Gessle enligt Gessle – the English summary – Part 2

Part 2 of TV4’s documentary, Gessle enligt Gessle contains a lot of talking about Roxette, footage of Per’s Nashville adventure, including the photo session with Anton Corbijn and also the funniest anecdote of Per and Åsa’s first meeting with Paul McCartney. Of course, Part 2 also contains footage from the Halmstad gig of Per’s En vacker kväll tour.

In case you missed the summary of Part 1, check it out HERE! Watch Part 1 and Part 2 on TV4’s website if you are in Sweden or Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube if you are anywhere else in the world.

Here is my summary in English of Part 2. All stills are from Part 2.

In the intro Niklas tells that so far he got to know a lot about Per’s upbringing, his guitars, how to wake up a patient in coma, the break-up and if he helps in the kitchen. But he still had many questions. How could he manage being world famous? How low can one hold a guitar? Who has the firmest ass, Per or Paul McCartney? Will there be anything with Roxette again?

STUDIO (Skärmarbrink)

Niklas says he was about 30 when he came by “The Look” and he starts playing the riff. Per immediately says Jonas Isacsson. When they recorded the song, it was built very much on Per’s demo with the sequencer base and all, but they didn’t have the riff then. They asked Jonas to play something George Harrisonish on the guitar. Something in “Taxman” style or “I Want To Tell You”. The Revolver-George Harrison. Jonas came up with different suggestions including this riff.

Niklas starts reading the Swedish translation of the lyrics of “The Look”: Eld i isen, naken intill T-benet, en älskares förklädnad, banka på huvudtrumman, skaka som en galen tjur, hon har utseendet.

Per laughs and Niklas asks if he can recognize it. He states it wouldn’t have been too easy to come up with this text in Swedish. Niklas says he would probably change the last line to hon har ett lok instead of hon har utseendet. The lyrics are very special. It’s a nonsense text. Per wrote “The Look” to learn how to program his new synth, an Ensoniq ESQ-1. The first song he wrote on it was “The Look”. A 3-chord hit inspired by ZZ Top. They were big then. Then Per came to that half-rapping text.  “Walking like a man, hitting like a hammer, she’s a juvenile scam.” That rhythm became the whole song in some way. Mr. G put together a nonsense text to remember the rhythm. When he tried to write a real text, he felt he could not. He swapped out some words in the nonsense text and gave it some kind of logic. Niklas asks if there is any logic in the text. Per says there is, some kind of tumultuous experience of love. He thought there was a certain “I Am The Walrus” feeling about it. Like “Goo goo g’joob”. There is almost no real logic, but that’s what makes it exciting. When “The Look” became a hit all over the world, it was said in the English-speaking countries that no English-speaking person would have been able to write that text. But it was to Roxette’s advantage and to the advantage of the song. It stands out.

Per’s demo to “The Look” is called “He’s Got The Look”. It was supposed to be sung by Marie, but when she started singing, she felt that it was not for her. She couldn’t identify with it. Almost all the songs Per has written for Roxette he had written for Marie to sing them. The songs Per sings are those Marie didn’t want to sing. At the same time there were more regular duets like “The Big L” written for two to sing.

Niklas says the first real Roxette hit was a coincidence, it wasn’t meant for Roxette. Per says it’s true. There was an ambition that Marie and Per had talked about for many years, to do something together. But what that would be, they didn’t know. Per had written a song to Pernilla Wahlgren called “Svarta glas”. But she never recorded it. Per’s demo circulated a bit and then one day Per bumped into the head of EMI, Roffe Nygren at the EMI office and then he said how good “Svarta glas” is. “Write an English text and record it with Marie, so you have the song you’ve been talking about to do with Marie for all these years.” So Per did it and presented it to Marie. They made a duet that became the summer hit in 1986.

Per had started talking about making his third Swedish solo album, but EMI was not interested, so he had no record company. But Per had met Clarence Öfwerman who would produce the “possible” record. So he produced “Neverending Love”. It became such a big success that they recorded the first Roxette album.

Niklas has 11 questions about when “The Look” became No. 1 in the US. First of all, he is interested in how Per found it out. Mr. G says he was in Halmstad and someone called. Probably Thomas Erdtman as they worked with him since a few months. He jokes he has so many No. 1s, that’s why he can’t remember exactly. Marie Dimberg and someone from EMI went to Café Opera and celebrated in the evening but Per wasn’t there.

Niklas asks if Per remembers what he was wearing. Per says of course not. But Hallandsposten took pictures and on the photos he is wearing an ugly dotted shirt.

Next question is whom Per called first. Per says probably Marie. Niklas says it must have been totally crazy. What did Per do in the evening? He was sitting at home and watched Rapport (the news) on TV. As usual. Niklas asks what happened the next evening, where did they go. Per says there was a big press conference in Grand Hotel. Niklas asks what they were drinking. Per replies he doesn’t know, but probably champagne. Niklas asks who paid the bill. Per doesn’t know, but it was certainly their record company. Niklas asks if they stayed there long. Per says certainly and asks Niklas if he was there too. Niklas thinks he wasn’t there.

Per tells Marie and he were never together when any of their songs became No. 1. “Listen To Your Heart” was the second one. Then Per was in Halmstad again and they talked on the phone. When the third song, “It Must Have Been Love” became No. 1, Per sat with Jonathan Green at EMI in England. Per called and checked if they stayed No. 1 for one more week. They did. When “Joyride” became No. 1, Mr. G was in Paris.

Per asks who has come up with these smart questions. Niklas replies it was him.

Niklas is sitting and talking to Per Gessle in the old EMI studio in Skärmarbrink, outside of Stockholm. They are talking about Roxette’s huge success. Niklas is curious about how one can handle this success. Per says they were of course a bit shocked by the success. At the same time, they were a bit older. Marie was 30 and Per 29 when it happened. They already had some experience, but they had no classical management that guided them. They did a lot of weird stuff. E.g. they went around and sang playback for radio stations and their guests. Playback in the radio is fun, haha. They didn’t know how it worked and they felt it was not what they wanted. Eventually, their experience and being good live were something that differentiated them from their competitors at the time. Milli Vanilli, for example. Niklas asks if Milli Vanilli was their worst competitor. Per says there was Paula Abdul, Richard Marx and The Bangles. They were quite OK live too, but Marie was a wonderful singer. Roxette’s record company abroad, also in the United States, was convinced that Roxette was a one-hit-wonder. A Swedish band in 1989. But when they came with their third single the record company loved it. It was “Listen To Your Heart”, which also became No. 1. Then the door was open. Then came “Dangerous” that was 2nd on the charts. Then came “It Must Have Been Love”.

Per tells a story when he was in New York at the Apollo Theater. He got the invitation from his friend, Scott Greenstein who is the head of Sirius XM satellite radio in the US, having 70 million subscribers. Sirius had a concert for Paul McCartney. Åsa and Per went there since Scott had fixed tickets and only celebrities were there. Per sat here, Åsa, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Tony Bennett, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Simon. Then Scott asked if they wanted to meet Paul. “Sure. I’ve never met Paul McCartney, it would be fun”, said Per. He, Åsa and DJ Howard Stern, who also worked with Sirius, they went in the greenroom to greet Paul McCartney. They walked in and talked a bit and suddenly Paul appeared in his Beatles suit, with his thumbs up. “Fancy a picture, anyone?” Sure. Per stood there, Åsa stood in the middle, Paul on the other side and there was a photographer too. Suddenly, Per felt a hand on his ass. He thought, huh? “Hope it’s Åsa.” Then there was nothing more about it. “Break a leg”. Good to see you. And when they left, Per asked Åsa: “Did you put your hand on my ass?” “Yes. I put my hand on your ass and my other hand on Paul’s to see who had the coolest ass.” Paul had it. Haha. Per says: “Isn’t that cute? My wife in a nutshell. His ass was much firmer, she said.”

 

Niklas introduces the next part by telling in September 2002, Roxette was booked for a press conference before “Night of the Proms”. A huge music event that was going to become a European tour. Roxette would have been the main act. Per was on his way to the airport when their manager, Marie Dimberg called him and said that Marie Fredriksson had collapsed at home in the bathroom. It turned out she suffered from a brain tumor and that was the beginning of a long break for Roxette. Marie eventually became healthy and Roxette came back. In 2011, Per and Marie went on a successful  world tour seen by 1.5 million people in 46 countries. From June 2016, the duo was booked for a major European tour, but Marie had to cancel it for health reasons just two months before the premiere gig. Niklas asks Per how did it feel. Per says Marie made the right decision. She felt it was time to quit and Per respects it to 110%. But at the same time it felt like an end.

Niklas asks if there will be more records or tours with Roxette. Per says tours for sure not, but records… he doesn’t know. He doesn’t think so. It’s hard to make records. There must be a reason for it. Per tries to think positively though. They have had so many amazing things with Roxette. Songs, recordings and concerts. It feels great to carry it in your luggage.

Niklas says when Roxette was put on ice, Per started writing in Swedish again. Something that was originally thought to be a project for Gyllene Tider, but became Per’s solo album, “Mazarin”. Per says in the ‘80s he felt he had reached as far as he could and then it was really nice to start working in English. When he went back to Swedish and wrote “Mazarin” in 2002 it was an incredible kick, because he had not done it for so long.

Including hits like “Tycker om när du tar på mig” and “Här kommer alla känslorna på en och samma gång”, the album became a big success in Sweden. Per says he didn’t want to release any singles from the album. He had worked so long with singles in mind regarding Roxette. Ironically, one of his biggest singles ever was “Här kommer alla känslorna på en och samma gång”. For a while, he wouldn’t even want to have it on the album. It was too much pastiche and it had no real refrain.

Roxette’s career is full of success, No. 1’s, world tours and strange interviews. Niklas is curious about how Per looks back on those times. Per says one of the biggest kicks was when they were doing a TV thing in the Netherlands. There was a guy who stood and screamed from the second floor of a courtyard of a hotel. He shouted: “I love your record!” It was Tom Petty. Then Per thought: “Shit, this is…” Niklas says it must have been awesome and asks for more stories.

Per talks about their tour in South America 1991, no it was 1992. Nobody wanted to play in South America. There was recession and no one was paid. Everyone cancelled their shows, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Michael Jackson. If you go to South America, you do it because it’s fun. Roxette thought it’s much fun, so they went there and played. They were planned to play in not too big venues, for 4-5000 people, but when they got there everything exploded for them. They played in 16 football stadiums instead. For 65000 people in São Paulo, 55000 in Santiago and 50000 twice in Buenos Aires. Niklas says they are still crazy in Argentina. Per says it has always been a great place for Roxette. Niklas says probably because they didn’t cancel their shows. Per says they really show what they feel. It’s much fun to play there. They don’t care that Roxette is not from England or the US, they are just music for them.

Niklas tells Per’s inspiration and motivation must have been on top mainly after the first US No. 1. Per says it’s clear that you get a huge self-confidence of success. They knew that it was a very good album. There were many songs on it and Per told Marie: “If we are lucky to get through with one of the songs, we have a good future because we have so many songs that are good.” Per was triggered by success. That was something very different between Marie and Per. Marie was often quite happy with their success, but Per never was. He always wanted more. When it was the worst in the ’90s, they did 1800 interviews in 8 months, around the world. At the same time Per wrote the “Joyride” album. It sounds like it was very hard but it was easy because Per was so terribly motivated. He just wanted to move forward. Niklas asks Per if he ever stopeed. Per says he is not that type. He always wants it to work and get as big as possible. Niklas says Per also wants to decide, he wants to control. Per says indeed, sometimes. Niklas asks if it has ever been a problem in Roxette. Per says it’s hard for him to answer. He has never experienced it as a problem. He’s always been interested in the music industry, how it works and all the craziness that goes on while Marie has never really been into it. She loves to be on stage, sing and develop her musicality. So Per always got more space in a Roxette project.

Niklas says he can get tired of his music. He can feel he is so predictable playing his usual chords, G, C, D, E minor, C and then Am7 like some kind of Italian salad spice. He is curious if Per ever gets tired of his own melodies. Mr. G says that’s why he tries to write as little as possible. If he gets an idea that he thinks is exciting, he can sit at the piano and play in a tone that he doesn’t feel comfortable with. For example, E flat minor or something, so he knows he’ll make a mistake. Within 10 seconds he makes a fool of himself. He is fooling his own mind and he records it, because it often happens that he can’t repeat it if it’s not on tape.

Niklas says his theory is that the best songs are written very fast. Per says the best songs are in A. All Motörhead songs are in A. Niklas says AC / DC songs are in A too. Per says the best ideas, the essence of a good song come fast. Often there is something that is the soul of a song. It can be the hook, or a rhythm that is the essence of the song. It usually comes very fast, but everything else doesn’t have to go fast. If Per is stuck or if he doesn’t think it’s good enough, he’ll leave it or throw it away.

Here comes a little footage from the photo session with Anton Corbijn in Nashville and then Niklas asks Per about being on stage. Per says he has never really felt comfortable on stage until the last few years. It has always been difficult to be on stage, because he is not good at it. They should have had more time for that with Gyllene Tider, but they had done six gigs in front of people before they became No. 1 on the charts. Per has learned it the hard way, doing hundreds of gigs to see what works and what doesn’t. Today he feels comfortable on stage. One should think as little as possible and try to be as natural as possible. Now that he is getting close to 60, it has been a long journey, maybe now he starts to understand how it works.

Niklas asks Per how low can he have a guitar hanging and if it goes up with the age. Per says it does. In his case, he started holding it higher in 1996 when he had a slipped disc because his whole body was crooked. The doctor said Mr. G should raise the guitar 10 centimeters higher. I was doing this on my head.

Niklas asks Per how good he is as a guitarist. Per says on a 10-point scale he is still only 3. He says he sounds best on acoustic guitar and when he plays alone, without a plectrum, with his fingers. He shows how it goes and starts playing “Småstadsprat”.

The guys are talking about titles. Per says a title he likes triggers his imagination to become a story. Niklas asks how Per finds the titles. Mr. G says it can be something a taxi driver says, an article in a newspaper… “Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång” is from a movie. “I want that girl in a Cole Porter song”, says Jack Lemmon in “Save the Tiger”. Per has always had an archive of titles. Everything from “How Do You Do!” or “Small Talk” to “Listen To Your Heart”. All those songs started with a title. Mr. G says if you look at the song titles on Spotify’s top 50 list, it’s all bad titles. They don’t give anything. Per always tries to avoid the anonymous. In pop or rock music format, anonymity is the worst to be used. You only have three minutes to be ready with a song. You need to make it packed so it grabs attention all the time. A catchy refrain, great production, the intro… It shouldn’t be too tedious, nor too ineffective.

Here comes a little Nashville footage again.

HOTEL TYLÖSAND

Niklas asks Per if he can feel that kind of strong emotion in the studio when what they record becomes so good so that you start crying. Per says it happens. Those are the moments you are in the studio for. The creative process must have a goal and a purpose. It’s to feel that what you’re recording is good. Sometimes when Per has written a song or text and it’s been a while, and then he reads it or listens to it again, he can’t remember that he has written it. He can’t understand how it became the result. It’s recorded, it’s there in the song or the music, but he doesn’t really know how it all resulted in it. It lives its own life.

Here comes a little Nashville footage again. Niklas says, for many years, Per has recorded his solo albums in Christoffer Lundquist’s studio in Skåne. When it was about to record again a year ago, it became Nashville instead. It resulted in two new albums, “En vacker natt” and “En vacker dag”. Niklas asks Per if it was as much fun in Nashville as one could think it is. Per says  there is very much music. The first week they concentrated a lot on the recordings. The second week they started to go out to have dinner and go to clubs. There are so many. Acoustic clubs where three undiscovered talents play every night and everyone sits there and they think and drink beer. Of course, the music culture characterizes the whole town. Per wanted it to be a very personal record. His heart was heavy and maybe it was partly because his whole family died. His mother, brother and sister.

TYLÖSAND BEACH

Niklas asks how Per handles his loss, losing his mother, brother and sister in a very short time. Mr. G thinks it’s a tough question. In both his mother’s and sister’s case, they were sick for a very long time, so he had kind of time to prepare himself. But it’s hard of course, when it suddenly happens. Shit, they are no longer there. But time is healing.

HOTEL TYLÖSAND

Per wanted to make a record about how he felt at that time. The album is not really about it, but it has put a color and a tone on the entire recording. Per wanted to go somewhere else and they talked about England and France. But then someone came up with Nashville and it wasn’t a stupid idea after all. He liked it. He thought then he could make an even bigger change using local musicians. The Nashville sound fit him pretty well with pedal steel and violin and so on. It’s close to the singer / songwriter tradition Per has always loved.

Niklas asks if the American musicians thought it was good. Per thinks so. He was afraid they would think he came in with some kind of division 2 country songs. But it wasn’t the case. They were there for a few days, so they became friends. Then Per told them he was a bit afraid, since they had worked with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson and all the amazing people. They liked it very much. It is noticeable on their part. Stuart Duncan is dancing ballet on his violin. Stuart Duncan, what a guy!

STUDIO (Skärmarbrink)

Niklas tells Per worked together with Lars Winnerbäck, who is both there on the album and was a guest artist on Per’s tour. Niklas is curious about why it became Lars Winnerbäck. Per says he met Lasse at a concert he played. He is a nice guy. Then Mr. G saw him in Niklas’ program on TV where he played a Gyllene Tider song. They became friends, he is really a lovely guy. Per immediately thought of him.

Per is so used to writing either for Marie or for singing duets with her. You usually interpret a duet like a guy and a girl singing to each other. Per didn’t write “Småstadsprat” as a duet. But when two guys sing a duet, then they don’t sing to each other. They are singing about the same thing. Lyrically, it becomes quite exciting when two guys are singing.

TYLÖSAND BEACH

Everything Per has done has made him a different person. Sometimes it feels like he has just begun. He wants to do more stuff, he is always looking for something, he always has stuff going on. It’s very much him in a way.

 

 

Thanx a lot for the technical support, János Tóth!

Gessle enligt Gessle – the English summary – Part 1

Gessle enligt Gessle (Gessle according to Gessle) is a 2-part documentary on Per Gessle, covering the story of his early life, musical career including Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo, songwriting and his En vacker kväll tour. The docu was recorded during the summer tour and in September and it was broadcast on 18th-19th December on TV4.

Why this documentary is different to most of those we could see in the Roxette World is that it’s Niklas Strömstedt, well-known musician and a good old friend to Per who is doing a long interview with Mr. G. Niklas and Per know each other since long and Niklas has always respected Per, his creativity and ability to write music. You can feel this admiration during the whole docu. The program is very natural, 2 friends talking about their passion, i.e. music. Per said Niklas asked questions in the documentary as a friend, as another musician, so it was indeed different vs. previous docus.

After seeing this documentary, recorded by Grumpy Productions (the same company that recorded the latest GT DVD), covering a lot from the summer tour as well, one doesn’t really need a separate tour DVD. But if a decision is made to release the Halmstad concert one day, we will of course be very happy about it.

A real hardcore fan won’t hear too much new information, but there are a few new anecdotes and the structure and the mood of the whole docu is just perfect. The interview is nicely interrupted by footage from the EVK concert in Halmstad. All in all, it’s very enjoyable and a real delight to all fans.

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 on TV4’s website if you are in Sweden or Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube if you are anywhere else in the world.

Here is my summary in English of Part 1. You’ll see the ”chapters” according to the places where the actual scenes were recorded. (Part 2 summary comes soon.) All stills are from Part 1.

TYLÖSAND BEACH

After a short tour scene, we can see beautiful Tylösand, Per and Niklas are walking along the beach and Per starts talking. He says he likes Halmstad, he likes being there. He has been travelling a lot ever since Roxette broke through, but he always has to come back to Halmstad to breathe out. It’s a special feeling. Besides that, his mum was there, MP’s studio is there. He just belongs to Halmstad and Halmstad belongs to him.

Niklas tells he has known Per Gessle since appr. 40 years. First time they met was on a chilly Tuesday in August 1979 at the EMI studio in Stockholm. They have occasionally written songs and played together. Niklas has a great respect for Per’s creativity, artistry and his ability to create hits.

They talk after Per came back from Nashville and was on a successful tour from Piteå to Helsingborg.

While walking at the beach, Per says the first thing he is thinking of when he wakes up in the morning is having the job done. And it’s music. Niklas is kidding and says not like others of their age to be thinking: “It doesn’t hurt so much today.” Per takes it for granted that it doesn’t hurt, fortunately. He says you look at the emails and what has happened during the night, there are always things to do and it always has to do with music in some way.

Niklas feels it’s time to dig deeper in Per’s upbringing and amazing career. It’s more than 40 years since Per conquered Sweden and a bit later the world with his music. Niklas knows for example that Per sold 85 million albums, but he still has tons of questions. E.g. how he celebrated his first Billboard No. 1, if he helps at home, how he felt when Gyllene Tider split, what happens inside when one loses his closest.

Niklas asks Per if he ever rests. Per says he does. He doesn’t work as much as it seems. He is not sitting at the piano between 10 and 12 each day. He doesn’t write every day, but he always has his antennas out. If he hears or reads something he likes, he takes notes and later either he uses it or not. Niklas asks if it’s hard to have the antennas always out. Mr. G says it’s hard, but probably harder for those around him than for himself. He just works like this. He can’t switch it off.

A WALK IN HALMSTAD

Niklas starts the next chapter by talking a bit about Per’s family. Per was born on 12th January 1959 in an incredibly cold Halmstad. His sister, Gunilla was 14 and his brother, Bengt was 7 when Mr. G was born. Per’s father, Kurt was a plumber and his mother, Elisabeth was painting porcelain.

The guys are taking a walk along the river, Nissan in Halmstad. Niklas asks Per about how he remembers the Halmstad he grew up in. Per says it didn’t look like this. There are many new buildings. He grew up in Furet district by the way. It was a ’50s-’60s villa area. It was a little idyllic in its way, but Per didn’t like it. He liked most his record player back then too.

Niklas asks Per if they played a lot of music at home and what Per’s parents were listening to. Per says his parents weren’t really interested in music, but his brother was. He was born in 1951 and grew up with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, in the middle of the ’60s. His sister grew up with Elvis and Tommy Steele. So it was a lot of pop and rock music in the house. Per liked them all. He bought Melody Maker and New Musical Express magazines as a 12-13-year-old and was following the charts. In the ’60s he liked almost everything. The Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Tages. The first LP he bought was King Controversy. He bought it from his brother who needed money for cigarette. It cost 5 crowns from his pocket money.

Niklas asks Per what is his first ever memory. Per says he remembers having all his toy cars in the pantry in the kitchen. It’s a good memory. He was laying there and crawling. He had a little Goldfinger and an Aston Martin.

HOTEL TYLÖSAND

Niklas asks Per in what way he was mommy’s boy. Per says his mum always supported him. She bought his first guitar. She said: “If you want a guitar, we will buy a really good one.” There was an old steel-string guitar in the house which couldn’t be played. So his mum bought a Bjärton nylon-string guitar.

Niklas asks which was the first song Per wrote himself. It was “Symbol of the autumn”, a song in English. Niklas is curious if Per has all his old demos. Per thinks so, but he can’t remember if he threw them out or just ignored them. He then tells the story of he and his friend being Sweden’s first troubadours employed by the city council. For 3 months they were playing at nursing homes for old people and so. He had his little Bjärton guitar and they played “Drömmen om Elin”, “Svarte Rudolf” and “Så skimrande var aldrig havet”. Niklas asks if Per could play “Drömmen om Elin”, but Per isn’t sure about it, so he chooses “Svarte Rudolf” instead. He says he played it for a radio a long time ago. Niklas gives the guitar to Per, but keeps the plectrum for himself. Per starts playing the song, but he can’t remember the text.

Mr. G says they got a schedule for each week and he has lots of stories from those times. One of them is when they had to go to the long-term care at the hospital in Halmstad. They had never been there and when they got in, there was no one who greeted them. They just entered a hall where there were two patients on the two sides so they sat in the middle and played. The patients didn’t move, they were just lying there. Per and his friend played “Man borde inte sova” or “Streets of London”. Suddenly the staff came and wondered what they were doing there. Just then, one of the two guys woke up, it was a young guy. It was a big thing, because he had been in coma. He woke up when Per and his friend played. Maybe they played “Proud Mary” or something he recognized. Then came like 20 doctors and staff and asked “Can you come and play here too?” It was a big deal because the guy woke up from coma. During those three minutes Per and his friend managed to wake him up… Fate is strange.

Per tells another story. It’s about Tilda, 91 and Agnes, 97 in a nursing home. The ladies were sitting and eating lunch at a table. Per had a small capo for the guitar. Per and his friend Peter sat there and Per put his capo on the table. They played some songs and when he wanted to pick up his capo, it was gone. Eskil, 101 years old, was sitting there and had it in his mouth. He had dipped it in the soup. He thought it was cracking bread or something. Such things always happened. Haha.

Niklas and Per start talking about clothes. Per says he wasn’t interested in clothes when he was a kid. He was quite overweight and looked pretty grotesque in all clothes. It was only later, in his late teens, in the ’70s when he tried to get some sort of look. He remembers the punk outfit and the new wave look. Narrow ties. A little bit like what Gyllene Tider looked back then.

The guys move on to the school topic. Per says he regrets he didn’t spend much time and energy on school. It was horrible. Where he went to school they didn’t learn anything. It has always been easy for him to learn things. If you had a good result on a high school test, you were booed in the class. Per thinks it was chemistry. They didn’t enter the classroom for a whole semester. The whole class sat outside the classroom. The teacher came out and tried to get them in, but it didn’t work. Everyone received an approved grade, even though they had not had a single lesson.

There is a concert cut from Halmstad where Per tells when he started writing songs in the ’70s he wrote in English. He learned English by listening to pop music. You didn’t learn anything at school, but on the records you found your own language.

STUDIO (Skärmarbrink)

Niklas remembers that one day when he was at EMI’s office in Solna, Gyllene Tider came straight from the studio to record “Sommartider”. Lasse and Kjell had told Per he should write a hit. Per says “Sommartider” and “Sleeping In My Car” are the only songs he has written for those to become hits. He hesitated for a long time if the title should be “Sommartider”, because Magnus Uggla had a song called “Sommartid”. Niklas asks if Per knew it already then that it would become a hit. Per says no. He remembers that they were sitting in Anders’ car in Halmstad and the song was played on the radio and the host said it would be that summer’s hit. They were just screaming in the car: Yes!

HOTEL TYLÖSAND

Niklas asks Per if he cooks. Per says he doesn’t really, but it’s fun to help in the kitchen. With the meat sauce. Or most of the times, to lay the table. Niklas asks if Per would like to have some signature dishes. Per says it would be fun. He thinks cooking is a creative job too and it’s strange he doesn’t cook. But with his traveling lifestyle he eats a lot in restaurants and hotels. He met his wife quite early and she loves to cook. So it became her role to cook. Per is doing the dishes. Niklas jokes and asks if it means Per takes the washed-up dishes out of the dishwasher. Per says something like that.

STUDIO (Skärmarbrink)

Before the guys enter the studio in Desperado style, Niklas talks a bit about Gyllene Tider that started out as Grape Rock, established by Per and Mats MP Persson in 1977. Despite MP’s musical talent and Per’s sharp songwriting skills they realized that they can’t have a band if they are only 2. So they established Gyllene Tider together with bassist Janne Carlsson, Göran Fritzon on keyboards and drummer Micke Andersson, whose name back then didn’t include Syd. The bassist had been changed quite early to Anders Herrlin and GT became the band they still are. GT became local celebrities in Halmstad. They released an EP in 900 copies and the songs of the EP reached music producer Kjell Andersson. He offered the band a contract with the record company EMI.

MP was fond of writing Status Quo boogie songs. “Arabiska nätter” is a bit like that, with the world’s strangest guitar riff. The guys are playing a bit of the song here. Per says it was a little controversial, but very much 1977. Niklas asks why it hasn’t been released. Per says when they got the record contract, Kjell liked some stuff they had, the lyrics and that certain pop style that fit those times. It didn’t include the Status Quo-boogie.

Niklas asks how it went on, if it was easy to bring new songs to the rehearsals. Per says it was. As soon as they got response to what they did, everyone was so enthusiastic. Everyone wanted to move forward. As soon as they had a song idea, they recorded it and sent it to Kjell at EMI. Then they got response. It went like that until 1984. It was only Mats and Per who wrote songs. It’s different if you are Fleetwood Mac where everyone writes songs. Or The Beatles where several wrote songs. Regarding texts, it was only Per who wrote lyrics. Niklas asks how many songs Per has written. Per jokes first and says 4, but in the end he says 800-900.

Niklas says Per has always been very clever and intelligent in his Swedish texts. Talking about “Här kommer alla känslorna på en och samma gång” there are so many words rhyming to “gång”. Per found good words there. Betong, ballong, perrong.

The guys play a bit of “Tycker om när du tar på mig” here.

Niklas says Per makes a lot of effort and asks him if he is fiddling a lot with the lyrics. Per replies Jesus Christ, a lot. It takes a very long time to write texts. The older you get it takes even longer. One tries to come up with a simple and strong feeling in a text. But you usually try to describe it as beautifully as possible. It’s easy to write a love text but to write an intelligent love text that no one has heard before is very difficult. People often ask if Per “goes to work” and writes songs all day long. He doesn’t do it at all. He does the opposite. He writes as little as he can. But when he has an idea, he wants it to go fast and focused. You can’t construct a damn good melody track if it doesn’t help itself. When Per started playing music, it was the punk and the new wave movement era. Before that, one had to be very good at playing. Per wasn’t. The idea of punk was that everyone could play. It was appealing to Per. It made you dare to start writing songs and put together a band. When GT got a record contract a few years later, they had no thought of reaching anything special.

Niklas says GT were very cute. It was everyone’s perception around the guys. They started promoting milk and Jordache jeans. Niklas asks how they got there. Per says it was a way of earning money. Jordache jeans wanted to enter the market and Gyllene Tider was the biggest. They got a lot of money after each sold pair of jeans. It was a good deal. Per says imagine if Jordache jeans had become rocky and tough. Then they would have been rocky and tough guys too. But it didn’t happen.

Niklas says you have to be careful regarding what you are promoting. You don’t advertise just anything. Per says he is right and there are a few things he can’t imagine promoting. Political things for example. And another thing is that the advertisement shouldn’t be crap. You don’t want “Queen of Rain” or “Listen To Your Heart” in a context that downgrades the song. Per can imagine advertising strawberry milk or cars. But it depends a bit on how it’s done.

HOTEL TYLÖSAND

They guys perform a bit of “På promenad genom stan” on one of the suites’ balcony in Hotel Tylösand.

Per tells his first real electric guitar was very expensive. He bought it in England. MP, Per and Janne (first bassist in GT) went to England in 1978. The pound was down and he bought a wine-red Gibson Les Paul Custom. Dave Davies in The Kinks had one like that. MP bought a black Telecaster, Per bought his Gibson and Janne bought a left-handed bass. He was left-handed. Besides these, they bought speakers or amplifiers. Marshall stuff. Per says they had the guitars with them on their way back home and it turned out they should pay VAT. It was before the EU. They had no idea about it. So either they had to smuggle the guitars or pay the VAT. They had no money so they decided to smuggle, but they got caught. Per wrote a letter of apology to the customs and police by hand. He told the whole story and that it wasn’t their intention to break the law. They made the wrong decision, sorry. So they got back their instruments, but they got a fine of 2000 crowns. Niklas asks if it was worth it. Per says absolutely.

The guys had no money so they worked. Per thinks MP worked with his dad who had a construction company. Per worked at Fammarps mushrooms and weighed mushrooms. Mr. G worked there for two summers. All the money went on buying guitars, strings and new capo. Here they laugh remembering the nursing home incident where the capo got eaten.

Per says the only thing that existed was music. That wonderful, parallel universe called pop. It was better living in that world than in your own.

Niklas says Gyllene Tider reunited every now and then and asks why. Per says it’s fun to play together. It’s a fantastic little pop band. There is some timelessness in what they have done. There is this magic that occurs when an artist has fun with the audience. It differs very much from anything else Per does. It’s a lovely time trip every time they play together.

Per says when they start rehearsing with the band they can’t really rehearse the songs. They just know them. It’s an awesome band. Per hopes there will be more Gyllene Tider, as long as everyone is alive. It’s them 5 who can do it. Per plays some songs on his own tours and it’s also good, but it’s not Gyllene Tider. Niklas asks how is it playing those songs with others. Per says in summer he played some greatest hits from his catalogue and of all the songs it was the GT hits that were the hardest to play.

STUDIO (Skärmarbrink)

In 1985 Anders Herrlin decided to leave Gyllene Tider. It was the end of the band, at least then. At a meeting Anders told GT wasn’t fun anymore. Niklas asks Per how he reacted on it. Per says MP and he were driving home in the same car and they were sitting silently during the whole way. They were wondering about what happened. They just felt it was over in a way. Per went home and started thinking about the next step. It was obvious to him to make a solo album. Which he later did, including songs like “Blå december” or “Galning”. The latter was actually recorded by GT.

Niklas asks Per if he wrote about this break-up, if he used this feeling of being disappointed and sad in his songwriting. Per can hardly remember, but that album is quite sad. The last thing Gyllene Tider did before that was the English album and a rather half-good tour. It felt a bit like it might not be so stupid to quit, after all. Niklas says as it may be in relationships. It just happens. Per jokes “it’s not my fault.” Niklas says he means “it’s not your fault.” Per says “Vi passar så bra isär” (we’re so good apart). Haha. Niklas asks if it was Per who wrote that song. Per says it was Hasse Alfredson.

Per continues his story-telling. He made another solo album that didn’t go well and he tried to find his place in the music industry. He started writing songs with Torgny Söderberg, “Kärleken är evig” and something else.

Per’s solo album, “Scener” didn’t work at all. Niklas is curious how he felt back then, if it was a tough period. Per says it was horrible. When you are successful, when things work, it’s easy to make decisions and new steps. But when things are not going well, you’re stuck. You simply make wrong decisions. Per felt very confused, especially musically. “What do I want to do?”, asked himself. Niklas asks if he ever thought about doing something else. Per says no, it never went so far. One has to survive in a way. He remembers he was asked to form a band and play in a pub in Halmstad over a summer. He thanked no and the question went on to The Husbands. It didn’t fit Per. He didn’t want to play in such a band. He wanted to write songs and develop his way of writing. He has always prioritized songwriting. So it’s really tough when it doesn’t work. Those years, 1984 and 1985 were tough.

Then there was the opportunity to start working with Marie. Niklas asks how it happened. Per says it was back in the ’70s. Gyllene Tider and Marie’s band shared a rehearsal studio. Marie and Per have always been very good friends. They have always talked about doing something together. Marie sang on some Gyllene Tider songs, she was on TV with GT. “Vandrar i ett sommarregn.” And she eventually ended up on the same record label as Per. They have always supported each other’s careers. In 1985 Marie broke through as a solo artist. It wasn’t obvious for her to work with Per. What attracted her to cooperate with Per was that it was in English and maybe to go abroad. Niklas says Per must have been thrilled that Marie wanted to work with him. Per says he was happy for every song they recorded. He knew that tomorrow it could be over. All the time it was like that. They released their first LP “Pearls of Passion”, which was Per’s third unpublished solo album that he basically translated from Swedish into English. So all the first Roxette songs, e.g. “So Far Away” was called “Som i en dröm”,  “Soul Deep” was called “Dansa nerför ett stup i rekordfart”. Per wrote English lyrics and Marie sang. Mr. G had never heard Marie singing that way. She was also a singer / songwriter. “Sjunde vågen”, “Het vind” and “Ännu doftar kärlek”. But now there was another Marie. Per was proud and happy about that he could get it out of her via his songs. She got another type of material, which was exciting. Per thinks that was the driver why she sticked to Roxette.

The guys play a bit of “Dansa nerför ett stup i rekordfart” here.

Per says it sounded pretty bad with him, but when Marie sings it… Per always had the feeling that Roxette was a bit on loan, that it wasn’t that important to Marie. But Per had nothing else. After the first album, which became a big success in Sweden, Marie went back to her Swedish career and released “Efter stormen”. But then they had such success with “Pearls of Passion” that they decided to make another album and focus even more on abroad. Then Per wrote what became “Look Sharp!”.

Despite the huge success in Sweden, there was no real interest in Roxette abroad. But on Sparregatan in Borås, the band had a big fan, American exchange student Dean Cushman. He brought the “Look Sharp!” album to Minneapolis, where it got in the hands of Brian Philips, head of the local KDWB radio station. Philips loved “The Look”, which quickly became a monster hit across the United States.

To be continued… (in Part 2)

Thanx a lot for the technical support, János Tóth!

Per Gessle on TV4 – Nyhetsmorgon

Per appeared on TV4’s morning show, Nyhetsmorgon today. He was Jesper Börjesson’s guest together with Niklas Strömstedt. Mr. G entered the studio at 9:53 am and greeted Frederik Zäll (from Eskobar; Frederik is usually cooking on TV4 and he was in the kitchen now again). The 4 guys also took a picture together. They mentioned that they toured together 2 years ago, Roxette and Eskobar. Then Jesper mentioned that they would chat with Niklas and PG after the news in some minutes, about the documentary Niklas did with Per.

After the news they came back at 10:10 am and shortly talked about the fact that Per saw Bruce Springsteen on Broadway and he thinks it’s a very good show.

Then the guys were talking a bit about Niklas Strömstedt’s Christmas show and then about the documentary Niklas did with Per. It will be broadcast on TV4, December 18 & 19, ”Gessle enligt Gessle”. Jesper said Per is a bit mysterious, doesn’t talk too much about his private life. Per said it’s conscious. He wants to express himself through his music. He said, Niklas asked questions in the documentary as a friend, as another musician, so it’s a bit different.

 

Niklas and Per know each other since long. An old picture from EMI studio was shown, it was from the times when they recorded Gyllene Tider’s first record. Niklas was there and Lasse Lindbom as well. Jesper said it was before GT’s breakthrough and asked Niklas where he was in his career at that point. Niklas said he was making demos, actually, also with Per and MP and he almost was there to get a contract with EMI too and they recorded ”Glitter, glögg & rock’n’roll”, the album with various artists at EMI. A short part of the song ”Da’n före da’n” (Niklas Strömstedt & Gyllene Tider) off that album was played on the show and PG was ”dancing” to the rythm while stitting, as well as playing the air piano.

 

Jesper asked Per if his career is different in Sweden and abroad. Per said in Sweden it’s more about Gyllene Tider and Per Gessle, while internationally it’s more about Roxette. Jesper asked him if anyone abroad asks questions about Gyllene Tider. Per said no, they don’t even know anything about it. Except for hardcore fans. To journalists he often talks about how it all started with Gyllene Tider, because most of them abroad think ”The Look” was the first thing that happened in his career.

A tiny part from the upcoming documentary was shown. That’s about Per’s troubadour era and he is telling the story of waking up a man from coma with their music back then.

 

Niklas and Per met a lot during GT times, they toured and wrote songs together in the beginning of the ’80s. Niklas said he always liked PG’s songwriting and knew Per was capable of writing hits and if it worked in Sweden, why it wouldn’t work abroad. He thinks Per and Marie together were perfect, so he wasn’t surprised about their success.

Jesper asked PG what he sees when he looks back on the past 30 years. Per said he is of course very proud, but surprised at the same time that it all became so big, also in the US. Jesper asked Mr. G if he is still as eager to write songs as before. Per said he always tries to do what he really wants to. It’s also nice to cool down a bit, what he did via his Nashville project and try out new things. Niklas said they were thinking if they could come up with someone who wrote a real big hit after becoming 60 and they couldn’t find anyone. Niklas thinks in a songwriter’s life there is one period when he burns on top and then maybe other things come in the way. Per said pop always reflects its own time. When making pop music today, he can make it from his ’60s-’70s roots and producing it in a modern way. Working with young people maybe. His musicality is naturally not from today, it’s from the past.

They talk about Christmas songs and this way also a bit about 30-year-old ”It Must Have Been Love”. Per mentioned the text change from Christmas day to winter’s day and it becoming a soundtrack song to the movie, Pretty Woman.

Jesper said it was nice meeting PG again. Per said it’s always fun to be there.

Niklas performed ”Tänd ett ljus”, a very popular Christmas song he wrote together with Lasse Lindbom and Jesper asked Per after the song what he thought about it. PG said it was amazingly good.

 

 

 

Gessle according to Gessle

I’ve just found an interesting program title on TV4’s December schedule. Gessle enligt Gessle (= Gessle according to Gessle). There is written it’s a Swedish entertainment program from 2017. It’s also written that it’s season 1 and it has 2 parts. Part 1 is set to be broadcast on 18th December, at 21:00 CET, part 2 is on 19th December, at 21:00 CET. Sooo… what’s that???

Well…, Niklas Strömstedt works at TV4 now and he met Per during the summer tour and also in the studio after the tour, as well as in Tylösand in September. So I would say they were working on this program. Sounds absolutely exciting! And season 1… does that mean there will be a season 2 later? OK, OK… First let’s see season 1! 😉

 

Pics are copied from Per’s Instagram: PG and Niklas in the studio & PG and Niklas in Tylösand

 

Per Gessle on TV4 – Hellenius hörna

Last weekend was busy on Swedish TV for all Gessle fans. On 26th November Per appeared on TV4’s show, Hellenius hörna. The recordings took place on October 4, so almost 2 months ago. During the past few days we could see some teaser videos to the program and they promised a fun show. Unfortunately, it can only be watched online in Sweden.

The program starts with showing Per taking care of the other guest’s, Carina Berg’s hair when David Hellenius, the host of the show enters the dressing room and says Carina should already be in the make-up room. Per says he has full control, he took care of Carina to look modern and nice. Oh well, she got a very similar hairdo to that of Mr. G’s. Ta-da! David says it’s Per-fect! Funny enough that Per DOES look like a fab hairdresser. Haha.

Carina is the first guest, so she gets interviewed by David. Per, Sweden’s biggest pop star is welcomed by David as the second guest. David asks Per if he has any thoughts on what he heard from the show so far. Per says Carina likes talking a lot. David asks Per if he got a bit nervous now. Per says actually a bit.

David asks Per if he has any relation to Carina, if he saw any of her shows. Per says, actually he hasn’t. Everyone laughs. David says Carina moved into the house of many (because of her TV show, Berg flyttar in), but not into Per’s house. Carina says Per is a little secret. David asks Per what he is hiding, what he doesn’t want to show. Per says he is hiding kind of everything. Carina says rumor has it Per lives like a Russian oligarch, building something huge, 7 meters high, art all around the house, big balconies. David tells Carina she is lovely, but totally crazy.

 

David says they were talking about bravery and asks Per if he likes to expose himself to scary stuff. Per jokes and says well, he is married. Everyone laughs. David asks Per what the bravest thing is he has ever done. Mr. G tells that once when he had his birthday, Åsa’s gift for him was to ride a horse. It didn’t go too well, because the horse trotted out of the ring and stood in its stall with Per on its back. Bored. Per was terrified.

They talk about Per’s amazing career, a career one can only dream about. They look back on those almost 40 years by the help of old pictures and short footage from TV shows, interviews and concerts. David asks Per what he thinks about it all. Per says it makes him start thinking he is getting old. Nah, he is kidding and says he is of course super proud. A part of what they saw feels like it happened ages ago. It has been a fantastic journey and he is very fortunate.

David asks Per if he can enjoy it when he is standing on stage in front of 50000 people, if one can take it in at that very moment. Per says one can actually enjoy it. He tells that it happened to Marie and him that during Roxette times they looked at each other and they knew they were thinking about the same thing: ”Is that really happening?” One can be in Lima, Taipei or Sydney, this is what is so awesome with music, the power of music. They come from a small country and play songs that work everywhere, regardless of religions, cultures or skin color. Everyone knows their songs. It’s absolutely fantastic.

David asks Per if being Per Gessle is a normal thing for him, being such a great artist. If he can walk on the street and think, ”Shit, I’m Per Gessle”, if he ever forgets it. Per says it has never happened.

David mentions that Per has written almost 1000 songs and asks Per which he thinks is the best or which is the one he is the most proud of. Per says he doesn’t know. He has a lot of good songs and half good songs. David forces Mr. G to choose one. Per thinks ”The Look” is good. David asks if there is a hit song Per doesn’t like, when everyone is jumping and he thinks ”it’s useless, stop singing along”. Per says he is bad at choosing singles. Those songs that are liked by the wider mass he had often rejected earlier. He wanted to leave Här kommer alla känslorna off Mazarin. He had a big song with Roxette, Wish I Could Fly. He wanted to leave it off as well. David says Per is good at writing songs, but his judgement is so-so, he asks if Per lets others to choose then. Mr. G says there are a few people, a little team he is listening to, who he counts on.

David asks Carina if she has any favourite song. Carina chooses It Must Have Been Love. David asks Carina to sing it while Per is playing the guitar. Carina says she learnt the song when she couldn’t speak English, so she says she hopes her English is the right text. Per says all good, he wrote the song when he couldn’t speak English. Then the 3 of them, Carina, Per and David perform IMHBL.

 

David mentions that in the beginning of last year Roxette did their last concert and asks Per if he really thinks it was the last Roxette concert ever. Per says he thinks so, it’s history now (the last concert, not Roxette – PP). David asks what Marie means to Per. Mr. G says they met at the end of the ’70s. They shared a rehearsal room and socialized a lot. So they kind of grew up together and had this fantastic journey together. They are like siblings. They have had awesome years, more than 30 years in their career. He says Marie is an awesome girl. David asks if there is a personal memory that only Per and Marie have. Mr. G says in 2009 it had been 7 years since Roxette wasn’t on stage. Then he did a solo tour in Europe and Marie went to his show with her husband in Amsterdam. Before the show Per asked Marie if she wanted to sing a song with him. Marie said she didn’t, but Per saw in her eyes that deep inside she wanted to, just didn’t dare. Then they rehearsed It Must Have Been Love and then Marie said, ”OK let’s do this one, just the two of us”. So for the first encore she came up on stage and the crowd was dead. Per says he had never seen so many people crying. It was incredible. They performed It Must Have Been Love and the venue exploded.

David says Per broke through with Gyllene Tider earlier and asks if Per has ever had a plain job. He was an elementary school teacher for some months, he was very good at that. David asks what his strength was, to comfort the kids or the time table. Per says his strength was that the kids could do whatever they wanted to. David asks Per: 9×9? Per is fast with the answer, 81. Mr. G says he had to finish that job because of GT’s breakthrough. There were no more lessons, just signing autographs.

Regarding other jobs, Per tells he and one of his friends worked as troubadours and played for example ”Svarte Rudolf” at nursing homes for old people. It was really awesome. David asks if Per also worked at the check-out. Mr. G says he never sit in the check-out, but he worked at ICA, packing at the check-out and collecting milk. David asks when was it. Per jokes it was in 2016.

David asks Per if he has always dreamt of becoming a pop star. Mr. G says when he was a child, he always gathered his friends and they used cue sticks and mimed to songs of The Monkees or The Beatles. He was standing in the front and was miming the most.

David asks Per if he was good at school. Per tells school was pretty easy for him, but he got tired fast. It was hard, because his family moved a lot, like each third year and so he always ended up in a new school, a new class with new mates. He never enjoyed school.  They moved because of different reasons. His father had asthma so once he needed sea air then forest air, then he had to live under water (he jokes). Talking about his father, David asks Per about what kind of father he himself is. Per says he is a fantastic dad. Of course. David asks Mr. G what Gabriel thinks about Per Gessle being his father. Per thinks that Gabriel thinks it’s OK, but he has never asked. David says he can’t imagine Per baking buns and selling them in the bazaar. He asks if Per has ever been a class parent. He hasn’t. A lot of that responsibility was on his wife. She is fantastic. David asks if Åsa has ever got angry and asked him to bake something. Per says no, she is happy that she doesn’t have to taste what Per bakes.

David asks Per if Gabriel likes his music. Mr. G says he didn’t dare to ask that either, but when they were on the Room Service tour in 2001 and played in hockey arenas, they always had a room full of games for the kids. Then Gabriel always wanted to come out for the 8th song. It was Real Sugar. He was totally uninterested in the rest. Gabriel is 20 now and still lives at home. David asks if he has to pay a rental fee. Per says it’s a good idea. David asks Per if he thinks it’s important that Gabriel goes to school, thinking of how Per’s relations to school were. Per says he tried to convince Gabriel to skip school and hang out with him in the studio, but he didn’t want to. He doesn’t want to be a pop star.

David tells he checked Per’s Instagram and he realized that it follows a pattern. Per sitting in different cars. Per says he was searching for those shoes he is wearing on one of the pics. David says it’s funny, the car costs 10 million and he is searching for a pair of shoes that cost 300. David tried to find out how many cars PG has and he found an interview where Per said he doesn’t know, 11-12 or so. Per still has the same answer. David asks how many car a pop star has to have. Per says 11-12 maybe. Haha. David asks if Gabriel can borrow the cars. Per says he can use whichever car he wants, but he didn’t drive any of them yet. David realizes Gabriel lives his own life. Per says he has his own scary old BMW. David asks about the customized registration numbers. Per says all his cars have it customized. They show the LALALA and David thinks it’s from a song, but Per explains it’s a LaFerrari, so he thought it’s fun. David says it’s car humor then.

In the last part of the show David asks Mr. G how much he cares about how he looks on stage. Per says he is doing his best, but on stage he has quite limited possibilities, because he is sweating as he is moving a lot on stage. So he can’t have lots of clothes on. It’s always a shirt, trousers and sneakers. David asks if Per is vain. Per says his wife says so. David asks if Per gets angry when he hears that from Åsa and tells her ”leave me alone, I don’t care at all”. Per says she thinks he is in the way in front of the mirror. David asks if Åsa is right. Per says she is.

David asks Per about hairdos and mentions he heard that Per cut the hair of Barbie dolls in the past. Per says he had a little doll collection when he grew up and he styled their hair. If the hairdo wasn’t good, he just cut the hair off. David hopes Per doesn’t do the same with his wife’s hair. Mr. G confirms he doesn’t. Both Carina and Per changed their hairstyles a lot of times in the past and here comes a test. David shows pictures from different eras and they have to find out which year it is. A picture of Per is shown from 1993, another from 1987, a third from 1991. Per can guess the years right and he wins the contest.

   

The show ends with Per and John Holm performing Det är vi tillsammans together with the band (Malin-My Wall, Christoffer Lundquist, Ola Gustafsson, Martin Höper) and a children choir. Yet another beautiful live performance of the song, which is sadly cut before it ends, in the middle of the children choir part.

 

Thanx for the technical help, János Tóth!

Per Gessle on SVT – Go’kväll

As you all know, Per Gessle appeared on SVT’s evening show, Go’kväll on 25th November. The recordings took place in the TV studio in snowy Umeå 2 days before. Even if the TV broadcast was at 18:15 CET, SVT Play made the whole program available on the web very early in the morning. Watch the whole show HERE!

The show starts with host Pekka Heino and Per Gessle standing in the front, the band sitting on the couch in the back. Pekka is having a discussion with Per saying he doesn’t know what he’ll become when he grows up. Per says it’s actually the same with him. So they’ll see if they come up with something during the show.

Besides Per, there is a chef, Gustaf Mabrouk in the studio to prepare some dessert and stylist Hedvig Andér. Pekka starts talking about fashion with Hedvig and apropos talking about fashion icons, he turns to Per. Before they are talking about clothes, Pekka mentions Per has released 2 albums, one in spring, one in autumn. Both recorded in Nashville last year. He also mentions that Per went on tour this summer, for the first time with songs from his entire career and he is going to release a live album and a photo book as well. Pekka says he is old-fashioned and still buys records at record stores. Per is joking and asks where he can find a record store. Pekka says there is at least one in Stockholm.

Getting back to fashion, Pekka says they found a recording from Jacob Dahlin era, from Jacobs stege show on TV. Per says “Help! Fasten your seatbelts!” Roxette’s Soul Deep performance is shown from 1986, Marie and Per wearing their stylish shoulder padded clothes. Then Pekka shows a picture of a young Per Gessle from the ‘70s, Per says it was 1977 when he was 18. He recognizes the nice white buttons and mentions wearing socks with moccasins is not so good. But it was cold in Halmstad. Haha. Then a 1981 Gyllene Tider pic is shown. Per was wearing a white belt to a pair of black leather pants. Back then it was cool, but not anymore. And it was the era of narrow ties. Pekka asks Per how many hair colors he has had over the years. Per replies now it’s mostly grey, but he had all possible hairdos. Blue-black hair, then blonde, purple and red like wine. Then carrot red during his David Bowie era. Pekka shows a picture of Roxette from 1989, from the breakthrough era. Marie and Per were styled and photographed in New York for this pic and had their clothes from Trash and Vaudeville that sold fantastic clothes on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan. The stylist confirms that the clothes are really cool and fit the era. The last pic shown is a private photo of Per and Åsa. Per says it’s from the ’80s, this is how they looked when they were young. Pekka asks whose hairdo took longer time to be done. Per says it was his. The stylist says Per’s jeans on the pic look quite modern for that time. Patched jeans. Pekka asks Hedvig about what is still to be found in today’s fashion in any form if they look at these pictures from the ’70s and ’80s. Leather jacket, as well as patched or torn jeans are still trendy. Maybe the striped tights aren’t, but everything comes back into fashion. Maybe not in the same combination, but everything comes back. Then Pekka and Per take out 2 pairs of boots. Per says they bought them in 1989 for photo sessions, TV shows and stage use. One can see on their sole they are hardly used. Per tells they had 1800 interviews in 8 months back then and 400-500 photo sessions at the same time. So they had tons of clothes. Especially Marie has a fantastic collection of leather jackets, one can see photos of them in her autobiography book.

 

Pekka walks back to Gustaf to see what he is doing in the kitchen. Per follows him. Gustaf is preparing lemon fromage. Gustaf asks Per to taste the yuzu cream he prepared. Per reacts, woohoo, there is minus sugar in it. He says it’s very good. Per looks happy when he sees Gustaf adds white chocolate to the dessert. Pekka is kidding Per, saying Per tries to memorize the recipe. Haha. He asks Mr. G how he is in the kitchen. Per says he is pretty bad, but his wife is very  good, so he rather lays the table, opens the wine and washes up the dishes. (Look at the band’s reaction when Per says washing up, LOL! 😉 ) Mr. G says he wishes he could cook. He says he is good at preparing mincemeat sauce though. Pekka and Per laugh when they see Gustaf as a man can do multi-tasking, 2 things at the same time. Before leaving Gustaf, Pekka says hi to the band and tells Per and Co will perform a song with a children choir. Then he leaves Per and there is a short discussion with Hedvig, without Per.

After some minutes, Pekka greets Per again. Now they are sitting on the couch and the real interview starts. At this point you realize that torn jeans are really trendy these days… Haha. Pekka talks about the fact that actually in Swedish media he was the first one who came out with the news of Roxette having a No. 1 in the US, The Look. It was in Frukostbrickan on P3 Swedish Radio. Pekka asks Per if he remembers how the news about No. 1 got to him back then. Per says he was in Halmstad, Marie was in Stockholm. They knew that they had the chance to become No. 1, but they were in separate places not to become disappointed together if they don’t become No. 1 in the end. But they became No. 1 and it was silly to be in 2 separate cities.

Pekka then remembers a story he read back in the ’80s. ABBA-Frida released her first solo album in English in 1982. Per wrote music to a Dorothy Parker poem that Frida read a lot of times. What Pekka read is that when the album came out, Per asked his financial adviser ”Am I a millionaire now?” Per laughs and says it’s not true. Not everything is true what one can read.

Pekka says ABBA members were around 30 when they broke through and that was the case with Roxette, too. Per says both Marie and him had approximately 10 years of experience in Sweden before they broke through with Roxette. Pekka asks how they handled succes after that. Per says they could make decisions differently. When they became big in the US, their record label wanted them to move to the US, but they wanted to stay in Stockholm and work with their band and they could decide for themselves.

Pekka asks if there is a difference between luxury back then and luxury now. Per says he doesn’t know. The more you get older, the more you value other things. Time, for example. When you are 25-30, you don’t think about time. Then you waste it, with all rights. But when you get older and lose your friends, parents and siblings, time becomes valuable. At this point they start talking about ”En vacker natt” and ”En vacker dag”. Per tells he recorded the albums in Nashville and EVN has his sister on the cover, while EVD has his mother on it. He tells he lost his mother, sister and brother in 3 years so he is the only one who is left in the family. It was tough. He handled it via working further. This is how it works for him. He uses his experiences and feelings in his work.

Pekka and Per talk about the fact that long relationships are important for Mr. G both in his private and professional life. Per says he is together with his wife since more than 30 years, he works together with the same guys in Gyllene Tider since 1979, his manager since 1986, the same booking company and Marie and producers and almost the same record label.

Pekka talks about the 2 Polish guys, Jakub and Dawid who made a video to Roxette’s song, ”Some Other Summer” and Per surprised them at the QX Gala in Stockholm earlier this year. Per says Roxette has the best fans in the world. They are very creative, active and have always been supporting them, especially when Marie was ill in 2002. Per says the surprise at the gala was cool. The guys got a lot of shit in Poland and it was lovely that they came to Stockholm. They are wonderful people.

They move on to the songwriting topic. Pekka asks Mr. G if he decides in advance whether the song he is writing is for Gyllene Tider or Roxette or for his solo career. Or if it is the song that comes first and then he decides where to use it. Per says both can happen. One deals with several projects and writes for a certain project, but it can happen that a song is too heavy for Gyllene Tider for example, then he can put it in his solo box and take it out 3 years later. Pekka says there are songs that have Swedish lyrics and also English lyrics. He asks Per whether it goes smoothly or it’s challenging for him. Per says he translated his Nashville albums to English and it was actually quite hard to do, because the texts are very private and personal. To find the feeling in English was very hard, so half of the texts is written by a Nashville girl. The album is to be released in spring 2018.

Pekka says he is quite convinced that one day there will be a jukebox musical, the question is only whether it will be based on Gyllene Tider, Roxette or Per’s solo songs or all together. Per says each can have an own musical, why to choose.

Pekka mentions that Per has described his career as a tree. Per confirms, he has many branches on his tree and he tries to exploit it, not to tire out his audience. Working internationally provides a much bigger market. It’s harder to work only in Sweden, you can make people feel ”not him again”. Per says he is very fortunate to have all these branches.

Pekka asks Per about what he thinks about songs all people want to hear at the shows. Mr. G says when he works in English, the audience is international. They don’t know Sommartider or Gå & fiska! or Leva livet or Här kommer alla känslorna. But Gyllene Tider never rehearse Sommartider for example. They would laugh, but when there are 10000 people in front of them, then it’s wonderful to have these songs. Every artist loves their own hits, those are the spine of their activity.

Pekka asks Per if he thinks about what comes next when he creates playlists. It happens, but Per has a long playlist that suits most. It’s an easy listening how he calls it. Sounds a bit like guilty pleasure. There is everything possible from old jazz to James Taylor.

The interview ends here and the guys go back to the kitchen to see what Gustaf is doing. Per enjoys seeing the final steps of preparing the dessert and says it looks fantastic. He also touches and smells the lemon verbena plant that’s right in front of him. Gustaf asks Per if he is a dessert guy. Per says, unfortunately, he is. He says he loves Italian kitchen and so he loves Tiramisu. The guys talk about TV series and Per says he likes it when the whole season is available and can watch it at once. One can get hooked to some series.

Before they can all taste the dessert, Pekka leaves the guys and goes back to Hedvig. After the discussion, they all gather to try Gustaf’s treat. Per is joking and says he has crumbs all over his mouth already – trying before others. They all like it and say they will save Per’s portion, but Mr. G has to leave for the stage, because the band is already waiting and they perform ”Det är vi tillsammans”. John Holm isn’t there this time, Helena Josefsson is singing the parts John sings on the album. What an incredibly amazing performance it is! You can also watch it separately HERE!

The band: Helena Josefsson, Malin-My Wall, Christoffer Lundquist, Ola Gustafsson, Martin Höper; children choir: Vasakyrkan Amigos.

Per Gessle on TV show ”Robins”

A week ago it turned out that Per Gessle would be a guest on Swedish talk show “Robins” on September 30 on SVT1. We all got excited to see an interview with Mr. G on such a program. It’s similar to the late night shows you can see on US channels and stand-up comedian Robin Paulsson, the host is often called the Swedish David Letterman.

The recordings happened on 28th September and since then we could see many pictures where Per, Robin and the other guest on the show, Keyyo appeared. We couldn’t wait anymore for tonite when a teaser video was published yesterday, with Keyyo getting pranked. Seemed to be a fun TV program and we could already see in that teaser that Mr. G had a good time during the show.

Finally, tonight we could watch the real deal, the complete program with the Per Gessle interview in it. The show starts with Robin telling Per backstage that the lyrics to The Look is a bit confusing. Keyyo starts reading it, then Robin continues. Per says he finds nothing strange in it, but Robin says they don’t understand the text. Then Per says it’s in English. Robin and Keyyo say: aaaah, English, then they can understand the rest too, na-na-na-na-na-na… Haha.

Per enters the studio at around 5 minutes in and gets a huge applause and loud woohoo from the audience. First Robin and Per are talking about the differences between their jobs. Robin says he envies Per, because he can play his songs from the ’80s and people love them, but no one wants to hear a comedian telling a joke from 1981. Per says it might not be true. He saw Monty Python on their farewell tour in London and was wondering if it could be fun to hear a joke what he already heard so many times, the ”Parrot Sketch” and it was much fun even if he knew exactly when the fun part came and what the joke was about. Everyone loved it. Robin says he as a comedian can get tired of certain jokes and throws them away. He asks Per what happens if he is doing a concert and skips Sommartider. Mr. G says it’s good to have some more songs. As a last comparison of their jobs, Robin tells Per he can fill in The Look with nanananana and everyone loves it, but he can’t come up with nanananana in his jokes, people would miss something. Per says nanananana is good, because it’s international.

The guys are talking about Per’s new album. Per tells he recorded 2 albums in Nashville, En vacker natt and En vacker dag. Robin mentions it’s said to be Per’s most personal release ever. Robin asks Mr. G how he means it’s the most personal and Per tells about the tough times in his family, that his mother, brother and sister passed away during the past 3 years and it affected the atmosphere of his music. Robin asks Per whether it is more difficult to write a personal song or a summer song like Sommartider. Per says one of the questions he gets most often is how to write a hit. He has no clue. He never plans to write a hit, he just can’t plan it. Robin is surprised that it means that Per never knows which song would become a hit. Then Per tells him he is the worst at choosing singles. He wanted to leave “Här kommer alla känslorna” off Mazarin. Robin concludes Per is a very good musician, but at the same time also very bad.

Robin says it feels like Per is a normal person despite him being a pop star, very down-to-earth. He asks Per if success has ever gone to his head. Mr. G says he doesn’t know, it’s hard to tell, because he was 19-20 when Gyllene Tider broke through, so he lived all his life in this “celebrity fame”. So he doesn’t know how life is without all this. Maybe he would be unbearable. Robin says he is not unbearable, they met backstage. OK, he had to pay for an autograph, but that’s OK. Haha.

To see how the pop star life touched Per, Robin asks questions and Mr. G has to answer whether it’s typically an everyday thing or a typically luxury thing. If he replies everyday, he has to drink milk, if he replies luxury, he has to drink champagne. Per asks what kind of champagne it is. Haha. Robin says Per is such a gourmet. Ready, steady, go! Robin’s first question: Ferrari or bus? Per takes a sip from the champagne. Next question: Russian caviar or Kalles caviar? Per chooses Kalles and takes a sip from the milk. Next: patent shoes or clogs? Per takes a sip from the champagne. Robin asks if Per has clogs. Mr. G says no, he drinks. Next: Venice Beach or Tylösand? Here Per asks which one is which. Haha. Good question. He chooses the champagne and says Tylösand. Next: watching a Real Madrid or a Halmia match? Per chooses Halmia and drinks champagne. Robin concludes Per is a big fan, but also mentions that it doesn’t go so good for Halmia now as for Halmstad. Per says: soon! Haha. Last question: sitting on a throne in a palace or on a rock by a lake in a forest (på en sten vid en sjö i en skog)? It’s the rock! And Mr. G takes a sip from the champagne and says it’s a good one, the champagne.

Robin says let’s turn back time to the ‘70s. How was it being Sweden’s biggest pop star at the age of 20? Per says it was bewildering. Gyllene Tider did 6 concerts before they became No. 1. They came from nowhere. Robin says 6 gigs are nothing, one can’t become confident on stage after only 6 shows. Per says they weren’t too confident at their seventh gig either. Haha. Robin asks which song was No. 1 then. Per says Flickorna på TV2. Robin says it must have changed Per’s life. Mr. G says totally, it was cool. Suddenly he got 2000 cards on his birthday, people stole his laundry that hung in the garden to dry, everything movable disappeared, e.g. the number plate on the car.

Robin asks Per what the key to success is. Per says the 3T: tur, tajming, talang, i.e. luck, timing and talent. Robin adds hard work maybe. Per says yeah, one has to do his own 10000 hours, but there are a lot of coincidences and you also have to be in the right place at the right time.

Robin says it’s easy to believe that Per’s career has always been going upwards, but there was a period between Gyllene Tider and Roxette, around 1985 when it was a tough time. He asks Per if he could describe that period. Per first says no and laughs. Then he tells Gyllene Tider was over in 1984 and he didn’t have a record contract or a vision what he should do. He started writing songs for others, because he had the reputation as a songwriter. He says the coolest was that he knew Marie Fredriksson since years then as they shared a rehearsal room in the ’70s and they were talking about doing something together. Per wrote a song to Pernilla Wahlgren, Svarta glas, but she has never recorded it. Then Per translated it into English and that became Roxette’s first single, Neverending Love, which was a big hit in Sweden in 1986. They recorded an album from all his refused Swedish songs. Per translated the songs into English and that became Roxette’s first album.

Robin says when he was a child he thought Per and Marie were a couple. Per says many thought so and many others thought he was Marie’s manager and Marie was called Roxette. A TV studio had a dressing room for Marie and they showed the green room for Per.

Robin mentions that It Must Have Been Love was played 4 million times already until 2005 on the radio in the US. It’s like playing it non stop for 35 years. Per says he can talk about this song for long. It was written in 1987. They tried to get on the market in Germany and they were said that it’s easier with a Christmas song. So he wrote “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for The Broken Hearted)”. When they played it for the German, they hated it. So they released it in Sweden and it became a Christmas hit in 1987. Robin says one doesn’t think about this song as a Christmas song. Then Per tells the story how it became a song for the movie Pretty Woman some years later. Robin concludes Per recycles a lot. Everyone laughs.

Robin asks Per if he has ever felt it’s enough now. Per says he is not done yet. Nowadays he feels more confident about what he is doing than 20 years ago, because back then he wanted to prove things for himself. Now everything is more relaxed and he is doing things for his own sake. It’s more fun now. It was fun before too, of course, but now it’s devilishly fun.

With this the interview ends, but Per stays in the studio while Robin’s other guest, Keyyo arrives. She is a 20-year-old YouTuber who is very popular in Sweden. She is originally from Russia, but lives in Sweden since she was 8. Robin asks Keyyo if she listened to Per, his music. Keyyo says she has to be honest, she didn’t listen to Per, but her mother did and now her mother envies Keyyo a lot for being on the same show as Per Gessle. Keyyo tells a story that when she was 8-9 years old and they were driving in the car and Tycker om när du tar på mej came on the radio and exactly this part: ”Jag tycker om dina bröst i morgonljuset”, she always thought it was so filthy. Haha. She also compliments Per saying he is so normal. Everyone laughs.

Then the show is about Keyyo who also got pranked and you can see Per had a good time also in the second half of the show. It was a nice program. Would be fun to see Mr. G more on TV shows like this. Cool thing!

Watch the TV show HERE!

 

Per Gessle at Allsång på Skansen 2017

On June 13th it was announced that Per Gessle would perform at Allsång på Skansen on 4th July. The day has come and Per collected his new band to appear on stage at Skansen. During the day he showed the new tussilago drumhead on insta and also posted a pic of himself and Sanna Nielsen, singer, presenter. We could see some instapics and instavids from the rehearsals where we could hear the band playing Sommartider and Småstadsprat. We heard they also rehearsed Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång). 2 hours before showtime SVT shared a photo of Mr. G posing backstage. He had a new stage outfit on. Black shirt with red stars on the shoulders and black trousers with red stripes on the sides. And Per must have come from the hairdresser, haha, his hair is freshly cut. Ready for tonite, ready for the tour!

The show started at 20:00 and it was available live online. You can watch it HERE! First Sanna Nielsen was singing and introduced the artists who would perform at the event. Per had a chit-chat with some in the crowd while waiting and people were of course taking pictures of him. Mr. G was walking towards the stage after Sanna Nielsen introduced him, waving to the crowd. He was the first to perform, Sommartider. Hej hej, it was a fab starter! All from 3 to 99 in the audience loved it and sang along. So many happy faces all around, all smiles. Per left the stage after Sommartider ended, but Sanna told he would be back later.

We had to wait until 20:50 to see Mr. G again. Sanna said Per wrote more songs than she could count and she started singing It Must Have Been Love, asking the audience to sing along, while PG was getting up on stage again. Per loved to hear the crowd singing IMHBL. Then he and the band started playing Småstadsprat. Now the cameras showed close-ups of the band members too. They sounded fantastic together again. The part Lars Winnerbäck sings on the album version was sung by Sanna Nielsen this time. The crowd didn’t really sing along to this one. They need to practice a bit more or check their booklets thoroughly next time.

After Småstadsprat Sanna asked Per about a tour memory he would never forget. Per said there are many, but he remembered and told the story when (he believes) in Mexico City he tried a sexy move on stage, but he stumbled over a lamp and his pants got torn. Marie and the front row thought it was funny, but Per thought thank God there were no mobile phones back then. He said anyway it’s great to be on tour and play to fantastic crowds like this here. The best is to be waiting for 22 hours to be 2 hours on stage.

Then he and the band performed Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång). The whole crowd got on their feet. With this song the show on TV ended. All artists came up on stage and got a sunflower in their hands. Not a tussilago. Haha. They were singing Stockholm i mitt hjärta together. We hoped for more PG in the last 30 minutes that were broadcast online only, but he didn’t perform more.

Per’s thoughts about tonight:

Allsång på Skansen! Tack alla som sjöng med. Tack för en underbar kväll i ett härligt sommar-Stockholm. Grymt band, Sanna var fab på “Småstadsprat” och publiken…. wunderbar!!! Syns på torsdag. Då smäller det! /P.

The tour starts in 2 days! Come and join Mr. G for En vacker kväll or more! 😉

Pics:

Aftonbladet
Expressen

Per Gessle and Gyllene Tider – Allsång på Skansen history:

PG 2003
GT 2004
PG 2007
GT 2013

 

Roxette in ”Filmen om Badrock”

As we already wrote about it in March, a film about Badrock (“Filmen om Badrock”), where Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle performed as Roxette for the first time, premiered in Swedish cinemas on 7th March. From a March TV4 interview with Björn Skifs (who is behind the whole Badrock idea) it turned out that it would be worth watching by Roxers, because besides Badrock concert material from the ’80s in Borgholm and backstage moments where we can see Marie, Per, Roxette, we even get to see Marie looking back at those times and hear her talking about her experiences.

Now the film had its TV broadcast premiere on 3rd June on TV4 (can be watched in Sweden only). Better said, a TV cut of it, because the original movie is 1 hour 55 minutes long, the TV cut is 66 minutes only. So a lot is left out and this way there might be even more Marie and Per and Roxette in it. Let’s hope the movie is out on DVD in the near future and we get to see the whole thing.

The TV cut contains footage from the past 30 years (Badrock history: 1986-1992; 2016), on-stage moments, backstage moments, rehearsals, how the concerts were recorded from the air, the royal family’s visits at the shows, as well as interviews with several artists, Marie among them. Interviews are with Björn Skifs, Anne-Lie Rydé, Marie Fredriksson, Pernilla Skifs, Anders Berglund, Nina Söderquist, Tommy Nilson, Leif Larsson, Lena Philipsson, Lisa Nilsson, Sharon Dyall, Marie Bergman, Peter Milefors, Mats Ronander.

Marie says Badrock was huge and there were a lot of good artists and the weather was incredibly warm. She says she is happy she could work together with Anders Berglund, it was easy to work with him.

Per in a short 1987 Öland Radio interview says Badrock is fun and playing tennis with Peter Milefors is cool. Mr. G says he and Marie created a group called Roxette and they would first perform at Badrock. Then there is a Marie interview cut again and she says, ”Like Lovers Do” at the beginning was a big song for Roxette and she was incredibly nervous to perform it. Everything was so new, but it was an awesome experience.

Sharon Dyall says when she was singing together with Marie and Sanne Salomonsen, it was real girl power. Marie says they had a powerful song (”Girls”) and she always thought that Sanne sang so damn good  and she was wondering how the hell she could join in, but in the end it turned out to be really good and they had so much fun. Those times were really amazing.

It’s great to see Borgholm then and today, so beautiful. It will be a pleasure to see Per playing there this summer, but also sad to think about the fact that Roxette AND all the fans missed the chance to have a concert and see Roxette playing there in 2015. Would have been an out of the world experience both for the band and Roxers for sure. And of course, we still don’t give up hoping for the complete 1989 Roxette gig in Borgholm to be released one day.

Some stills from the TV cut of ”Filmen om Badrock”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanx for your technical support, Gabriela Demichelli!

Per Gessle at the TV4 gala supporting UNICEF

Last night Per Gessle performed at the gala organized by TV4, supporting UNICEF. UNICEF works to give every child, everywhere, a fair chance in life. This year’s program, ”Världens kväll för alla barn” hit a record with 10 thousand more new “World Parents” in Sweden (monthly donors) than last year, resulting in 27505, collecting more than 33 million crowns for the good cause.

There was a 2-hour-long gala on TV4 where several Swedish artists performed. During the day, Team PG posted a rehearsal pic where we could see Per and the gang rehearsed together with Linnea Henriksson.

Before the show, Linnea Henriksson and Live Nation Sweden shared a pic of Per and Linnea on the red carpet. Expressen asked Per about what he expects from the gala and Mr. G said he would expect a fun and emotional evening and that a lot of money would be collected. He also mentioned it’s really great to work with Linnea Henriksson.

Expressen also shared a pic of Per and Åsa on the red carpet. They both look fab and they are such a lovely couple.

Per and Linnea performed “Småstadsprat” together at the gala. It did sound different to the album version or any live versions we could hear so far (with Lars Winnerbäck or Per alone). The band played beautifully and Helena’s tussilagos sounded wonderful too. Check out the performance HERE (or if you are in Sweden, you can watch it on TV4’s website as well)!

Still is from the video. Thanx Gabriela Demichelli for recording it!

 

Gomorron Sverige interview with Per Gessle

Per was one of the guests on today’s Gomorron Sverige on SVT. As he mentioned on his Instagram account: ”Early morning TV show. Really early. Really.” Haha. Poor guy, having some long and busy PR days this week.

If you are in Sweden, you can watch the show on SVT Play, if not, then you can watch it on YouTube (thanks to Gaby for recording it).

In 10 years, this is the first material Per releases in Swedish. To the question why Nashville, he replies he wanted to change the milieu a bit, not to record again in Skåne. He was thinking about recording in England or France, but suddenly Nashville popped up. Per thinks the combination of Halmstad and Nashville is perfect. He says he likes classic country, Neil Young, for example.

The host on the show says Per’s music is not really country, but Mr. G says there are country elements, for example, on Mazarin. Now he worked together with local musicians and all the instruments they used add the Nashville sound to the album, but at the same time he wanted the lyrics and his voice to be in focus.

Regarding the duet with Lars Winnerbäck, the hostess asks Per if it is a bit like looking for something new after Marie. Per says he just wanted to do something different. He likes to test different things all the time.

The host asks Per if this project is more about looking back than looking into the future. Per says in a way it is. He tried to write the lyrics from the point of view who he is today, even he writes about the same topics as usual, love, disappointment, longing, dreaming. The host asks if it is easier to write in his mother tongue, Swedish than in English. Per says it is.

They talk about the album cover of ”En vacker natt”. Per tells it’s his sister on the cover. She passed away last autumn. Her son found a box full of photos from 1965-66 and Per chose to put this picture of Gunilla on the cover. The pic was taken in Halmstad.

The hostess asks Per if losing his father, mother, brother and sister had any affect on his music. Per says of course it had in a way. Everyone who loses someone close is affected by the loss.

They are talking about the fact that a second album is out in autumn. Per says they worked fast and there was so much material, he decided to release 2 albums instead of one damn long album.

The hostess says the album looks like an old LP. Per says that was the idea behind the design. The cover also helps to create the milieu of the songs. And it will be released also on LP. The hostess asks why Mr. G thought it should be released on vinyl as well. He says mainly in Sweden, Spotify is huge in streaming music, but it’s a bit anonymous. There are no album covers, but pop or rock culture doesn’t exist without album covers. Nowadays Per still buys LPs and he is looking at the sleeves while listening to the songs on Spotify. He likes to have the lyrics in front of him when he is actively listening to music.

The hostess asks what Halmstad means to Per. He replies he has been travelling a lot around the world, but he always gets back to Halmstad. He likes Halmstad and he likes small town life. He of course likes Stockholm too, but he is more of a small town guy. Lars Winnerbäck is also a small town guy, Marie Fredriksson is also a small town girl.

The host asks about that one English song, ”Far Too Close” (duet with Savannah Church) on the album and they play a short snippet from it. Per says this is a homage to Nashville to have an English song as the last track on the album, a duet by a local country singer.

Per says the musicians in Nashville of course knew the songs ”Listen To Your Heart” or ”It Must Have Been Love”, but they thought Per’s music was strange. Per was happy about it and thought their cooperation would be exciting.

About how he wrote the songs Per says he always writes either on acoustic guitar or on piano. The host asks how long they rehearsed together with the musicians in Nashville. Per says they didn’t rehearse at all. He played the demos to them and explained some things, but then it was more like jamming. There were like 3-4 takes for a track, then they just put the whole song together. The pedal steel and the violin are very characteristic.

Per says his summer tour has its premiere in Helsingborg, but he couldn’t remember the exact date. Haha. First he said 7th July, then smiled and said or maybe rather 6th July. Yes, it’s the 6th. He won’t have Nashville musicians in the band, but Swedish guys and girls. They will play songs from Per’s whole career.

Still is from the TV show

 

Per Gessle interview and single performance on Skavlan

As you already know, Per Gessle appeared on Skavlan talk show tonight. From the video teasers (selfie; desert island) we saw on SVT’s website during the day we could be absolutely sure that the show was going to be much fun. The recording took place on 15th March and 2 hours before showtime Per shared a rehearsal video from his 14th March get together with the band and Lars Winnerbäck on his YouTube channel (GessleHomeVids), which we hope he will keep alive for a longer time and share even more content in the future.

The first 2 guests in Skavlan were Annika Falkengren (actual President and Group Chief Executive of the Swedish bank, SEB) and Jo Nesbø (Norwegian writer, musician). Mr. G was the third guest, his part starts at around 25:40. Before he entered the studio, some old concert and TV show footage was shown from Per’s early and later career (Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo) and after he sat down, Fredrik Skavlan, host of the show was chatting with all 3 people, asking interesting questions.

Since Annika is one of the guests, Fredrik asks Per what type of bank client Mr. G is. He says he is a weak banker. Then Fredrik goes on asking who Per was before he became a musician. Per says he can’t remember, it was so long ago, but he thinks he was a shy and lonely guy. Music became his life quite early. Already at the age of 6-7-8 he was listening to The Kinks and then The Beatles.

Fredrik asks Per what his father thought about him choosing music. Per says his father died in 1978, but he wasn’t fond of his musical efforts. He heard one song on the show Bandet går and thought Per was singing like shouting badly. Fredrik asks Per if he would have chosen this career if his father wouldn’t have died, but Per doesn’t know the answer. He says his mother always supported him. His dad died the same day a big article about Gyllene Tider appeared in Expressen.

They talk about Per being called a mom’s boy and that she and Per’s brother and sister died during the past 3 years. Fredrik asks Per what his mother would say was the peak in Per’s career. Per tells she lived with her mother for a long time and she witnessed all the weird things during the golden age of Gyllene Tider, like getting 3000 postcards or fans stealing the drying clothes from their garden. Then it was different with Roxette, it was more of a global thing. But he tells his mum was very proud of him.

Fredrik says people talk about Per as the boss. Per says he is more of a control freak. Fredrik asks if it has always been easy to work together in Roxette. Per replies ”piece of cake” and laughs. He says they started from nowhere and it was a fantastic journey with Marie. But of course, there were conflicts. Per always wanted to work and when they finished something he wanted to work again, but Marie didn’t think the same way. And probably Per’s control freakness also caused some conflicts. Fredrik asks if Marie has ever told it to Per and Per replies he read that in Marie’s book and laughs.

Fredrik Skavlan asks Per if he is a pedant. Per says he is. If Fredrik goes to his home he would for sure think a pedant lives there. All records are sorted on the shelves in alphabetic order, for example. He was like that already as a kid. He tells his friends think it’s fun to push some books in on the shelf when they visit him. Here Jo Nesbø says all guys put the records in alphabetical order but asks Per if he also puts the records in chronological order for one band. Per says no, he doesn’t do that. Jo says then everyone can calm down. Haha.

Fredrik says both Lars Winnerbäck and Per Gessle are introvert guys. He is wondering who talks most. Per laughs and says they sit silent. Then Fredrik asks Mr. G what small town talks (småstadsprat) Per knows about himself. He says he loves Halmstad and he really feels that Halmstad is proud of him. He says it’s always fun to fuel the car. Then Fredrik asks if he drives the cars Per has in his collection. It’s like having a horse inside the house. Per says of course he drives them. Mr. G talks about how it is to drive his Ferrari to the ICA (Swedish supermarket) to buy strawberries. He says he thought a Ferrari is a girl magnet, but it’s not at all. Everytime he leaves the shop, coming back to where he parked the car there are like 30 guys filming his Ferrari.

Per also talks about that since he was 20 he got used to the fact that people recognize him. He can’t leave his apartment without bumping into people who want to take a selfie with him. Actually, if nobody asks for a selfie, he gets very depressed. Then Fredrik comes close to PG and they pose for a selfie.

Fredrik asks Per what kind of car Annika’s husband should buy when they move to Switzerland and Mr. G suggest a 2-seated with no roof. Here Annika tells Per once she was sitting behind Per on a plane and Mr. G was reading a car magazine. His wife and son were sitting on the other side. She asks if it happens often. Per is kidding he is surprised Annika saw them travelling on the same class.

Then comes a little game. Fredrik asks his guests which 3 albums they would bring to a desert island where they would spend a long long time. Jo Nesbø asks Per who he prefers, John Lennon or Paul McCartney and Per chooses John Lennon. Jo and Per can agree on taking The Beatles’ Revolver album. Annika couldn’t really get first what revolver they are talking about, then out of the blue she suggests why not taking Julio Iglesias with them. LOL. Per’s facial expression is priceless. WTF? Haha. Then Annika goes on with Demis Roussos and Per can’t keep it to himself, he says he hopes it’s a big island. Haha. One must love his sense of humor. Per says the 3 albums he would take are Revolver, The Ramones’ first album and Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon. Jo agrees on The Ramones’ as well, but he would take Rocket to Russia from them.

With this the PG talking part is over (at appr. 40 minutes in), but a fourth guest is coming, Susan Faludi, an American Pulitzer winner author and feminist. It’s worth watching this part, too, because Per stays there in the studio and is listening to Susan’s stories, paying a lot of attention.

Then at appr. 53:20, at the end of the show Per performs his new song, ”Småstadsprat”, a duet with Lars Winnerbäck. Lars is of course there as well. In the band you can see Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist, Helena Josefsson and some new faces, Ola Gustafsson, Malin-My Nilsson and Martin Höper. How they perform Småstadsprat live is pure awesomeness! Just magical! H.e.a.v.e.n.l.y.!

What a wonderful and interesting show it was! We would love to have more of this, wouldn’t we?

Still is from the TV show

 

Per Gessle to appear on SVT Skavlan

Per will be one of the guests of this Friday’s TV  talk show Skavlan, which will be broadcast on SVT and NRK at 21:00 CET.

According to SVT, Per will be interviewed and will also perform  ‘Småstadsprat’ – the first single off ‘En vacker natt’ which is out this Friday – with Lars Winnerbäck. The show will be recorded tomorrow.

The show will also be streamed on SVTplay. Usually, Skavlan can be seen everywhere (no geo block).

Roxette at Badrock – cinema premiere

As we could already read it in press releases, a film about Badrock (“Filmen om Badrock”), where Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle performed as Roxette for the first time, will premiere in Swedish cinemas on 7th March. So far we didn’t know what exactly the film would contain, but this morning TV4 had an interview with Björn Skifs (he is behind the whole Badrock idea) and they showed some parts. AND… AND… AND… besides Badrock concert material from the ’80s in Borgholm and backstage moments where we can see Marie, Per, Roxette, we get to see Marie looking back at those times and hear her talking about her experiences. How absolutely fantastic is that!

In the TV4 cut you can hear Per on Öland Radio in 1987 saying he and Marie created a group called Roxette and they would first perform at Badrock. Then you see Marie talking, as natural as only she can be, in her stylish black leather jacket. She says, ”Like Lovers Do” at the beginning was a big song for Roxette and she was incredibly nervous to perform it. Everything was so new, but it was an awesome experience.

HERE you can watch a video where you can see Marie with your own eyes. Watch it mainly from 3:07. 😉

Let’s see if the film is out later on DVD as well or if it will be broadcast on TV. And if it contains much more than what we could see in this short video. Would be cool!

Still is from the TV4, Nyhetsmorgon video showing parts of “Filmen om Badrock”

 

Thank you, Carola Lindberg for watching the TV this morning and that you let us know about it!

Per Gessle in Tack för musiken?

Niklas Strömstedt posted a photo on his Instagram account some hours ago with this text: ”Tack för musiken…originalet. Stay tuned!” This is pure awesomeness!

Marie Fredriksson was a guest of the show in 2013 and when Niklas had a Q&A session on AskFM on 21st January 2014, I asked him which part of Tack för musiken with Marie he liked the most and I couldn’t help asking the question if he was planning to invite Per in the future to his show. He said he liked it very much when Marie was singing Sparvöga and to the Q regarding Per he replied ”well…, we will see”. Then seeing the list of guests of the 2014 series I was a bit sad that Mr. G wasn’t there, but now this instapic of the guys looks very promising.

The episode with Marie was incredibly fantastic. Read our summary of the show HERE. For that Tack för musiken we were able to apply for tickets to be in the audience and Marie was very happy to see some familiar faces in the front when the show was recorded in August 2013. Now it seems this option didn’t exist or at least we haven’t heard about it, because for sure there was an audience. It would have been cool to attend such a fab TV recording. If we are talking about it in past tense. But what if it’s a future happening? Fingers crossed!

In 2013 the recordings happened in August-September and the first episodes were broadcast in December. It’s not yet published when the next series of Tack för musiken will be on air on Swedish TV, but hopefully, it is announced very soon and we can watch it still this year. It’s already too exciting to think about what songs Per will perform live and who will be his guests in the show. If it’s really a complete episode about him and he wasn’t ”just” a guest for some other artist. Haha. But no. That’s impossible. He surely has a complete show. Or is this pic about Tack för musiken, the show at all? Or was it a real music show Per and Niklas attended last night (Peter Jöback & Helen Sjöholm’s I Love Musicals maybe) and Niklas just commented the pic with “thanks for the music” referring to that event? Oh, well… Too many “or”-s and “if”-s. 😉 Looking forward to some more details, aren’t we?

Oct 11th morning update: Niklas deleted the photo, which makes it even more interesting. Hm. And it seems that the event last night was Marie’s book release party. 🙂

 

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Pic by Niklas Strömstedt (Instagram)