Per Gessle interview about PG Roxette on Göteborgs-Posten

Per Gessle had an interview day in Halmstad and replied to Johan Lindqvist’s (Göteborgs-Posten) questions in a video call. Roxette is back with a new single, an upcoming album and certainly also a tour. There are the initials PG in front of the band name to indicate that this is something different than it was before.

For Per Gessle, it’s an obvious choice to continue. He sees it as managing Roxette’s legacy and mentions the Bohemian Rhapsody movie about Queen, Fleetwood Mac’s sudden TikTok hit with old Dreams and ABBA’s project with Mamma Mia! and the new avatar show in London as inspiring ways to keep old bands and songs relevant.

Per says:

75% of everyone who listens to Roxette on Spotify is under 45, which is absolutely fantastic. I’m proud of what we have created and of course want the music to live on.

He continues:

Roxette is thirty years of my life, so it would be strange if I didn’t want to continue. What is important to point out is that it’s definitely not about trying to replace Marie. It’s not possible.

PG says that British journalists asked if, for example, Belinda Carlisle was relevant for the job as a Roxette singer. She wasn’t. It’s Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg who share vocals together with Per. There are also other well-known Roxette musicians in the band: Jonas Isacsson, Clarence Öfwerman, Magnus Börjeson, Christoffer Lundquist.

Who is missing is drummer Pelle Alsing who passed away in December 2020. It’s drum machines that do the work on the upcoming album, Pop-Up Dynamo! which will be released in September. It will be PG Roxette’s debut album, but it’s clearly inspired by Roxette’s biggest records from the past.

I wanted to write a positive uptempo record but it’s the most difficult thing there is as a songwriter at my age. When you’ve been doing this for so long, you simply know too much and have already used all the tricks in the book.

Per continues:

A really good pop song should come by itself, it’s not possible to sit down and write a “Dressed For Success” or a “Joyride”.

After all, Per Gessle picked up the pace and flow and when the first songs were written, they continued with trying to produce the music so that the new record would sound like a sibling to Look Sharp! and Joyride. Clarence Öfwerman and Magnus Börjeson were able to bring out suitable sounds from the latter’s collection of synths from the ’80s and ’90s.

Per, who is excited about how it turned out, says:

It may sound like 1991, but there must be a modern touch. It should be heard that it has been done now.

He doesn’t count on commercial success:

It’s my kind of pop music, take it or leave it. I really don’t expect a new US No. 1.

The fact that Roxette, or rather PG Roxette, is no longer at a level where football stadiums are sold out also gives Per Gessle artistic freedom.

As it seems right now, he is leaning towards taking down Roxette’s joyride for a quieter ride, a continuation of the acoustic tour that started out as a test at Hotel Tylösand last summer and then grew into a sold-out concert hall tour across Sweden.

Per says:

It’s one of the funniest things I’ve been through. I didn’t really feel comfortable at all playing acoustically and talking so much to the audience, but I dared and it turned out great. I am so proud.

He continues:

I’ve learned that I can trust what I have done all my life. It may sound strange considering that I was playing at Ullevi, but you are really walking the plank when you do acoustic gigs.

Per Gessle says that during the concerts he discovered things in his own old songs he hadn’t thought of before. Not least how the Gyllene Tider lyrics he wrote as a 20-year-old got different meaning when the arrangement of the music was changed and they were sung by the 63-year-old man.

So instead of playing in half-size ice hockey rinks, it’s appealing to do the upcoming PG Roxette tour in an intimate format.

We will decide before midsummer, but it would be completely magical to play songs like “Queen Of Rain”, “The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye” and “Things Will Never Be The Same” with lap steel and double bass.

Where to end the Gyllene Tider farewell tour?

Most fans are wondering why Gyllene Tider would finish their farewell tour in Norway. It makes no sense at all. I honestly think the last gig won’t happen in Norway and of course I’m not the only one having such thoughts. Göteborgs-Posten published an article today written by Johan Lindqvist. Johan writes in details about why Gyllene Tider should end their last tour in Sweden and he points out where exactly that last show should happen. He asks the tour to be re-planned. Haha. If you ask me, it’s surely already planned, it’s just not known to us. Yet. 😉

Johan highlights Per Gessle is a man who likes good planning and order. He appreciates a great dramaturgy when it comes to writing the story of his bands. He has also read enough rock biographies in order to know how a nice finish should be directed. Therefore, it’s completely incomprehensible that he put his name on a tour plan where Gyllene Tider will celebrate his long career with a gig in Fredrikstad, Norway. I have to agree with Johan.

Johan says he has nothing against Norway, the country has good skiing places, but when Sommartider is played for the last time, it should happen in Sweden.

Public release of tickets for the tour is 9 am on 5th February. Johan doesn’t think the tour will sell out immediately, but the premiere gig in Halmstad and the last Swedish show planned for 3rd August in Gothenburg have a high chance to sell out faster than Per can say ”allsångsfest”. Haha. I have to agree with Mr. Lindqvist again. It would be quite reasonable to change the date of the concert and add it after Norway. But it’s not only the date, the venue should be changed too. To Ullevi, of course. GT made success there before and will do it again. Although many will see the band during summer, there will still be many who want to join in and fill Ullevi to pay tribute to Gyllene Tider during their last night.

Johan checked and Ullevi is booked only for Metallica and Summerburst this summer. So there is surely a chance to add GT in August. He asks Live Nation at the end of his article to make sure Gyllene Tider and the fans get a finale they deserve. At Ullevi.

Oh well. Fredrikstad is on Friday, 9th August. The distance to Gothenburg is only 210 km. So why not a finale at Ullevi on Saturday, 10th August? Or if not 3 gigs in a row, then OK, it can also be Sunday, 11th August. Who else is in for that? Or… Can 60,000 people fit in anywhere in Halmstad? 😉

Pic by Patrícia Peres taken at Ullevi, Gothenburg on 12th July 2013 

Per Gessle – Småstadsprat video

Per Gessle’s first single off his upcoming album was released on 17th March. A duet with Lars Winnerbäck. We already knew it on 7th April that a video will also be released to Småstadsprat, as Per Gessle posted about it on his Facebook page:

Yepp. Småstadsprat-video klar. Grymt cool. Kommer strax. /P.

Translation: Voila. Småstadsprat-video clip signed, sealed and delivered. Very nice indeed. Out before you know it. /P.

We all hoped to see Per himself in the video, but we were also kind of sure there would be more tussilagos in it than PG. The video was published on 21st April. It’s a cartoon created by Emil Gustafsson Ryderup. Even if it doesn’t contain any PG images, it turned out to be beautiful. Beautiful but so sad at the same time. It fits the lyrics and the melody perfectly.

As Emil told Göteborgs-Posten, first he said no to doing a video for ”an artist”, because he was too busy. Then it turned out it would have been a video for a Per Gessle song and he got anxious. He says:

He is one of the Swedish music geniuses, one of the absolute greatest and that’s when anxiety kicked in that I missed it. Gessle has definitely been in the frontline of our country’s music history. He has always been around in a certain way and I have to admit that sometimes in the dark times of my life I have listened to “It Must Have Been Love”.

Thanks to Emil’s employers, he could get 3 weeks off for making the video. It was an intensive period for him, to interpret the lyrics into his drawings. He says it’s a story of love that doesn’t disappear, about those who leave a small town and those who do not. He had a style in mind inspired by the ‘50s and ‘60s and UPA animation studio. A bit of “Mr. Magoo” style, but still with Emil’s character in it.

At the beginning, Emil sent some still images and a synopsis to the record company and he got green light to go on with it. Emil says it was more like he gathered the ingredients for a cake and hoped it would turn out right in the end. For example, he made the backgrounds last. All involved were satisfied with the result and the video is now out in public. Emil tells Göteborgs-Posten that he is quite pleased and that Per Gessle said yes to Emil Gustafsson Ryderup is fun and feels great. He is very happy that he managed to do this in the end.

Congrats and well done, Emil! The video can be watched on Per’s YouTube channel, HERE.