Per Gessle interview on P4 Extra – ”There were so many Maries”

Swedish Radio P4 Extra did an interview with Per Gessle on 25th January, the day when the tribute concert was broadcast on TV. You can listen to it HERE. It starts at 34:10 and lasts until 54:38.

The program leader, Svjetlana Pastuhovic asks Per about the tribute event and if it was like a farewell. Per says it felt like a farewell, in a weird way. It was a strange evening. It was fantastic and tough at the same time. The hardest all the artists thought at the rehearsals was to see all those old videos between the songs for the first time. But later when there was the recording they rather closed themselves into their professional bubbles, so it became a bit easier. Per and Marie have been friends since the end of the ’70s and they did this fantastic journey of Roxette together. Those videos and pics made them remember Marie’s greatness. When you do such a concert it’s even more concrete and of course you get under its effect.

Here you can hear It Must Have Been Love from the tribute event. Only the first part that Per was singing alone, playing his guitar, accompanied by Christoffer. The program leader asks Mr. G how it was to play this song. Per says it was OK. He played it in this arrangement earlier too, so it wasn’t really new. But this is Marie’s song. He wrote it for Marie. One can hear it’s a hard work for him to sing it, but for Marie it was a piece of cake. She was singing it magnificently. Svjetlana asks what IMHBL means to Per. He says it is one of Marie’s signature songs. When you hear it you immediately think of Marie. It’s important in Roxette’s history, the Pretty Woman movie, how it all happened. All their songs have their own history, but this one is maybe their biggest ever. Then comes Listen To Your Heart and The Look.

The program leader asks what Per thinks was Marie’s secret of having an effect on so many people. Per doesn’t really know, but he says there were so many Maries. She wrote so many songs, she was a fantastic songwriter. She wrote and sang about things everyone could relate to. She was a talented artist on stage too, one of the best Per has ever seen. She owned the stage and the crowds even in huge football stadiums with 50-60000 people in the audience. That requires a special personality. And one of course one can’t forget about her amazing voice. She was a very complete artist, but at the same time she stayed a small town girl. All this was in her DNA and Per thinks people felt that.

Svjetlana shares her memory of a concert where she went with her mother. It was at Brottet, in Halmstad. Then she asks about how it was to work with Marie. Per repeats that there were so many Maries. She has always been very ambitious, mainly at the beginning. Mr. G tells the story that they printed T-shirts with the text ”Today Sweden, tomorrow the world” when they were recording their first album. They had a common dream. From day 1 they wanted to conquer the world. Everyone wanted Marie to concentrate on her solo career, but she wanted to work with Per. They were very good friends and had much fun together. They were a team where 1 + 1 makes 3. Per had the capacity to write all those songs and Marie had the capacity to sing them. And the better Marie was singing, the better songs Per was writing. They triggered each other. The last album before Marie got ill was Room Service (recorded in 2000) and until then everything worked like this. Later it became different of course, she was good in another way. The comeback she did in 2009 and lasted until 2016 was absolutely incredible. The doctors advised her not to tour, but she wanted to. She was longing for the stage and meeting her fans, as well as making a new Roxette album.

Here they listen to Den ständiga resan and then they talk about the fact that Per mentioned Marie was like a sister to him. Per says many thought over the years that they were a couple, but they never were. They were very close friends and it was more like a sister-brother relationship between them. But when you are working together so intensively, the friendship changes with time. When they were on tour constantly, it wasn’t Marie who Per called first when they finally got home. This is how a good marriage or a good friendship works according to Mr. G.

The program leader asks if they liked fame. Per says they could do another program about fame. Svjetlana is happy to invite him for another program where this would be the topic. Haha. One wants to achieve success with his music and at the same time you have this pop star dream. There are many negative things around when you are famous. For example, you go out and you always have to take selfies with people. It’s a special life, but it’s OK. Per thinks those who want to become famous don’t know what it is all about. But once you become famous, you can’t rewind the tape. Svjetlana asks if Per regrets it. He says absolutely not, but it affects your life all the time. In 1991 they did 1800 interviews in 7 months. But this is how the music industry works. Marie disliked all those promotional trips. It was very tough for her. Per tried to understand that this is how the industry works, so they need to do that to be able to compete with other bands. Marie didn’t like it, but she was a pro. They did all those many TV shows, back then it was playback almost all of them. You can find them on YouTube.

Many of Roxette’s songs are still played on the radio. Svjetlana asks how it feels for Per. He says he wrote all these songs, they are his babies and of course he would like to perform them still. He is very proud of them. But he also knows the soul in those songs was Marie. He tells he was touring with his own band in 2018 and played a lot of Roxette songs. It worked, but it was a different thing. One has to accept that Marie is not there anymore and it will never be the same as it was, but life goes on in a way.

They finish the interview with Things Will Never Be The Same which Per asked to be played.

Radio interview with Per Gessle about Marie Fredriksson – ”I’ve always thought she is a sister to me, it has always been so.”

Studio Ett on Swedish radio did an interview with Per Gessle after last night’s ”En kväll för Marie Fredriksson” event at Stora Teatern in Göteborg. You can judge by Per’s voice and reactions that he is still very much under the effect of what happened. Both last night and on 9th December.

It was the first time last night that he stood on stage without Marie since she has passed away. Per says it was quite long ago when he played together with Marie, in 2016. Yesterday the whole event was a really strong experience. It was fantastic being part of it, but at the same time it was tough. He says Marie was a fantastic person and he remembered the ’80s and ’90s when Roxette had their heydays. One forgets it over the years when so many things are happening. Their whole journey is unbelievable. They met at the end of the ’70s. Per was busy with Gyllene Tider, Marie had her solo career, but they shared this dream of succeeding abroad and they did and had this fantastic journey together.

The program leader says not everyone understands how big they are in e.g. Australia or South America. She asks what kind of reactions he got from there during the past month. Per says the response was tough, but fantastic. It shows how much Marie meant and still means to the people all around the world. The program leader says there was someone from Brazil in the audience last night. Per says he knows it, but there were many other hardcore fans too. There is a gang that follows everything they are doing. They live their lives via them in a way and he finds it fantastic.

The program leader asks Per how he looks back at the times when they broke through in the US. Per says it was an awesome time, the music industry and radio were totally different. They come from the pop world that has its roots in the ’60s and ’70s. They had the capacity and luck to follow up their first hit song, The Look with several others. Besides Marie singing so fantastically, she was also a fab performer on stage. When they started touring around the world, she was so good and they had a good band too, so they could also deliver on stage. A lot of artists can make records, but can’t go and perform live. It was a huge strength of Marie.

Studio Ett then asks about Per and Marie’s friendship. Per says they had a long journey together and over the years their friendship went through changes of course. They were friends from the beginning, they shared a dream, wrote songs together, played the guitar and the piano, they were singing, they shared the rehearsal studio while playing in separate bands, Per in GT, Marie in Strul. Then they went on tours and it became an intense, but rather professional friendship year in, year out with Roxette, so when they came home from a tour, maybe the first one whom he called wasn’t Marie. But they have always been very close to each other. He has always thought Marie is a sister to him, it has always been so.

Per says after last night’s event it’s very tough today. Everyone was very moved. It felt like a farewell yesterday. It was fantastic to do this, but it was tough for all of them on stage. He thinks it will be an awesome TV program. The band was a hybrid of Roxette’s bands and Marie’s solo band, consisting of fab musicians.

The program leader asks how much of Gun-Marie from Östra Ljungby was still in Marie as a successful world star. Per says there was still very much of Gun-Marie in her. She was very private. They did all this journey because they love pop music and singing and playing and writing. So why they were on TV, for example, was not because they wanted to be there, but it all came with their success. To the question how much is left in Per of Per Håkan who once worked at Bingo-Livs Mr. G replied while laughing that it’s hard to say, but he is a big part of him still. At least he thinks so.

To the question how he will go on with his songs he wrote for Roxette Per replies he doesn’t know yet, it’s a good question. During all his adult life he was writing songs for Roxette, so he wants to go on with them in a way, but he doesn’t know how.

It’s hard for Mr. G to tell what Marie would have said about last night’s event. Per thinks it was very touching, but he doesn’t know what Marie would have thought. Still the whole thing seems to be unreal.

To the question which of Marie’s songs are his favourites Per replies there are so many. One of Marie’s absolute finest lyrics is Den ständiga resan. It’s a very strong text and a very nice song. Over the years Per wrote tons of songs, while Marie was writing much less, but when she wrote something it was incredibly good. She has a fantastic song catalogue.

Gyllene Tider interview in Hallandsposten

Sara Öster from Hallandsposten did an interview with Gyllene Tider at Hotel Tylösand after the guys finished their rehearsals for the tour that starts with 2 concerts in Halmstad on 4th and 5th July. This will be the last thing that legends Per Gessle, Micke Syd, Göran Fritzon, Mats ”MP” Persson and Anders Herrlin do together, ever.

Per says one should never take the audience for granted and they feel extremely grateful to be able to do such a tour at this age. Their big break-up was in 1985, and after that, GT did only comebacks. Per says he doesn’t feel sad, not right now anyway. It would have been different if they had been a band that had run year in and year out, but it wasn’t the case. He just wants to get this summer going now.

Anders says he actually feels a little lump in his stomach sometimes and he is kidding that he is going to cry. Then he says, no, he won’t, but this tour will be the last thing they do together. At the same time he feels happy and says they are all very excited about this summer and thinks it’s going to be much fun.

Sara also can’t believe the guys wouldn’t finish their last tour in Halmstad, so she asks them when they would announce that they have a last concert there. Per says there won’t be a last gig in Halmstad at the end of the tour. They were thinking about either starting or finishing the tour there and decided for the start. Sara asks if they think Halmstad people will be disappointed if GT won’t finish the tour in Halmstad. Per says he doesn’t think people care. Maybe real hardcore fans, but not others. The whole summer will be a great adventure, and it’s very unique and amazing that they are doing this after so many years. Wherever they go in Sweden it will be a great party, for one evening they will take over the city that they go to.

Anders says the setlist will be a mix of good old songs and new ones from their new album, ”Samma skrot och korn”.

Before the tour premiere the band is in Stockholm. There they test the stage and everything else and have a major rehearsal on 2nd July.

Sara asks the guys if they are nervous. Anders says he is, a little. Or rather excited. But one should feel so before such a happening. And he turns to Per to ask what he thinks. Mr. G says he is not nervous, but he will get an adrenaline rush.

Sara asks how fired up the guys are. Per says he is of course incredibly fired up. He thinks it’s going to be so damn fun and the rest of the band agrees.

To the question if they might reunite again one day they reply a definite no. Göran says they decided that this will be the last one and that’s the way it is. He laughs and says he thought he would blow up his Farfisa at Ullevi, so then they really can’t play more together. The band members join in and tell some other ideas about how they could finish their last gig in Sweden. But these are impossible to publish in Hallandsposten. Haha.

GT has a 20 sec greeting video in the online version of the article where Micke Syd talks and the other  4 Golden Guys agree on the fact that they are so excited about the tour start.

Photo by Anders Roos

Per Gessle’s Sommartider – interview in Hallandsposten

Jan-Owe Wikström did an interview with Per Gessle in Mr. G’s home in Halmstad and it was published in Hallandsposten on June 20th online and on June 30th in print. The guys were talking about Gyllene Tider’s farewell tour and Per’s summer feelings.

Per says first they, the guys in GT didn’t think about this tour to be the last, but when they started talking about it, it made sense. Now that all 5 of them are healthy and in good shape and want to end Gyllene Tider at a high level, it doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. They don’t know what will come in 6, 7 or 10 years and they don’t want to go on tour when any of the band members is not there. Then it wouldn’t be Gyllene Tider anymore.

From the article it turns out that besides the 5 Golden Guys, there will be 2 backing vocalists on tour with them: Malin-My Wall and Dea Norberg. Per explains that Tom Petty also had backing vocalists on his last tour and The Rolling Stones also have them. It feels a bit new, but also it saves Per’s voice and widens the sound partly at the choirs and partly because Malin-My can also play the violin and other instruments.

That the guys would go on a tour and celebrate their 40th anniversary was clear already after the last show in 2013. Since GT was formed in 1978 they wanted to do a tour in 2018, but as Per went on a solo tour in 2017 (130,000 people saw him) and he played several Gyllene Tider songs, then he toured with Per Gessle’s Roxette in 2018, also some shows in Sweden and it’s a small country, they postponed it to 2019.

Even if they knew that 80-90% of the setlist will consist of their old songs, they wanted to make a new album. They recorded it in France. Per says the idea was to create an album that shows the band members have all grown up and they are either close to or already turned 60. They are older, more matured and more experienced. They wanted the album to sound like GT today, not like they sounded back in the days. It can be a little embarrassing when a band tries to sound like 1980 while it’s already 2019.

Jan-Owe mentions an article that was published on 25th July 1985 about GT’s break-up, but he says it was rather a longer break. The the guys came back in 1995, 2004, 2013 and now in 2019. Per says 1995 was the first time they realized how big they became in Sweden. Their hits survived and he had the power via his international success with Roxette.

Now it’s time for another tour that will take the band from Malmö in the South to Piteå in the North with Stockholm and Gothenburg in between, where the concerts were moved to bigger venues (Stockholm Stadion and Ullevi). The 51 songs the guys took on the rehearsals have to be narrowed down to 25-30, including 18 must-play songs.

Jan-Owe asks Per what he thinks makes GT attractive through all generations. Per says the only way to survive as a band for 40 years is never to be trendy. Then they can come back time after time, as they did.

Jan-Owe also asks Mr. G about how it will feel to play the last song on the last concert. Per says he doesn’t know, they won’t die or stop playing.

 

Per’s summer feelings

Childhood summers: ”Far too short. Always.”

Teenage summers: ”I spontaneously think about Fammarps Mushroom Cultivation. I was biking there from Villshärad and weighed mushrooms during some summers. We were 2 guys and more than 300 girls. Good enough.”

Adult life summers: ”Tour. And more tours. And even more tours.”

An unforgettable summer: ”The GT-25 tour in 2004. Awesome. That summer we had more than 25000 people in the audiences per night. How did it really happen?”

The summer I absolutely want to forget: ”There weren’t any bad summers. Or if so then I blanked them out.”

Being on a summer tour: ”Intense.”

The best summer song: ”Summertime by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. A masterpiece.”

The best own summer song: ”Juni, juli, augusti, På promenad genom stan and Min plats. They are OK.”

The best summer concert in Halland county: ”My memory is short, but Wilmer X was awesome the last time they played in Solgården at Hotel Tylösand. I wish I could say Sex Pistols in Östra stranden in Halmstad 1977, but I wasn’t there. MP and I were sitting outside in his Amazon. We didn’t dare to go in.”

The best own concert in Halland county: ”Gyllene Tider on Stora torg in Halmstad 1995 was special. That was the first time we realized how big we became in Sweden. Our hits survived and I had the power via the international success with Roxette.”

Professional expectations before summer 2019: ”To be able to say hi to the crowd.”

Private expectations before summer 2019: ” To be able to say hi to family and friends.”

Why to choose Halland in the summer: ”It’s Sweden’s front side.” (”Sveriges framsida.” -> it’s a Swedish idiom and is associated with the West Coast and Gothenburg. The reason is the geographical situation, which allows direct connections to the international shipping routes via the port. /PP)

This is how summer smells: ”Chips och grill. Näst intill.” (Part of the lyrics of (Kom så ska vi) Leva livet meaning ”Chips and grill. Almost.” /PP)

Pic of Per Gessle is taken in the studio in France by Anders Roos.

 

Thanx for your support with the printed version of the interview, Anne Rosvall!

Interview with Per Gessle and Micke Syd on Svenska Yle

Kjell Ekholm from Svenska Yle did an interview with Per Gessle and Micke Syd in the beginning of June in Stockholm. The guys were talking about Gyllene Tider’s history, last album and farewell tour.

When they sat down, there were the recently re-released first 3 GT albums on the table and Micke and Per started discussing people on the covers. Micke Syd recognized his then girlfriend, Per pointed at Marie i växeln. Kjell told the guys he has the first edition of GT’s first album pressed on yellow vinyl and Per asked him if he knows that it was printed in only 9000 copies.

Kjell mentions GT has now sold nearly half a million records, but their career start wasn’t easy. They made a self-financed EP that they sent to various record companies and radio stations, but they didn’t get too much airplay. Per even sent a complaint letter to the local radio station in Halmstad, Radio Halland. That letter is now hanging on the wall framed in Swedish Radio P4 Halland’s studio.

Per told the name of GT came from ”The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a single by Mott the Hoople, one of his favourite bands. In 1984, Gyllene Tider tried to launch an English album in the US, and because their name was impossible for Americans to pronounce, they changed it to Roxette after a song by Dr. Feelgood. Per told he didn’t write good songs on that record, especially no good lyrics. It flopped. Billboard reviewed the album and wrote ”nothing much happened here” and that’s how Per felt too. A year later Anders Herrlin decided to leave the band. Per thinks it was probably Anders who suffered the most from this pop idol hysteria. He was voted Sweden’s best looking guy in 1982 and it didn’t fit him at all. He also had other musical ambitions. Per added that Anders’ in-depth knowledge of the digital world was of great use when they made Roxette’s first records.

Even though the band had ended, their songs eventually got an eternal life. They are continuously played on the radio. In 1995 the guys had their first reunion on stage. ”Halmstads pärlor” became Sweden’s best-selling album two years in a row. In 2004, the band had their 25th anniversary and went on a giant tour that became the biggest ever in Sweden and pulled over half a million in the audience. In 2013 they did their third major tour.

Kjell asked the guys what they think makes them unique. Per said he played GT songs with so many other musicians, but they sound totally different when he plays them with others. Micke Syd thinks the songs are made so well and their playing is so personal that it makes a difference. He tells an example that all drummers who have tried to imitate Ringo or Charlie Watts have found out that it simply doesn’t work. There is something unique that you can’t put your finger on but which means that no one in Gyllene Tider can be replaced, because then it creates an imbalance in the whole.

The guys talked about the rehearsals that they would rehearse as little as possible. They wouldn’t rehearse ”Sommartider” for example. The first time they will play it will be in Halmstad. Micke Syd said that those early songs are encoded in their spinal cords.

Regarding the new album, ”Samma skrot och korn” there was no pressure on the guys from anyone else than themselves to do something good. The record stands out among today’s albums. Micke Syd said when he looks at the charts both in Sweden and worldwide, it feels like they came from another planet.

Per told he started writing songs for the album two years ago and then he still wasn’t aware that it would be the last record of GT. He said he wanted the record to feel like they are a band that has been playing together for a long time and has grown up and matured with pop music. He neither wanted nor couldn’t write another ”När vi två blir en” or ”Sommartider”. Mr. G said he wanted to write adult texts with a lot of sentimentality, sadness and contemplation and how it was before. It fits them right now.

To Kjell’s question about why they want to end GT when they still seem to be in top shape and can release such a great album, Per replied they are getting old and it feels good to end it while they are all still alive and in top shape and can do this tour, because who knows where they would be in 5 years.