Per Gessle about the bright and dark side of life

On the release day of ”En vacker natt” (28 April), an interview with Per Gessle was published in Hallandsposten.

Jan-Owe Wikström asks Per about those great musicians (David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Prince) who passed away last year. He asks Per if he ever met them. Mr. G met Bowie before a concert in Lyon, but they just greeted each other, never talked. Cohen he never met and Prince either, even if Roxette played on the same gala when MTV Europe opened in Berlin. But as soon as Prince moved, there were 18 people around him. Per says he was in Prince’s studio though, Paisley Park in Minneapolis shortly after R.E.M. had been there to record. Everything was white and in the middle stood a giant bird cage. They even saw Prince’s private apartment above the studio and it was just as you imagined Prince. A heart-shaped bedroom, much purple and a sliding roof over the whole apartment.

Jan-Owe asks Per if Bowie was his greatest inspiration. Mr. G replies that musically he doesn’t know, but Bowie is definitely the artist who has meant the most to him, because he came into Per’s life when he was the most influenceable, at the age of 13-14. Per says Gunilla was Elvis, Bengt The Beatles and he was Bowie.

Jan-Owe asks Per about how it has affected him, losing his brother Bengt, his mother Elisabeth and his sister Gunilla in a short time. Per says it’s clear that you get a new view of life, to appreciate the moment, to take care of your loved ones. He tells Bengt had lung cancer, but didn’t tell anyone. Per thinks he was on tour when Gunilla visited Bengt in the hospital and after leaving, she got a phone call that Bengt had died. Per says you come to a time in life when you know more people who die than who are born, which obviously makes you think.

To the question if he believes in God and a life after this, Per replied he has not really decided. Sometimes maybe. It would have been nice to have a strong faith and both his mom and Gunilla were very religious. Gunilla even educated herself to be a priest, but started working at hospice instead. Per says he doesn’t belong to anywhere yet, but who knows. He is thinking, maybe when you grow older, you become more religious.

Jan-Owe asks Per, while they are sitting in Per’s house in Halmstad, drinking coffee and eating sandwiches, if he thinks the roots become more important when such serious things, mentioned above, happen in life. Per thinks even if he is a restless soul, that’s probably the case. He travelled around the world, but still always ends up in Halmstad. And that’s nice because everything is so much easier there. It’s closer to nature, it’s calmer…

Jan-Owe asks Per if what’s happened has affected his songwriting. Mr. G tells there are no lyrics that are directly related to it. But one is certainly affected by such happenings. Per says he doesn’t believe it was better before and it doesn’t necessarily have to be negative to get older, in case you are healthy. On the contrary, he is using that experience in his writing artistically and creatively.

Jan-Owe says he saw a survey which showed that those between 60-75 are the most satisfied with life. Per agrees. He says you have your family, have peaked in your career and are hopefully happy with what you’ve done in life. You have nothing left to prove. Per is soon there and could therefore make such a record that builds more on moods than single songs. A blank paper. Acoustic, Swedish, lyrics-oriented and country-influenced without being country.

Per tells Hallandsposten he is the most proud that, after almost 40 years in the music industry, he has done something he has never done before. If people like it, he doesn’t know, therefore he wants to wait before he decides which songs to play on tour.

Song by song comments – En vacker natt

”Min plats”: It was one of two key songs on the album, because when those 2 were ready, I had the pillars. It just felt like having it as the opening song.

”Första pris”: One of the songs which weren’t written for this album but for Roxette, which we never recorded. A little blue tone in the duet together with Helena Josefsson. I almost literally translated the English text.

”Småstadsprat”: It wasn’t meant to be a duet at all. But then we started talking about how rare duets between boys are. If it’s between a girl and a boy, you sing to each other, but boy / boy – then you sing towards a common goal like here with Lasse Winnerbäck.

”Enkel resa”: A fun and odd song. Sometimes I try to encourage MP (Mats Persson) to write songs which he does amazingly well. And he does it every ten years… Here he comes with exciting basslines that I added a melody to.

”Allt gick så fort”: The other central song on the album. I read an interview with David Crosby who told he had five guitars in his bedroom and he tuned them quite oddly. So I started googling and found an odd tone with which the guitar became a completely new instrument. But when we were to record in Nashville, I couldn’t take those grips again so we had to use the demo.

”Tittar på dej när du dansar”: The most poppy song on the album. I tried to avoid having such songs, but at least one is needed for the energy. A little odd, built from two songs in one and one of the few with electric guitar.

”Några glas rosé”: The hardest song to write because it has no chorus and has a narrative text that needs much space. Something like “Billy” without chorus.

”Far Too Close”: Written for Roxette from the beginning and because we had time left, it became the ultimate homage to Nashville, letting a Nashville girl, Savannah Church sing the finale.

Photo from PG’s Nashville archives

 

Is it time for a Roxette musical?

Hallandsposten (Jan-Owe Wikström) did an interview with Per in relation to the Roxette concert in Halmstad tomorrow. It’s going to be the 6th time they play in Halmstad. After 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994 and 2010 tomorrow it’s time for them to play again in the band’s hometown. It will be their first time at Örjans vall though.

According to the interview, the tour will continue in 2016, however, nothing is planned after the September concert (company gig) in Warsaw. Per says since they turn 30 next year, the tour should last until then and they haven’t played South Africa, Asia, North America and South America yet on this tour. At the same time it is Marie’s health they are depending on, how much she can do.

PG
Screenshot is from the making of video of The Look 2015 remake

Regarding the tour Per mentions it’s quite typical nowadays that as no artist can earn money on album sales, they go on tour. When Roxette played in Madrid, there were posters from Katy Perry via Mark Knopfler till the Foo Fighters. Since there is this big competition, he says it’s fantastic that they still have sold out shows and can sell 8000-18000 tickets per concert. In Halmstad there will be approximately 15000 people in the audience. The plan for the 5 concerts in Sweden was to sell 50000 tickets altogether and it seems it will work.

Per tells Jan-Owe the tour is one of the reasons why the new album is delayed. The other reason is the EMI – Warner merger. There are too many new people and Per wants to work with people he likes and who respect their history and the new songs. 5 songs off the new album are ready and as Per says, it is 65-70% of the total album. This would mean the album has 8 songs? Hm.

With Addeboy vs. Cliff, who mixed the 2015 remake of The Look, Per wrote some songs together. He says to Hallandsposten that it’s hard to find people who are talented in what he is not too good at, ie. programming.

There are still unknown collaborations on the new album, but Per told Hallandsposten he and Mats MP Persson wrote some songs together now for the first time since long and they might turn up on the new album. Mr. G says he would never be able to write “Fading Like A Flower” today, simply because he has moved on as a songwriter.

Regarding the changes in music consumption Per says nowadays it’s less important to people who wrote the songs or who plays the drums. Today’s pop music reflects the society today, so most of it is made on laptops where everything can be fixed in the end.

This time he says again that social media is a unique way to get close to the fans.

Jan-Owe Wikström asked Per what is left to do after that he has done almost everything with Roxette, Gyllene Tider, his solo projects and soundtrack. Maybe a musical? Per can imagine that there could be a musical built on Roxette’s, Gyllene Tider’s hits or his solo songs just like ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and the Queen musical, but only if the right way is found. Something new. Maybe with Jonas Åkerlund as a director.

From the Hallandsposten interview it turns out that Per is still writing his diaries after each show, so it’s not only the Facebook posts he writes about them. And they film a lot. Probably, a lot more than what we get to see after each gig on Facebook.

A fan’s story of the ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” release party

Sandra Knospe was one of the lucky fans who got an invitation to the book release party. To the party being held on 10th December in Leif’s Lounge at Hotel Tylösand. She travelled there with 3 of her friends and they enjoyed the journey, the meetings, the talks and the party to the full. Here’s her complete story about the event, how she experienced it.

The “Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” book release party or a not so usual short trip to Halmstad…

© Justyna Bereza
© Justyna Bereza

It’s a week ago already, but I needed this time to realize that it hasn’t been just a dream what I experienced last Tuesday, that it really happened. Again… Who would have thought back in 1997, when I witnessed the first book release party in my life at Hotel Tylösand, also for a GT biography, also written by Jan-Owe Wikström, that 16 years later I would be there again, at the same place, for yet another GT book release party, for another great GT book, a road biography, written by exactly the same person, Jan-Owe Wikström, with outstanding pictures from Anders Roos, that really deliver the live feelings from the past GT tour and bring back soooo many fantastic and intense moments of the tour. I can tell, I was there on all 19 shows. Going through the book brings me back the memories and make them become alive again immediately and I can’t wait to find some time to finally read the whole book.

But back to where I started… When I got the invitation I knew that I wouldn’t say no. Even though it seemed to be impossible to realize. I knew I had to work a day after the date of the party, I knew I couldn’t take my precious GT car for the trip since it’s missing a proper set of winter tires and I knew that probably nobody of my friends could join me, because it all came so suddenly and seemed to be impossible to manage in just a week. And as if that wasn’t hard enough to solve, I smashed my thumb in the car door just a few days before the trip should be. But everyone who knows me also knows that this wouldn’t hold me back from going. And suddenly everything turned out just perfect. My parents offered me their little Ford Fiesta to be able to go, my thumb was at least not broken just hurting (something I can easily ignore when it comes to such events), and even 3 of my friends made it possible to join me on this adventure. Life is great sometimes, isn’t it?

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Alla tiders Gyllene Tider – a fab book!

GT_omslag_131028_rsI’ve just finished reading ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider”. The book is of very high quality, anyone can tell it already at the first glance. It’s unbelievable how fast Jan-Owe Wikström could put all the stories together to release this fab book appr. a half year after the thought of writing this gem was born.

I love this road movie style he chose and even if most of the information in the book we could read / hear in old and recent interviews, it’s great to have all these things together in one book and one can still find some new info. Many things I read made me smile or even laugh. One of these was when Lasse Lindbom said: There is hardly any pop star potential in these boys. And I’m a little hesitant about the singer.” 🙂 Or when MP forgot to bring his guitar for the Bio Reflex show in Getinge, 1978. Loved Göran’s quote from Leksand (audience: 7 661), thinking about his past and not being an active musician when there is no GT in sight: I never play for less than ten thousand people. One of the funniest stories is still Micke Syd’s with the girls in Malmö. They couldn’t recognize him and even if Micke Syd told, the girls couldn’t believe him it was really him, the drummer from GT.

There were other things that made me ”ahaaa, so that’s why it was like that”. For example, regarding changing the setlist and putting ”Gå & fiska!” towards the end instead of keeping it as an opening song – to spare Per’s voice. ”Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” was anyway the best choice for being the opener. Another thing I’ve never been thinking about is where the name of DJ Fritzon’s magic instrument, Farfisa (Fabbriche Riunite di Fisarmoniche) is coming from. Nice to know now this, too.

It was sad reading about the 1981 Kristianopel tragedy again, but it also made me think how lucky we were with the numbering system during this tour. However, we are living in an another century now, when fights were tougher for the best picnic places this time.

I like it a lot that all the band members and some other important guys and girls from the tour got shorter or longer chapters in the book. The Gessleist in me, of course, likes chapters ”Per Gessle” and ”Låtskrivandet” the most. No matter how much I already heard and read about his songwriting or how much he was sharing about it so far, I never get tired of reading about this topic again and again. C’mon, this guy wrote ”(Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän” in only 8 minutes! Wow! Reading this chapter about songwriting and seeing a pic of Per’s ”Röstmemon” app made me think it would be nice to have some of those files as bonus on some future release. Wishful thinking. 🙂

Besides these chapters I really mean that the whole book is a very enjoyable reading. I didn’t know, for example that Anders and his wife, Jennie are that much into making music for movies and TV series.

It’s nice to see all the old pics, mainly because lots of them we could have never seen before. I can’t even count how many times I mentioned that the actual photos of the Golden Guys are fantastic, all 5 of them look extremely hot on all pics. Anders Roos, the photographer did a splendid job. Tons of shots are in the book from the tour, from backstage, of many details we can’t see from our crowd positions and we can see lots of familiar faces. I would love to see all the pics Anders took (20 000), but couldn’t make it into the book. Even a separate photo book would sound good. 😉

Well, there are some typos, but the high quality, the great stories and the awesome pics make you forget about them quite soon.

I love 2 of the last few sentences in the outro: It should not take nine years for the next comeback. Everyone agrees on it.” Indeed! And until then, can’t wait to see the upcoming GT DVD.

PS #1: If you haven’t bought the book yet, I can highly recommend you to obtain it. It is really worth it.

PS #2: Oh and when I’m back to Sweden, I definitely have to check the second-hand bookshops to get hold of Jan-Owe’s GT book from 1997.

Gyllene Tider book in Top5!

GT_omslag_131028_rs

The book has just been published and according to Bokus best sellers charts, ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” is already the Top 5th best selling book in “culture” category looking at the past week. Taking into consideration that most of us from abroad ordered it at Ginza or Bengans, the book could be No. 1 at Bokus (if we would have ordered our copies there). 😉

Cool result! Congrats!

 

 

Bokus_topplista

 

Thanx for the info, Roos & Tegnér AB.

 

30 pages from the Gyllene Tider book

The Swedish website where earlier we could check some pages from Sven Lindström’s ”Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” now shared the first 30 pages (including the cover) of ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” written by Jan-Owe Wikström and photographed by Anders Roos.

The table of contents is extremely promising and the whole design looks awesome. I must admit I haven’t read these 30 pages (I’m waiting for my copy to hold it in my hands and read the whole book), just flicked through the pics now and they are woaaah! Not that we didn’t know it until now. So, if you haven’t decided on buying the book yet, it’s high time! Just look at this snippet and you’ll be absolutely convinced. 😉 Click HERE to check those 30 pages, but only if you don’t want to ”ruin” your ”wow!” moment when first seeing the book in its physical existence.

Please Mr. Postman, look and see (oh yeah) if there’s a BOOK in your bag for me! Hurry up!

Alla_tiders_GT_content

 

Some more fantastic Gyllene Tider pics from the book

Roos & Tegnér AB has just uploaded a short video to their YouTube channel including some more beauty shots from the upcoming ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” book written by Jan-Owe Wikström, photographed by Anders Roos. Waiting impatiently for the book to be published in 3 days (15th November), aren’t we? Enjoy the video by clicking at the picture below! A little GT music could have been added to it, but you can just put on your own Gyllene Tider record and watch it that way.

 

Alla tiders Gyllene Tider

© Anders Roos

 

Gyllene Tider book is out in a week

As we already informed you about it, the new Gyllene Tider book is published on 15th November.

As Per promised yesterday, those ”who are interested in this petite Swedish power pop combo, won’t be disappointed”. Well, looking at the high resolution photos Anders Roos (the photographer who followed GT during the whole tour, taking appr. 20,000 pics) shared in the press room at the publishing company’s website, I must say even those won’t be disappointed who are actually not interested in GT, but love seeing beautiful pictures. The book is definitely worth to buy even if you can’t speak Swedish. Check our earlier article for the links with those places where you can order the book.

GT_omslag_131028_rs                         AR_GT_GBG_12_juli165_rs

Final cover (Örnsköldsvik) © Anders Roos                               Hot golden guys in Göteborg (Ullevi) © Anders Roos

 

Thanx for finding the link to the beauty pics and letting us know, Nina Wolfframm and Celestte Williams!

Gyllene Tider of all time

As you might remember, we already informed you that a road movie biography about Gyllene Tider is on the way. The working title of the book was ”Bandet som inte finns” (= ”The band that doesn’t exist”), which I liked a lot, because it was a really creative title. The author, Jan-Owe Wikström finally changed it to ”Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” (= ”Gyllene Tider of all time”). Actually, this also sounds good. Finishing touches are being put on the book as you could see Per’s photo today on Facebook.

The biography is published on 15th November and can already be pre-ordered at many places: Bengans, Ginza, Bokus, Adlibris, CDon, Bokextra. The hardcover book consists of 240 pages and most probably contains a lot of photos, as Anders Roos took about 20000 shots during the tour. It must have been hard to choose which pics to put in the book, which is of course in Swedish.

 

Alla_tiders_Gyllene_TiderOverview:

“Gyllene Tider is a piece of Swedish music history and today is as “blue and yellow” as the Three Crowns, the crisp bread, Zlatan and the Dala horse.
When Anders Herrlin quit with the band in 1985, he didn’t know what he really left behind. 28 years later nearly a million people saw the band during their three comebacks: 1996, 2004 and 2013. Despite the fact that the band has not existed since that March day in 1985.
The road movie book “Alla tiders Gyllene Tider”, with a foreword by Per Gessle, is a unique insight into a band’s life that went from teenage hysteria to people’s home nostalgia for summer euphoria and, for decades, from the late ’70s to today has gathered young and old, hard rockers and dance band lovers in a candy store of pop pralines.
Jan-Owe Wikström, together with photographer Anders Roos followed the band on their “Dags att tänka på refrängen” tour in the summer of 2013. A journey through time and space, where a road sign, a venue, a café or an event takes us 20-30 years back in time to the hysterical and funny, but also to the black and dark moments.
It’s also a journey with Gyllene Tider on stage, but mainly behind the scenes, during the recordings and rehearsals, as well as a trip with the fans. And of course with the crew, the staff who are mixing and building and pulling down.
In addition, the book provides personal portraits of the band members and their everyday lives outside Gyllene Tider and it brings you closer to the secret behind Per Gessle’s hit-making talent.”

 

Gyllene Tider – the band that doesn’t exist

Jan-Owe Wikström’s name or his nickname, Wicke should ring a bell to all fans, as he is the co-author of ”Roxette – The book” (1992) and the author of ”Gyllene Tider” biography (1997). He’s a Swedish journalist and writer, working at Hallandsposten. As Hallandsposten informs, he is writing a book about Gyllene Tider’s latest tour.

Wicke attended 11 concerts, followed the band backstage, spent a lot of time with the crew, was talking to many fans and photographer Anders Roos, who he is working with took about 20 000 photos during this adventure.

The book is going to be a ”road movie” book – that’s how Wicke calls it – and its working title is ”Bandet som inte finns” (= ”The band that doesn’t exist”). This is a fair title if you consider that Gyllene Tider split in 1985 and since then they had only temporary reunions.

The book will contain comparisons between now & then and is planned to be published in November, 2013.

 

GT_in_Orebro_21-07-2013

© Patrícia Peres

 

Gyllene Tider’s first time on stage.

32 years ago.
Gyllene Tider – Live at Medborgarhuset (Bio Reflex) in Getinge

May 12, 1978, Friday at 7.30 pm
Tickets: 10 SEK [just 20 were sold, other people were allowed to enter for free]

The band:
Per Gessle
Mats Persson
Micke “Keef” Andersson (aka “Syd” in the later years)
Janne “Bas” Carlsson

Total time: 70 minutes

Per Gessle: This is we who are Gyllene Tider! (microphone wasn’t on)

1. Rebel, rebel (var blev du av?) [early version of “Åh Ziggy Stardust (var blev du av?)”]
2. Jag vet [Swedish version of Dr. Feelgood’s “I can tell”]
3. Pornografi [Per dedicated this one to Curt H-son, king of pornography]
4. London [7-minutes long ballad]
5. Min vän
6. Barbacka [heavy rock song]
7. Bobbos boogie [song about Magnus Uggla]
8. Det blåser upp till storm [11-minutes long; Per on his only solo on Gibson-guitar]

PG: We are going to end up this gig with one long track, probably too long, written by Tommy Steele.

9. Syndafloden [12-minutes long with 6-minutes long intrumental part inspired by Pink Floyd’s compositions]
10. Gloria [with both English and Swedish lyrics]

PG: Mats Persson on guitar, on drums our B52’s Micke “Keef” Andersson, on bas Janne Carlsson and my name is Rutger Backe.

RB was Halmstad’s BK’s goal shooter – Rutger Backe, though Per supported Halmian, the other Halmstad’s football team.

Source: Jan-Owe Wikström, Gyllene Tider, Stockholm 1997, pages: 26-30

Per: New album like a modern “Look Sharp!”

Per Gessle was interviewed for Hallandsposten by Jan-Owe Wikström (co-author of “Roxette – The book”) just before NOTP’s Stuttgart gig.

The article reveals some interesting details about Roxette’s first studio album after nine years and their further present and future. I tried to translate some bits:

– I have already written 14 new songs. Two more and we have an album.
– It feels great, admits Per. Studio time is booked in the spring at Atlantis and Polar Studios in Stockholm and with Christoffer Lundquist down in Österlen. Marie wanted to record her vocals in Stockholm, so we decided to have more than one studio this time.
– We test ourselves with different arrangements and so put Marie on vocals. It’s fun to see Marie really passionate for it.
– He describes the upcoming album with the working title “Roxette 2010” like a modern version of Roxette’s 21-year-old breakthrough album “Look Sharp!”.
– Perhaps not the tracks. The production with a lot of machines, but with all the instruments, everything is clearly audible, “idiot-audible” as Clarence says.

About touring:

– There has been a tremendous response, both by audience and media, it’s a very emotional journey, as we have encountered old Roxette fans from around the world and simultaneously a new audience.
– It’s been a long road, but now … it shows really how Marie enjoys every moment, describes Per. Therefore, they are beginning to consider a Roxette tour on their own again.
– The next step would possibly be a 45-minute gig. But full concerts lasting nearly two hours still feel too long.

At the same time they believe to have discovered a greater interest in Roxette again.

– I received an email from Anders Herrlin, who was in New Zealand. He said that Roxette was played several times a day over there and he couldn’t simply understand that, Per laughs.

Source: Hallandsposten