Per Gessle on Tack för musiken

When Marie Fredriksson appeared on SVT’s Tack för musiken TV show in 2013 – which was fabulous and it was amazing to see Marie on it, hear her stories and her wonderful performances –, it was an obvious question when Per Gessle would also be a guest. I even asked program host Niklas Strömstedt via some website back then and he replied „we will see”. Well, we had to wait 10 years only. Haha.

Recording of the Tack för musiken TV show with Per took place at Intiman in Stockholm on 27th March. It’s great that one could buy a ticket to be part of the audience, because it’s always fun and very interesting to see how a TV show is made.

The recording started at 18:30, but the doors opened already one hour before. It was nice to bump into many fans, mainly from Sweden, but also Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Hungary represented the European fan base.

The promo screen on the theatre facade showed Niklas Strömstedt and the dates and names of guests on the program during this season. Entering the theatre, your tickets got controlled and you could leave your stuff at the wardrobe and drink something at the bar.

Some minutes before the program started, we entered the theatre hall and found our seats. There were microphones and cameras all around the place. Microphones also in between some of the rows, so that they could record clear sound of the audience – singing and applauding.

On stage there was everything ready – instruments on the left and in the back, armchairs and tables on the right in the front. Peter Fredriksson and Mikael Nogueira-Svensson were technicians of the show, so it was nice to see them preparing the instruments and stuff and at one point, Malin-My Wall also appeared on stage to check her instruments and spot. Lovely!

When most people were already sitting, Åsa Gessle and Marie Dimberg came from backstage and sat down in the middle of row 7 or so. The hall got full and floor manager Pierre Bredstenslien entered the stage to share some instructions with us. He showed where the exits were and other useful info. He explained it was a TV show, the audience would also be visible on TV, so they would appreciate it if the crowd didn’t use their mobiles during the whole program, because it would look weird on TV. However, there would be parts when they ask us to use it – the lights when Per and Niklas perform It Must Have Been Love and they allowed us to take photos and videos during the last song, so that we could share content on social media with #tackförmusiken. Pierre also asked us to put the mobiles on mute or flight mode, so that no phones were ringing.

The first part of the fun was when they recorded our clapping and shouting and laughing based on instructions by Pierre. We laughed and cheered a lot already when the show hadn’t even started. Haha. They also checked the picture of the audience when we stood up, when we used the lights on mobiles etc. They checked all the noise we made after Pierre counted in: 3-2-1 – laughing out loud, loud applause, quieter laughter, looking at Per and reacting on something fun he just said. It was really entertaining, but we couldn’t wait for the main guest to appear at last. Haha.

Then the Tack för musiken band entered the stage. Ola Gustafsson, Charlotte Centervall, Jonas Gröning and Marcus Liliequist. Then came Niklas Strömstedt and he said we would do the world’s best TV show very soon.

And here the show starts and I switch to the transcript of the TV cut – watch it HERE! The program starts with Niklas and the band playing Det hjärta som brinner. That puts the audience in a party mood immediately.

After Niklas and the band finish the song, Niklas says he has known tonight’s protagonist for 45 years. He guided him and his friend Mats MP Persson around Stockholm city when they were there to record their first album. They didn’t have a clue. Niklas thinks they probably had never even used an escalator before. Since then they have been through a lot together. They have slept together head to toe at a billionaire’s place in Malmö and when his guest was interviewed on a TV sofa in Lisbon, Niklas stood behind a keyboard inside a strange cake, ready to start playback to Listen To Your Heart. Of course, he was also there when Gyllene Tider played their very first gig outside Halland. It was at the youth disco Village in Stockholm on 30th November 1979. Less than three months after this gig at Village, Gyllene Tider was No. 1 on the Swedish charts with Flickorna på TV2. The rest is modern Swedish pop history. Niklas welcomes Per Gessle on stage and the audience is cheering.

The guys take a seat and Niklas starts from the beginning. They are going back to Halmstad of the ’60s and Niklas shows a picture on the screen behind them. He asks Per who that guy he sees on the pic is. PG says he very much lived in a pop bubble. It was pop music for him from day one. As long as he can think back, it’s records and music and the romanticism around pop music. A little longer hair on the guys and noise and fuzzbox and stuff. Niklas wants to know if it was just music Per was interested in. Mr. G says he was a little interested in handball, soccer and ice hockey, but it was music that mattered. He remembers gathering together with his friends and everyone had these sticks from the Couronne game – cheap version of billiard, Niklas explains. Per forced his friends to have those sticks, so they would be The Animals or Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and they mimed those songs. That was his youth, PG says. Niklas won’t force Per to do it now, but he is curious about what Per’s first real instrument was. It was the piano and Mr. G learned to play Für Elise with a classical piano teacher. Per explains he never understood that classical music is the same thing as popular music, that it is based on chords in the same way. Time went by and he left that piano thing behind, because he thought it was miserable. Reading sheet music and stuff like that wasn’t for PG. He wanted to go home and listen to Led Zeppelin. Niklas realizes that Per knows some sheet music. PG confirms, he knows G clef and stuff like that, but if you give him sheet music, he can’t play it.

Niklas wants to know when Per got his first guitar or if he bought it himself. Mr. G got a nylon string guitar from his mother. It might have been in 1975, when he was 15-16 years old. Per started writing lyrics a few years before, when he was 14-15, but he couldn’t write music. He wrote melodies to those lyrics. He says those lyrics are lousy, by the way. Niklas is curious if Per remembers a line. Per laughs and says no. Haha. He wrote melodies to the songs in his head and then for some reason, he got a really nice guitar from his mom. He points at the guitar, which is there next to him. Of course, Niklas wants to have a look at it and PG picks it up. There is a little crocheted cat hanging there on the guitar, made by Per’s mother. He explains they had a white cat in the family, named Sissel.

Niklas asks Per what he played on this guitar. PG played everything he could learn, e.g. Blowing In The Wind, Streets Of London. He even wrote songs on this one, e.g. Billy. Here he plays some tunes from Billy. He also wrote music to a Hjalmar Gullberg poem. It was one of the first songs. Per says Gullberg wrote much better lyrics than him. Haha. He asks if he should play it. Of course. The title of the poem is Lägg din hand i min om du har lust. Per takes a paper out of his back pocket and Niklas asks him if he always has the lyrics to that particular song with him. Haha. Per says it’s his shopping list for the next day. Haha. Per puts the lyrics on the table in front of them and Niklas flattens it out a bit. PG plays the song and says it was a seven-minute-long solo. He was maybe 16 when he wrote this song. Niklas can hear a little John Holm in it. PG says he loves John Holm. His first two-three records are magical. When he tried to learn to write songs, he translated a lot of Leonard Cohen, Bowie, Patti Smith, to try to learn how to write lyrics, how it goes. Niklas is curious what Per learned then. He learned how to tell a story and that there are countless ways to tell stories. He still uses that. Maybe you set a tone in the first verse, but then you completely change the environment in the second verse, although it’s about the same thing. There are different styles.

Niklas says they will soon talk about Per’s criminal past. He asks if it’s OK to do that. Per asks back if they have enough time for that. Niklas says they got extra time for that. Haha. But first, they are going to play a Gyllene Tider song that was inspired by a movie. Mr. G explains he saw a movie with Jack Lemmon called Save The Tiger. It’s a great movie. There is a scene where he is asked if there is anything he wishes for or if he is missing something that hasn’t happened and then he says, „I want that girl in a Cole Porter song”. Then Per thought, „shit, what a great title!”

The guys play Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång. The audience stands up and sings along.

The guys sit down again and Niklas states they were not called Gyllene Tider from the beginning. Per says they were called a lot of things, e.g. Hjärtekrossarna after Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, of course. That was their name for a few hours. Haha. There was Grape Rock, too. Original Grape Rock was just MP and Per. It was the two of them who started it all. They did a lot of Dr. Feelgood and Patti Smith covers. Then they started writing songs together. Niklas asks if they did that on real instruments. And why he is asking it is because he got hold of a document. A verdict. He shows a picture of it on the screen behind them. It’s a verdict from November 1977 where Per smuggled in 0.7 liters of spirits, an electric guitar, two microphones and two stands with cables. Per says the cables were important. Haha. Niklas asks where he bought these things. PG explains they went to London and he bought a Gibson guitar and an amplifier. When they got back to Sweden, they found out they should have paid VAT, but they didn’t have any money, so they took a chance and it was stupid. Niklas says Per has admitted the crime. PG confirms, he confessed and he sent a letter of remorse to the police where he wrote they were poor students who just wanted to play pop music and apologized. So he got the stuff back, but he was fined 2000 bucks, which was a fortune back then. Niklas says Per was still lucky that he got the instruments back, because it led to him playing and it led to an article in Expressen. Per says they were very ambitious and as soon as they wrote a new song and recorded it, they sent around demo tapes. They sent the tapes to radio programs and newspapers. Mats Olsson at Expressen was the first to write about Gyllene Tider. He liked their demos very much and he wrote: „Per Gessle lives on Hamiltonsväg in Halmstad”, in case record companies wanted to find him. Niklas asks if record companies were queueing up then. No, they weren’t. Haha.

Niklas says GT made the first real record after that. He has it with him and picks it out from under the table. Per smiles and says what a stock Niklas has here. Niklas reacts that he has a treasure trove underneath the table. He gives the yellow EP to Per and asks him to talk about it. PG says they recorded it in a little area called Kärleken outside Halmstad, in a four-channel studio. It was pressed in 900 copies and all records came crooked. The guys were totally depressed. They got 900 new records and they threw away all the crooked ones. They sent the album to all the record companies, Björn & Benny and also to EMI. Kjell Andersson from EMI responded. He liked Billy and När alla vännerna gått hem. Niklas says they should play a bit of När alla vännerna gått hem. They stay sitting in their armchairs and both of them play the guitar and Per sings.

The guys continue talking. Niklas says, the dream was of course to get a real record deal. He asks Per if it was difficult. PG says it wasn’t difficult. They made this EP and Kjell Andersson at EMI called him to tell he was interested and asked if they had more songs, similar to what he liked. Per said they had tons. Then EMI sent down a happy young man called Lasse Lindbom from Stockholm to check them out and he thought they were good, but they were quite like the cousins from the countryside. Per says it was true, but they got to record an album. Niklas says it wasn’t that easy. Per sent around a lot of cassettes to different record companies. PG says, but that was before they made the EP. Niklas says then they got a rejection letter. PG confirms, they got that all the time. Niklas shows one on the screen and asks Per to read it out loud.

„We have listened to your material with great interest. Unfortunately, we have no opportunity to use it in our planned production, but you are welcome to send us new contributions and ideas in the future. Yours sincerely, Polar Music AB, Björn and Benny through Åsa Bergold.”

Per says he has several rejection letters from Björn and Benny via Åsa Bergold. Niklas says he thinks they regret it a little now. He thinks they are still sitting and waiting. Per says they are sitting there depressed. Haha. Niklas shows a video on the screen. Its Björn:

„Hi Per! I just want to take the opportunity and say that we are still interested. If you have new material, send it in.”

Niklas says the chance is still there. Per laughs and says, „Thanks, Björn!”.

So, EMI agreed and Gyllene Tider was going to release their first single, but they picked the wrong A-side. Per explains, the record company wanted the single to be a song that had some kind of disco groove that was in trend at the time. Then the guys picked a song called Himmel No. 7 and since Flickorna på TV2 was their favourite, it became a double A-side. Niklas and Per talked about Village before, Village started playing it and then it started to spread. Even if it’s not so easy to dance to Flickorna på TV2, it went well anyway. Niklas confirms, it went great for those at Village to dance to the song and at Atlantic too. Niklas thinks it’s a fantastic title and it grabbed the attention. He also states Per had many fun titles, e.g. Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly, (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän and he is curious where Per got all these from. Mr. G says he has always loved writing stories. When he started writing lyrics, he wanted them to have something that stood out. He loves nonsense lyrics, e.g. I Am The Walrus. Fantastic lyrics. Many Bob Dylan lyrics are very fuzzy. Per loves them. The Look is also such text. Here Niklas shows a part of the lyrics of The Look on the screen. Per starts reading it, but he immediately gets into the rhythm and kind of raps it and the audience is clapping to the rhythm. Niklas asks Per what the text means. Per’s reaction is: „Can’t you speak English?” Haha. Per thinks the text is obvious. Niklas says almost everyone he knows who writes songs in Swedish, always writes a kind of made up text in English first. Per says it was the case for him with the first verse. This one he read was the second verse. Niklas asks what the first verse is, so PG starts rapping that one too and the audience joins in. Per explains that the whole song is based on rhythm so he tried to find words that had that swing. Niklas is curious what the English-speaking audience thought of these lyrics. Per says they wondered what drugs he was doing. Haha. There was someone who said that no Englishman or American could have written this and that made it stand out and it became something special. Niklas states this was Roxette’s first US No. 1 and that was the beginning of their fabulous collaboration with Marie Fredriksson. Niklas says they will talk more about it later, but Per has managed to surround himself with many talented singers over the years. Now we meet one more, because they are going to play a brand new song. Niklas asks PG to tell more about it. Mr. G says there is a new record that will come out this fall, which contains a lot of duets. He has chosen a lot of female and male singers that he admires and thinks are fantastic, and one of the coolest of our time is Molly Hammar. Then Niklas invites the fantastic Molly Hammar on stage. The guys are greeting Molly and they perform Beredd together.

Niklas introduces the band after they finish the song. Jonas Gröning on keyboards, Marcus Liliequist on drums, Charlotte Centervall on bass, Ola Gustafsson on guitar and especially today, Malin-My Wall on accordion, violin and guitar.

The guys sit down again and Niklas says Per has had incredible success not only in Sweden, but also abroad. He thought they would remind us of what it has been like and show a footage from Per’s career on the screen. From Gyllene Tider through Roxette’s US break-through to award-winning moments. In the video, Julia Roberts is also shown from an old report, where she says It Must Have Been Love was the tearjerker song in their movie.

Niklas can see that Per is very touched when he sees these pictures. PG says it’s always incredibly fun to see Marie. Niklas thinks so too. Niklas wants to know what kind of memories come to life, when Per sees these pictures. Mr. G says it’s a long life, a long time. Gyllene Tider was fantastic in the ’80s, but it became a completely different thing when Roxette broke through. After all, they had about eight years that they just worked around the clock, between 1988 and 1995. Fantastic years. Niklas asks Per what the biggest thing was that he got to experience. PG says, at that time, it was not particularly common to succeed in the industry unless you were from England or the USA. So the whole thing to come from little Sweden and get all the hits. They were on the US charts for almost four years without falling off. They just changed the song. Then it spread to South America and Asia and Australia.

Niklas wants to go back to the beginning. A few years after the Gyllene Tider era, Per asked Marie Fredriksson if she wanted to start singing with him or collaborate with him. Niklas is curious what Marie thought then, because she was big then as a solo artist. Per smiles and says they got to know each other in the rehearsal studio in Harplinge in 1979. So they became good friends. They said early on that at some point they will do something together. But then the Gyllene Tider era hit and Marie got her own record deal. Then when Per’s career went down in 1985, he was a has-been when he was 26. Niklas says it’s easy to become one. In 1984-1985, Per wrote songs, mainly lyrics for other artists. Among other things, he wrote a song for Pernilla Wahlgren called Svarta glas. They never came back to say whether they liked it or not. Her record company didn’t get in touch. Niklas asks what happened to Svarta glas. Per didn’t have a record deal anymore, but he played it for EMI. The manager, Rolf Nygren, when he heard it, he said Per should write an English text to the song and record it with Marie. Rolf thought that’s exactly the song Per has always talked about needing. So PG wrote an English text called Neverending Love and that became the first Roxette single.

Niklas says the gang around Marie and maybe Marie herself was a bit unsure too. PG says the conditions for this were that it was in English, so it was something that did not compete with Marie’s career. She was on the way up with her career. Per was thrilled that Marie agreed to this, to record Neverending Love. It became a summer hit in 1986 in Sweden. Niklas shows the sleeve of the single and says they were a bit secretive. PG confirms, it was because if something went wrong, it would not affect Marie’s career. It was a strategic move from the record label. Per’s chance to keep Marie was to try to make it successful. Niklas thinks it must have been a pressure. PG says of course it was. He had made a Swedish album that was never recorded, because nobody wanted it. He translated it into English and it became Roxette’s first record. So all these songs like Soul Deep, I Call Your Name and Goodbye To You were written in Swedish first.

Niklas says Roxette is Sweden’s biggest music export after ABBA. Per thinks so. Niklas says they got a song in one of the world’s most popular movies. When Marie was on this show, she sang this song, a stripped down version on the sofa. Niklas thinks they should do it with Per too. PG agrees and the guys pick up their guitars and play It Must Have Been Love while the audience is holding up their mobiles with the lights on and singing along.

Niklas asks Per what he thinks is more fun: playing alone or in a band. The immediate answer is: in a band. Then you are part of a puzzle and it’s nice to find your role. Per usually says to all young people – that’s most people on Earth when you are Per’s age, haha – that everyone should try playing in a band. It’s a fantastic feeling that „I do this, you do that and you do that and together it will be this fantastic thing”. Playing in a band is magical.

Niklas says Per did a couple of solo records in the early ’80s. He is curious how it was. Per says it was chaotic. He made his first solo record the year when the others in Gyllene Tider did the obligatory military service. Per says he skipped it, because he was too kind and green didn’t fit him anyway. Haha. Then it became a singer-songwriter record. PG wasn’t quite ready for that. Both that record and the second album are pretty hard to listen to. Niklas asks Per if he has not grown in the singer-songwriter role. Mr. G says it’s a bit weird when you write that kind of lyrics when you are 22. Per was incredibly happy to make a record called Mazarin in 2002 after he had been working with Roxette for 18 years in English. Looking back, it feels like one of the most important records, because there Per was ready to make that kind of music and that kind of lyrics and you can feel and hear it.

Niklas says there was a song on Per’s first solo record that he remembers they wrote together in Per’s room while PG’s mom was making pancakes in the kitchen downstairs. Per says his mom really loved Niklas. Niklas says she loved Per much more. It was the opening track on that record which the guys have never played live together. It’s a lovely song, Per thinks. Niklas wrote the music and PG wrote the lyrics. Per asks if they should play it. Niklas asks the audience if they want to hear it. Of course, here comes a loud cheering, so the guys pick up their guitars, use Capo 2. Niklas asks Per if he needs a plectrum, but PG refuses it. Fingerstyle is better and they start to sing På väg. They hi-five when they finish the song and Per says it wasn’t bad. Niklas says then they got pancakes.

Niklas says Per talked about Mazarin that it was a very important record and it was so good and successful. He is curious if it has anything to do with not having any expectations. Per doesn’t really know. To predict if something is going to be successful is incredibly difficult. The most common question he gets is „how do you write a hit?”, but he has no idea. Everyone laughs here. Niklas says there were many hits on that album. Per confirms and says he didn’t even want to include Här kommer alla känslorna on the record, because he thought it sounded like that ’50s pastiche, a song without a chorus. But that was the one that everyone got hooked on, so Per had to bite the bullet and accept it. Niklas says there were more songs on that record that became hits, including the one they are going to play now. It’s Tycker om när du tar på mej.

After the song, the guys sit down and Niklas asks quick questions. First: major or minor? Per picks major. Niklas wouldn’t have thought so. PG explains that if you work in minor, you are locked in, but if you work in major, if you are a little ingenious, you can bring out a minor feel even only with major chords. This kind of melancholy can be achieved with major chords, which you are a bit stuck on if you work in minor.

Niklas wants to know what Per thinks is the world’s best song title. PG thinks Love Hurts is a good title. A good song title should make you curious about the song and Love Hurts is like that. You want to find out what it is about.

Niklas says Per prefers to write alone, he doesn’t often write with others, but he is curious if PG would be forced to write with someone, anyone in music history, who he would choose. Per says his big musical hero is Tom Petty. He recognizes a lot of Petty’s style in his own style. They have completely different traditions, but there are similarities. Mr. G thinks Tom Petty was a great songwriter and lyricist too. Burt Bacharach is another one who he always admired. It’s a different musical level than Per’s, but it’s amazing to be able to be on that level and still write such „simple” melodies.

Niklas asks Per what’s the first chord he plays when he picks up a guitar. PG tries it immediately in the air. Niklas tells him he can pick up a guitar and try, so Mr. G picks it up. He says he doesn’t know what chord it is, but he always takes this one. Here he plays a chord. It’s Am7, he thinks. Niklas says it comes from a real major guy. Haha.

Niklas wants to know how many guitars Per has. Per asks if they talk about the guitars he has here with him. No, Niklas talks about all of his guitars altogether. Per doesn’t know. A hundred maybe. 80-90-100. Guitars are like good friends. Every time you buy a guitar, you write a great little song. That’s what happens in Per’s case.

Niklas remembers that about 20 years ago, Per had the guitar hanging very low. He is curious why. PG says, it was tough. The guys stand up and demonstrate how it looked. Niklas says 30 years ago it was OK, but it gets more difficult when arthrosis strikes. That’s why Per quit holding the guitar like that. He had a disc herniation. Niklas asks if it was because of the guitar hanging so low. Per says he realized he had a disc herniation in the lower back in 1996, just before a Gyllene Tyder concert in Lysekil for 25,000 people. He was in the restroom and reached for a towel and felt ouch. Niklas asks what happened then. PG says they had to postpone the gig by 90 minutes. He got some weird injection that hasn’t let go since then. Haha.

While they are at it, Niklas asks Per what it’s like to age like a pop star. Haha. PG says it’s not that bad. He has crowned his career now with being on the cover of Senioren magazine. Haha. Niklas of course has the magazine underneath the table so he shows it to the camera. He says he got it home in the mailbox, but it must have gone wrong.

Niklas wants to know if Per sees any advantages of being older in the music business. Per can’t see any direct advantage in the industry, but he thinks it’s not so crazy to get older as a person. He is much calmer and takes everything easier now than before. Things are not as important as they used to be.

Talking about the future, there will be a musical. Niklas asks Per to tell more about it. PG says there is a Roxette musical that premieres on 6th September in Malmö. It’s called Joyride and it’s a whole new world for him. He hasn’t gotten into it before. It’s very exciting. There is also the Gyllene Tider movie this summer and then there is a bunch of other new stuff next year that you don’t know about.

Niklas thought they would end the show with one of those songs that’s featured in the Roxette musical. Niklas says when they rehearsed it, it was like being 12 years old. It was fun being in the rehearsal studio and it’s been a long time since he had this much fun. Per says it was noticeable on Niklas. Haha. Niklas thanks Per for coming and for 45 years of friendship. Per thanks for it too.

The guys stand up and they perform Dressed For Success together with the band. The audience stands up and party hard at the end of the show.

Regarding the songs, the ones the guys played on guitar while sitting were recorded during the talking, but all other songs were recorded separately, at the end of the session. So when the guys were talking about the upcoming songs, they stood up as if they were to start playing them, but then sat right back without playing the songs. Haha. There were some fun reactions both from Per’s side and from the audience during those moments. Only Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång was played twice, all other songs were performed only once. We were joking after the recording ended that we, the audience, should have messed it up, so they would have had to record it once again. Haha. Maybe next time.

There were also some more fun stories at the recording that are not included in the TV cut. It would have been impossible to include everything, since the recording took more than 2 hours and the TV cut is only 1 hour long. The program itself is still amazing. It’s much fun not only for hardcore fans, but also for those who want to know more about the artists who are guests on the show.

The TV team is very professional and did a fantastic job. The camera angles, the editing, the sound, everything is perfect, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the complete crew, the musicians, Molly as a guest star and of course, the main characters of the show, the two pop nerds and good old friends, Niklas Strömstedt and Per Gessle. Hats off to everyone involved and thank you for this beautiful program!

Stills are from Tack för musiken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per Gessle and Molly Hammar on Nyhetsmorgon

Per was Jenny Alversjö’s guest on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. Molly Hammar joined them via Zoom. Watch the interview HERE!

Jenny informs that Per is back with a new single, Beredd. On Friday we got a taste of what’s to come this autumn, because PG will release a new album, Sällskapssjuk. On Beredd we don’t only hear Per’s beautiful voice, but also Molly Hammar’s, Jenny adds.

Here they play a short part of the video to Beredd.

Jenny welcomes Per and asks how it feels to release this song. Mr. G says it feels great. There are only very positive reactions and it’s wonderful to have Molly in this. Per is very happy. Jenny understands that and she says now he works in Swedish again. PG says he has also done some Gyllene Tider in between, but it’s been seven years since he made his Nashville records that were in Swedish.

Jenny says Per is always active. Now this is the first taste from the album Sällskapssjuk, which will be out this fall. Jenny is curious if there is any special reason why the first single is released now. Mr. G says it’s mostly because he wanted to release different duets before the album is out and this way he needed some leadtime. The next single comes in May.

Jenny wants to know more about the background. Why Molly? Because that’s pretty much the only thing they can talk about now, since Per is so secretive about the other collaborations.

PG tells Jenny that he wrote a lot of songs and felt it would be fun to have a different angle this time, to do duets and work with different male and female singers that he likes very much. So he called around and found a bunch of singers that he likes. It’s been an incredibly fun project.

Jenny asks if it was difficult to find these partners. Per says it was easier than he thought. PG says you want to work with people you like, but who have something to add. When you write a song and another personality comes in, things happen with the song both lyrically and musically, so it’s important to find the right one. He thinks it has turned out very nice in this case.

Jenny says it sounds like no one refused to collaborate. Per confirms that and says smiling that it’s unbelievable.

Jenny asks how Per has chosen Molly. Mr. G says Molly is a favourite. She is an absolutely magical singer. She has this magnet, when you hear her voice, you can’t stop listening to her. Jenny says Per mentioned Molly could sing a phone book. PG says she is the classic one who could do that. She is a bit like Adele, she has that kind of voice. You can’t help, but listen to it. So Per is glad she wanted to join him.

That’s a nice compliment according to Jenny. Here they call Molly via Zoom. She is in London. They greet each other and Molly thanks Per for the compliments. Per asks Molly how she is. She feels great, and asks if she doesn’t look fresh. PG says she does look fresh despite that it’s Sunday morning.

Jenny says Molly looks splendid and asks her about how it feels to hear what Per has just told about her. Molly says it’s huge. When Per called her, it was a very big deal for her. Because Per is a legend and a fantastic musician. When they got to meet and then hung out in the studio, then she started liking him as much as a person too. Molly thinks it’s fun that you can be a legend and be incredibly nice at the same time. So she is very happy.

Jenny asks Molly what she thought when she heard the song for the first time. Molly says she loved it right away. She thinks that it’s a classic fine, cross-generational pop song, because it’s a theme that everyone can relate to.

Jenny is curious about how they did the recordings, if they were in Stockholm or in Halmstad.

Per says they met in Stockholm and tested some keys and such. Then Molly came down to Halmstad. The whole album was recorded in Halmstad, by the way, with lots of local musicians. So Molly came down to Halmstad and they had a good day in the studio and a very nice dinner in the evening in Tylösand. Molly confirms it was super nice.

Jenny asks Molly how important she thinks it is to hang around when creating together. Molly thinks it’s important to have a lot of fun together when making music. Otherwise it just gets weird and she doesn’t think this magic could happen then. You have to have fun and laugh together.

Jenny says they would have loved to see Molly in the Nyhetsmorgon studio, but she is in London. She is curious what Molly is doing there. Molly is running around writing songs and she has a great time. Jenny says she should come to the studio when she gets home. Molly says it would be her pleasure.

Jenny says it’s great that they could have her on the show this way. She knows Molly has a lot to do, so they will let her go now and wish her to have a nice time. Molly thanks for that and says goodbye to both Jenny and Per.

Jenny says Per has been in the business for a very long time, but she wants to know if Per has learned anything from this collaboration. PG says it’s hard to say that you learn something, but as he said before, songs grow and change when you work with other people. And as everyone knows, he has worked a lot with duets in Roxette. He wrote so many songs for Marie that changed and raised the quality of the songs simply because of her voice and her personality. And it’s the same here. All these people he has worked with have changed his songs. It’s not like he sat down with seven or eight people and wrote new music together. It’s his songs and his lyrics that they come in and sing to. So there is a big difference here.

Jenny thinks that many people, including her, will forever associate Per with Marie, of course, even if he does duets with other artists. She asks Per what it was like working with others. Per says it’s always exciting. Before you go into the studio and you have a song, it might not feel right. The keys might not fit or there might be too much modulation for it to work. When he chose certain singers, he listened to what kind of voice they have and in theory he tried, this person fits this song, that person fits that song. And some have not worked at all. Then he already knows in advance that it won’t work. Jenny asks if there were a lot of singers on Per’s list to revise, if he had to revise Molly. Per says no, it was simple with Molly.

Jenny can imagine that when Per and Marie worked together, they must have known each other inside and out, so Per rarely got to revise things there. Per says no, but he was listening to the Roxette catalogue and sometimes he heard some strange key changes to lower and higher, so that they can both sing. You can do such technical tricks. The songs Marie sings herself, they are in her register what she enjoyed the most.

Jenny can imagine that there might be an extra reminder of Marie when Per has collaborations and someone else is at the microphone. Per says not really. It’s been so long since Marie and Per have worked together. It was a lovely era in his life that he preserves. But he doesn’t think too much about it now. But the loss is still there, definitely.

Jenny says she knows that Marie wrote some of the music on the new album. Per says it’s actually a song that is not a duet, but he sings it himself. Marie and he wrote it together in the ’80s. Per wrote the lyrics and Marie and Per wrote the music. So it is also a bit special. It was written long before Roxette, when Marie and Per hung out in his attic apartment in Halmstad in the early ’80s and watched Dallas and Dynasty and stuff like that in the evenings. Jenny finds it lovely and she can see Marie and Per in front of her like that.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds such a song. If it was on paper or they recorded it on cassette. Per says it was on cassette and there have been a few demos on it over the years. It has been a little too good to throw away, but it has never found its rightful place.

Jenny asks Per if he has an overview of everything they have worked on. Per says he doesn’t. A few things have appeared in recent years that he has forgotten about, but they are somewhere on cassettes and strange minidiscs. There has been a lot of technology over the years. It’s such a long time.

Jenny asks if the song that Marie co-wrote is also a duet. Per says it’s not a duet, he sings it himself.

The album will be released this fall. Jenny asks Per about the title, Sällskapssjuk. PG says he wrote a song called Sällskapssjuk and he thought it’s a good title when you have a lot of duets. He also thought it was a nice expression, a nice word.

Jenny says Per mentioned before that he worked on the album in Halmstad, he recorded it there. So some of the songs are probably very organically recorded. Per confirms it. He has worked a lot with local musicians to try to find a new angle, a new sound on the record. Everything is a bit homegrown. It’s hard to explain music, but it’s very organic. There is a lot of lap steel and there is a lot of violin. It’s good.

Jenny wants to know how Per finds inspiration again and again. Mr. G says he doesn’t really look for inspiration, but it pops up from time to time. He is not the kind of person who goes and sits down to play the piano and guitar and writes every day. He usually says that he writes as little as possible. Because when he has something on his mind, he becomes very focused and it goes quite quickly. So Jenny says this means Per doesn’t really like sitting and writing like that. Per says he doesn’t like it at all. He has to do it only sometimes. It’s something that has to come out in some way.

Jenny asks how it is to record in Sweden and elsewhere. There must be a big difference between Sweden and the rest of the world. Per has experienced both. PG says there really isn’t that much of a difference. It’s a completely different thing to work in the studio and to be on stage, of course. This communication that you work with when you have an audience in front of you, it’s fantastic. Many people always ask if it’s fun to play Sommartider or The Look, which you have played a thousand times. When you have an audience in front of you that gives so much back, it’s clear that you love to play your hits. That’s why you work, so to say. Jenny says it must be amazing to see those songs live on through different generations too. What a gift!

The album is coming this autumn, there will be more duets. The next single comes out in May. Jenny asks who will be Per’s partner in that, but Mr. G doesn’t reveal. Jenny asks for a hint. Per says it’s a fantastic male or female singer. Haha.

Jenny thanks Per for coming and hopes to see him again in spring. Per says it’s always fun to be here.

Stills are from Nyhetsmorgon.

Per Gessle on Nyhetsmorgon on TV4 talking about Pugh Rogefeldt

Per Gessle was a guest on TV4’s morning show, Nyhetsmorgon on 13th October, release day of his new single, a cover of Pugh Rogefeldt’s Vandrar i ett regn. Program leaders Sofia Geite and Steffo Törnquist interviewed him.

The interview starts with premiering the song’s video and after they play a short part of it, Steffo says it’s such a good song choice, because one could think it could have been written by Per. It fits Per very well. PG agrees that it’s a fantastic song. Steffo says Pugh was great and Per discovered him early. Mr. G says the first time he saw Pugh must have been 1974 in Halmstad’s folk park. He played there with his band, Rainrock. He had a scarf on his head and a long ponytail and after a few songs he took off the bandana and everyone saw he had shaved his hair and was bald, just had the ponytail left. The whole audience was shocked. Per says you had never seen anything like that before. Pugh took a bet with his brother, but when his brother saw how Pugh looked, he withdrew himself from the bet. Haha.

The following year Pugh was on tour and played at Halmstad Theatre. There they played, among other songs, Vandrar i ett regn, Per says. Steffo says it’s a song that makes you happy and it’s lovely. PG thinks it has fantastic lyrics and it’s a wonderful song. Pugh was a great songwriter. Steffo mentions a word Pugh uses, “gamman” for happy. “Glad och gamman” in the lyrics, Per thinks it’s a nice expression. He had to check what that meant.

Steffo says Pugh was purely musical too and very innovative. Per agrees. He says Pugh actually created his own language, Pughish. That was even the title of his second album, Pughish. He simply wrote lyrics in his own language. It’s very unique. So there was a musical madness in all this fantastic melodic work he did. Per likes his songs a lot. He thinks there are similarities between Pugh’s lyrics and for example John Lennon’s lyrics. Sometimes there are these kind of nonsense lyrics that you can make your own and you can interpret them as you want. A bit like how Per tried to write The Look. That song isn’t about anything, but you can make it your own. That’s the cool thing about pop music and PG thinks Pugh was a master of it.

Sofia mentions that there will be a tribute concert for Pugh at Cirkus in Stockholm. That place has been chosen for a reason, also because it was where Pugh had his last concert. Per was there in the audience then. He says it was a great concert, but it was a bit strange, because Pugh behaved a bit odd. Per doesn’t know why. He says he was there with his producer, sitting in the first row of the gallery and at one song Pugh went out into the audience and sang the song. He caught sight of Per, walked up to him and then he hugged Per. PG doesn’t really understand why. It was a long hug and a bit magical in a way. In retrospect now it feels super wonderful.

Steffo says Gyllene Tider and Pugh toured together. Per smiles and says Pugh wasn’t a support act, because he was too good for that, he was a special guest for Gyllene Tider in 2004. It was a huge tour. They of course met during the tour, but they didn’t travel together. On a tour it’s when they play, you are in the dressing room, changing clothes, you are getting ready for your part, putting on your make-up and stuff, Per says, so you often miss out on each other.

Sofia says that the big hug Pugh gave Per must have been a surprise for PG, because he and Pugh didn’t have a very tight relationship. Per confirms he was surprised. Pugh was 5-6 metres away from him when he caught sight of PG, so he doesn’t know why he got the feeling. Sofia says probably this relationship meant a lot to Pugh.

Per tells Sofia and Steffo that Pugh asked him to help put together the setlist of what he would play as the special guest on the GT tour. He knew Per was a big fan. Mr. G made a list based on the early records that he loved, Pughish and Hollywood. Pugh always wondered why Per chose these weird songs that he had basically forgotten about. But those songs were so good.

Sofia aks Per what it was like to meet his idol when he was young. Because she knows PG had the chance to meet Pugh in some hotel foyer. Per says when Pugh played the folk park in Halmstad, he and his friends knew that they would be staying at a hotel in Vallås, outside Halmstad. They went there to the hotel and waited for the band to come. The band came and then they walked half a metre past. The guys sat there and were too shy to say anything at the age of 14. They just wanted to be close to the pop gods. Haha.

Regarding the Gyllene Tider movie, Per says the shooting lasts until next week and the movie is out next summer. Steffo asks how it feels. Per says it’s scary, but it’s cool. He has seen a bit of it and it’s amazing. The script is awesome, so he hopes the film will be as good as the script is. It’s a movie about 5 crazy guys in a small town who start a band. But in the end, it’s not like a documentary about Gyllene Tider. It ends with Sommartider released in 1982, so it’s kind of about how the band got there. Sofia asks Per if he recognizes himself or he sees new sides of him in the movie. [Here they show the group picture of Gyllene Tider and the cast.] Per points at the picture and says he recognizes himself there. Haha. PG says the actors interpreted the film well and they are incredibly talented. The director is also wonderful. The program leaders say it’s fun and they look forward to it. They also wish Per to have a good time at the Pugh gala.

Stills are from the morning show.

Per Gessle and Anders Herrlin about Gyllene Tider on Efter fem – TV4

Per Gessle and Anders Herrlin were guests on TV4’s Efter fem on 1st June. You can watch it HERE!

The program leader, Axel Pileby says 4 years ago Gyllene Tider was out on a farewell tour and said goodbye in packed venues around the country after 40 years. But if you are one of Sweden’s greatest bands, you can make a comeback as many times as you want and now a new tour awaits and also a new Gyllene Tider album. He says it’s great to have Anders and Per on the show and asks them if GT is still as much fun. The guys say it’s a lot of fun. PG adds it’s a wonderful little pop band of the type that isn’t formed anymore.

Axel says they will talk about the GT film later, but he heard on the radio that yesterday Anders was going to meet the guy who will play him. Anders says it felt a little strange, but it was nice. The guy studied him thoroughly and they talked a lot. The guy was staring at him to check Anders’ moves and behaviour and so he felt watched.

The program leader says they will talk about the film and many other things soon, but first comes a little nostalgia and his colleague will tell a bit about magical Gyllene Tider. So here comes a compact history of GT. After the introduction of the band’s career, Axel asks the guys if they sometimes stop and think, wow, what have we done. Anders says when they see such presentations, they do. Seeing the 2004 Ullevi picture there, it’s just fantastic. Axel says he wasn’t there, but just by looking at the picture he gets goosebumps. It must have been extraordinary. Per says the first time they played Ullevi was absolutely incredible. So it has been an awesome trip.

Axel asks the guys how often they think back to GT and such things as Ullevi. PG says he is reminded about Gyllene Tider all the time. You hear GT music all the time, e.g. now when it’s graduation time of secondary schools (studenten), the students still sing Sommartider.

Axel says the band is back again after their 2019 farewell tour and he is curious what happened, why they changed their minds. Anders says the pandemic happened after their decision. Everything became so sad, everything was shut down and it was boring. Then this idea was born that they should fix themselves and bring back some light. Anders remembers when he hit the last note at the last gig in Oslo, he thought, „shit, what have we done? This is really sad, we should continue”. Per says people have a different way of thinking because of the pandemic. You started to appreciate things that you have in a different way. Time passed and so they started talking about why not recording a new album and play a bit more together. All of a sudden it felt obvious in a way, so it wasn’t really planned, but Hux Flux just happened. Axel says they maybe somehow realized it even more how much they miss each other, how much they mean to each other, because they have been a part of each other’s lives for so long. Per says such thoughts popped up during the pandemic in different ways. PG thinks a lot of people can identify with it.

Axel asks if there is any fear related to Hux Flux. He means that they said goodbye in 2019 and there was a big hype around it, a lot of people went to see them. Now they come back again and they are Gyllene Tider, but Axel is curious if they are afraid that the interest will not be as great. PG says you never know. Every time you do a new project, you can’t take anything for granted at all. Per thinks they have such a huge song catalogue that it feels completely right to do this. PG also hopes that there will be more things, so that they won’t go on another farewell tour.

Axel asks the guys how it is touring these days compared to 40 years ago. Anders says it’s a little easier now. Back then they carried their own stuff themselves. Maybe not Per, but the rest of them carried Per’s guitars too. Haha. Now they just go along and stand on the stage playing. Per says the only fun thing about touring is being on stage. Everything else is waiting to be on stage. It is the communication and energy that you get from the audience and that you feel the love. You live for this in a way. The rest is just sleeping pills… waiting for the flight, long bus rides, all that and new hotel beds every night. As he said before, you can never take anything for granted and it’s very cool to be in this band and to play on these stages and meet the audience. Anders says when they went on tour in their little tour bus 40 years ago, it was also cool, this little gang going around. They stuck together and learned a lot during those times.

Axel goes back to 1985 and asks about why the band split up. Anders says they kind of felt like they were not getting anywhere with their music. There was so much happening in music at the time with synths and more electronic stuff, but they were kind of stuck, so then Anders thought it’s better that they take a little break and they did.

Anders moved to Stockholm and started working in a music store and learned a lot about synth music, because he was very much interested in it. Then he started working with Per again for Roxette and added his knowledge to the music they made. And it was good.

Axel asks Per about 1994-1995 when they were on tour with Roxette and Per was writing music in Japanese ice hockey halls for GT again. PG says it was during the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour. They were to take a break with Roxette, because Marie wanted to have another child. So Per wrote songs for GT. Det är över nu he actually wrote in an ice hockey hall in Japan. All these songs, Kung av sand, Juni, juli, augusti, Gå & fiska! were written back then. It was a great time, PG says.

Axel mentions that Per often writes in unexpected places. PG says ideas can come anywhere, as long as you are motivated.

Axel asks the guys to tell a bit about the GT movie that premieres next year. Anders says it won’t be a documentary. It’s more about 5 guys from a small town who succeed against all odds. Per says it’s a film about 5 teenage guys who meet and start a band and suddenly end up in Stockholm in their clogs.

Axel wants to know how much the guys in GT are involved in the film. Anders says they get to read the script and think. Per says they have been there the whole time, because that script is their story, so it’s clear that they have to be there. They have told a lot of anecdotes and so it has become the script in a way. But it’s clear that the story is written in a way that it becomes an interesting and funny movie. It’s a very funny script with lots of laughs and cries, just like it was for real. Per thinks it will be a great movie. PG says most people who are in a film like this have already died, so it will be very strange to see this. Anders has already met mini Anders. Per has also met mini Per and he thinks that guy is amazing.

Axel says the movie will be exciting and he speaks for many people out there when he says it’s much fun that GT is back again. The new album is out soon and the tour starts on 7th July in Halmstad. Axel thanks the guys for coming to the show. Per says it’s their pleasure.

Stills are from the video.

Per Gessle on Nyhetsmorgon interviewed by Jenny Strömstedt

Saturday morning Per was invited to Nyhetsmorgon, TV4’s morning show and Jenny Strömstedt interviewed him. You can watch it HERE on TV4 Play if you are in Sweden or HERE on TV4’s website if you live anywhere else or you have troubles with VPN.

Jenny introduces Per as one of Sweden’s most beloved artists. She says one of Sweden’s most beloved bands went on a farewell tour 3 years ago, but this week the happy news came about Gyllene Tider’s comeback. Here comes a little footage from previous tours and when the camera shows the studio again, Per is already sitting on the couch enjoying GT’s music that plays in the footage.

Jenny welcomes Per on the show and Mr. G thanks for that. Jenny holds up the Pop-Up Dynamo! vinyl and says Per also releases a new album under PG Roxette. She asks PG when he sleeps at all. Per replies he sleeps as rarely and as little as possible and admits he is busy with many things at once. There is always something going on.

Jenny says Per was on Nyhetsmorgon together with Micke Syd approximately 3 years ago and they talked about their farewell tour that was coming and now they reunite again. Never say never, Jenny adds. Per explains that it was really meant to be a farewell tour, but he thinks the pandemic changed everything. It brought him a lot of new thoughts. The whole new GT thing came after he bought a guitar. He bought the guitar and wrote two amazing songs that screamed for Gyllene Tider. The 5 guys met more often lately because of the upcoming GT movie and Per just asked them if they should record some new songs. Everyone thought it was a cool idea. This lead them to record a new album which is called Hux flux and a summer tour with the same name next year. The album is already finished. Jenny finds it exciting. She asks Per how he felt that those two new songs were Gyllene songs. PG says it’s a special kind of style, a sort of power pop style that sounds like only Gyllene Tider sounds. It’s very cool. Jenny is curious about what happens when the guys gather in the same room. Per smiles and says that not much happens when they just gather in a room, but a lot is happening when they play together. It’s just awesome. It’s cool to be in a band. He wishes all young people would try it, to play the same song at the same time and have a role in a little band. It’s actually a magical feeling.

Jenny says she thinks the band reunited so many times because the audience that has been following them over the years needs GT. When she saw Gyllene Tider’s last gig, which wasn’t the last one in the end, she looked around and everyone in the crowd was moved. She feels that the audience and the band strengthen each other’s life, they made this journey together. She asks Per what role he thinks a band like Gyllene Tider has in this generation. One big role is certainly what Jenny mentions, Per thinks. Mr. G says that the fantastic thing in his job, writing music and songs is that they really communicate with people, when they are getting married or meet or cry, etc. Songs mean a lot to people. That’s the power of music. So of course it’s amazing and it’s almost impossible to quit if you once started. It’s impossible to imagine that he would stop writing music or be on stage.

Jenny asks Per if he gets any kind of feedback now when he is on stage with Gyllene Tider and plays the old songs again. Per says, not really. He sings texts he wrote when he was 23, so he realizes that time has passed and he probably wouldn’t express himself the same way today. He tells he was on an unplugged tour earlier this year and played a lot of old songs in acoustic arrangment. He realized it’s very different when you are 63 and sing a song you wrote 45 years ago, because the song suddenly means something else. Even if it’s the same lyrics, it gets a different angle. For example, Ljudet av ett annat hjärta or När vi två blir en, these are songs he wrote when he was 20 or so. When he sings them now, he tells the story in a different way vs. when he wrote the song. Jenny repeats the title När vi två blir en while thinking about the next question and Per starts singing „… känna din kropp emot min…”, then he asks Jenny if she knows the song. They are laughing. Per explains the expressions in the lyrics are young, the declaration of love is young, those are young thoughts and young vibes. He thinks it’s important to find something you can stick to all the time while time goes by.

Jenny says Per goes on with Roxette under the name PG Roxette and releases a new album next Friday. Jenny heard there is a fan forum where a tough discussion went on if it’s right or wrong that Per continues without Marie. Per thinks it’s a relevant question. He tells that Marie quit Roxette in 2016 and it wasn’t obvious to Per to continue, but time passed by and he felt that he wanted to keep Roxette’s legacy alive. There are so many people all around the world who love Roxette’s music and he now tried to make a record that is kind of a sibling to Look Sharp! and Joyride. Mr. G says he didn’t try to replace Marie. He works together with the classic Roxette band and let the two girls – who were on tour with them during the „modern times”, if one can say so –, to come forward when they are needed.

With GT there were two most intense years, with Roxette eight. Per tells Roxette started in 1986 and ended in 2016, so it was altogether 30 years. It’s not more than half of his life, but almost. So all his adult life he lived with Roxette. Gyllene Tider ended actually in the mid ’80s and it became project-based. So it’s Roxette Per worked with the most. Jenny is curious what has shaped Per the most. PG says the success and the opportunity he got through Roxette in life has shaped his whole life and the whole life of his family. It became his destiny in a way.

Jenny asks Per if he sometimes can look back and reflect on all the huge success he had. If he allows himself to do that. Per says he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like to sit and look back that way. Of course, sometimes when he talks about it, he reflects on it, but he doesn’t sit at home and looks at the golden records, for example. It’s the future that counts. It’s that he is a songwriter first of all. He started writing songs when he was a teenager.

Jenny asks Per where he gets the driving force from and that he can’t help it. Mr. G says he wanted to enter the pop world when he was a kid – 6-8 years old –, because the pop world was much more exciting for him than the real world. He thinks it’s still a bit like that. He likes to live through his songs. It’s tragic but true.

Jenny closes the interview with mentioning the GT tour next summer and she asks Per about the upcoming GT album. PG tells it will be released next spring, PG Roxette album is out next Friday and tickets for the GT tour go on sale on Tuesday.

Jenny thanks Per for coming on the show and wishes good luck with everything. Per says it’s always a pleasure and sends his greetings to Niklas [Niklas Strömstedt, Jenny’s husband].

Stills are from the morning show.

Thanks for the technical support to János Tóth!