call him Michael. Haha.

PG: – Yeah, Michael South.

PP: – Did you record anything together, the five of you and the guys in the movie?

PG: – No.

PP: – Not even “Sommartider”?

PG: – No. Everything was done at Christoffer’s studio. But I wasn’t there at all, I just listened. One of the first things we talked about like a year ago is that – since the movie ends in 1982 – there are so many songs that became big for Gyllene Tider, like “Gå & fiska!”, “Kung av sand”, “Juni, juli, augusti”, “Det är över nu”. How do you get those songs into the movie when they are born too late, so to speak? So what we did was to use those songs as underscores. There are instrumental versions in the movie of “Tuffa tider”, for instance, or “Juni, juli, augusti”, which is really beautiful. And that is the magic of Clarence and Christoffer. They’ve been doing that and then they went straight into doing the musical.

PP: – Sounds exciting. You said in an interview that you hope the movie will make kids start a band. Does it still happen these days that kids start a band?

PG: – No, but I thought maybe we can be the catalyst, the little spark that makes things happen. I just think that when you watch the movie, you feel the power of music and the music connecting people together and starting a band and creating this puzzle, which is amazing to be part of. We are all doing our own little thing in the band and we put it together. We play the same song at the same time. Haha. It’s a great feeling and it’s just something that I wish more young people would experience. It’s so different today when everyone is sitting on their smartphones or laptops and communicating like this, instead of communicating for real. Maybe it’s old school thinking.

PP: – Well, that would be great if this would start something, of course.

PG: – It’s the same with sports. If you play in a soccer team or a hockey team or whatever, you connect and you have your role to play within the team. It’s exactly the same thing. I just think it’s great when it comes to music, because music is so creative. It’s just amazing to create things together and find your own little spots. You feel like this is the right thing for me. When I started out, if those people wouldn’t have been right for me, I would never have had the success of becoming a writer, because you need the support and you need the collaboration all the time. Same with Roxette and everything I’ve done.

PP: – Do you plan any gigs this summer?

PG: – I have a couple of corporate gigs later on during the year, but I’ll wait until South Africa.


PP: – Getting down to the duet album…, by the way, I bet you are already working on a new album in the meantime.

PG: – Yeah, actually, I am. Haha. I’m working on a very… How should I put it? Special project. It’s really fun. I’m halfway through it, but I don’t know when it’s going to come out. I’ve really longed to go to the studio and do an old-fashioned record. Some recordings with just a band and being creative. It’s been over a year ago since I finished “Sällskapssjuk”. A year is a long time.

PP: – Last year, when we did the Per Gessle 40 interview in March, you said that the album was almost done, but you wouldn’t release it until in a year. We are used to it by now, because you’re always working like this, but how does it feel to keep something in the can for so long?

PG: – It’s terrible. I don’t like it at all. I want to record it and I want to release it the next day. I hate this thing that it lies around for a year. What happens is that you change your mind so much. Suddenly you get fed up with a song and you take it away. Actually, I recorded one new track this winter. It suddenly is on the album and that wasn’t supposed to be. I just felt like it’s a good song. So that’s what happens. You record new stuff and you put it on the album and then you have to remove stuff. It’s much better to close the drawer and then it’s done. You lose a little bit of your self-confidence, because if an album lies around for a year, you get tired of it. The magic around it when it was done sort of disappears. You get tired of it and you start to think that „maybe I shouldn’t release it at all or maybe I should”. Now I try to keep it fresh in a way, because when I released the singles, I decided early on that we should do videos. There will be a new single coming in August, also with a new video. And I just did the photo session for the album sleeve, which is nice. So you get new energy into it. I haven’t really listened to it for a couple of weeks now. But I think it’s a good album. I hope so.

PP: – One must love the word, “Sällskapssjuk”. At Swedish courses, they say that you can speak Swedish once you can pronounce the word “sjuksköterska”. “Sällskapssjuk” is a great contender for that. Haha. How did you come up with this word?

PG: – I don’t know. I just wrote this song and when I had the song, I had an idea for the cover, how it should look with that title. So the title became the album title as well. Then that idea of the cover didn’t work at all, so I had to do something else. But then it stuck with me. And I just felt – since it’s a lot of duets… When I started making the album, there weren’t any duets at all. It was one or two maybe with Helena, but no one else. But then after a while, I changed the concept and did a lot of duets and then “Sällskapssjuk” made sense as a title.

PP: – Was it the first song you wrote for this album?

PG: – I think the first songs were two old songs from the ’80s that I revisited. Those haven’t been released before, I think. I re-wrote the lyrics and I recorded them again. Sometimes when you go back to the ’80s, the interesting thing is that I wrote songs in a totally different way, in a totally different style than I do nowadays. I wrote much longer songs. Even if you go back to the early ’90s, songs like “The Big L.”, which has a really crazy structure. There are so many little themes. Or even “Joyride”. I don’t write songs like that anymore. If I’d written “Joyride” today, I would have kept the verse, maybe the bridge and the chorus. And that’s it. I wouldn’t have the [here he starts singing] “I take you on a skyride”.

PP: – We are lucky that you wrote these songs so long ago. Haha.

PG: – I see the Spotify top 10 list of favourite Roxette songs and all the songs are really long.

PP: – Those were different times. Now a song has to be only two minutes long, because otherwise many people don’t listen to them. As you say, the songs started out as solo songs. When you realized that these could be duets, did you write more songs as duets or you already had all the songs you wanted to include on the album?

PG: – Well, both. I wrote new songs that were duets to begin with, and then I took in people. I wrote down a lot of names of singers that I like. Then I played their songs for myself and checked out the range where their favourite keys were and if they fit. I called them up and asked if they wanted to sing. Sometimes I couldn’t use them, because then I would have had to re-record the whole track, because most of the time the tracks were already existing. What I did with Molly Hammar, for instance, I had to change the key in her verse. But it was only one tone, so it’s easily done. It’s the same with Marie. If she was going to sing a chorus and I’m going to sing the verse, you have to structure the song in a certain way. Otherwise, it won’t work.

PP: – When you are matching your duet partners to the songs, is it clearly from the sound point of view, that they would sound good on this or you have these lyrics and maybe one would fit this partner well or the other well or how do you decide?

PG: – First of all, when you invite someone to do a duet, the first thing that people ask is, are we going to write something together? Because nowadays everyone is part of the writing process. So that was my first information to everyone that we’re talking about a song that exists already, so it has nothing to do with writing. It’s just about singing. For all of them that I asked, it wasn’t a big issue. They are great singers. I just wanted them to be comfortable in the key, so they could do their best. You don’t really know until you sit down and play and sing together. I remember sending “Beredd” to Molly and she said it’s good, but it might be a little too high. So I transposed it down a bit and it suddenly felt perfect for her. Then the same thing happened with Lena and it was just perfect for her. It’s a little high for me in the chorus, though, but I did it like that, because this is how she’s going to sound the best in the verse.

PP: – How many songs are on the album in the end?

PG: – Thirteen.

PP: – And not all of them are duets.

PG: – No. Let me see. [He is reaching out for his iPhone and checking the tracklist.] I can’t remember them. Nine out of thirteen are duets. But then there are a couple of songs where Helena is singing backing vocals, which are not duets, but you can hear that it’s a girl singing.

PP: – It must be challenging to work with so many different partners. What was the most difficult in the process from a songwriter’s point of view and from a producer’s point of view?

PG: – There weren’t any problems at all. The songs that I chose to be duets, I could easily see if it was going to be sung by a girl. Does this lyric work for a girl to sing? The thing is, when you do a duet, a guy and a girl singing a duet, as a listener, you always think that they are singing towards each other. If it’s two guys singing, you sing out to someone else. That’s the perception you have. In “Sällskapssjuk” it feels like Lena is singing to me and I’m singing to Lena, right? If I would have been singing with Michael South, it wouldn’t have been like that at all. It’s more like a lyrical thing, if it works. Because the lyric itself changes its meaning when the conception is that you sing towards each other. I also think that at the end of the day, it’s good that you, as a listener, can decide yourself if they are singing to each other, or to me as a listener, or they are singing to someone else. You have to decide yourself. It’s easy to overthink things like that.

PP: – You probably won’t reveal any remaining duet partners, but I am guessing that, because earlier you posted a picture with Albin Lee Meldau at Hotel Tylösand, he might be one of them. He also has a song together with Molly Hammar now.

PG: – It’s not a good or bad guess. Hahaha.

PP: – And there is a wishful thinking, which is probably not only from my side, but a lot of fans were thinking about Agnes. Your “It Must Have Been Love” duet at the Marie tribute gala was simply amazing. Your voices fit very well.

PG: – Yeah, she’s really good. There are so many amazing singers out there. It’s been really a treat for me to hear them sing up close, so to speak. I haven’t been in the studio with Lena Philipsson ever, so I never really studied her technique or how she sings. She knocked me out totally when she was singing. She’s so professional. She is listening to suggestions and she makes them into her own style. She is doing all the right things.

PP: – Helena is singing backing vocals on several songs, and you also mentioned that she is singing on some songs where it’s kind of a duet between you. When there is a duet and you are singing with someone else, why is it important to have a backing vocalist? What makes a difference in the song?

PG: – When it comes to this particular album, it’s because the backing vocals were recorded before the lead vocals. Molly is also extremely professional, and she is really fast in the studio, so she was singing harmony vocals as well, overdubbing Helena’s. Then we used both of them in the song. Helena had already done it, when that song wasn’t a duet. It was just me singing and Helena was singing some ah-ahs and other stuff in the solo.

PP: – Interesting.

PG: – There are no rules. If it’s already there, there is no point in redoing it.

PP: – Malin-My Wall is also singing backing vocals on “Hjärta av glas”. Does she sing on any other song?

PG: – Yeah, she is singing backing vocals and she is playing the fiddle on one song.

PP: – Which do you think are the best female-male, female-female and male-male duets?

PG: – Oh, shit… Haha. Well, most of the early Beatles tracks were sort of duets, because John was singing the lead and then Paul was singing the bridge for the beat theme or whatever you want to call it. But the first thing that comes to mind is “Islands In The Stream”, the wonderful Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers song written by the Bee Gees. When it comes to guys, The Beatles tracks, “A Hard Day’s Night”, where John is singing the verse and Paul is singing [and here Per is singing] “when I’m home”. It’s beautiful. Or “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and the Queen, great stuff. Crosby, Stills & Nash. They sing harmonies and they are doing various leads.

PP: – Female-female?

PG: – Female-female… [Here he is thinking for a long long time.] I’m thinking about this. I can’t remember their names. K.D. Lang and two other girls were doing an album. “Atomic Number” is a song with three girls singing. Do you know that song?

PP: – I’m not sure.

PG: – It’s a great track. I can’t remember their names, but I can find it out. [He is reaching for his iPhone and googles it.] Lang, Case and Veirs. It’s just the surnames here. Doesn’t matter.

PP: – OK.

PG: – There is another great duet, which is actually not a duet, because it’s three people singing. It’s Don Henley, Mick Jagger and a girl singing. It’s on the last Don Henley solo album, the first song. I can’t remember the name. I’m sorry, I’m old. [The song is “Bramble Rose” and the girl singing with the guys is Miranda Lambert.]

PP: – Getting back to “Hjärta av glas”, it’s a B side, but what made you come back to this song again? You recorded it several times over the years. Why again now?

PG: – Very good question. I just listened to my acoustic version and I said that we should do a proper version. It was really early on. It was probably the first or second song we recorded for these early sessions. I felt immediately that I’m not going to use it on the album, but we finished it. And then I sped it up. It’s actually interesting, because I think the Spotify version is faster than the vinyl version.

PP: – Really?

PG: – Yeah, I think so. If you check the time, I think the one on Spotify is shorter, because it’s faster.

PP: – But how can it be? Don’t you send the same track to put it on the vinyl and put it on Spotify?

PG: – It’s the same mix. It’s just that after I’ve done the vinyl, I told MP to speed it up a little bit. So he did like four different versions with different tempos and I liked one of them. Then I said to Johan at Warner to use that one for Spotify. It’s a little bit faster. Nobody noticed, because it’s exactly the same mix. It’s just a little bit faster.

PP: – Tell me more about the recording team! You worked together with Andreas Broberger, Anton Ekström, Magnus Helgesson, Gicken Johansson, Per Thornberg…

PG: – The only songs that Andreas and Anton are involved with are the two current singles. The rest of them have nothing to do with them. So it’s made by me and my little band, which is basically Magnus Helgesson, Gicken Johansson on bass and lap steel and myself and Ola Gustafsson on guitar. Ola is also playing lap steel. MP is playing mandolin. There is lots of mandolin on this record. Clarence is playing piano and Hammond organ here and there. And there are saxophones and trumpets and there are lots of people.

PP: – Are the musicians from Halmstad?

PG: – No, only Gicken and Magnus. And MP and me. Haha.

PP: – Will there be more uptempo songs on the album as well?

PG: – Yeah. If you listen to that Pugh Rogefeldt song that I did, “Vandrar i ett regn”, that sounds very much like how the album sounds. The same people, except for Linnea. She is singing on another song as well, I think, in the backing vocals. She doesn’t sing in the lead. But that’s the lineup, how it sounds. It sounds more like that than it sounds like “Sällskapssjuk”, because that’s more programmed.

PP: – As you mentioned, the recordings went very fast with Molly. How was your cooperation?

PG: – I recorded her at the Sweetspot Studio, because MP was unavailable at the time. She is just wonderful. She is quick and she is just singing and it sounds amazing. Did you see this little short film that I published? That’s just the first time we sang the song together and it sounds perfect.

PP: – Yeah, it sounds perfect.

PG: – Other singers need to get into it a little bit more. Perfectionists, if you want, do a lot of takes. But I feel immediately if it’s going in the right direction or not. When it came to Molly, it took 10 minutes. That’s why she did all the backing vocals as well, because everything went so fast.

PP: – So it was like “we have one hour studio time left. Could you do some backing vocals?” Haha.

PG: – Haha. Exactly. I wish I had more songs for her to sing.

PP: – The B side of that single is actually the same song, but only sung by you. So was it how the album would have sounded if it stayed solo?

PG: – Yeah, well… “Ingen förstod vad som hände”, I called it that way to make a difference. But let me think. I think that song was done by me and MP first. And then we sent it to Andreas and Anton to finish it. Then they sent it back to us to do vocals. “Sällskapssjuk” was different. There I did a version which I didn’t like and then I sent it to Andreas, who started from scratch. He sent it to me and then I kept it. He wanted to continue, but I wouldn’t let him. I finished it myself. Every song has got its own story.

PP: – The first single came out in February, then the second in May. You said the next one will be out in August, right?

PG: – August yeah, mid August.

PP: – And the album is out in …?

PG: – I think late September.

PP: – OK, so not much time left until we can hear it.

PG: – Nowadays, when you release albums, you also have a lead track for the album. So I guess the fourth single will be the lead track from the album. I don’t know what song that’s going to be. Nah, I know, but I won’t tell you. Hahaha.

PP: – Regarding the singles, I’ve been wondering why the names are written like that: Per + Molly, Per + Lena. Why not Per Gessle feat. Lena Philipsson or Per Gessle feat. Molly Hammar? It’s your songs and I guess the album will run under the name Per Gessle.

PG: – It’s just that it makes it a little bit more personal. Everyone knows what our last name is anyway.

PP: – Yeah, sure. You wrote the lyrics of Lena’s breakthrough song, “Kärleken är evig” in 1986. How do you remember those times? How did you work together back then and how did your lyrics get to her?

PG: – It was actually through the guy who wrote the music, Torgny Söderberg. He was Lena’s producer. I think he was the one who found Lena to begin with. He wanted me to write the lyrics and he had this request that it had to be called “Kärleken är evig”. I thought that was a really silly title, so I suggested that it… Let me show you. [Here he is reaching out for a pen and paper and he starts drawing.] I suggested that if it’s going to be called “Kärleken är evig”… I wanted it to be called like this. Three symbols. Can you see this? [He shows the paper to the camera and I can see a heart, an equal sign and the symbol for infinity on it.]

PP: – Love. Is. Eternal.

PG: – I thought that this should be the title instead of “Kärleken är evig”. He said it’s too complicated, bla bla bla. Anyway, since I was stuck with that title, I had to follow the rules. The line [here he starts singing] “Kärleken är evig när vi är tillsammans”, it’s not written by me. It’s written by Torgny. He had to have that lyric in, because he thought that was so musical to sing. It was those two years in my life when I was really lost. I didn’t know what to do. I wrote the lyrics and then I forgot about it. But I remember having dinner with Lena. She must have been, I don’t know, 18-20. I was 27. I remember having dinner with her and Torgny and Alla Pugacheva. Do you remember Alla Pugacheva?

PP: – I do [and I look at him surprised].

PG: – She was at this dinner in Halmstad. I don’t know how. I think Torgny and that record label were signing her for Sweden. So for some reason, we were dining with Alla Pugacheva. Lena Philipsson 20 years old and Per Gessle 27 years old. Haha. Really weird.

PP: – You do have some strange moments in your life. Haha.

PG: – I wish there were pictures. Nowadays you take pictures of everything you do. But from those days you just have your memories. I can’t remember anything, I just remember which restaurant it was and I remember that Alla Pugacheva was there. I’ve seen pictures of when we were interviewed at the Eurovision Song Contest, but I can’t remember that at all. I’ve seen it on TV, so I know that it exists.

PP: – It does exist. I also checked out the video of it when I did the interview with Lena. Regarding “Sällskapssjuk”, what made you decide for Lena for this exact song? Was there anyone else on your mind for this song?

PG: – No, I thought the key was perfect for her. Like I said, it was a little bit too high for me. But on the other hand, if I stand on my toes and stretch a little bit, I can do it. It’s a little high to do live, but in the studio it works. I just felt like she’s going to do a great job on that one. And also the lyrics are her style. It just happened. It was fate.

PP: – It sounds very good and your vocals fit very well together.

PG: – Yeah, I think so. I think that goes for all the duets on this record. Every time someone else comes in, it sounds great. And then when I come in, it sounds also OK. Hahaha. My voice is so different from everyone else. But it works. It’s the same with the singles that we’ve done so far. I think it’s a win-win thing for the voices. I can sit listening to Molly and Lena all day, because they are wonderful singers.

PP: – The video you recorded for this song with Fredrik Etoall is really beautiful. There is just one thing we expected, that at the end you meet each other.

PG: – Well, we couldn’t, because we recorded on different days. Hahaha.

PP: – I guessed so. But somehow that last point is missing. But anyway, it’s beautiful.

PG: – Yeah, we talked about that too, but …

PP: – Next time.

PG: – Yeah, next time.

PP: – Fredrik took the sleeve pics for the singles. Did he take pictures of you and all the duet partners, even if they won’t all be singles?

PG: – Yeah, I have pictures. Not with all of them, but a few. [Here he starts thinking what he can and cannot tell, then he rather stops talking.]

PP: – Don’t reveal too much. Haha. The other day you were there with Fredrik to take the album sleeve pictures. Were you also recording a video that day?

PG: – No, it was just pictures for the album. We are shooting a video for the next single in a couple of weeks.

PP: – We saw footage of this photo session on your TikTok channel.

PG: – What TikTok thing?

PP: – Your channel. The one that you said a colleague who works with Marie Dimberg started for you.

PG: – I haven’t posted anything. It’s Dimberg’s team or it’s Warner.

PP: – It’s cool anyway. They should just make it a verified channel. Back to “Sällskapssjuk”, Staffan Karlsson wrote on his Facebook that it’s fascinating how a song can change depending on how you choose instruments. One version was power pop & older, the other was younger. So how was the song when you started with it and how it became different?

PG: – Like always, when you do the demo of a song. If I’m going to work with other producers, I normally just do an acoustic demo, but if I’m going to produce it myself, I have to find a direction. Sometimes you just don’t find it. That’s why I got a little bit lost with that song and that’s why I sent it to Andreas and told him to try out something different from his point of view. And that was much more interesting. It just happens like that sometimes. You get lost. It’s not supposed to be easy. Haha.

PP: – There is whistling in the song.

PG: – It’s not me!

PP: – Yeah, you mentioned in a recent interview that you can’t whistle anymore. Haha. Is that really the case?

PG:[He is trying, but he can’t and he points at his lower teeth.] I don’t know who is whistling. It’s some friend to Andreas. I don’t know who it is. I changed the whistling melody, though. It was something else. So, I played it on the piano and asked to whistle this instead. He is whistling perfectly.

PP: – That’s very funny.

PG: – I wish I could whistle.


PP: – We expect you to put back the whistle into “Joyride” on tour. Haha. Talking about your next step with Lena. Do you remember the exact moment when you realized that this is what I need for a future Roxette?

PG: – No, there wasn’t a moment like that. I was thinking a little bit about Lena, even before she sang on “Sällskapssjuk”. Because, to begin with, I think she is almost the same age as me. She is not as old as I am, but she is sort of my generation. She’s got so much experience. She is a great performer on stage. A great singer. She ticked all the boxes, so to speak. But it wasn’t until we worked in the studio when I realized how good she was. Then I felt like this might actually work. In theory, it was like a good idea, but I didn’t mention it to her. After we went to the studio, we had dinner and then she went home to Stockholm. I called her up later and asked if we could have a meeting when I came back to Stockholm. It was like a week later or so. I didn’t tell her anything on the phone. Then I just asked her when we met. I told her I have this idea and wondered what she thinks about it. She was like, oh. You could tell by her face she was shocked. The first thing she said was, of course, it’s impossible to replace Marie. I said, it’s not really about replacing Marie. It’s about keeping the legacy of the songs alive. The fire alive in the songs. It’s not like we are starting a new duo or starting a new band together. It’s more like keeping the songs alive. So she went home and she talked to a lot of people. She even talked to her mother.

PP: – Yeah, I read it in an interview. It’s lovely.

PG: – She was so surprised, because her mother thought this thing was so cool. Then we had another meeting and I said, OK, we’re positive, now I have to bring in Clarence and Christoffer. So Clarence and Christoffer came up to Stockholm. Clarence lives there, but Christoffer doesn’t. So we met the four of us and we sang and played Roxette songs together. To see how it felt. It just sounded amazing. Sometimes we used different keys than the originals, but you could tell that this is going to work.

PP: – Which songs did you try?

PG: – I can’t remember. The only song that Lena felt was really complicated was “Perfect Day”. But it was probably because it was in a low key. It was a complicated song because it’s really high. When you start singing other people’s songs, you have to find your own method. And I remember “Perfect Day”, for instance, when we played that song live, Marie always sang it like a plan B, so to speak, in the melody. In the studio it’s different. You have to adjust a little bit, so it works for you. I do that all the time as well. But it sounded great. I think what is really important for Lena is to make the songs her own, basically. Another thing which I think is crucial is that Lena is used to singing other people’s material. She writes her own songs as well, but lots of her hit songs in the past have been written by other people. It’s not an issue for her. Some singers only want to sing their own songs.

PP: – Yeah, but still, it’s very different for her. When I talked to her, we discussed it will be really different from what she has ever done during her life. Even if she sang other people’s lyrics, it’s now another band’s songs. It’s not like someone writes lyrics for her and she sings it.

PG: – It’s true. There is a difference. Lena doesn’t have any connection to guitar-driven music at all. She is more from the mainstream and the dance scene. But she’s got the capacity in her voice to sing songs like that. That’s also why I think she finds this stimulating, because it’s pretty different from what she’s done before. She is really open-minded when you ask her to try things out. I think it’s going to be really interesting. One thing that is crucial, I think, is that she has never really had a career outside Sweden, even though she’s been working in English. So when she is hitting the stage in South Africa or in Australia, she is going to blow people away, because she is so good. And they don’t know who she is. She is like the underdog here, but she is going to blow their minds, I’m sure. I have to shape up, otherwise she is going to wipe me off the stage. Haha.

PP: – Haha. You recorded “Sällskapssjuk” long ago, so this thing was on your mind for about a year now. How did it feel when the news exploded?

PG: – It felt amazing, because I was a little bit scared about the reactions. But everyone I talked to was really positive. Even journalists, who normally are not that positive, thought it was a really cool idea. Lena’s got a lot of respect from everyone because she is who she is. She’s been doing so many things here in Sweden, doing her own shows. She’s been doing all these festival things and this and that. I think she was looking for something else to do. This was special enough for her.

PP: – For you, it’s not a new thing to sing Roxette songs without Marie, but you never got so far as to what will happen next year. How do you see this, what will be the difference vs. your previous tours where you sang Roxette songs as well?

PG: – The big difference is that last time when I did my European tour in 2018, when Helena was singing the Roxette tracks like “Fading Like A Flower” or “Spending My Time”, we arranged the songs in a totally different way. So it didn’t really sound like the Roxette versions. That was on purpose. That was our intention. This time around, the arrangement is going to sound like Roxette. That’s why I brought Jonas Isacsson as well in the band. It’s going to sound like Roxette did on the “Joyride” tour, basically. We are going back to the original Roxette sound, but with Lena in there as well. So “Spending My Time” is going to be how “Spending My Time” sounded to begin with. I haven’t done that at all, not even with Marie, actually, because during the last five or six years we did the comeback tour, we skipped all the click tracks and all the sequences. We just played 100% live, very organic. So that was not the way Roxette was intended to begin with in the ’90s. But we are going back to the old style now, because we haven’t done that for many, many, many, many, many, many, many years.

PP: – And why South Africa and Australia? Actually, I don’t believe in accidents when it comes to Cape Town. The last Roxette show happened there and now the first one will happen there.

PG: – Yeah, someone told me, I didn’t know that. South Africa is a good place to start, because it’s in the same time zone as we are. So it’s very easy. Then Australia came up with its offers to do the tour there. So we said, let’s do it. Hopefully, we are going to do more. If it won’t be a disaster, we are going to continue. You never know.

PP: – Do we really have to wait until the shows take place? I mean, to wait with the dates for a European tour? I assume the venues have to be booked very much in advance. So I guess they are booked already.

PG: – In a perfect world, I would love to do a couple of shows before I make up my mind, but in the real world, you are right. If you’re going to do dates in Europe or in the States or wherever next year, you have to release those tickets in the fall. You’re probably right. There might be some more, but I don’t like to answer that question.

PP: – Yeah, I know, but I’m very positive. A lot of fans are asking you to come to the US, come to Argentina, come to Brazil, come to Europe. When you are in Europe, you can’t miss Sweden. It’s very nice to see it.

PG: – It’s going to be cool. I would love Roxette to be back on the arena circuit, because I would love to have a great production with visuals. We can’t bring a big production to South Africa or Australia, because we are playing lots of wineries and stuff like that. So it’s more like you’re having backdrops. But I would love to do a full production tour with Roxette. I think that would be amazing. Like we did with Gyllene Tider, with screens. You have to go to the arenas to do that. You can’t play the clubs with such screens.

PP: – Were your antennas out all the time checking what singer you could work with in Roxette? Were you doing this search during all your collaborations during the past years?

PG: – Yeah, I checked on a lot of people. I checked a lot of international singers. There are lots of suggestions from lots of people. Maybe you should call her or her, but it didn’t feel right. The good thing, like I said with Lena, is that she is a little older, she is experienced, she is Swedish and we have a history together. It’s actually almost too good to be true.

PP: – It actually is. When I was searching for news from the past and I saw your pictures and the Melodifestivalen video and stuff like that, it felt like it was something written in the books that it should happen.

PG: – Yeah, it’s weird, actually. Lena has always worked as a solo artist. So it’s a big step for her to get into the Roxette team suddenly. I don’t know her that well, but I think like two years ago, she wouldn’t have done it. She is matured and experienced. She probably feels like she has a lot to gain from doing this. It’s a challenge that she can’t do this on her own. It won’t happen at her age or my age to do these things out of the blue. I think it’s a wise move for her too.

PP: – For all of you. Can you mention a band where the original front person is not there anymore, but it works?

PG: – Well, the obvious one is Queen. But there are lots of bands. AC/DC has changed the vocalist, Journey. People come and go. I don’t have a problem with a band doing that. It’s just that for me, I don’t want to start a new band with someone. What I’m interested in is basically to keep the songs alive. That’s also one of the reasons why we are doing the musical. To keep the songs alive. And how do you do that properly? How can I help doing that? The best way to do that is to keep Roxette alive and play the songs. That can’t be done with Marie anymore, unfortunately.

PP: – A new chapter begins. Actually, I love your neverending drive. I don’t know how you always have this energy to restart or to challenge yourself and do something new all the time. That’s very inspiring.

PG: – Like I said, you think about how you could help to support this catalogue of songs. I was in the studio with Mats yesterday on another project, haha. We talked about what’s happening right now. This year is very much like a summary of what we’ve been doing all our lives. The musical is very much a summary of the Roxette success and the catalogue. The Gyllene Tider movie is an homage to when we were kids. And the tour coming up, it’s not about making a new album or promoting new music. It’s about playing old favourites that people want to hear, hopefully. You can only do these things when you have reached a certain age and you have all these hits and music lying around. I don’t really think that I’m being over-energetic about things. Haha.

PP: – I think you are. Haha. You are always very enthusiastic, but now it’s different when I see you talking about this project and also when I saw you in Australian TV interviews. You are shining brighter and brighter.

PG: – And it’s because of Lena and also because Jonas is back. I think it’s great. It’s such a long career. And on the Roxette tree of songs, there are so many songs. I would love to do a couple of them that maybe we didn’t play live ever with Marie. It’s really exciting. And I know the band is amazing. And we sell lots of tickets. That’s also good news.

PP: – That’s good news indeed. OK, so I think the European dates will come much sooner than you start playing the shows. Haha. Regarding the crowds, what do you think will attract the new generations to see you live and what will attract the old crowds to go and see you?

PG: – Obviously, the old ones will come because they like the songs and the songs mean a lot to them in their lives. New ones, I don’t know. It’s really difficult for young artists to get a catalogue like we have, like Bryan Adams has or Jeff Lynne has. It’s really hard to do that. I don’t know who is going to come, but I’m sure the majority will be a little older who experienced a lot of things through our music. We have the soundtrack to a lot of people’s lives. Gyllene Tider is a little bit different, though, because all these students every year sing “Sommartider”.

PP: – Have you heard them singing now? It’s that time of the year now.

PG: – When I’m in Stockholm, I hear them every day outside my window. I checked the Spotify page and 47 percent of everyone who is listening to Gyllene Tider is under 35. So that means that we have a future.

PP: – That’s cool! In 2018, Marie said OK for the Per Gessle’s Roxette tour. And I assume she would have said OK for this one, too. I also think that this will not only be good for the Roxette songs, but also to remember Marie. It feels like that.

PG: – Everything you do with Roxette is reminding people of Marie. It’s the same with the musical. It’s the same with Marie in the Gyllene Tider movie as well. She is so much part of the whole legacy, of course. If you think on the other side of the coin, if you don’t do anything with it, everything gets forgotten. The only thing to do is to work and to promote and to play. That’s why I’m really all the time into getting Roxette songs into movies and series or even commercials, if it’s a good commercial, because it reminds people of Marie and the songs and Roxette. I think that’s the only way to go.

PP: – I agree. I remember when in 2017 you were on your Swedish solo tour and you were singing “It Must Have Been Love”. It felt very strange, because that was already the time when we knew that we won’t hear it live from Marie anymore, because in 2016 she stopped touring. In 2018 it got better, because we already knew that it wouldn’t happen. Then after she passed away in 2019 and Pelle in 2020, and you did the acoustic gigs at Hotel Tylösand, you dedicated “Listen To Your Heart” to them. During the first shows, we were crying all the time when you played both “It Must Have Been Love” and “Listen To Your Heart”. It always got a bit better for our souls every time, but it was really heartbreaking. But remembering them, it was very much part of it all and it felt heartwarming. This time I think it will be very much different, because Lena is very different from Marie. I think it’s also very good that she is not the same style of person. I’m very excited about all this.

PG: – Yeah, the worst thing that could happen is that you look for a new singer that looks like Marie or sings like Marie. Like I said earlier, the best thing Lena can do is to bring her own personality into this team of people. That’s exactly what she is doing.

PP: – She said in the P4 Extra interview that it wasn’t an option to say no, because it could happen that she is sitting on the sofa watching TV and then she thinks that, oh shit, I could be in Australia. Haha. She is very cool.

PG: – Haha. All of us in Roxette, we’ve been touring all our lives all over the world, but she hasn’t. It’s an adventure to go to play Sydney and Melbourne and go to Tasmania. That’s really exciting and of course, you take those things for granted, but it’s an adventure for sure.

PP: – What do you think will be her strengths with foreign crowds and how do you think she will manage it? Because in Sweden, I can see that she can manage people in the audience very well.

PG: – I don’t know. I thought about that too. I wonder how it’s going to be being on stage, the two of us, because both of us are fronting the band and she is fronting my songs and I’m fronting my songs. How are we going to behave? How is the body language going to be? You have to find that out. But that’s also exciting, because it’s like starting anew again. When I did the Niklas Strömstedt show with Molly, that was the first time we played that song together on stage. It was weird, because I didn’t have a guitar and I was just looking around and realized, oh, now she is singing, now me. It can be really confusing the first few days, or at least at the rehearsals. You have to find that out.

PP: – For you, it’s always strange when you don’t have any instrument with you and you are just singing on stage.

PG: – Yeah, that’s scary.

PP: – But you two sounded very good on the show. I liked that.

PG: – That was a great band as well.

[Here he is busy with something on the floor, so I ask him if he is putting on his running shoes. Haha.]

PG: – Haha. No, I’m sitting on a chair with wheels on, and the wheel has just… [he holds up one wheel.] I have to fix it.

PP: – En händig man!

PG: – Haha, I’m the handyman.

PP: – What was Clarence’s first reaction when you told him about your idea?

PG: – First of all, Clarence was like, hmmmmm, to begin with, but then he thought about it and he was really supportive. Like I said, when we were singing, Christoffer was playing guitar, I was playing guitar, Clarence was playing piano and Lena was singing. Everyone was just like, wow, this is really cool. So he is extremely enthusiastic. Both Christoffer and Clarence are probably extremely tired of me, because they have been doing the musical. So they are just fed up with me. But I think at the end of the day, it’s different also when you are doing a musical, because it’s a big orchestra. It’s exciting.

PP: – And you are not there playing. Haha.

PG: – I’m not allowed.

PP: – Jonas Isacsson will also be in the gang this time. You played together at the Marie tribute gala for the first time after a long period and then worked together in PG Roxette as well. What were his thoughts when you asked him to join?

PG: – He was very, very positive. I think the first thing we did after many years, was the Metallica song, right? “Nothing Else Matters”. And then he did “Headphones On”. He was really into it immediately. He doesn’t do that much. He plays here and there, but he is not touring that much. So I thought maybe he doesn’t want to tour anymore.

PP: – Now there will be two on lead guitars, Jonas and Christoffer. How will it work?

PG: – It’s probably going to work a little bit like it did in 2018 when Ola was there. So sometimes Christoffer will move to lap steel or acoustic guitar. It doesn’t really make sense to have too many guitars. Or maybe they play electric guitars and I play acoustic guitar. We have to work all those things out.

PP: – How did you meet Magnus Norpan Eriksson? Can you tell a bit more about him? I only saw him working with you at corporate gigs, so I don’t really know much about him.

PG: – He was a very good friend of Pelle and he plays in a sort of similar style as Pelle. A little bit more pop-oriented than Pelle was. Norpan is actually the choice by Christoffer, Clarence and Magnus. I asked them who they wanted to play with in the band and they all wanted to play with Norpan. It works fine. He is a nice guy. I worked with so many different drummers. Andreas Dahlbäck, for instance. And Magnus Helgesson is now on the new album. Magnus is also pretty similar to how Pelle is as a drummer. Andreas Dahlbäck is not. He is like a jazz drummer, almost. Jens Jansson, he is a bit more like Micke Syd. Michael South. More like a pop drummer. But I think Norpan will be good.

PP: – He worked together with Ulf Lundelll and Lars Winnerbäck. Am I right?

PG: – I think so. I don’t know him that well. I only met him at corporate gigs. Haha. I think he is a good guy.

PP: – Magnus Börjeson got on the Roxette train in later years, but he has a secure place in the team. He is very good at stand up comedy as well. What do you think we can expect from him on this tour?

PG: – He is an amazing bass player, but he is also a great singer. And that is also something important. Clarence isn’t a good singer, Jonas isn’t a good singer. Christoffer is a great singer and Magnus is a great singer. Then we have Dea, we have Lena, and we have me. So we have five people singing. That’s also a very good thing. Magnus is a funny guy. I love playing with these people and hanging out with them. That’s really important too. I just hope that Lena melts in with the team and everyone in the crew. Everyone in the crew that we wanted on board is on board.

PP: – That’s cool. You worked a lot with Dea, she joined you first on the 2012 Roxette tour. How is it working with her?

PG: – She is great. She is very professional and she was really wonderful with Marie. Marie trusted her a lot. At the end of the tours we did with Marie, Marie forgot lyrics and stuff like that, but Dea was always helping her out. She is really wonderful to work with. She is a great singer, of course. We used her for Gyllene Tider as well. She was an obvious choice. And I think it’s great to have another girl in the band as well.

PP: – Regarding the tour name, you used Per Gessle’s Roxette in 2018, PG Roxette when you recorded new songs. Now you use simply Roxette In Concert. Why did you decide for that? And also, why did you decide not to use e.g. Roxette In Concert with Lena Philipsson?

PG: – When this idea came up, I talked to Micke, Marie’s husband about it. I would love to use only the name Roxette. Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s nothing new. It’s just old Roxette songs that we are doing. It’s to make things simple. It doesn’t really mean anything to anyone, Roxette In Concert featuring Lena Philipsson, because nobody knows who Lena Philipsson is.

PP: – Yeah, actually, that’s the difference with Queen + Adam Lambert.

PG: – If it would have been like Belinda Carlisle or… Madonna. Haha.

PP: – Haha. Better not.

PG: – I think this is efficient and straight to the point. We haven’t ever used “in concert” before, for some reason, we always used “live” or this or that, but never “in concert”. So why not?

PP: – From Mexico to Italy, from Argentina to Romania tons of online portals took over the news. How does it feel that Roxette was on the news WORLDWIDE again?

PG: – It feels great! I noticed that there was so much interest in this. I just hope that we can deliver and if we can deliver, I’m sure it will continue. Knowing myself, if it works, it’s going to get big and when it gets big, it’s going to get bigger and then it’s going to get bigger. But you never know. It can also just fall on its face. Haha.

PP: – I don’t think so. The media was very positive. I loved the extreme positivity of Australian media people. But of course, there are also some sceptical comments under the posts and it comes mainly from fans, hardcore fans. How do you deal with these sceptical comments and comments that say it’s not Roxette, because Roxette was Marie and Per? What can you tell them?

PG: – Like I said earlier, this is not about making a new Roxette or starting a new band for me. This is about playing the Roxette songs. And the only option to do that is to work with someone else who sings them. And like I said all the time, if Marie would have been alive, we would have probably been touring all the time, because the music is still very big. So at the end of the day, I think if you are complaining, if you don’t like to hear Roxette songs sung by someone else, don’t go to the concerts. But if you like the songs and you are open-minded a little bit, give it a chance. It won’t sound all the same, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to sound bad. I think some people are really narrow-minded or conservative in a way. They want it to be the way it was all the time. And I can understand that, but that’s not how it works in reality. Like I said, the only other option is to not do anything. And that’s not a good option.

PP: – That’s not an option. Do you plan to do any gig before the tour starts in South Africa? Some gig in Europe, in Sweden, in Hotel Tylösand, in Stockholm, wherever? Haha.

PG: – I don’t think so. We haven’t talked about it. There are so many other things going on right now, the movie and musical. I’ve just put this tour on hold a little bit until at least after the summer. Whole January is a rehearsal month. So we are going to do a lot of rehearsing and choosing the right songs. I don’t think that there will be any shows at all, but I think, of course, we are going to do dress rehearsals and stuff like that.

PP: – Are you already thinking about which songs to play?

PG: – Yeah, I have a list. I think at the end of the day, we are going to do like 25, 26 songs on this show.

PP: – I would be surprised, because you usually play 21, 22 songs. But fingers crossed! Haha.

PG: – Haha. But now someone else is singing as well, so we can do more songs.

PP: – So let it be 30 then! Haha.

PG: – Haha. I think we are going to rehearse about 35 songs and then maybe we just feel immediately that this or that doesn’t work or this sounds exactly like that. I think it would be great to do some Roxette songs from the catalogue that we never played live before with Marie, because then it’s Lena’s chance to do her own thing in a different way. There are really great songs. “What’s She Like?”, for instance, “Vulnerable”, sung by me. We never really played that live.

PP: – I so hoped for it during the acoustic tour. But no, you didn’t play it.

PG: – Haha. “I’m Sorry” is a great song. “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye”, we never played that with Roxette, however, I played it on my own tour. There are a few options.


PP: – Do you still join the rehearsals of the musical?

PG: – They are rehearsing and I was there last week checking out the costumes and dance, some rehearsing as well with the script and everything. I’m basically going there once a week to see what’s going on and to have lunch. Haha. It’s 270 people working on that musical right now. There are over a thousand pieces of costumes being created.

PP: – That’s huge!

PG: – There are eight people who are making the papers when they cut the clothing. I don’t know the English name for it. There are people doing woodwork and electricians. It’s just a big mess, but it’s fantastic. There is this band rehearsing. Clarence and Christoffer are basically in Christoffer’s studio working. Then there is Joakim Hallin, who is the conductor, and he is also in charge of the orchestration.

PP: – How did it work with picking the songs? Were you thinking about which songs to add or everyone came up with what should be included?

PG: – A long time ago, I made a list with the 20 most important songs. And then I did a sort of second division, 10 important songs, third division and so forth. At the end of the day, it’s about the book, the manuscript, and the manuscript has been rewritten several times. The director, Guy Unsworth has done a lot of things and he put in some songs that weren’t in there before. But of course, the key songs are in there. There was a song that I was missing, we talked about it, then he put it in there. You’re gonna get all the goodies.

PP: – What was Clarence’s and Christoffer’s job in this?

PG: – Let’s say, for instance, you do a song like “Crash! Boom! Bang!” and maybe you only do two verses and a chorus, and then it goes into something else, instrumental. All those little things are driven by the script and the actors and the dialogue. Maybe there is dialogue over an instrumental section of the song. So they have to customize all the songs. Also, they have to consider that there are three lead parts, one guy and two girls singing, maybe they have to use a different key. So you start from the original versions, and then you adapt it to what’s going to happen. It’s a hell of a job. And as soon as you change something in the script, you have to change the music. At this point, as we speak, nothing is set in stone yet, exactly which song is going to be in there. Because when you go into rehearsal, you might realize that shit, the musical is 25 minutes too long. We have to scrap a couple of songs, or we have to edit the dialogue or whatever. So it’s not until the last days that it’s finished.

PP: – Yeah, it’s constantly changing.

PG: – It’s really complex, and I’m really happy not to be part of it. Hahaha.

PP: – You don’t make it a secret that musicals are not your cup of tea.

PG: – No, the classic musicals are not. I’ve been to “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, which is about the Brill Building era in the ’60s in New York. It’s based on Carole King’s songs, but there are other songs from the writers of the Brill Building. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” and all those songs. And I thought that was a really nice musical. It’s just, when you say the word musical to me, I immediately see and hear a certain style of singers and I don’t like that at all. That was one of my big issues when they were doing auditions for the “Joyride” musical, that we should try to avoid that style of singers. Nevertheless, most people who work in musicals automatically like that style. It’s a compromise all the time. We’ve been doing this musical for so many years now, so I just got used to it. It sounds like a musical suddenly.

PP: – And you like it.

PG: – You have to put on another cap. I don’t really have a problem with it anymore.

PP: – Have you seen the “Pretty Woman” musical?

PG: – No, I haven’t seen it.

PP: – I saw it. I think they have been playing it in Hungary for a year or so. I’m very disappointed that “It Must Have Been Love” is not included, because there is a spot where it would fit perfectly. Oh, well, originally, they excluded “Oh, Pretty Woman”, but on demand, they added it later. It was really stupid not to include even that exact song. But I think the musical itself, it’s very good. Also the music is very good. But these two songs… how they included “Oh, Pretty Woman”, you can feel that it was added later. And there is really a spot for “It Must Have Been Love”. Too bad.

PG: – It doesn’t matter, because now we have our own musical. Haha.

PP: – I’m really a big theatre fan as well. I go to the theatre several times a month, also to musicals. I will definitely suggest the local musical theatre people to watch “Joyride” and bring it here as soon as possible.

PG: – That’s the ambition anyway, to get it across to other countries as well. When they did the “Pretty Woman” musical, did they perform it in your native tongue then?

PP: – Yeah.

PG: – Even the songs?

PP: – The songs are sung in Hungarian, yes. But also the “Mamma Mia!” musical is sung in Hungarian.

PG: – Isn’t that crazy?

PP: – Well, the Roxette musical is played in Swedish, but the songs are in English. I think in Hungary it won’t be like that. A lot of people speak English and they know the big Roxette songs, but I’m not sure it would work with singing the songs in English here.

PG: – The “Pretty Woman” musical… hm… it might be a bad example, because the music to it was written for the musical. Those are not famous songs.

PP: – Yeah, but the “Mamma Mia!” musical, it contains famous songs.

PG: – But are the Hungarian lyrics to “Dancing Queen” or “Knowing Me, Knowing You” part of the story?

PP: – Yeah, but it’s the lyrics of the songs translated into Hungarian. It sounds good and it makes sense. It’s, of course, not the same as if I would hear them in English, because whenever I hear these songs, in my head I’m singing them in English. But on the stage, they sing them in Hungarian. I don’t think in Hungary it would work otherwise. So probably, if “Joyride” comes to Hungary, the lyrics will be translated. Well… good luck with “The Look”. Haha.

PG: – In our case, the lyrics in the songs have nothing to do with the story of the musical. It’s not like you write a musical around the lyrics. The lyrics are just the old classic pop songs, which I think is great, because that’s the identity of the song. And I think it would be weird to have “Spending My Time” or “Joyride” in Hungarian. I can understand the dialogues are in Hungarian, but when the song comes, it should be in English, with the original lyrics.

PP: – We will see. Maybe that will be the first musical with original lyrics.

PG: – It’s a delicate subject with the translations. It’s been like that forever. When I grew up, we heard so many songs on the radio sung in Swedish and we thought those were Swedish songs. Then it turned out they were translated from something else.

PP: – Let’s see what happens. I’m very excited about the musical and the movie and the album and the tour. There are so many things to be excited about. So thank you very much for your time during this busy period!

PG: – My pleasure. I’m going to fix my chair now. Haha.

PP: – Haha. I hope you can manage it.

PG: – Otherwise I call Åsa.

PP: – She can manage it for sure. Is she busy with the hotel?

PG: – Yeah, it’s a busy weekend. We opened up Bettans restaurant yesterday, so now there are a lot of people there. But it’s a little cold.

PP: – You need to dress up! Take your coat out of the closet! Haha. OK. Thank you very much, Per!

PG: – My pleasure, thank you.

PP: – Bye-bye!

PG: – Bye now!

Stills are from the interview.

Joyride 30th anniversary – RoxBlog interview with Per Gessle – „… loved to be in this wonderful Roxette balloon with Marie”

Music-wise Joyride was the first real life-changing experience for me and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one who felt the same when first heard either the title song or the complete record. It’s been 30 years now since we joined the joyride and became magic friends. The little girl who in 1991 was sitting persistently in front of MTV to catch the video certainly wouldn’t have thought that 30 years later she would ask the guy in the world’s best power pop duo about this album. I hope you’ll enjoy the reading as much as I enjoyed doing this interview with Mr. G.

Patrícia Peres: – Hej Per! Your best selling record, „Joyride” is celebrating its 30th anniversary today! Congratulations! It’s a very important album both in your career and in Roxers’ life. How do you feel about this anniversary? Have you already popped champagne?

Per Gessle: – Hello Patricia. And thanks. No champagne yet, still on cappuccino time here!!!
Yea, well… there are so many record anniversaries going on all the time. But of course „Joyride” is special. It’s a very important album for us from every angle. Together with Warner I’m planning a beautiful box set for release later this year.

PP: – After the success of „Look Sharp!”, how much did you feel the pressure to make something bigger and better? How did it effect your songwriting?

PG: – Oh, I was always triggered by success. You have to remember we came from nowhere (spelled S-W-E-D-E-N) so we didn’t take ANYTHING for granted. The more success we got the better songs I wrote. It felt like that anyway. It was the same for Marie. The bigger she became, the better performances she made, both in the studio and on stage. It’s all about self confidence.
However, looking back and checking the drawers, I don’t really understand how I found the time to do all this writing and to record so many demos. We were travelling the world constantly! But I guess I was fairly young, highly motivated and loved to be in this wonderful Roxette balloon with Marie. No rest for the wicked.

PP: – Because of the Gulf War, you had to postpone the album release. What were your thoughts on this?

PG: – Yea, it was delayed a month or so. Maybe six weeks. I don’t know if that mattered, I don’t think so. The basic reason for Joyride’s success was the timing. It’s always the most important thing. The music we made turned out to be the perfect soundtrack to 1991 for some reason.

PP: – The album sleeve became very colourful, it has definitely more colours than the first 2 Roxette album covers. Did you also feel that your music got more colourful?

PG: – We always wanted Roxette to be a colourful band. Personally I wanted us primarily to be more pop than rock. Power pop. Pop with an edge. That was always a constant discussion between Marie, Clarence and myself. What was Roxette all about? For me it was easy. But all of us came from different musical backgrounds so the answer wasn’t easy for everyone.
When I wrote the „Joyride” album my ambition was to write only songs that were strong enough to become hit singles. I didn’t really succeed, but that was my master plan.

PP: – On the edge of the sleeve it’s written „Don’t bore us – get to the chorus”. Did you take this phrase as a guiding line during songwriting?

PG: – Hahaha, yes I did. It was something our US manager Herbie Herbert once said and I loved it and thought it made sense in our particular corner of this crazy music biz.

PP: – Different formats played an important role here. 3 tracks were not released on the original LP, but on the CD version. Were you happy for the appearance of CD format in general and in this case?

PG: – No, I never liked the CD format. I like album sleeves. They are bigger and you can present the music and the idea behind the record in a proper way. It’s a piece of art and you should treat it like that. You can’t really do that with a CD.

PP: – How long did you play with the title „Joyride”? Is there a scientific reason behind going for it without the „r” in the end that was still there in the first demo’s title?

PG: – It was called „Joyrider” to begin with. I think all of us felt „Join the joyride” was an excellent slogan for what we were doing at the time. So I guess there were probably a few hours when the song was called „Join the joyride” as well. But, following the Don’t Bore Us-mantra… we made it simple and snappy. „Joyride” it was!

PP: – How should we imagine the day you wrote „Joyride” and „Spending My Time”? You enter the room where your piano is, you see Åsa’s note there and…?

PG: – I have only vague memories of it but I’ve checked my files and it looks like I was at home in our apartment in Halmstad and started the day writing „Spending My Time” on the piano, creating the verse and the instrumental melody in the outro (which was actually written as an intro).
I think the main part of the chorus came from something MP had written. He used to present snippets he had made and sometimes I used them in my writing process. He came by for an hour or two as well.
Then I changed to acoustic guitar and wrote „Joyride” after finding Åsa’s note. It all happened very quickly. I finished writing „Joyride” the day after.
Both lyrics were written basically at the same time as the music. I changed some words along the way but not that many. It must have been a sunny weekend. May 19-20, 1990.

PP: – Were there different whistle melodies or was it this tune from the very beginning?

PG: – It was the same melody from the beginning. I got the idea to whistle from Monty Python’s „Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”.

PP: – Is „Joyride” a perfect pop song in your book?

PG: – It’s one of my best anyway. I’m not 100% satisfied with the production though. I think it’s a little thick and meaty and the song could go a little faster. Also, I don’t sing it very well, but that was the best I could do at the time. I always feel relieved when the middle-eight comes in and Marie starts to sing… I take you on a skyride… she sounds so much better.

PP: – You have four US No. 1’s! That’s huge! When „Joyride” reached the top, did you feel the same excitement as with the first three No.1’s?

PG: – Yes, I did. It was unbelievable. I was in Paris that day with Åsa, Clarence and Anna, his girlfriend at the time. We all went to La Coupole in the evening to celebrate. I remember staying at the Raphael Hotel. Åsa woke up in the middle of night seeing a ghost (it wasn’t me!) so we moved out. That’s Paris for you! Hahaha, I should write a book!

PP: – „Ghosts of Paris”, would be a bestseller! Haha. Your career was soaring in the US and one would have thought that nothing could go wrong. Then shit happened with EMI. Do you think if „Spending My Time” had been released much earlier, maybe even as the lead single, it could have also reached a No. 1 spot on the Billboard?

PG: – I think the new 1992-regime at EMI USA, led by Charles Koppelman, definitely weakened us in that market. The „new” EMI showed no interest in us whatsoever and certainly didn’t know what to do with two foreigners speaking a strange language even though we’ve had so much success in their country. So they basically just let everything slide.
With the support from the people at the „old” EMI I’m pretty sure „Spending My Time” would have been a Top 5 single. It was climbing fast on the Billboard Hot 100 when the take-over at EMI took place. Then it just stopped.
The whole marketing campaign set up for the „Joyride” album in the US was supposed to peak with „Spending My Time” being released in the winter/spring of 1992. It was regarded as „the big one” on the album. The natural follow-up to „Listen To Your Heart” and „It Must Have Been Love”.

PP: – You wrote the lyrics to „Watercolours In The Rain” several years before „Joyride” was in sight. What project did you write it for originally?

PG: – I don’t know. I wrote so much all the time. Poems, lyrics, phrases. I always liked that title, it makes your imagination tick. As you know, there’s a Swedish song with the same title I wrote back in 1982 (for Gyllene Tider), „Som regn på en akvarell”. Maybe I should have another go in French?

PP: – „Aquarelles sous la pluie”? Hm. It’s the only song Marie wrote the music to. Back then how motivated was she to maybe write more for Roxette?

PG: – Roxette’s fundamental idea was me being the main writer and Marie being the main singer. Marie never really wrote Top 40 songs in those days and Roxette’s only chance initially to go abroad was via „hit records”.
Over the years Marie presented a little bit more material for Roxette, but at this particular time she focused primarily on her Swedish stuff. The main reason was probably that she felt she couldn’t express herself lyrically that well in English.
Also, generally speaking, she didn’t write as much as I did. When we had time off I spent basically every day in the studio, writing and demoing new songs. I was ALWAYS working!
Marie needed much more space outside of Roxette than I did. We were different.

PP: – Music to „Hotblooded” you co-wrote with Marie. It was one of the last demos recorded for „Joyride”. Was it written together to make a difference vs. other songs on the album?

PG: – No, „Hotblooded” was written in January 1990 when Marie came down to the westcoast for a couple of days. We wrote and demoed „Hotblooded” and „Watercolours In The Rain” during those sessions.

PP: – You’re so right! The date of the „Bag Of Trix” demo fooled me, but even in the previous interview I did with you you mentioned that there is an earlier demo of „Hotblooded” with guitars + bass + drums.

PG: – For „Hotblooded” Marie wanted something really simple and sexy to sing so we used basically just one chord in the verse. Marie improvised a bluesy melody to a lyric that I had and it sounded really cool. I think I wrote that Jimmy Page-style guitar riff on the spot, but it was definitely MP who played it on the demo. Too tricky for me.
Later in January and early February Marie, Clarence and Anders joined MP and me at the T&A temple to start the real production of the album. The first song we cut was „(Do You Get) Excited?”. I remember that clearly because the electricity in the studio went down. A total blackout. Tiny village.
We had so many songs floating around the „Joyride” album at the time. Anders and Clarence programmed, for instance, a version of „Shelter From The Storm” („Segla på ett moln”) for Marie to sing. We even demoed two old Gyllene Tider-songs; „Run Run Run” and „Another Place, Another Time”. But we had better stuff coming.

PP: – „Knockin’ On Every Door” started out as „Rocket” in 1987. How can you keep distance from your songs to be able to rewrite them to an extent that even Clarence wouldn’t realize it’s the same song?

PG: – Hahaha, he’s pretty easy to fool! Nah, he’s a tough one. I really loved „Rocket” when it was written, but I had a hard time convincing Clarence and Marie to use it for „Look Sharp!”. So I re-did it (= put a shuffle-beat to it + wrote new lyrics). I think Clarence started to like it when Jonas played that guitar riff in the studio. It was a monster hook!

PP: – Why did you decide to remix „Soul Deep” and include it on „Joyride” instead of a totally new song from the many you had written for this album?

PG: – Because it was Marie’s big showstopper live and we were heading for a huge world tour! It was an amazing song to play in concert, Marie loved it. So did the crowd.

PP: – One can never know when it comes to you: is there any song on the album that has a Swedish lyric too? Except for „Soul Deep”, of course.

PG: – No. Sorry. All custom made.

PP: – I think „Small Talk” is the song you talked about the least. Any confessions that have to be heard?

PG: – All of us felt it was a little bit too similar to „Dressed For Success” stylewise. But not as good. I think it found its place on the album because we needed uptempo songs to get the right balance.

PP: – We are lucky to have „The Making of Joyride” docu where we can follow the process of recordings through „The Big L.”. It’s the only single that wasn’t released in the US. Why wasn’t it considered?

PG: – Because EMI USA wasn’t interested in us anymore.

PP: – „Perfect Day” is a difficult song vocally. Is there a demo that you sing?

PG: – No, thank God! I have a T&A-demo with Marie singing made in August 1990. Haven’t you heard it? MP plays hillbilly accordion!

PP: – The demo you released on „Bag Of Trix” is definitely a fab one. Regarding „Perfect Day”, Marie said it was a song she had dreamed about. Do you remember her first reactions to it?

PG: – She adored it immediately and I knew she would. It’s a tough one to sing and she loved that challenge. She didn’t even use her falsetto voice on the recording. She sang it „au naturel”. Outstanding!

PP: – Once this song was in sight, it kicked away „Queen Of Rain” from its album closer position on „Joyride”. Then there were songs you gave easily away to other artists (e.g. „The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye), while you didn’t give „Queen Of Rain” to anyone even if they asked for it. How did you decide which ones could go and which ones to keep?

PG: – Since I’ve always been an artist as well as a songwriter I’ve obviously saved the best material for my own projects. It’s a big difference compared to being solely a professional songwriter. Then you’re a „hired gun” and have to compromise a bit more to please „the customer”. My priorities have always been Roxette, GT and my solo career. And Mono Mind and The Lonely Boys, of course.
Laura Branigan got hold of both „The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” and „Queen Of Rain”. I can’t remember how. She wanted to record both of them, but Marie wanted us to keep „Queen Of Rain” for Roxette. So we did.
Phil Ramone produced Laura Branigan at the time. He liked my songwriting and I was really flattered that someone like him took interest in my work. He produced, as you probably know, superb records by Paul Simon and Billy Joel and did some amazing stuff over a long period of time.

PP: – „Church Of Your Heart” was suggested to be a single by the American record company. Did it make sense to release a single that was not on the original album (LP), only on the CD version?

PG: – No, we never understood that. It was a leftover from the LP. Clarence hated it. Jonas loved it, though. I thought it was kinda nice, but I don’t think Marie liked it very much. It wasn’t really her cup of tea. It was more me pretending to be Halmstad’s Tom Petty.

PP: – You wrote so many songs for „Joyride” that it could have easily been a double album. Weren’t you thinking about it back in the days?

PG: – No, we were in the Top 40 game. No double albums allowed. Thank you very much.

PP: – You had quite produced demos, knowing exactly how you wanted the songs to sound. Still if we watch „The Making of Joyride”, we can see there was creativity on the sessions and changes were added here and there, even if the final songs sound quite like your demos. How did that work with the team?

PG: – Well, the more comfortable I felt in the studio the more advanced demos I made together with MP. But the whole Roxette thing was a collaboration and a teamwork and I was always very open to that.
If Jonas presented a guitar sound or a riff we took it seriously, listened closely and had an opinion. The same went for everyone. Marie changed some of the melodies sometimes, Clarence sneaked in a new chord here and there. Or a different modulation. Maybe Anders changed the beat or the tempo to a song. I loved that. It all made the songs better and created that glimmering Roxette Universe.

PP: – Which of your lyrics on „Joyride” do you think is the best still today?

PG: – I don’t know. „Spending My Time” is pretty good. „Excited” is OK. „Joyride” is a good idea.

PP: – Which song was the trickiest to write?

PG: – There were no big hickups with these songs. You start with an idea and go from there. If you get stuck you throw it away and start something new.
I’m a pretty restless person, so I don’t like to spend weeks and weeks on a song. It has to grab my attention very quickly and keep it there until it’s finished. It’s always been like that.

PP: – Which song title do you find the most exciting on „Joyride” and which one you wouldn’t use as a title today?

PG: – Hahaha, I’ve always been a sucker for good song titles!! I actually think all of them are pretty good. The title is often the very first impression you get from a song, so it’s important that it grabs your attention and makes you curious.

PP: – Which song on „Joyride” has the best chorus / best verse / best melody that you are the most proud of?

PG: – Oh no Patricia, so very tricky questions this time! Joyride’s got a great chorus, but so does „Fading Like A Flower”. I still love the chorus in „Perfect Day”. It’s really beautiful. I like most of „Things Will Never Be The Same”. „Excited” stands out because of all the modulations. It opens up new doors all the time. I like „The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” (great title!), but I don’t know if that counts!

PP: – What’s your best rhyme on „Joyride”?

PG: – Well, „lady” and „baby” in „Joyride” isn’t that good, is it?

PP: – Haha! 4 songs from „Joyride” were later released in Spanish too. Do you remember which of them Marie liked the most to sing in Spanish? And which is your favourite?

PG: – Marie loved to sing „Un dia sin ti” („Spending My Time”). It was HER song. Even in Spanish!

PP: – Actually, it was 30 years ago when you changed my life forever for the first time. After we got access to satellite TV and I first saw the „Joyride” video and heard the song on MTV, I became an instant Roxer at the age of 11. Once a Joyrider, always a Joyrider. How do you see MTV’s role in Roxette’s career?

PG: – MTV was very important for Roxette. The videos made us come alive and become real persons to so many people. It was a new tool, very fresh and we loved it. We spent enormous amounts of money creating all those clips. It was a very exciting era in pop music. Anything was possible.

PP: – You had 6 videos shot for songs off „Joyride”. Which one did you find the most challenging to shoot and which was the most fun?

PG: – „Joyride” was fun, it felt like everyone was waiting for it! The hype around that song was huge even before people had heard it. It was certainly a thrill to go to the desert shooting the video. Even though the Ferrari Dino was fake!
„Fading Like A Flower” was a beautiful one paying homage to Stockholm. We had a great time freezing in the cold. Guess we were used to that.
„Spending My Time” was also nice, sensitive and intimate. Fit the song perfectly.
„Excited” was wonderful. It was entirely Marie’s show. Outstanding and really beautiful. It was supposed to be a single but never happened.
„The Big L” was hilarious and totally over the top. Big crazy production staged in Stockholm.
„Church Of Your Heart” I can’t remember. Was I involved?

PP: – Well, if it’s not you boogieing around that Sydney church, I don’t know who that guy is. Haha. Marie loved acting, so shooting for her must have been a fab experience. How about you?

PG: – Oh, I liked it as well! The first big ones, „The Look” and „Dressed For Success” were amazing to be part of. It felt like we had landed on Mars. Buying clothes at Trash & Vaudeville in New York City late 80’s was definitely science fiction.

PP: – Did you get scripts in advance for the videos? Were there different scripts vs. the end results in any of the videos’ case?

PG: – No, not really. We had meetings discussing the general idea, the direction, the location, the budget and so on.

PP: – Getting back to MTV, you won the International Viewers Choice Awards with „Joyride” in 1991. How did it feel to win this award for the second time?

PG: – Amazing, of course. To get an award based on the exquisite taste of the audience is always the finest achievement.

PP: – Which video did you like the most in the sense of standing out from the mass of music videos at the time?

PG: – Of all our videos „Crash! Boom! Bang!” felt very innovative at the time. I still think it looks great. And „The Look” is really cool. Always loved that one.

PP: – „Things Will Never Be The Same” has always been an amazing song, but after Marie left us, it has a different meaning to all of us. If you did a video to the song back in the days, how would it have been?

PG: – Who knows? I can’t answer that.

PP: – „Join The Joyride!” was your first ever world tour. How did you prepare for it and how was the rehearsal period with the band?

PG: – Everyone was really triggered by the success. We knew we were gonna play big arenas, maybe even moving to stadiums later on. It’s easy to work when you’re on a roll.

PP: – Of course you already had great hits, but the Roxette catalogue back then wasn’t as big as today. How did you decide what to include in the setlist?

PG: – First of all, we wanted to please the fans playing the songs they wanted to hear. Then we wanted to show the world what a great band we were. People, and media in particular, didn’t expect that from a Top 40-act.
Jonas was amazing. That’s why we did those long intros and solos on „Soul Deep” and „Cry”. Clarence and Anders were world class players. Pelle solid as a rock as well as Vicki and Staffan. I was the weakest musician in this gang, but I did my best to put my fingers on the right frets. Like always, I spent most of my time „directing”, changing the setlist, suggesting different visual things etc.

PP: – Songs on tour sounded more like the album versions back then. How was it with the arrangements? Would it have been too early to change it live (e.g. do an acoustic version of „Spending My Time”)?

PG: – We had a very distinct sound on the records and we tried to duplicate that live as well. It was hard to do sometimes. Some songs had pre-recorded tracks, like the bass sequencer on „The Look” and „Dressed For Success”, but we tried as much as possible to avoid technology. We didn’t really need it since everyone (not counting myself…) were superb musicians.

PP: – You were supposed to start your tour in the US, but because of the Gulf War the American part was postponed and became reality only in 1992. Do you think Roxette’s American history would have been different if you could have started touring there already in 1991?

PG: – We will never know. Doesn’t matter now. Things turned out amazing the way they did.

PP: – I think you have a definite main act character, but was it ever an option to be the support act to a big American band to make Roxette more known among US people?

PG: – No. We never did any support act gigs. It’s always gonna be a compromise, so we never bothered.

PP: – You experienced a kind of hysteria with Gyllene Tider in Sweden earlier, but how different was the worldwide hype of fans around Roxette those days?

PG: – The same but much bigger. I was ten years younger when the GT frenzy started. I think that experience helped me focus on the most important thing for me in Roxette, which was the songwriting and the guiding.

PP: – Already back then the age group of the crowd at your concerts was very wide from kids to grandparents. What do you think made all generations interested in hearing you live?

PG: – I don’t know. It just happened. What we did appealed to a lot of different people for some reason.

PP: – Marie definitely stole the show on tour. She was an amazing perfomer and perfectly owned the stage and the crowd too. How did you feel about it?

PG: – It was never an issue. I was used to be the front figure in Gyllene Tider, but most of the songs in Roxette were sung by Marie, so it came natural that she stepped up and became the leader on stage. She did an amazing job. I think those hours performing was what she loved the most.

PP: – Even if pyrotechnics were used, as a backdrop you only had some playing with the lights and screening some words. Was that minimalism on purpose or was it rather budget-related?

PG: – Oh, I thought we had a big production even back in 1991!

PP: – You didn’t have a big guitar pick holder on your stand like you have nowadays. How did you manage with only a few picks during a whole show?

PG: – The big guitar pick holder wasn’t invented in those days! I think I had my picks gaffa-taped close to the lukewarm water beside my amp.

PP: – Marie also got a guitar on „The Look” and „Joyride”. Did she use your picks or did she have her own?

PG: – Can’t remember. She probably stole mine. Everyone did.

PP: – Both you and Marie wrote songs during the tour. Yours were rather bright, while Marie wrote the darkest album of hers to date. How do you look back on this busy touring period from a songwriter’s point of view?

PG: – I think I enjoyed the touring part more than Marie. It’s sooooo much more than just the two hours you spend on stage. We were different people. In the end of the day that’s what made Roxette special.

PP: – Back in the days there was no iPhone and sound recording apps. What device did you use to record your song ideas while on tour?

PG: – Oh I had my gadgets. My favorite one was a dictation machine that made me feel like a Hollywood-lawyer. Still have it. Two tapes still exist with sketches and rough demos on them.

PP: – You know how to tease! Haha. Now 30 years later what advice would you have for yourselves in the „Joyride” era?

PG: – Looking back I’m pretty pleased with the whole ride. It was a remarkable thing to be part of. I feel truly blessed to have experienced it. I know Marie felt the same.

PP: – As a last question, you talked about a 30th anniversary „Joyride” release and we can see from your updates that you are digging deep in your drawers again. Could you share some more details with us? What can we expect? And of course: when?

PG: – We have a few ideas to stimulate your eyes and ears. I guess the boxes will be out early autumn. 4 LP’s and 3 CD’s. Including unreleased stuff, demos and a fab booklet with lots of hidden secrets and shameless hairstyles revealed. I hope we can release some unseen footage as well. Maybe some of the old videos in HQ? And a „Joyride” live album would be nice. There’s no set date yet. But hey, who’s in a hurry?

PP: – We’ll give it a warm welcome anytime! Thank you so much for your time, Per! Congrats once again on the anniversary and please, let it be a BIG FAT box!

PG: – Fat is my middle name!


Per Gessle – „A Bigger Bag Of Trix?” – RoxBlog interview

When there are 60(!!!) songs released by your favourite artist and band almost at the same time, questions are just popping up on your mind, one after another. The list is neverending. So I thought I shoot those Qs at the one who obviously has the answers to them. You could see it’s a very busy period for Mr. G, rushing from TV to radio then back to the studio, but fortunately, he found the time to get back to me with his thoughts on both Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig and Bag of Trix – Music from the Roxette Vaults. Much appreciated!

Patrícia Peres: – Hej Per! You definitely saved 2020 with your current releases. Both your solo album, „Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig” and „Bag of Trix – Music from the Roxette Vaults” are based on digging deep in the vaults. How should we imagine when you start a project like this? Do you know exactly what you’re looking for or you’re just checking all your drawers and hope to bump into something interesting?

Per Gessle: – Hey Patricia! Like most things I do…. they just happen. I wasn’t out to make a four volume Roxette-box, I spent an afternoon looking through drawers + boxes and just found more and more Rox-stuff that somehow got „lost” over the years for different reasons. Lots of songs „disappeared” when CD’s became streaming. It’s nice to make them available for Planet Earth again.
When I released my own demo-box in 2014 I didn’t use any Rox-demos sung by Marie so I knew there were a few of those around. And Marie’s own demos, of course. And then the Spanish stuff popped up. And the Abbey Road sessions from 1995. And the „Good Karma” outtakes. Just the other day I found even more from the „Have A Nice Day” sessions. And there are live recordings around, of course. Time will tell what’s gonna happen to it all. A Bigger Bag Of Trix?
When I started the „GKRA”-project I didn’t feel like writing a brand new Swedish album since I wanted to put all my songwriting-efforts into the upcoming English one. To create an entire album you need a lot of space + time. To get twelve proper songs you have to write twenty!
I decided instead to listen to my older material and picked up my guitar and started to recall them. Some 80’s songs felt surprisingly cool even after all these years. I think I tried around 50 songs. Most of them, however, were difficult to grasp. I couldn’t get into them at all. But, hey, that’s pretty normal. They’re quite old after all and things (and I) have changed. I also found some unreleased songs/demos I made for „En händig man” as well as for the Nashville albums. I removed my hand from the chocolate box when I had about twelve tracks that I really liked.


PP: – The fab photo on the sleeve of „Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig” is taken by Bruno Ehrs. How did you choose him for this project?

PG: – Our art gallery at Hotel Tylösand (Tres Hombres Art) is representing Bruno since earlier this year, so when I knew he was gonna visit Tylösand I asked him if wanted to take some pics of me. I’m a big fan of his work so I was, of course, delighted when he agreed. We found a farm/barn not too far away and spent a couple of hours there. It was a sunny day, we had a picknick in the garden, there were lots of strange animals everywhere. Felt like home.

PP: – Who picked the scene for the photo session and who styled the rooster and the chicks?

PG: – Well, the first round of barncheckin’ was made by good ole Lars Nordin from the gallery. He’s even older than me + knows everybody + has plenty of time driving around in his vintage French voiture looking at roosters. He’s a good guy. When he’s asleep. (Just kidding, of course….) When he found three or four proper locations he brought Bruno along. When Bruno was happy with lights and everything I joined the rooster party as well.

PP: – Besides T&A, you recorded GKRA at a new studio, Sweetspot in Harplinge. How did it come into sight and how different was it to work there vs. T&A or AGM?

PG: – I recorded the BOT interviews with Sven Lindström at Sweetspot and also did the „Mamma” + „Pappa” live videos with Helena there. It’s a cozy place. Staffan Karlsson who works at Sweetspot is an old friend of mine so I’m in good hands when I’m there. It’s very different from T&A, much bigger. We actually used it as a rehearsal studio for a tour a couple of years ago. I can’t remember if it was Rox or something on my own. Aerosol Grey Machine is quite similar (both Sweetspot and AGM are old barns) but there are more incense in the air at AGM. Chris likes the scent of Tibetian old socks for some reason. He’s the Syd Barrett of Vallarum.

PP: – Christoffer was involved in the recording of only one song on GKRA. That’s very unusual, looking back on the past two decades. What happened?

PG: – My original plan with GKRA was to play EVERYTHING myself. I did that on the „Mamma” + „Pappa”-single. But, as expected, after four or five recorded songs I realized I needed a better bass player as well as a decent drummer. I called up some local guys, Gicken Johansson (bass + lap steel) + Per Thornberg (tenor sax), and they helped me out together with the hipster bearded Jens Jansson from Brainpool. Remember him from the „Mazarin” Tour?
The reason Chris became involved with „Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig)” was because I had run out of ideas on that one. I sent Chris what we had recorded at T&A and he listened to it. He put on some guitar licks + the moog synthesizer intro. That was enough. It made me realize the song didn’t really need that much more. He helped me getting the big picture. Not the first time. He’s one of a kind.

PP: – You played most of the instruments yourself on the album. Hats off! Which was the instrument you never played before and which was the trickiest to play to get the sound you wanted?

PG: – Well, I’m certainly not a groovy bass player or a flashy drummer, I tell you that. I fool around with anything with strings on, like a hi-string acoustic guitar („Viskar” + „Tända en sticka till”) + dulcimer („I din hand”). I played the ukulele + mandolin on a few tracks but we never used any of it. I love to try out any instrument and I only give it up when I reach the point where my talents cease to exist. I’m sorry to say it happens quite quickly.

PP: – How was your cooperation with Per Thornberg and Fredrik „Gicken” Johansson? And how was it to work with Jens Jansson again?

PG: – Next to MP + Helena I must say that Gicken became the most important factor in this project. I never played with him before so I didn’t know what to expect but he was amazing. A super guy. He was supposed to play on only a few tracks but he eventually played on almost everything.
Per Tee got some backing tracks so he could prepare on his own and he came in + played the solo + coda (outro) on „Kom ut till stranden”. Plus, of course, he played the 50’s style brass-section on the instrumental parts of „Nypon och ljung”.
Jens has always been one of my favourite drummers and I had a gut feeling that this project should fit him perfectly. He doesn’t BANG the drums, he PLAYS the drums. I love that.

PP: – You dedicated this album to Uppa. Can we get to know who Uppa is?

PG: – Uppa was a personal friend to me + my family who died from cancer earlier this year. We miss him every day.

PP: – Sorry for your loss, Per. So sad. The first time I heard „Nypon och ljung” I had the very same feeling as when „Crash! Boom! Bang!” came out. In case of CBB I was prepared for a crashing song and I got a goosebumps ballad. With NOL I was prepared for an acoustic, melancholic, slow song based on how you described the album in the press release and the title of the song suggested it as well, then I got a midtempo, happy song. I know with CBB that was intentional from your side, but was it the case with NOL?

PG: – Well, obviously I knew most of the songs on this album were „small” (=more or less acoustic) so I was really thrilled when NOL came out jolly + funny + contagious. It’s always hard to present a new project with something fragile like „Segla på ett moln” or „Viskar” or „I din hand”. If you want to get most people interested early on you should tease them with something more mainstream. I tried to do that with NOL without losing the album’s identity or concept.

PP: – What songs made you feel the same way in your life? That you expected an absolutely different sound and then… bang!

PG: – I don’t know. I don’t know if that has ever happened to me. I don’t expect much hahaha.

PP: – Back to „Nypon och ljung”, the intro is very similar to Amy MacDonald’s „This Is The Life”. Is that just a coincidence?

PG: – I read that on Facebook. I hadn’t heard of Amy MacDonald so I checked her out. She’s good but I don’t find the songs similar at all. Mind games.

PP: – „I din hand” you wrote together with Åsa in 1986 and then added music to it in 1993. You gave it to Svante Thuresson then and his version always made me curious how yours would sound. How do you remember the time when you wrote it? Does today’s recording sound like how you back then imagined it should?

PG: – Just the other day I actually found two very old (1986) „I din hand”-demos with totally different music to more or less the same lyrics. One was sung by me, the other one by Milla from Millas Mirakel who sometimes helped me making demos in the 80’s + 90’s.
I had totally forgot about this song, I don’t even think the 1993-demo (with the new music) is on „The Per Gessle Archives”, is it? It’s actually pretty good and quite similar to the GKRA version but without the dulcimer + the piano melody. It’s got an accordion on it instead, played by MP.
Can’t remember writing the lyrics but I’m sure Åsa + I had a splendid time creating them. It must have been in the 80’s, not the 90’s though.

PP: – The demo to „Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig)” demo was released on the bonus EP of „En händig man” in 2007. Now it’s a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Why did you decide it should be a duet and how was it working together with Uno?

PG: – The idea came up the moment Uno called me up asking me if we could meet + have dinner. We usually meet up once or twice a year when he’s passing by Halmstad. It seems like he’s always touring.
I asked him if he wanted to sing with me, he said yeehaa and I sent him my old demo of „Du kommer så nära”. He liked it so I re-recorded my backing track so it fit both him and me keywise. Maybe you’ve noticed there’s a modulation just before he starts to sing? He’s certainly a fab singer and I love what he (and Helena) did to the song. And the dinner was good.

PP: – „Hjärta utan hem” is one of two Gyllene Tider songs on GKRA. You say it’s one of your best songs. Why you never played it live? You did play a song on the last GT tour that was never played live before, „Vandrar i ett sommarregn”. Was „Hjärta utan hem” a candidate too?

PG: – Well, there’s never been lots of space for songs like that on modern GT tours really. Every time we tour we present more or less a Greatest Hits show for obvious reasons. Sometimes there’s room for something „odd” and midtempo, like „Honung och guld” or „Vandrar i ett sommarregn” but you can’t have too many of those. I guess „Hjärta utan hem” would fit my own solo concerts better than GT’s.

PP: – „Segla på ett moln” was originally released by Anne-Lie Rydé in 1983. Your wonderful 1982 demo with Marie came out in 1992 and you released it under Mono Mind in English, „Shelter from the Storm” as well. What made you come back to this song again?

PG: – I like to sing it. Helena and I did it GKRA-style on a tour way back, can’t remember which. It’s wonderful to sing and I still like the lyrics. And it’s got simple chords.

PP: – „Ömhet” was written in 2002. That was the time when you first worked together with Helena. How was it to record this song with her 18 years later?

PG: – Well, the version from 2002 had totally different music. If I remember things right I wrote it just after the „Mazarin”-sessions but I never really liked the music that much.
I wrote new music just in time for Gyllene Tider’s „Dags att tänka på refrängen”-sessions but we never worked on it. Then I did yet another demo just before I went to Nashville. But we didn’t try it there either. Now was the time. It was written in the stars.
I wanted to do a „proper” duet with Helena on this album and this seemed to be the obvious choice. She did an amazing job as always. MP came up with the harpsichord parts and played the 12-string Rickenbacker. I played my red Gretsch Bo Diddley guitar.

PP: – This is the only track on GKRA that’s not mixed by MP and you, but Ronny Lahti. Why did you think it should be him mixing this song? Weren’t you afraid that it might break the style of the album?

PG: – „Ömhet” was the first song to get a proper mix. My original plan was to have Ronny mix the whole album. However, I realized I liked MP’s and my rough mixes so much that we should stick to them. We did our own mix of „Ömhet” as well but Ronny’s version was the best. He’s an amazing mixing engineer, just listen to Rox’ „Let Your Heart Dance With Me” or the Spanish version of „You Don’t Understand Me”. Outstanding work.

PP: – When I now hear „Viskar”, I realize that old love never dies indeed. You wrote this in 1984 after you met Åsa and released it on „Scener”. There you even wrote ”Viskar is Åsa’s song”. How was it to meet this ballad now 36 years later?

PG: – Oh, it was a beautiful song. Still is. I don’t think I’ve played it live at all except one time at Hotel Tylösand when Marie and I played it for Åsa at one of her birthday parties. I love to sing it but it’s really a delicate one so it’s hard to do it in front of thousands of people. I’m glad I recorded it the way it sounds now. It fits the song and the message.

PP: – „Lycklig en stund”, yet another song from „Scener”. I must say the GKRA version sounds far much better. The arrangement fits the song’s image very well. I can see you recorded it live at T&A already in April 2018. What project was on your mind when you did that?

PG: – It was just another live demo at T&A I did for fun. Sometimes I just go into the studio just to sing and play guitar at the same time. Live session is da shit! I love that. Doesn’t have to be a reason behind it.
When the GKRA-project came up I instantly wanted to revisit LES but realized I’d done it 2018 so I kept that live version and did some overdubs instead. Drums + bass + organ. It’s nothing special + won’t change the world but it makes me happy everytime I hear it. Good enough for me.

PP: – „Tända en sticka till” was the most important song on your first solo album. It sounded wonderful already back then as a duet with Marie, but your 2020 version is so much more emotional and Helena’s vocals add one level more to this. Is that friend Marie who you are singing about? I know you think of her a lot, we all do, but was she on your mind when now you were recording this track?

PG: – Well, it was written during a period in the early 80’s when Marie and I spent a lot of time together. So yes, Marie is always there when I think about this one.

PP: – „Som regn på en akvarell” is the second GT song on GKRA. How did it draw your attention for this project? Was it the most suitable for a mouth harp intro?

PG: – I wrote a long list of instruments I wanted to use on this album. Dulcimer + sitar + harmonica + lap steel + ukulele + mandolin + cello etc. And the jew’s harp (as we call it when we try to go global) was also on the list. I’ve been using it before. The most famous occasion is probably in the intro of „I Remember You” from „Joyride”. It’s always a tricky one to play but nowadays, with a little help from the computer, you can tune it properly.
I’ve always liked „Som regn på en akvarell” for some reason. It’s a song MP and I wrote for GT’s „Puls”-album in 1982. It’s got a country flair to it which was unusual for us at the time.   I wanted to try it out with Helena singing harmony, starting with the very first line. It’s a classic trick, like Everly Brothers or something Simon & Garfunkel would do, but I never really arrange my songs like this. Now was the time and it sounded great. Me = happy.

PP: – „Mamma” and „Pappa” were recorded in May this year and got warm welcome from the fans. What do you think your Mom and Dad would have thought about these two songs?

PG: – Well, that’s a tricky one. I don’t know.

PP: – „Kom ut till stranden” we heard as a 1986 demo before. This is the song that went through the biggest change lyric-wise. Is it just me or has it become a Marie & Per story this way?

PG: – Some songs I chose for GKRA had a bit of a „clumsy” lyrics here and there so I felt I had to re-write parts of them. The new first verse of „Kom ut till stranden” made the essence of the song much stronger. Sometimes you try to express something in a lyric but you screw things up by using the wrong words. Or you just complicate things. That’s the biggest mistake you make.
I’ve always loved „Kom ut till stranden”. It was the only song from my (never recorded nor released) third solo-album that wasn’t translated into English to become the first Roxette album. But at the same time I’ve never felt comfortable with some of the lyrics. Now I spent some hours trying to make sense. To better express what I meant in the first place.


PP: – Regarding „Bag of Trix”, the box set, how did you decide which tracks to put on which volume, how to mix the different eras?

PG: – I didn’t spend too much time doing that. I split the singles + Spanish tracks up so they wouldn’t interfere with each other. That’s basically it.

PP: – Vol. 1 starts with a cover song. „Help!”, after 55 years still sounds amazing, even if John Lennon told in an interview that he regrets a bit that it became too fast, because they tried to make the song more commercial. What do you think his opinion would have been about the Roxette version?

PG: – I think he would have loved it. It’s always amazing to hear a great female singer interpreting one of your songs.

PP: – „Let Your Heart Dance With Me” is such an amazing song and together with the video is so emotional. Many are curious if you’ve changed anything in its lyric for this „Bag of Trix” recording.

PG: – No no, it’s exactly how it was recorded. We haven’t done any overdubs or anything since the „Good Karma”-sessions. It’s just a brand new mix (by Ronny Lahti). He made it slightly heavier + faster + more up-to-date.

PP: – How did you decide whom to give LYHDWM for mixing? Why Ronny Lahti?

PG: – He’s my favourite mixing engineer. He’s done so much amazing stuff with my music over the years. „Room Service” + Mono Mind + solo stuff.

PP: – If you had the chance to turn back time, which era would you go back to, to see Marie smile again?

PG: – Any day would do.

PP: – Marie’s song, „Waiting For The Rain” ended up on „Have A Nice Day”. Do you remember why the final version became one verse less on HAND vs. the demo?

PG: – No, I don’t. I actually didn’t remember Marie’s demo at all when I found it. We probably felt it was too long. We almost always edit songs, shorten the intros or solos or codas. That’s pretty normal.

PP: – When you are talking about the Brian Malouf US single mix of „Joyride”, you seem to have mixed feelings. How big was your frustration when you got to know the US doesn’t play YOUR version of the song?

PG: – Both Marie and I liked his mix. It’s just that we preferred our own. Simple as that. To the main audience it never really mattered so it didn’t matter to us either. It’s the same song.

PP: – Brian Malouf also did „The bigger, the better mix” for „The Big L.”. Would you work with him these days?

PG: – I don’t know. I never met him. He did some great work.

PP: – How did „Like Lovers Do” change from Marie singing the song in the demo to a duet on the album version?

PG: – I think that was Clarence idea. He wanted me to sing more. I wanted to sing as little as possible.

PP: – You said it was a rush to record the Roxette debut album and we can see the Montezuma demos were recorded in 2 days, 25-26 July 1986. How do you remember those 2 days at the studio?

PG: – Hectic. It was basically just some hours to sort out the keys to the songs, who’s gonna sing what + where etc. Some songs didn’t even have English lyrics at the time so we recorded them in Swedish („Surrender” + „So Far Away”).

PP: – It was so hard to realize that Marie’s jazzy demo, „Pocketful of Rain” is actually the same song as your synth demo, „Reaching High”. So different versions. Why did you give it to Marie and why it never made it to a Roxette album in some form?

PG: – We couldn’t agree on it. My original music to POR eventually became a Swedish song for Anne-Lie Rydé called „Ta mig hem”. And I felt Marie’s new music to the POR-lyrics didn’t fit Roxette at the time. It was never a big issue, we had lots of songs.

PP: – The intimate concert on the US promo tour in 2000 had an audience of appr. 200 people in Seattle. How do you remember that event?

PG: – It was a very strange promo tour. We played some small theatres as well as places like the Virgin Megastore in NYC. We had a new US record label and we hadn’t worked the American market for many years so this was…. hmmmm…. weird.

PP: – „Wish I Could Fly” was the opening song on the setlist if I’m right. Why did you pick WICF for „Bag of Trix” from the songs you played there live? „Church of Your Heart”, for example, was added to the setlist especially for that venue (Sky Church at Experience Music Project) if I remember well.

PG: – I have the complete Seattle-tapes but didn’t want too many live recordings on the „Bag Of Trix”. So I kept it short.

PP: – The neverending drum loop is too cool and the story-telling lyric is wonderful together with sing la-di-dah in „Happy Together”. How come it has never made it to „Have A Nice Day”? Or another Roxette album later?

PG: – Too many songs floating around at the time. I’ve always loved „Happy Together” but I was the only one! The version on BOT is actually my demo with Marie’s voice added on later at some point. The guitar part in the outro is amazing. And I really like the lyrics as well. I don’t like the drum-loop, though. Sorry PP.

PP: – Haha. Never mind… „Beautiful Boy” was a great song already when it was „Beautiful Girl”. Just by changing one word in the lyrics and of course, the way Marie sings it and the music she wrote to it makes it so different to your demo. She recorded it almost one year after your T&A demo. On „The Per Gessle Archives” you said you didn’t really like your version. What was your problem with it? Does it make more sense in Marie’s interpretation for you?

PG: – Yea, I never liked my version of it that much. Marie’s version is much better. But we felt we didn’t need it at the time.

PP: – „You Don’t Understand Me” you wrote together with Desmond Child. The demo sung by Marie is very close to the final version, still a bit different with its exploring mode. Is there a demo with your vocals? Maybe a Per + Desmond demo?

PG: – No, Marie was in Halmstad and came over to my apartment just to say hello to Desmond. She heard our new born baby and suggested she could sing on the demo. We loved that (of course) and it sounded amazing. It wasn’t intended to be a Roxette recording. We wrote it for someone else in the States, can’t remember who.

PP: – „Hotblooded” is an absolute killer and most fans I talked to about this release were blown away by this demo. Marie’s vocals are so sexy, you can call her miss! And your voices blend so well. Perfect match, already then. „Things Will Never Be The Same” on Vol. 4 was recorded on the very same day. What was in the air that day?

PG: – Hahaha yea, it’s really cool. I don’t know. There’s an even earlier demo of „Hotblooded” with guitars + bass + drums somewhere recorded at the time when it was written. So this must be an acoustic session we did for some reason.

PP: – Since you mentioned it in your „Songs, Sketches & Reflections” book in 2014, we’ve been waiting for „Piece of Cake” to see the light of day. We’ll hear it on „Bag of Trix” Vol 3. The title is so simple, yet so exciting. You say it’s a typical song of your English songwriting. It all starts with the antennas out, but what do you see are the main elements of your English songwriting and what’s the difference between that and your Swedish songwriting technique?

PG: – Obviously you have „control” of your native tongue in a different manner than in any other language. Nowadays I don’t feel the difference being that big. It used to be. But I have grown. Or shrunk.

PP: – There are two songs that appear in different versions on „Bag of Trix”. „Wish I Could Fly” twice and „You Don’t Understand Me” in 3 versions. How special are these songs to you that they „took the chance away” from at least 3 other songs to be released on BOT?

PG: – Just coincidence. You think too much, Patricia.

PP: – Haha, that’s what my friends use to tell me… You have just released the Spanish version of „You Don’t Understand Me”, „Tú no me comprendes”. Are there any Spanish tracks left that we haven’t heard so far?

PG: – No, this is it. The last one. „Tu No Me Comprendes” was left out from the „Baladas En Espanol”-album for some reason. Maybe we felt the album became too long? Earlier this spring Ronny Lahti mixed it and it actually sounds better than the English version in my boombox.

PP: – We can find 10 T&A demos from 5 years on BOT. None of them had been released before, except for „Happy Together”. There must be hundreds, if not thousands of T&A demos. Do you remember all your demos? I mean, do you remember which versions of your demos were special for some reason or which years to check when you want to go back to a song?

PG: – Yes, there are lots of demos. I will most likely release some of them as time goes by.  I have a pretty decent archive these days but some demos and various recordings are still on reel-to-reel tapes + cassettes + strange digital formats.

PP: – Marie’s 1998 demo of „Always The Last To Know” will be on Vol. 2. This song really has so many lives. Your demos remained demos, Marie wrote new music to it and then she released it in Swedish with newly written lyrics („Det som var nu”). You said on TPGA that it wasn’t released on „Have A Nice Day”, because Clarence and Marie didn’t approve of it. What was Marie’s opinion about this song?

PG: – I don’t know. I always felt my music had the qualities to become a big ballad in a „classic” Rox style. Especially with those lyrics. But we had big ballads on HAND anyway, like „Salvation” so maybe the timing was wrong?

PP: – 6 Studio Vinden demos found their way to „Bag of Trix”. How much did you involve Micke Bolyos? Did you discuss it with him which ones to release?

PG: – Yes, when it came to Marie’s demos I wanted him to have a say. He was the producer of those recordings.

PP: – Will Micke comment only on these Studio Vinden demos in the booklet or are there any comments by him on other songs as well?

PG: – No, I don’t think so.

PP: – Which track do you consider the biggest find in the vaults on the „Bag of Trix”?

PG: – „Let Your Heart Dance With Me” + Tom Lord-Alge’s mix of „Soul Deep”. Amazing.

PP: – Thank you so much for your time, Per! Looking very much forward to the remaining 2 volumes of „Bag of Trix”! And I keep „Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig” on repeat!

PG: – Thanx Patricia. Merry X (it’s sooner than you think) + stay safe and sound!

Still is from the Bag of Trix video comments, recorded by Anders Roos.

CONTEST – Win a signed Gyllene Tider 2.019 – en sista refräng book!

Anders Roos, photographer and publisher of the Gyllene Tider 2.019 – en sista refräng book was kind enough to offer us 1 copy for a contest. RoxBlog added another one, so now 2 books can be won. HERE you could already read our review, from which you can see it’s worth having this book written by Jan-Owe Wikström in your collection. Both copies are signed by all 5 band members!

In order to participate, answer the following questions correctly:

  1. How many Gyllene Tider books had Jan-Owe Wikström written before Gyllene Tider 2.019 – en sista refräng? 2
  2. Where did GT record their last studio album? Name the studio and country! – Studios La Fabrique, France
  3. Which was the closing song on each setlist on the GT40 tour? – När alla vännerna gått hem
  4. During which song and at which concert was the GT40 Live! album cover photo taken? Name the song and town! – Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång, Kalmar

You can find the answers to all questions on RoxBlog. 😉

Send an e-mail with your name, address and the correct answers to the questions to until 23:59 CET, 9th January 2020. The 2 lucky winners will be announced shortly after. Good luck!

Contest terms and conditions:
– In order to participate, you have to send an e-mail to with name, address and correct answers to the
4 questions. We will consider all e-mails we receive until 23:59 CET on 9th January 2020.
– 2
winner 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.
– Prizes won’t be paid out in cash. Prizes will be sent by registered
mail only once.
– The 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.
– 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 prizes.
– By taking part in the contest, personal data (first name, surname, e-mail address and address) will be collected. These data are needed in order to run the contest, particularly in order to match participation applications to their entries as well as to identify and notify the winners. This method of processing data is therefore required pursuant to Article 6 Paragraph 1 lit b of the GDPR to fulfil contractual obligations. The personal data collected will be processed and used by only to the extent that is required in order to run the contest. The personal data will be stored for the duration of the contest and – in order to process any claims relating to winnings and damages – for a maximum of 6 months afterwards and they will then be deleted. By participating you agree to all above mentioned and your name being published on this website as well as on social media channels in case you win.

Photo by Anders Roos

UPDATE on 10th January 2020: 2 winners are picked. They are: Attila Soós and Sabina Seyfarth. The winners are informed via e-mail too.

Gyllene Tider – GT40 – PLECtionary update

Collage of the recently added picks by Sandra Knospe

It’s nice to update the PLECtionary each year, because that means there is a tour each year. This time it was Gyllene Tider’s farewell tour that provided us with some additional guitar picks. Per shared a picture of his new set of 7 GT40 plectrums mid June and then we could start working out our pick-catching techniques for July-August.

Many fans were lucky enough to get hold of some of the plecs Per threw to the crowd during the gigs or before leaving the stage at the end of the shows. Sometimes even Micke Syd helped Mr. G in distributing his picks from the stage. Haha. This time MP was also in the mood to throw his own picks at the concerts, so those who were standing on the left in the audience had a good chance to become the new owners of MP’s plecs.

Sandra could of course obtain the plectrums and we are happy that she found the time to take pics of them and provide us with info she got to know about each of these little plastic beauties.

7 new picks are added to the PER GESSLE’S GUITAR PICKS – GYLLENE TIDER section, 6 picks are added to the MATS MP PERSSON’S GUITAR PICKS section and 1 pick has been added to the MIKAEL NOGUEIRA SVENSSON’S GUITAR PICKS section as well. Anders uses non-customized picks, so his pick from the GT40 tour is now added to the OTHER RELATED GUITAR PICKS section. Check out the PLECtionary HERE!

Thanks a million for the updates, Sandra!

Pic by Patrícia Peres taken in Karlstad 2019