En vacker RoxBlog interview with Per Gessle

After Per Gessle’s new album, ”En vacker natt” was released, several questions popped up in my mind. I was reading and watching all the interviews with him, but many questions had no answers in any of them. So it was obvious there is a need for a RoxetteBlog interview and so I put all the Qs together and sent them in hope for answers.

We all know that Mr. G is faster than a shot from a gun, but while he is in the middle of a signing session tour, doing a lot of promo stuff and other interviews, you would think it would take much more time than just 2-3 days to have the answers. Not in his case! Yesterday I had the chance to meet him in Malmö and his answers were sent back to me before the signing session started. I was already prepared to ask him not be ”angry” with me because of those many Qs, but this way it was far much better. I could thank him in person! I told him I didn’t expect him to send the answers back so fast. He said it’s incredible that there are many interviews with him, but there are still this many Qs that weren’t asked by others. I told him I thought he might have felt tortured because of this. He said no, no. It’s a long interview, but he had a long flight and at least he had something to do while flying, so all fine. You must love him!

When you will read on, you might get the feeling that the long flight was coming to an end fast towards the last questions, related to the tour. On the other hand, all ”could be”-s sound rather ”yes” or ”partly yes” in my ears. Or… let’s see what happens! 😉

I’d like to thank D&D Management for their cooperation and of course, thanx a million to Mr. G for the answers. Very much appreciated!

So, now to the interview. Besides all the detailed info about the new album and the recording sessions, you will find out what Per thinks about Roxette’s future and you’ll have some hints regarding the upcoming tour as well. You’ll even read about a y.u.m.m.y. surprise release for the first time here! What can I say? Mahi Nana! Enjoy!

Patrícia Peres: – Hej Per! First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time to answer all nerdish Qs coming here! In each interview and in your posts it shines through that the ”En vacker…” project is a love project for you. How does it feel that you get so much positive feedback on the first album?

Per Gessle: – Hello Patricia, hope you’re doing fine. As always I’m very flattered that people are connecting in a positive way to my songs. You can never take that for granted. As you know, it’s been ten years since I did a Swedish solo album and so many things have changed. Not only in the ”real world” but also in the music industry. It can be really hard for artists my age to cut through the enormous amount of music and information that surrounds us. It’s pretty competitive out there. But I’ve been lucky this time. Hopefully the album will grow organically, more and more people will hear it and eventually it will be a part of their lives just like Mazarin became in 2003. That would be lovely.  And I’m really proud of the records.

PP: – There were no leaks, everything seemed to be in order regarding the release and there is much promo around the album. It’s a perfectly organized release. Do you think so too?

PG: – Yes, it’s all been handled beautifully by Her Majesty Queen Marie Dimberg together with her sausage dog Harry + Josef Hermansson and Lotta Eriksson at Space Station 12 together with media mastermind Liza Berthelsen together with Sanken, Sebastian and Johanna at BMG together with Bosse-the-radioguru together with the distribution folks at Sony. So many people are involved in this release and they’re all bringing positive energy to the project. I’m a lucky guy.

PP: – The albums are released on Space Station 12 in cooperation with Sony / BMG. What is the role of SS12 and what is that of Sony / BMG?

PG: – SS12 is the home office, BMG is handling marketing and Sony is responsible for physical products, like CDs and LPs.

PP: – The first album’s title is ”En vacker natt”, then there is the summer tour, ”En vacker kväll” and in September comes the second album, ”En vacker dag”. Is it intentional that the timeline is in reverse order (instead of dag -> kväll -> natt)?

PG: – Yes, when we were mixing the records I decided that was the only way to go. Backwards. I have this song ”En vacker dag” which opens the second album and since I wanted it on album nr 2 that dictated the titles of the two records.

PP: – Does the first album contain more ”night” songs and the second more ”day” songs? Or how did you decide which songs to put on which album?

PG: – Well, there are no big differences between the albums. They basically got the same vibe. They’re all from the same sessions. Same coffee machine. As always I’ve tried to make running orders that make each album as strong and vibrant as possible and also ”easy” to get into and listen to. The tempos and keys have to be right etc.

PP: – We know you see songs in colors. Can you tell what color the album has in your mind? Does the ”color coding” in the booklet mean the color of the songs?

PG: – No, the colour coding in the booklets was done by Pär Wickholm. He did an excellent job. He’s really talented. For me the album contains lots of nuances from the 60’s and 70’s, beautiful shades, not too bright. Just like the pictures on the albums. Or like old polaroids. It’s getting pretty sentimental here and there.

PP: – The album is quite melancholic. Could you tell us which song in music history you think is the most melancholic?

PG: – Oh, there are so many songs that mesmerize you and make you slow down a bit. ”Duncan” by Paul Simon. ”Let the wind carry me” by Joni Mitchell. ”Bird on a wire” by Leonard Cohen. ”Sweetheart like you” by Bob Dylan. ”Pancho and Lefty” by Townes van Zandt. Songs that change your life forever. Powerful stuff.

PP: – You listen to the songs uncountable times during the recording, mixing etc. phases. How does it work after everything is done and the album is ready to be released and you have to say a final OK? Do you listen to the album from A to Z? In what circumstances? How did it happen with ”En vacker natt”?

PG: – For these particular records I had the running orders pretty much in place before we began to mix so we decided to start mixing song nr 1 (Min plats) and go from there. But with every mix the big picture altered a bit and in the end you have made quite a lot of changes. Sometimes songs get a different vibe in the mix. You remember it to have a certain attitude or feel but maybe it doesn’t when you’re done with it! Maybe it feels short. Or too long. It’s all about the emotion. Since I still think in terms of ”albums” it’s important for me to find the perfect spot for every track so they ”help” and assist each other. For instance, I didn’t want ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” too early on the first album since I want to give the listener four or five songs before the first classic ”pop song” occurs.

PP: – When we interviewed you after Roxette’s ”Good Karma” release, you said you think 40 minutes is a perfect length for an album. Now we got a 32-minute-long record. What’s the case with this length?

PG: – Well, there were two options. To release one album that was 64-65 minutes long or to split everything in two parts. Personally, I think an hours worth of music at once is much too much so the choice was pretty obvious.

PP: – The opening song, ”Min plats” sets the tone of the album and you say without ”Allt gick så fort” this project wouldn’t have come alive at all. Then it’s surprising a bit that the first single is not one of these 2 songs you seem to find the most important on the album, but a third one. How has ”Småstadsprat” become a single?

PG: – I told my partners-in-crime I’m not really that interested in releasing singles at all. However if they (SS12+BMG) prefer any of the songs as a ”teaser” for the album I’m open to anything. The duet with LW made sense since it was a very media-friendly choice for Sweden and Norway. Everyone got curious. And it’s a good song, I love it. But then again, I love them all!! This is not a project built on hit singles, this needs more attention than that.

PP: – The single was released digitally only and there were some promo singles issued. Why no physical release? It’s not too collector-friendly.

PG: – I know. However, there will most likely be a physical release of ”Småstadsprat” in a couple of weeks. We should have done that to begin with. Our mistake. You live and learn.

PP: – Anyway, collectors are crazy to pay an unbelievable amount of money for this promo single on Tradera. It’s sold for much more than your Peter Pop and the Helicopters single. How about that?

PG: – People are crazy. But you have to love the kings and queens of Nerdom.

PP: – You mentioned in interviews that there is no radio bomb on the album. But Swedish radio seems to play ”Småstadsprat” heavily. How does it feel?

PG: – Well, I’m very happy about this of course. I didn’t expect that at all. Maybe it’s because it stands out. Nothing on commercial radio sounds like ”Småstadsprat”.

PP: – Will there be a 2nd single off the album? If yes, can we get to know which song it is?

PG: – Yes, there will be another one and it will most likely be ”Tittar på dej när du dansar”. It’s got a great summer vibe to it, don’t you think?

PP (& Kiwein): – After listening to the album so many times, it feels that it could easily be used as a soundtrack to a movie. Are there any soundtrack plans in sight?

PG: – No, but I would love that. I would start working on it within the hour! Let’s tune the guitar!

PP: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”En vacker natt”? Which one do you think makes one curious about the album?

PG: – Titles are very important to me. It’s the first impression you get from a song. I like all of them. They make me interested and curious. ”Några glas rosé” was a title I had played around with for a while. I love that one.

PP: – Now in the digital era, in the times of streaming, it’s known that more than one third of the listeners skip a song after 30 seconds on Spotify. From this point of view, which song would you suggest to start listening to, so that the listener gets to know what the album is about and maybe decides not to skip?

PG: – You’re right and it’s totally stupid and silly and mindblowing when you think about it. I don’t want to play that game. This is not music for that type of restless audience. The whole idea with these two albums is that you have to give them time and get into the vibe and let yourself be seduced by this particular musical universe. I think you should start with ”Min plats” where you get eight seconds of waves and seagulls as a bonus!

PP: – When you start singing on ”Enkel resa”, one immediately has the feeling that he/she could sing along, because the lyrics sound familiar. Then we realize it’s a bit of ”Blåa jeans (och röda läppar)”. Haha. I love your recycling habit and the way you do that! How did these lyrics came into sight for this project?

PG: – I re-wrote that lyric from 1982 so it fit MP’s chords that eventually became ”Enkel resa”. I’ve always liked some parts of the words and the quotation-style but not until now have they made sense to me. Something was missing and I finally grabbed it. Probably thanks to MP’s weird chord progression.

PP: – One could sense it and in your ”song by song comments” you confirmed that ”Första pris” and ”Far Too Close” were originally written for Roxette. When did you write them, for which Roxette album?

PG: – Both were written for ”Good Karma” but we never worked on them for several reasons. The ”original” version of ”Första pris” is called ”The Finest Prize”.

PP: – How much did you change the lyrics of ”Första pris” when you decided to do it in Swedish? Have you recorded an English demo to it?

PG: – I tried to capture the same lyrical idea about a woman and a man living in their own universe. Content and strangely unaffected by life’s rewards. Yes, there are several English demos recorded.  Tits & Ass have been on fire with this one!

PP: – Talking about Roxette, we are happy that you mention in interviews that Marie is fine. Good to have some news about her every now and then. In interviews you say that the touring period with Roxette is 100% over, which we have known since April 2016, but you also mention here and there that you don’t think you will record together again. Why do you think it won’t happen in the future?

PG: – I don’t think it will happen because of Marie’s situation. She can’t really be involved in the process of making Roxette records anymore and without her taking a major part it’s no point for me to make those recordings. Roxette is the two of us working together, not me, Chris & Clarence making records with Marie just singing on them.

PP: – Back to the album and the songs, you said it took only 20 minutes to record Savannah Church on ”Far Too Close”, because she was singing so well. Which song took the most time to record and why?

PG: – Everything went really fast. The only song that was a little tricky was ”Några glas rosé” since it doesn’t have any obvious chorus and five verses. There’s always a chance you’ll find it tiresome and long when you have a song structure like that. But we managed to work it out, making a key change for the violin solo and edit the ending section of the song. The original recording was much longer.

PP: – Mahi Nana is the new Sha la la! ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” is probably the most liked ”En vacker natt” song by those who have always been a Per Up-(or at least Mid-)tempo Gessle fan. Sha la la and Na Na Na Na Na are well-known singing phrases, but Mahi Nana is a bit like Inganakee leo yo. One starts wondering, how does such an expression come to your mind?

PG: – On the T&A-demo I’m actually singing ”na na na na…” but in the studio I suggested that Helena-The-Wizard should sing something else so I came up with ”Mahi Nana”. It sounded weird and catchy at the same time. I googled it and I found someone somewhere with that name but I thought that was kind of nice. Glad you like it!

PP: – Which ”En vacker natt” song had the strangest or funniest working title?

PG: – I don’t do working-titles that often. But ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” was called ”Kärlek låter så här” and „Mahi Nana” for a couple of hours…

PP: – You often say you’ve been lucky enough to work together with people who you get on well with and can learn from, even musically. What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned during the Nashville project?

PG: – I was reminded of how much fun it is to play ”real” instruments together. I’ve spent so many years programming in the studio so this was a blessing just to sit down and play together. That’s where I come from and it was really refreshing to experience again.

PP: – What was the biggest compliment you got from the musicians in Nashville?

PG: – Oh, I was really flattered that they liked the songs so much. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I thought they all would come in and ”do their job” like any sessionplayer. But they told me they found my music special and beautiful and that they never played on anything like it before. That made me smile and grab another donut!

PP: – You had the chance to use Roy Orbison’s guitars on the album. It must have felt amazing. What do you think, which song Roy Orbison would like the most on ”En vacker natt”?

PG: – Oh, he could have done a wonderful version of ”Far Too Close”.

PP: – Your mom, sister and brother have passed away during the past 3 years. Does this Nashville project make it easier for you to process the loss?

PG: – Hard to say. Life goes on, doesn’t it? But, of course, you change a bit as a person when your family disappears. I’m sure I’ve changed too. I don’t know in what way but I’m sure it has happened. That’s what life does to you.

PP (& Tomasz): – ”En vacker natt” is dedicated to your sister, ”En vacker dag” to your mother. Knowing your brother introduced you to the music world, it’s a bit surprising he is not mentioned next to your sister maybe. Or are these albums more like ”dedication to women”?

PG: – No, the second album is dedicated to both my mother and my brother.

PP: – In one of the interviews you mentioned that your mother sang a lot. Did she have a nice voice? Did it ever happen that you sang together?

PG: – She had a nice voice but she always sang silly songs. Just like parents do. And no, we never really sang together.

PP: – Which is the song Åsa likes the most on the album?

PG: – Oh, I don’t know. She seems to like all of them, she plays it all the time on her iPhone and in her car.

PP: – Now you are in the middle of a signing session tour, which came a bit as a surprise to us, as you already signed 3600 CDs for those who pre-ordered the album. It’s now harder to buy an unsigned ”En vacker natt” CD than a signed one. Haha. Why did you decide to go on a 1-month-long tour with 14 stops?

PG: – I think it’s quite nice to meet all those people that are interested in what I do. And also, I think it’s a good idea to support the physical format a bit. Here in Sweden Spotify and the streaming services have got 94% of the market so someone like me should wave the flag for the LP and the CD a bit since it’s my preferred choice of presenting music. And yes, I think we’ve shipped around 20.000 physical records and I’ve signed just over 4000 of them. Phew! Could be worse. Could be that nobody was interested!

PP: – When it turned out, many fans decided on meeting you on this little tour. People come to Sweden from several countries to get their signed copies directly from you. How does it feel?

PG: – Lovely. You’ve all spoiled me!

PP: – And after all the signings, how is your hand doing? Can you still play the guitar without any problems?

PG: – Of course, the in-stores are like going to the gym for the hand!

PP: – Will there be a signing session tour in autumn too, when the second album, ”En vacker dag” is out?

PG: – I don’t know. Time will tell. It all depends on how the summer tour feels and the common reaction to the second one.

PP: – Oh and not to forget about the vinyl! Bengans informed the ”En vacker natt” vinyl had been delayed. It almost didn’t make it to the shops until the signing session started. Not the limited edition though. It’s still not on stock. What’s the problem with the vinyl production this time?

PG: – I don’t know. I think nobody expected this kind of interest in my LP. A first batch of vinyl has arrived now but the red vinyl is still a couple of weeks down the road.  It’s a shame but the good thing is that it looks (and feels) FAB!!!

PP: – The tour is getting closer and closer! I have to mention that we are grateful that the complete tour schedule was shared at once (except for the 2 concerts in Finland that were added later, in February). It makes a fan’s life a lot easier, because this way we can start planning early and add as many shows to our to-attend list as we can. So thank you very much for that!

Will you keep the tradition of having a pre-tour show at Leif’s? If yes, is there an exact date set yet?

PG: – Could be….

PP: – Our polls show it won’t be easy for you to put a setlist together. And mixing your 3 careers makes it even tougher. When do you start rehearsing? Will you have a separate session with the new band members?

PG: – We start rehearsing in June. I’m gonna decide what to play in a couple of days. It’s tricky. But lots of fun.

PP: – How Ola Gustafsson, Malin My-Wall and Andreas Dahlbäck came into sight? Did you know them before or someone suggested them to you?

PG: – No, I didn’t know them but had heard of them. I was looking for certain players and these three were my first choices. They’re amazing all of them.

PP: – You mentioned in an interview and well… we also know that you’re a fan of short concerts. You would keep the show around 100 minutes. Can we expect a varying setlist from night to night?

PG: – Could be….

PP: – Can we expect any surprise guests on tour? Besides a maybe obvious Lars Winnerbäck.

PG: – Could be…

PP: – Your support acts will be the amazing Good Harvest and Strandels. Why exactly them? Will both acts play before all your shows or will there be concerts where only one of them will play?

PG: – Both of them are great. I think they will be there every night. Hope so.

PP: – Is Micke N-S working hard on your new guitar picks yet?

PG: – Could be…

PP: – Gyllene Tider is rumored to go on tour next year. We hope it will happen. A 40th anniversary is worth celebrating! So this summer there won’t be many GT songs on tour or …?

PG: – Hmmm….

PP: – Talking about a 40th anniversary, will you see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their 40th anniversary tour?

PG: – No plans yet.

PP: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour! Awesome that you keep us busy all year in 2017!

PG: – My pleasure. And don’t forget that a Mazarin vinyl-LP will be out just in time for the tour. I couldn’t resist…


Exclusive interview with the Man, the Myth, the Legend – ”I keep them proud and polished in my archive. They’re all part of my family tree.”

© Patrícia Peres
© Patrícia Peres

If anyone had told me in the past that one day I’d have the chance to do an interview with Per Gessle, I would have surely told them they were insane. But life proves, you should dream also those dreams you don’t dare to dream! Getting myself together after the positive shock, I must say that it continuously gets confirmed that I’m a fan of the most amazing and most caring Artist in the Universe and the fastest on Planet Earth! Well, what else could I expect from the Son of The Fastest Plumber in the West?

It’s an interview done via e-mail to keep Mr G’s quotes correct. Per, thanx a million again for spending your precious time with this! It’s much appreciated and you definitely made me feel being the luckiest, happiest and most grateful person on the Globe. Also thanks heaps to D&D Management for their cooperation!

The interview is about the customized plecs, info about the customizing process, stories connected to the picks, some details about the phrases on the plectrums, Per’s thoughts about the picks in general and how he is using them etc. So everything you wanted to know about the plecs and more! Don’t forget to check the PLECtionary again, because some ”Trivia from Per” can now also be found at the picks he talked about.

Now the intro is over. Go and read the real deal, Roxers! Enjoy!


Base pic © Sandra Knospe
Base pic © Sandra Knospe

Patrícia Peres: – First of all, thank you very much for taking your time and I hope you won’t get tired by all the plec questions, but we, Roxers are very curious about any tiny detail about these precious little items and stories related to them. We got very positive feedback from the fans and we are very happy that you also like the PLECtionary. Sandra did a fantastic job with it and we are very grateful to her that she made it possible to see all the picks at one place. She has an amazing collection! How does it feel that there is such a dedicated fan of your plecs?

Per Gessle: – It feels, of course, most rewarding. I encourage every form of extreme and meaningful hobby, like collecting rare snakeskin-boots or grey square Russian cars.

PP: – Haha. Rare snakeskin-boots! Now that you say it… When and how did it all start for you? I mean having your own customized plectrums. What was your very first idea to print on a guitar pick and which became the first customized PG-plec?

PG: –  Oh, I can’t remember. In the old days it was very rare that you’d find customized picks. I think I hooked up as soon as I heard it was possible. It’s a great way of sharing a joke and showing off your humble personality!

PP: – Do more plecs exist besides the ones you can see in the PLECtionary?

PG: – No, I think everything is covered in the article. It’s a shame in a way but the sad and plain truth.

PP: – Have you kept at least one of each of your plectrums over the years?

PG: – Yes, I think so. I’ve looked for the ones Sandra is missing but can’t find any extras. Only the ones I keep in my archive. If I find more of them I will of course give them to her. She deserves the best. The best and the complete. I consider it a mission to help her find Plectrum-Nirvana.

PP: – Wow! I’m 1000% sure Sandra is gonna be extremely happy to hear this! I was just about to ask if you have those plecs she is missing.

PG: – Yes, like I said, I keep them proud and polished in my archive. Clarence pops in once in a while to sniff them. He likes the smell of vintage success.

© Patrícia Peres
Jonas Åkerlund’s plec photos in Hotel Tylösand
© Patrícia Peres

PP: – How should we imagine where you keep your plecs? Are they in a box in a drawer or maybe in a big glass bowl in the hall or they are just lying anywhere around your house / apartment? OK, knowing how pedantic you are, this latter one is surely not applicable.

PG: – Oh, they are kept in a red Ferrari-box in a metal cupboard in my office. Next to the diaries I always write when I’m recording. I try to keep my life tidy and in order. My cupboards are holy ground. If you open them things will never be the same.

PP: – Ferrari-box, metal cupboard, diaries. Aaah, sounds like holy ground indeed. When it comes to brands, are you more into Dunlop or Fender guitar picks? Or does it matter at all? What kind of plecs were you playing the guitar with before you started customizing the picks?

PG: – It never mattered. It’s the feel that decides. On stage I have a softer pick for the acoustic guitars, in the studio I rarely use picks at all when I play acoustic. I don’t like my picks to be very thick. Then the sound becomes too hard, too rough. I lose the touch.

PP: – So no thick picks for Gessle. OK. Is it always your actual guitar tech – earlier Falken, now Micke N-S – who is in charge of making the plectrums designed and produced or did it work in a different way in the past?

PG: – Yes, in the past I ordered them myself. The Party Crasher-one (with the sleeve on it) I ordered myself from Australia. Nowadays, MNS is taking care of business. I tell him what kind of slogans or messages I want and then he comes up with zillions of suggestions and colours etc.

PP: – How does the whole customizing process work? Micke N-S mentioned in the interview I did with him during the GT tour that you usually give him a few lines you want to see on the plecs and he does the rest. Is it totally up to him how the design (plec colour, font type) will look like in the end or does he send it over to you several times during the development phase to check and confirm if you’re OK with it?

PG: – Yes, he comes up with layout suggestions most often based on the current tour logo etc. It can, for instance, be the same logo on my picks as Pelle’s got on his bass drum. I guess you’ve noticed. I know I have.

Scan of an old interview (source unknown)
Scan of an old article (source unknown)

PP: – Haha. Well, you can’t have all the stars just for yourself. Regarding the phrases we can read on the picks, there are some quite obvious ones, like ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” or ”HOW DO YOU DO!”, but other phrases are rather filled with humor, which is even more fun. For example, there are those early plecs with the catchy money reference: ”MONEY NEVER SLEEP$” or ”ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR” or ”CASH BOOM BANK”. I think I also read ”WE ARE IN THI$ ONLY FOR THE MONEY” somewhere, however, I’ve never seen a plec like that. Did it exist?

PG: – No, I’ve never heard of that one. It’s a bad phrase, too clumpsy, not my style.

PP: – True. It doesn’t sound too Gessleish. What was that about the money those days?

PG: – The ”money-picks” came from an idea to harass the Swedish media who always considered me / us to be too commercial and never could read between the lines. ”Money never sleeps” came from the ”Wall Street”-movie (a quote by Gordon Gekko), ”Another day, another dollar” was a phrase our American lawyer used all the time. It’s always rewarding to try to make fun of reporters, I think every artist agrees on that. Come to think of it, most humans probably do.

PP: – ”ART FOR ME IS JUST SHORT FOR ARTHUR”. Knowing you are very much into art, it’s too funny to read something like this from you. Is there any special story behind this phrase?

PG: – Yes, it’s a quote from Keith Richards. I thought it was pretty cool at the time. It’s very old. I wouldn’t use it today.

PP: – All the plecs are real gems, even if they only have the text ”ROXETTE – PER GESSLE 2011” on them. But there is one which we don’t know too much about. It says: ”TEDDE GOES 50! – WITH LUV FROM THE GESSLES”. Can you tell us who Tedde is?

PG: – He’s a dear friend to me and my family. We gave him a Les Paul as a birthday-gift and of course he needed his own guitar pick! Doesn’t everybody?

PP: – So now Tedde plays that Les Paul with another pick. Different number of plectrums were designed in the past and nowadays for one tour. Do you have lucky numbers? Or how do you decide on how many different picks to produce for one tour(leg)?

PG: – No, I suggest a few lines or slogans and then suddenly MNS comes up with 25 different suggestions. He likes things plenty. I think we should slow it down a bit in the future.

PP: – Talking about luck, do you have any plec you consider as a lucky charm? Do you believe in such things at all?

PG: – No, I only try to hit the right strings with them.

PP: – And you do it so right. At least most of the time. By the way, how many pieces of each plec are produced nowadays? Was it the same amount per plec in the past?

PG: – No, the editions are much bigger nowadays. We use them as giveaways a lot, I throw a lot of them out to the crowds. In the past it was more of an internal thing. Like those hidden messages on the vinyl records. ”Don’t forget you’re a rocker” etc.

PP: – Which is the all time favourite plec of yours and why?

PG: – They’re all part of my family tree. No personal favourites. Sorry.

PP: – I can completely understand you. Is there a guitar pick of yours you like the least? We know, for example, that you don’t really like baby blue plectrums, as you gave some of them to Chris to play with.

PG: – It’s not really true, I like blue plectrums. The thing is that I prefer lighter colours (white, for instance) because when you play, often in the dark on the stage, it’s really hard to know / see what you do with black picks. I’ve hit the wrong strings far too many times because of this. It makes you feel silly. And it sounds shit.

PP: – Now I’ll pay more attention to the shitty sounds next time you are playing the guitar with a dark plec on a future tour. The plecs related anyhow to Åsa are usually the nicest or coolest ones. E.g. the latest ”WOODY – VEM FAN ÄR VERA?” is one of your funniest picks ever. The design with that marbled blue base colour and that silver print looks fab! What is Åsa saying about the Woody / Åsa picks? I bet she likes them a lot.

PG: – She ordered them. I had nothing to do with those. It’s something she and MNS came up with.

PP: – Ahaaa, now that’s really cool! Well done, Fru Nordin! She was also the one who made the ”Ta mej… nu är jag din! / Åsa” plec produced as a surprise for you. Can you tell us a bit more about it? How many plecs like this were produced?

PG: – Oh, I dunno. There are always some goofy ones like that on every tour. It makes us smile.

© Patrícia Peres
© Patrícia Peres

PP: – Thanx to you, I’m a lucky owner of one of those misspelled ”WODDY / HEJ DIN TOK JAG ÄLSKAR DIG” picks. Which year is that from exactly? What’s the story of it and what was your first reaction when you saw the misspelling? Rumour has it, you gave these plecs to MP to use them. How come?

PG: – Can’t remember. It certainly wasn’t me who ordered them, I know howh too spel.

PP: – Yeah, sure you do! Was there another production of these plecs with correct spelling?

PG: – No, I don’t think so. We were poor in those days, one edition was enough to crash the budget.

PP: – Talking about MP and also Chris, did you encourage them to have their own customized plecs or was it them (or maybe their technicians) who came up with the idea to have their own picks?

PG: – Yep, it was their guitar guys who came up with those picks. It’s not really neither MP’s nor Chris’s cup of tea to order personalized plectrums. Trust me.

PP: – I trust you, Sir. Were there ever customized Marie Fredriksson plectrums back in the days when Marie was also playing the guitar? I remember a TV show – I think it was in Argentina – when the hosts found 2 ”HELLO YOU FOOL I LOVE YOU” picks after your playback was over. So that means Marie played the guitar with the same customized plec you played it with. Was it always the case?

PG: – Yes, I believe so. She used anything. Or wait. Maybe she had one of her own. It rings a bell. Let’s keep it ringing for a while….

PP: – Oh! It sounds exciting! Anytime the ringing is over and you find it out, just let us know. Sandra mentioned the gauge of the plecs you used in the early years was heavier than nowadays. Micke N-S said in the interview with him that he is using one gauge thicker plec than what you are using, because it’s more accurate to tune with. What makes you decide on what gauge to use? We can see you use the thin plecs for the acoustic guitar, but what about the medium and heavy ones? Does it make any difference to you?

© Per Gessle (or Micke N-S? - pic taken from Roxette Official)
© Per Gessle (or Micke N-S? – pic taken from Roxette Official)

PG: – Yes, I hate thick ones. It makes your playing very clumpsy and too ”masculine”. I like medium gauge for electric and light for the acoustics on stage. I’m a delicate guy! A ballet dancer. You know that.

PP: – A ballet dancer? Dunno, but a left leg stomper for sure and a delicate guy indeed. When you post pictures of the plecs on Facebook, fans get very excited and you can see many comments regarding how much we want to have them or how awesome they look like. You even mentioned in your 2012 Xmas message on roxette.se that ”… loads and loads of autographs signed, letters written, stamped and sent, guitar picks urgently needed by all of you. How does it feel that we are so crazy about these tiny little picks of yours?

PG: – I think it fits the Roxers really well to spend quality time on stuff like that. I can fully identify with it. Groove is in the heart.

PP: – And we stomp on a stoop when we hear your pop loop. Now this might be a stupid question, but take into consideration that I’m not a pro when it comes to how to use plecs properly. What happens to the plec when you lick it? I think you did it the most often at the Snowpenair concert in Switzerland, kind of once in every 5 minutes. No clue whether it has anything to do with the cold or it makes a better sound or it just sticks more to your fingers.

PG: – It sticks to the finger. Normally (not necessarily at Snowpenair) you’re very sweaty everywhere (including your hands) so you tend to drop the pick if it doesn’t stick. It has happened a lot.

PP: – Ah, OK. Thanx for the clarification. Do you chew on plecs while writing songs or doing demos? I mean chewing like others chew on the end of pens.

PG: – No, I never use picks when I write. I actually never use picks at all playing acoustic guitar at home or in the studio, I only use my nails to get the right feel. On stage however, you need a pick to get the volume.

PP: – We often comment on Facebook that it would be great if you could include your plecs in the merchandise. Do you plan to include them in the future?

© Patrícia Peres
© Patrícia Peres

PG: –  Well, yea. We try to come up with new things for the store all the time so custom made guitar picks, why not? We had guitar picks with the Gyllene Tider-cartoons on for sale last summer, didn’t we? In a tiny black box. I have a few of those in the cupboard.

PP: – Yes, that special pick collection is very cool. I have one of that tiny black box on my holy shelf, too. Well, OK, the more difficult to obtain the plecs, the more precious they are for us. I remember a chat where someone said he got a plec from you in Karlstad and asked how much you think that plec would worth in 20 years. You replied: ”The question is what Karlstad is worth in 20 years.” That’s a good one. There are people (mainly not fans, but traders) who are selling your plecs at a ridiculously high price on eBay, Tradera etc. and of course there are fans who are buying them. What do you think about this fact?

PG: – It’s like you say, the more rare an item is the more people want it. I don’t really have an opinion on this, some people sell, other people buy. The wheels keep on spinnin’!

PP: – Talking about catching picks at the gigs, you throw much more plecs these days than earlier (and definitely much more plecs than towels). During the GT tour Micke N-S even put an extra plec holder on the mic stand after some gigs to have 18 picks there instead of 12. Do you throw more just to make more fans happy or is it just cool throwing the plectrums and you do it automatically?

PG: – I throw them because I know a lot of people want them. And like I said earlier, MNS orders so many of them I might as well distribute them myself.

© Per Gessle
© Per Gessle

PP: – Keep throwin’ them! The adhesive tape on the guitar is of great help to have some plecs always at hand. Does it happen often that a plec falls out of your hand and you can’t pick another one quick enough during a song, so you have to play the guitar with your fingers / nails? OK, your nails are surely touching the strings as the nail polish almost disappears by the end of a show.

PG: – It happens but not that often anymore. I lick ’em!

PP: – Yeah, now we know lickin’ is of great help, too. There was a video you posted after Brisbane show in 2012, where Christoffer’s hand and guitar were covered with blood. Ouch! It has also made it to the Roxette Blu-ray. Did it ever happen that your fingers got hurt badly while playing the guitar?

PG: – Oh yea, many times. For me the most common injury is that I crash my right arm very hard into the body of the guitar when I try to look cool and do a massive sexy move hitting some adrenalin-droolin’ power chord. Oh, it hurts. It hurts to be alone. The plan’s gone wrong like a runaway train going down.

© Patrícia Peres
© Patrícia Peres

PP: – OK, Mr G… I can imagine all Gessle Girls are now sliding down a dream when you are mentioning your massive sexy moves in the same sentence as adrenalin-droolin’. Ehm… Come back to the original topic, PP… Last summer we saw a girl in Tele2 Arena at the GT gig picking up a Woody plec from the floor. She just found it there and the concert hadn’t even started. Do you usually throw plecs during the soundchecks, too? Checking how it works at the certain venue or how far you have to throw the plecs?

PG: – I was probably aiming at Pelle or someone who was running late for the soundcheck.

PP: – It must have been Micke Syd then. When it comes to throwing distance, do you pay attention to it before the concert starts? Do you try throwing your plecs into the crowd at venues where the distance of the crowd from the stage is quite long (e.g. China)?

PG: – Yes, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have a system, I just throw them. Or I don’t. If the feeling’s right those picks have to go.

PP: – Was there any memorable moment for you regarding your throwing the plecs? Maybe 10 fans jumped on each other just to catch your pick or anything else?

PG: – No, not really. Most of the time it’s hard to see from the stage where they land. I try to throw them up in the air so I don’t hit anyone in the eye. Or in the mouth. Or, God forbid, what would happen if I make a scratch on a smartphone?

Screenshots are taken from Gyllene Tider's "Man blir yr" video
Screenshots are taken from Gyllene Tider’s “Man blir yr” video

PP: – Trust me, if you would scratch any fan’s smartphone with your plec, that smartphone would become one of the most precious items of that fan’s collection. Oh, and that throwing moment at the end of Man blir yr video looks so hot! How many times did you have to record it to be this perfect?

PG: – It’s a first take. Of course.

PP: – Of course, silly me! Until now I asked you about YOUR plecs and those related anyhow to the Rox World, but I’m curious about the coolest guitar pick you have ever seen in your life. Could you describe it? Whose plec was it?

PG: – We have a great collection of Jonas Åkerlund’s photos of guitar picks at Hotel Tylösand. All of them are fab! Nikki Sixx’s ”Fuck The Fucking Fuckers” is pretty spot on, don’t you think?


© BandGuitarPicks.com
© BandGuitarPicks.com

PP: – Haha. A fab one, but let’s say I prefer your phrases on a pick. I’m not a Mötley Crüe type of girl. As a last question: do you have plectrums from any of your idols? Tom Petty or David Bowie maybe? Or from any other guitar players? If yes, how did you get them and where do you keep them? If no, would you love to have a pick of theirs one day?

PG: – I don’t actually. A Dylan-pick or a T.P.-pick would be nice. Or from Nick Lowe. But I don’t lose any sleep over it.

PP: – That’s nice to hear, but in case insomnia is reaching you because of this, I suggest you go to their concerts and stand in the front row. You might get lucky! Thank you very much again for taking your time. Can’t wait to see your next set of plecs (coming hand in hand with a next tour) and update the PLECtionary with them!

PG: – That makes it two of us! Cheers!


Update on 2nd February, 2014: Per shared 2 pics of a box in which he keeps plectrums in the guest bathroom. Check out pic No. 1 and pic No. 2.


Why Small Apartments vinyls are not signed?

Today Per wrote this on Roxette Official and Per Gessle Official (Facebook) regarding the Small Apartments vinyl:

Out now, CD + double LP in coloured vinyl (one white/one red). Limited edition.

Small Apartments


He’s not mentioning that the vinyls are signed, however, earlier (on 14th March, 2013) he communicated that they are:

FINALLY!!!!! SMALL APARTMENTS SOUNDTRACK digital release date (Spotify + iTunes etc) March 18. CD will be out here and there March 27. Exclusive numbered and signed double-vinyl album out very soon as well. Have to decide which colour to use on the records first….. /P.

Looks like the SMALL APARTMENTS SOUNDTRACK double-LP, in coloured vinyl + signed + numbered in a limited edition will be out April 17! Sort of.


Some fans already received the double LP and say there is no signature on it. It was already strange that none of the online shops mentioned anything about the vinyl being exclusive. Now we’re wondering whether limited edition also means the copies are numbered or they are not. Many fans ordered SA vinyl together with the CD just because of it’s being extremely unique and now they seem to be disappointed, which is fully understandable.

Well, the album is a masterpiece, double vinyl is coloured and it’s a limited edition (being numbered or not; as Per says “It’s very limited. Only 350 copies were made.“) and Mr. G for sure will sign everyone’s copy in person if there is a chance to meet him, but still. What if there is no chance for a fan to meet him…?



Update (16:30, 29th April, 2013): Per replied to the question on Roxette Official:

Dear all, no SA vinyl soundtracks have been signed. They went straight to the “record stores” without passing that sharp pen of Mr G. A couple got signed at the Gyllene Tider instores last weekend. That’s it so far.

The problem is/was that the vinyl LP’s are not manufactured in Sweden anymore…… They went straight from Holland (or Germany) to international stores and internet shippers. I still haven’t got one!!!! /P.