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.