Interview with Per Gessle in Halmstad NU

Per Brolléus did an interview with Per Gessle for Halmstad NU, Halmstad’s new local monthly newspaper.

Per Brolléus thinks Marie would have said Per is an idiot if he doesn’t do this. He asks PG what he thinks.

Yes, well, that’s exactly what she had said. Just like that. She had declared me an idiot forever.

The guys are about half an hour into the interview and PB says PG has “written a song text” through his answers to all his questions about the tour, about Lena, about why, about feelings, about whether he knows this works and about the rest of the year before Roxette leaves for South Africa and Australia in February-March next year.

There is one thing that Mr. Gessle no doubt wants to be very clear about – the endless love for Marie. If she is not in every single answer, she is still there as a kind of sounding board or a little bird that nods or shakes its head. She is constantly present, even though it has now almost been five years since she passed away in December 2019.

Either you do it or you don’t. There are no other options if it’s supposed to be Roxette, sound like Roxette and be called Roxette.

That there comes a tour doesn’t feel very strange to Per Brolléus who “grew up” with Per Gessle, Gyllene Tider and Roxette. Per Gessle gives people what people actually want – without sacrificing his own artistic ability or, for that matter, his status. And now people obviously want Roxette. But, this would never have been relevant if it wasn’t for the duet album that Per has recently made.

Lena had agreed to make a song with me and when we recorded it, she knocked me out. Completely. Damn, what a voice she has!!!

Although Lena Philipsson never got to play in the same division as Gessle in the ’80s and, for example, never got to go on Rock runt riket (the 1987 tour with Roxette, Ratata and Eva Dahlgren and a new talent called Orup as support act), but Per and Lena’s paths have crossed a number of times.

We come from the same era and I have written a few songs for her, including the lyrics to Kärleken är evig. And I know her as a damn good artist. But when we got into the studio… Well… Knockout. That voice!!!

After the knockout in the studio in Stockholm, Per invited Lena for dinner in Halmstad. There was food and wine and finally he asked the question: Do you want to go on tour with Roxette? And the answer from Lena? Per laughs and says:

She was shocked and got a few days to think it over. She probably  thought I was crazy. But…, it was not about Lena replacing Marie, i.e. trying to sound like Marie, but Lena being Lena and she would lend her artistic talent to the songs.

And she said YES, says Per in a long exhale.

She ticks all the boxes. She’s got it all, although of course she’s never done a world tour and stood in front of 10,000 wild fans in Sydney. But she has IT. Of course, I did a Roxette tour in Europe with Helena Josefsson, a fantastic singer who has been with me for ages. But she is made for that kind of setup as it was then. Stripped down arrangement with seated audience in an acoustic setup. Now it’s something else and Lena fits in there magically well.

The gang that Per takes with him is pretty much everyone who was there when it started in the late ’80s and onwards.

Jonas, Clarence and as many as possible from the old gang are there. Damn, Roxette should sound like Roxette should sound. And it should be as much Roxette as you can get.

We tested some songs, Lena and I. It sounded fantastic. An own voice, an own feeling.

And now Lena PH is having an international breakthrough at the age of 59. Per laughs and says:

Well, it’s absolutely wonderful.

Regarding the pilot tour he says:

Yes, I want to test the concept. I want to be 100% sure that it works before it becomes something much bigger.

So Australia and South Africa are just the beginning?

We’ll see. Offers are absolutely pouring in, but before I say yes, I really want to feel it first. When we released the news about the tour and about Roxette with Lena, the systems exploded, which is of course great fun.

He pauses for a few seconds, laughs at…

She gets paid quite well too.

Halmstad’s biggest star through the ages has a fully packed calendar: duet album, movie, musical, world tour.

I have videos to make for the songs from the duet album, then it will be exciting when the GT film premieres on 17th July. And then comes the musical at Malmö Opera, which premieres in September.

Per has no direct responsibility in the musical, calling himself a sounding board, but as a reporter Per Brolléus feels that he is not being completely honest here.

I’m involved in the song order and I’ve been down in Malmö and listened. Well, musicals are not my cup of tea, you know, when it gets so perfect. Because for good musicians it never becomes really good, you know what I mean?

Per Brolléus gets it. He was forced to go to some musical about Oklahoma as a child and has never gotten over that shock, so he understands it exactly.

As a last question, Per Brolléus asks Per Gessle, hand on heart, if there could be a test concert with Roxette at Tylösand this winter before they leave for the pilot tour.

It can happen. You never know.

But, honestly…!

Well, it’s quite good to test things before…

Halmstad NU can hereby reveal: there will be a test gig in Tylösand sometime in February 2025. Remember where you read it first.

All interview text is written by Per Brolléus for Halmstad NU in Swedish. Here it is a translation by RoxBlog.

Thanks for the hint regarding the article, Oliver Zimmermann!

Interview with Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson in Aftonbladet

Aftonbladet joined Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson on their promo day and Anna & Hans Shimoda did an interview with them about their upcoming adventures. HERE you can read the original article in Swedish.

The other week the news hit like a bomb; Per Gessle, 65, brings new life to Roxette with Lena Philipsson, 58, at the microphone. The tour starts in Cape Town in South Africa on 25th February and Aftonbladet is the only newspaper to have met both an excited Per Gessle and a somewhat surprised Lena Philipsson.

Per says smiling:

It happened when we made the duet “Sällskapssjuk” for my new album that I thought that “Lena is not that bad”.

Brain tumor

Pop icon Gessle has long considered what to do with Roxette’s impressive song catalogue. Classics such as Fading Like A Flower, The Look, It Must Have Been Love and Joyride had to be put in the dustbin when Per Gessle’s friend and bandmate Marie Fredriksson passed away in 2019 in the aftermath of the brain tumor she was diagnosed with in 2002.

Per says:

In recent years, I’ve been thinking about whether I should do anything at all with Roxette. I’ve been thinking about how to best manage the legacy and Roxette’s song catalogue live. There were two ways, not to do anything with it at all or to try to find a way that fits as well as possible. It was not an easy decision.

Gessle continues:

When I worked with Lena, I felt that she is very talented as a frontwoman, she has a lot of experience, comes from the same era as me and is a fantastic singer. We also have a history together, I was involved in writing her breakthrough song “Kärleken är evig”.

I gathered all my courage and asked her, thinking that she would probably fall off her chair, and she almost did.

‘Only way to do it’

Stepping into Marie Fredriksson’s shoes is of course not easy, but Per points out that it is about managing Roxette’s music.

The only way for Lena to do it is to do it her own way.

Lena Philipsson is sitting on the couch next to Per Gessle and looks sometimes at Per, sometimes at the floor.

When I was asked to do “Sällskapssjuk”, I of course said yes and Per wondered if I would sing it in Stockholm or if I would come down to Halmstad. I went down to be in Pers hoods. A few days later, a message arrived in which Per wrote that he wanted to meet and that he would ask a crazy question.

Aftonbladet is curious about what Lena thought then.

I felt that “Yes, it worked”. But I thought that maybe there could be another song together or a tour, but I didn’t expect this.

She continues:

I was about to fall off my chair, but I immediately started thinking about what the fans would think about it and how it might turn out. I’m good at identifying the problems, but of course I feel incredibly honoured.

Will it sound familiar?

I feel like I’m an invited guest here, I’ll let Per decide. I won’t get into the artistic side that much. But my feeling is that I want to sing the Roxette songs as they should be.

Per turns to Lena:

Stick to your own way.

Lena says:

Yes, I do have my voice, but I don’t feel that I should do my thing and screw up everything. I want it to feel like the original.

Have a favourite song

Lena Philipsson says there is one Roxette song she is particularly looking forward to singing – a favourite:

There are so many good songs, but I have to say “Dressed For Success”, it’s so much Roxette for me and it’s really Marie’s song.

Lena Philipsson points out that she is not afraid of being compared to Marie Fredriksson.

No, then I would never have said yes. The comparison will of course be made anyway. But I have to dare to take it, otherwise I would have had to say no. I care about doing a good job and want the Roxette fans to feel satisfied.

The tour takes place in South Africa and Australia, but if all goes well, it could be any size, according to Gessle.

What we are doing now as a pilot thing. We will see how it feels and if it turns out as I believe and hope, there are no limits to what we can do.

Interview by Anna & Hans Shimoda, photos by Andreas Bardell for Aftonbladet

Per Gessle talks about Roxette In Concert 2025 on Efter fem

TV4 invited Per Gessle on Efter fem to ask him about the world tour, Roxette In Concert 2025. Watch it HERE! The program starts with showing a short part of the video to Sällskapssjuk, the duet single of Per and Lena Philipsson.

Program leader Tilde de Paula Eby likes the song very much, she says it’s a new collaboration between two giant artists that she really likes and it is released today. Tilde adds there is something else happening to Per and Lena, they are also going on a world tour. Per confirms and says at least they are going to South Africa and Australia. Tilde says it’s a world tour then. Per laughs and says it’s a big world out there. They were thinking of doing that at the beginning of next year and it’s quite exciting, under the name Roxette.

Tilde says it must be pretty emotional for Per to do this tour with someone other than Marie. PG says it is, of course. He has been toying with this idea for years, how to manage the Roxette catalogue in a good way. The great thing about the Roxette songs is that they still live on and there will be new people who like them. When you start thinking about it, there are really only two ways to go. Either you leave it at that or you move on. Per needed time to himself and also needed to find the right voice. When he recorded Sällskapssjuk with Lena – it’s a song from the duet album that will come out in the fall – then he realized that „shit, there it is”. He thought Lena would fit the Roxette songs perfectly. Per knows Lena is a big Roxette fan. Besides that, he has worked with her. Per has co-written her breakthrough song, Kärleken är evig in 1986. PG contacted Lena after the recordings of Sällskapssjuk and asked if she was interested. She was a little shocked, of course.

Tilde says she can imagine that one can react to such a question both with total jubilation and also a little panic. She says they will talk further about how it was, but before that, she asks her colleague, Henrik Alsterdal to tell a little background info about Roxette.

Henrik shows pictures from the good old days and talks about the numbers: 80 million albums sold, 4 Billboard No. 1 hits, 19 songs on the UK Top 40 and over 600 concerts. Henrik also talks a bit about PG Roxette and the upcoming Swedish album and finishes by stating that Per goes on tour with Lena under the name Roxette and the first gig is planned to be in Cape Town next February. In Cape Town, where Per played his last Roxette concert with Marie in 2016.

Tilde says, when you listen to these songs, it’s like decades are flowing through your whole body. She can’t even imagine what it’s like for Per. PG says they had a fantastic journey with Roxette. The eight years between 1988 and 1995 were fantastic. They were on the US charts for almost four years without falling off. They just changed the song. It was simply an amazing time. He still has to pinch his arm. Tilde says it’s funny that Per, who has done so incredibly much, can still appreciate these things and feel that he has to pinch his arm. It’s unreal. Per says it’s unreal indeed. Their whole journey, coming from such a small country like Sweden at the time. Their record company marketed them as an American band in England, because they couldn’t say they were from Sweden. To succeed was incredibly difficult.

Tilde asks Per if it is on purpose that he and Lena will play the first concert in Cape Town. Per says it was not intentional, it just happened that way and it’s actually strange that it turned out that way. Maybe that’s a sign, PG says.

Tilde is curious if Per has mixed feelings about doing this. PG says, not at all. If Marie would still be here, they would have been out on tour all the time for sure. But she is no longer there. Like Mr. G said before, you either leave it at that or you move on and start a new chapter in the book.

Tilde wants to know how he asked Lena Philipsson. She realized that it must have been mixed feelings for Lena, wonderful and scary at the same time. Per says it was absolutely like that. She asked how she could replace Marie, but Per said it’s not the idea that she should replace Marie, but Lena should do it her way. This is about managing the song catalogue. Per understands that Lena was stressed about it. At the same time, he thinks she has a lot to gain from this. She is a superstar in Sweden, but she has never played in Australia, in South Africa, in South America or in the USA. For her, it’s also a big challenge. Per is sure that if you have never seen Lena Philipsson and don’t know who she is and see her on stage for the first time, you will be shocked. According to Tilde, Lena is incredible on stage. It’s like a persona stepping out of her. She has body language and an absolutely phenomenal voice.

Per says they tested some Roxette songs at home at his grand piano and it sounds magical when she sings Queen Of Rain, Spending My Time and Listen To Your Heart. Per thinks this could be amazing.

Tilde says Per talked about South America, Australia, South Africa, but what about Sweden. PG says, oh, he forgot about Sweden. Haha. There are no plans for Sweden yet, but it will surely come, if it works. They see the Australia and South Africa tour as a small pilot tour. They see how it feels and how it works. PG brings the old classic Roxette band with him. If it works, it would of course be a lot of fun to play in Sweden too.

Tilde is incredibly impressed by Per’s driving force and is wondering where it comes from. Per says he loves his work. He loves to write, to be in the studio, to be on stage. He loves to play his songs and to feel the positive energy that comes from the audience. You get so much back, he says. PG thinks he has the best job in the world, after Tilde. Tilde smiles and says they probably share the first place.

According to Tilde, besides being a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work and it’s quite tough to travel around. Per agrees, touring is a lot of waiting at airports and in traffic jams and all that. But the reward is when you are on stage. It’s fantastic. That one minute, 30 seconds before you go on stage and 30 seconds into the first song, it’s the magic minute. You travel to another universe then. It’s a great charge up and a fantastic blast. That’s wonderful. When Tilde hears how Per describes it, she wants to experience it.

Tilde finishes the interview by mentioning Per’s upcoming album, Sällskapssjuk that is released in fall and the title song that has been released today with Lena Philipsson. She thanks Per for coming on the show and Per thanks for the invitation.

 

 

 

Stills are from the interview.

Per Gessle to take Roxette on a world tour in 2025 – Australian leg

Roxette were a hit-making machine in Australia achieving four x Top 3 albums with Look Sharp!, Joyride, Tourism and Crash! Boom! Bang!, hit songs Dressed For Success, Listen To Your Heart, Dangerous, Fading Like A Flower, and number one singles The Look, It Must Have Been Love and Joyride.

2025 will see a live revival of this massive catalogue, all penned by Roxette’s frontman Per Gessle, when he takes the band back on stage to do what he loves the most; perform his songs live in front of a dedicated audience.

Per and the Roxette band will be joined on stage by Swedish singer Lena Philipsson offering fans the chance to reconnect with the group’s timeless hits.

When on Australian TV Per speaks about his decision to reform the band after Marie’s death and their last performance in 2016, he says:

It’s been a tough decision to make. My partner in Roxette, Marie, passed away in 2019, so I didn’t really know what to do with this catalogue of songs. I decided to not start a new duo, but to hire a good friend of mine who is also an amazing singer and amazing performer. Lena Philipsson is actually a superstar here in Sweden.

The tour coincided with the band’s resurgence in popularity:

I don’t know if it is the right time — I just feel like it is a big world out there who still enjoys the Roxette songs. I want to do an homage to the Roxette catalogue. It is not about new music, it is about the old hits.

Per praises Lena’s style:

She is very different from Marie, of course, but she’s got her own style and I think she’s going to fit the Roxette songs perfectly well. We haven’t started rehearsing or anything, but we played some songs together and it sounded terrific. I’m really happy.

Nine years since the last tour, Roxette In Concert will begin the Australian leg in Perth, before playing shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong, Adelaide, and Hobart. These will be followed by a day on the green shows at the Hunter Valley’s Bimbadgen and Mount Cotton’s Sirromet Wines.

Opening for Roxette will be one of Australia’s biggest names in rock, Jon Stevens (Perth and a day on the green shows only), and Aussie pop rock superstars Boom Crash Opera (all shows).

Roxette will play eight shows across Australia in March 2025.

March 5 – Perth, Kings Park and Botanic Garden
March 7 – Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena
March 8 – Sydney, ICC Sydney Theatre
March 9 – Wollongong, WUB Entertainment Centre
March 11 – Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
March 13 – Hobart, MyState Bank Arena
March 15 – Hunter Valley, Bimbadgen (A Day On The Green)
March 16 – Mount Cotton, Sirromet Wines (A Day On The Green)

Mastercard presale: cardholders can access tickets from Monday 6 May, 10am (local) – Wed 8 May, 9am (local). Visit www.priceless.com/music to find out more.

Live Nation presale: Wednesday 8 May, 10am (local). Register to My Live Nation to access presale.

General on sale: Friday 10 May, 10am (local).

Watch the promo videos to Roxette In Concert 2025 in Australia!

Watch the Australian TV morning show interviews with Per:

Per Gessle’s new single, a duet with Lena Philipsson is out!

Per Gessle has released the title song, Sällskapssjuk from his upcoming album as the second single. The single contains two songs:

Side A             Sällskapssjuk
Side B             Hjärta av glas

Sällskapssjuk is a duet with Lena Philipsson. Per and Lena’s paths already crossed in the mid ’80s when Per, among other things, wrote the lyrics to Lena’s breakthrough song Kärleken är evig. Now it’s time again.

Listen to the single on any streaming platform HERE and don’t forget to order the physical copy, 7″ vinyl that is released also on 3rd May at Bengans!

A video to Sällskapssjuk is also out!

Sällskapssjuk

Om du var här
Så skulle dagen vara spektakulär
Och hela natten ungefär
Likadan

Om du var här
Så skulle inget vara något besvär
Din speciella atmosfär
Tog över stan

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag kan vara nära där du är
Jag väntar här

Din doft är klar
På din kudde som fint ligger kvar
En souvenir från de dagar
När allt var bra

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag vill vara nära där du är
Jag längtar här

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag kan vara nära där du är
Jag väntar här

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle + Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad December 2022 + January + April 2023 and Lost Boy Studios, Umeå January + February 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A) + Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström (LBS)
Mixed at T&A, Halmstad by Mats Persson + Per Gessle April 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + keyboards + vocals
Lena Philipsson: vocals
Andreas Broberger: electric guitar + keyboards + programming
Anton Ekström: keyboards + programming
Ola Gustafsson: electric guitar
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals

 

Hjärta av glas

Du,
Jag tog med mig allt jag sa
Jag lämnade nästan inget kvar
Jag tog ditt hjärta av glas
Jag har det här, du får det tillbaks

Och jag står kvar när taxin far
Och jag blundar med allt som jag har
När du långsamt ger dig av
När du långsamt ger dig av

Du,
Jag har trott på allt jag sa
Jag har trott på allt som var
Du har ett hjärta gjort av glas
Jag har det här, du får det tillbaks

Ingen början vill ta slut
Men ingenting här är som förut
Jag är ledsen det gick itu
Jag är ledsen att vi gick itu

Hjärta av glas
Hjärta av glas

Jag tog med mig allt jag sa
Jag lämnade nästan inget kvar
Du har ett hjärta gjort av glas
Hjärta gjort av glas

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad November 2022 and Sweetspot, Harplinge December 2022 + February 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A) + Staffan Karlsson (Sweetspot)
Mixed at T&A, Halmstad by Mats Persson + Per Gessle March 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + electric guitar + Hammond organ + mellotron + organ + piano + pedal organ + Wurlitzer piano + vocals
Magnus Helgesson: drums + percussion
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals
Mats Persson: electric guitar + 12-string electric guitar
Malin-My Wall: backing vocals

 

Photo by Fredrik Etoall

Hjärta av glas won’t be on the album. The reason this song gets its own digital sleeve is because otherwise it will pop up on the duet partner’s page as well.