Per Gessle on Hellenius hörna

Last time Per Gessle was on Hellenius hörna was almost exactly 3 years ago. That was a fun show and so I was looking very much forward to it this time again.

Yesterday’s program you can watch HERE, but only if you have Swedish access to it.

At the beginning of the program there is a teaser where Per is on the phone and imitates that he is talking to someone. His text is made up from his song titles. Host David Hellenius urges him to come, because they soon start, then goes out of Per’s dressing room and bumps into Laleh, the other guest ont he show. David asks her if she noticed anything strange with Per. She says no and her replies are made up from her song lyrics. Then Per appears with a fishing rod and tells them ”Jag går och fiskar!” (Gone fishing!). David runs after him.

Per is the first guest on the show. David introduces him as the one who put Swedish pop music on the world map with Roxette. He sold more than 100 million records and he is the only Swede who reached No. 1 on the US Billboard charts 4 times. There is footage from old shows where Per is playing with Gyllene Tider and Roxette, from his solo tours as well and we can also see award winning moments.

David welcomes Per and tells him it’s high time they celebrate Father’s Day together [it’s Father’s Day in Sweden on 8th November]. He asks Mr. G if he still gets present from his son. Per says no and he never got one. He thinks Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are for gathering the family. David understands one doesn’t have to give a lot of presents.

David tells Per released a new album recently, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. He is curious if it’s a self-experience record. Per tells he didn’t know what to do in summer, it was very quiet and he thought it would be fun to make an acoustic album on which he plays as many instruments as possible himself. He never did that before. Then he realized he doesn’t have songs. David says it’s difficult to make an album without songs. Per agrees, but says he realized that he has been writing songs for more than 40 years, so he got back to his songs from the 80’s and 90’s. David asks Per where he is keeping all his songs. Per laughs and says in a little drawer. He even demonstrates it. David asks what is written on the drawer. Per says: ”Ajajaj.” And they both laugh. David asks if Per sorted them out, but Per says on the contrary. These are songs that still mean a lot to him. David thinks one could say Per saved the best for last, but nah, he is not that old. Per says it’s a bit like that. Time flies and the songs he wrote in 1982-83 mean something different to him now than back then.

David asks Per about the songs Mamma and Pappa, if he wrote them a long time ago. Per says these two songs he actually wrote this year. He wrote Mamma for Mother’s Day and he thought he should write a father song too. He doesn’t know why, but that just happened. Then these two songs became the catalyst to the whole album. Mr. G says he did acoustic videos for his YouTube channel and he thought it was fun to play and sing. He played all the instruments except the difficult ones. David tells it’s smart and a good plan. He starts enumerating the instruments: guitar, bass, piano, but Per interrupts him and says bass is a difficult one. David says he thought it’s easy to play, there are only a few strings on a bass. Mr. G says a good bass is hard to play. He also doesn’t play the drums, but he plays almost everything else.

David tells Per has another special project he started in 2017, Mono Mind. At the beginning no one knew it was Per. He sounded like a robot. David asks him to explain it. Those who don’t know may think ”What happened to Per? Now he has stuck completely.” Per smiles and says it started earlier. In 2017 he reached No. 1 on the dance charts and stayed there for 6 weeks for everyone’s surprise. But he started that project in 2014. It was because he was tired of his own voice. They were sitting in the studio and tried to find effects. David asks if Per was tired of hearing himself. Mr. G says yes, because it was always the same. One intones in the same way. David says he understands it perfectly, that’s why he left ”Let’s Dance” [TV program]. He says he can’t say cha-cha-cha anymore. Mr. G says they started fiddling around on the computer and in the end he was singing one octave lower than usual. Then they fiddled with it. One can write the melody and add a little soul bounce to it. It was exciting and something he never did before. And it made him happy. They show a short part from the video to Save Me A Place. Then David informs Per called himself Dr. Robot. It’s almost like a children’s program, but it became mega huge. He asks Per how it felt to have a world hit without anyone knowing it was him. Per tells when someone is in the music business for as long as he is, it’s hard to enter the younger niche of pop music. There is a little age fascism in pop. David asks if Per feels it. He confirms he does. And since no one knew it was him behind Mono Mind, so he got in the fast lane. It was a little experiment. David says now it’s a little older man who is still there, everyone thought it’s a younger robot. David asks Per if he felt ”There you got it, all of you, who wanted to shoot us away”? Per says not really, but it was interesting. If he went out and said it’s a Per Gessle album, it would have been difficult to make it happen. This way he had American radio supporting him and it was a big hit in France too.

David says Per turned 60 last year and asks what he thinks about getting old. Whether he accepts it or tries to apply a brake. Per thinks it’s OK. You feel that you are getting older. David asks what’s good in it. Experience, Per replies. And that he doesn’t take his job as seriously anymore. He doesn’t need to do everything to become No. 1. David asks what is the worst in getting old. Grey hair and the body gets older, Per replies. David says Per is on stage a lot and that physically strains his body. He asks if Per feels any difference, if he can do the same things as before. Mr. G says he can and he even thinks he became better. David says ”Per Gessle, 60, more vigorous than ever”. David asks if he is training. Per says no, training is the most boring thing. David asks if he tried it. Per says he tried, but it doesn’t work for him. David starts asking if he tried yoga, Per continues pilates, personal trainer…, but it doesn’t work. He is rather walking.

David thinks when you are getting older, you can end up at a crossroads and one way is to become an angry man, the other is to become a cuddly man. He asks Mr. G if he had ever stood at that crossing and if so, which way he chose. He also asks if he gets slightly irritated by anything. Per says he recognized that. You get a little short-tempered as you get older. So he warns David that this is what is waiting for him. Haha. David says he would ask Per some questions and is curious what Per thinks about those things. Mr. G gets a sign which has ANGRY written on one side and GRUMPY on the other. He has to hold up the sign he finds relevant, so it will turn out if Per is an angry man who is purely pissed or a charming cuddly man who is just cursing a little.  Per says he sets it to the ANGRY side immediately.

  1. Bad language and spacing between words – GRUMPY
  2. Electric scooter – ANGRY – Here Per’s facial expression says it all, but David asks why angry. He is angry about the fact that people leave it all around. One has to climb over them on the sidewalks in Stockholm. David is curious if Per is so angry that he told this to anyone. Mr. G says he was thinking about throwing one into Nybroviken. David says it’s nice, there wouldn’t be any headlines about it. David says Per could say ”it wasn’t me. It was Dr. Robot.” Per says he could also say ”it was David”. Haha.
  3. This one David heard that Per gets damn mad at: telephone queues – ANGRY – Per says the worst is when you call a company or authority and you have to push 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and you eventually push 4 and they say that you are No. 31 in the queue. It feels like your whole life is on hold. David agrees, but he says if you are lucky, you can have a Per Gessle song playing in the background. He asks if it has ever happened. Mr. G says it never happened. David says: ”You are No. 127. Sommartider, hej hej… Then you get even happier.” Per tells they have such PG songs at Hotel Tylösand, so you can listen to Gå & fiska! for example. A bit awkward. David says it’s perfect, so one can just ring them if they want to listen to some songs.
  4. Tabloid headlines – ANGRY – Per says if he has to choose from these two options he picks ANGRY, because it’s bad journalism in a way. David asks if he bothers to click on them sometimes. Those headlines are for more clicks – e.g. ”Per Gessle – bathing-trunks disappered”. Per says he stopped reading them, because he gets irritated. It’s the decay of mankind. It’s so ridiculous.

The game ends with this and David says Per is rather a charming cuddly guy, he is not so dangerous.

Before the break, the live band plays Gå & fiska!, but with a rewritten text about the break.

After the break, a tough topic is coming. This part you can watch on YouTube. David tells it’s almost a year ago that Marie Fredriksson, Per’s close friend passed away. He asks Per how this past year was for him. Mr. G says it was terrbile what happened, but at the same time, they were prepared for that. Marie was sick for a long time, so it was more of an end in a way. David says they had known each other since more than 30 years. He asks what was that special thing about them. Per says he doesn’t know. He gets this question often. They both came from a small town, they shared the rehearsal studio in the 70’s, they came from the same roots and had this dream together and completed each other perfectly. She was a fantastic artist and singer and a leader in Roxette on stage, while Per was OK at writing songs. So there was a very good balance. He is missing that of course. David asks if they already had those big dreams when everything started and they stood there on the stage. Mr. G says they didn’t dream about what exactly happened, but when they started Roxette they wanted to succeed abroad. But back then they only thought it would be cool to go to the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark. Then it was actually the US where they broke through, so it became a bit bigger than they thought. David asks if there was a monent when they understood that now something happens, something that they couldn’t even dream about. Per says it was when they started talking about the fact that Roxette entered the US radio charts and then it went so fast with The Look. You can’t enter the Billboard Hot 100 if your song is not commercially released, but they were on a lot of radio charts, so they rush-released The Look as a single and sent it out to record shops. Then in 8 weeks they reached No. 1. It happened so fast.

David asks if Per has a best memory. He knows there are many, but he is curious if there is one special memory from those times. Per says there are tons of such memories, but he tells one. When they recorded Dressed For Success, Marie and Per quarreled for some reason. Per complained about Marie’s singing and Marie became so angry with Per that she went in to the studio and sang the song in one single take. From anger. Then he also thinks of the concerts. She was fantastic there. In all those huge football stadiums in the 90’s. A short clip is shown on the screen from Johannesburg. David says it’s incredible, what a career! Per adds: what a blonde hairdo! David asks Mr. G what he is missing the most when he sees this clip. Per says he is missing that part of his life when Roxette became big. All that romance that you have always lived with in pop culture. He lived in that since he was a kid. He misses those stages where there were 60.000 people in front of them. He misses being involved in it. He is still partly in it, but not in the same way. David asks Per if he is the kind of person who can enjoy things when they happen or rather only when he looks back at them. If he could understand it when they stood there in front of thousands of people. Per says he enjoyed the whole circus back then, but they worked a lot. It was tough during those 8 years. They toured, they recorded an album and then again, without a break. It’s a long time, so when you are in it, you don’t really realize what you are doing, but then there is a break and you look back and ask what happened. It was fun back then and it’s also fantastic to look back on it.

David asked Per if he still had his first guitar and Mr. G brought it to the studio. Per’s mother bought it for him in 1976 when Per was 17. David asks Mr. G whether he started playing it then or he took some guitar lessons before. Mr. G says he never went to a guitar school. He learned some piano playing for a week or so, but he learned to play the guitar by himself. David sees that something is hanging on the guitar. Per says it belongs to it. It’s a cat crocheted by his mother. David says how cute is that and it has held up well. A nice memory from Per’s mother. Mr. G says it’s cool that his mother bought the guitar. It’s a Swedish one, a Bjärton. It cost 1500-2000 SEK at the time. It’s a lot of money for a guitar for someone who can’t play it. David laughs but says it paid off. Per says once you give an instrument to someone, it has to be played. It was easy to tune and it has the right string distance as well. David asks Per if he remembers the time he started playing the guitar. Per says he was lucky because after school he was unemployed like anyone else at the time. Then he and another guy got a job as troubadours employed by the city council. They were playing at nursing homes for old people. David asks if they were payed for it. Per says they were. It was a temporary job for 3 months. They played Drömmen om Elin and Svarte Rudolf. It was a good school for him, to play in front of those few poeple. It was then when he started writing songs. He thinks he tested one of them on 108-year-olds at the nursing home. David asks how they reacted. Per says they never really reacted. They laugh and David says: ”Then you decided, I’ll be an artist!”. Haha. Per says the fun thing was that they got a schedule about when to go where. Once the schedule changed and they had to go to the long-term care at the hospital in Halmstad. They had never been there and when they got in, there was no one there. So they just entered a hall, put two chairs in the middle, sat down and started playing. It was quite a big hall with two beds and two patients on the two sides. Suddenly a nurse came in and wondered what they were doing there. They said that they were sent to play there. The nurse said there must be some misunderstanding and she threw them out. Just then, one of the two guys woke up. It was a young guy who had an accident and had been in coma. They played Proud Mary or something and so he woke up from the coma. Then many doctors and nurses rushed in. David jokes and tells: ”And you held up your hand and said it was me playing.” Per says they were sent out so he doesn’t know what happened after. David says he should try it again, to play and wake people up from coma.

David asks if there is any classic song Per wrote on this guitar. Per starts playing and says it was one of the first songs he wrote. It’s När alla vännerna gått hem. He is singing 2 verses and the audience cheers him. David says his mother is not there anymore, but it’s one hell of a luck that she bought this guitar and crocheted that cat.

Here the part with Per ends, but he stays in the studio until the next break. Laleh is the other guest on the show.

All stills are from Hellenius hörna.

Thanks for the technical support, János Tóth!

Caroline Roosmark dedicates her 2021 calendar to Marie Fredriksson

You surely remember that in 2012 Marie appeared in a calendar in Sweden. Photographer Caroline Roosmark publishes a calendar each year including photos she took of women and men of the year, since 2019 only of women. At the end of 2011 she took a picture of Marie and published it in her 2012 calendar. Marie was on its May page.

In 2021 Caroline publishes a calendar of “Fabulous Women” and she dedicates it to Marie Fredriksson. Her words are written next to Marie’s photo:

In memory of Marie Fredriksson

Wonderful are the days when your music is heard so clearly. It’s hard to understand, but the perception comes one morning when the radio plays your song, of course you sing along. It helps a little to ponder like that, listen to the feeling of the song and its tone. Chords you have recently listened to or heard remind you of music and power to which the vibration belonged to then. As in Tro… or Sparvöga… it was your words, your music, tracks that will live forever… It Must Have Been Love, so strange, everything feels so normal and the same again, even though you are not there anymore, you are still here, it was such a wonderful time then, but far too short, too many and too few.

You can order the calendar HERE!

Photo by Caroline Roosmark (2011)

Per Gessle on P4 Extra

Per Gessle was a guest on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio last Friday. Host Erik Blix asked him about his new solo album, Gyllene Tider, Marie Fredriksson, Roxette and his new project.

Erik asks Per what the album title, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig means to him. Mr. G says it means to him more or less what it says. He realized that this album is an old love that’s still there. One can say it’s a pandemic album, because he started recording it while he was isolated in Halmstad. Erik says it’s Per and Paul McCartney (who did the same). Per laughs and says there are more who did the same. Per had the idea to record acoustic songs and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t have any material for that, so he thought he should dig deep into his archives from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. There are a lot of songs he thinks didn’t come out of their shadow before. He says it was exciting.

They play Ömhet here. Erik says Per sings together with Helena Josefsson. Mr. G tells Helena is fantastic and it would have been difficult to record this song without her. She is awesome. Ömhet was written right after Mazarin was recorded in 2002. The text remained the same, but he wrote new music to it for Gyllene Tider’s Dags att tänka på refrängen album, but they never recorded it. Then it was lying in the drawer until now. Erik asks how many songs Per has in the drawer. Per reacts: ”You don’t want to know!” And laughs. He himself doesn’t know it exactly either. There are tons of sketches. Before he starts a new project, he is listening to some of his old stuff to get inspiration. He has been writing songs for such a long time and he felt that slowly but surely his style is changing a bit. Erik asks if it can happen that a sketch matures, that earlier Per thought nah, it’s not good for anything, but now it seems to work. Mr. G says it can happen, for example that the text in a verse has a good idea, but it doesn’t reach the goal or you couldn’t make it in 1986, but maybe now you can get your teeth into it. On GKRA it happened that Per corrected verses he thought were clumsy. And there is also the fact that if you write a song when you are 25 and sing it when you are 61, it gets a different meaning. Erik asks if it was the case with Ömhet. PG says not really, because there the lyric is straightforward, but Tända en sticka till is a good example. It was released on Per’s first solo LP in 1983, he wrote it in 1982, so when he sings it today, there is a sentimental, nostalgic feel to it. It changes the text’s angle.

Per tells he works together with Helena since Mazarin. She came to sing backing vocals on 1 song and ended up singing on 10. He knew he wanted a female voice and they did a little audition at the studio in Skåne. Helena was the first he heard on the audition and he said he doesn’t want to listen to the others. She was the one he wanted.

Erik asks Per why he decided to make this album an acoustic one. Mr. G says he wanted to make it personal and organic and he wanted to play as many instrument as possible himself. There is mainly piano and acoustic guitar. He also tried playing bass and drums, but he realized his limits. Erik adds Paul McCartney plays all instruments himself. Per says he knows it. He is very curious about Paul’s new album. He is amazed that at his age, Paul is so sharp and he is doing this recording in his home studio alone.

Erik asks Per if he rewrote any of the lyrics for the album. Per tells he rewrote certain verses. There are songs in the drawer that have a text Per was not satisfied with, but now he has the capacity to make them relevant.

Mr. G tells now he is making an English album and he’s got a kick doing it. Erik asks when it will be released. Per says when it’s ready. They laugh. Erik says it sounds like a good startegy.

They play Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig) here. It’s a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Erik asks Per when he wrote this song and what it is about. He wrote it for En händig man in 2006. First it was mostly just an observation that sometimes things get so close that they get really blurred and you can’t really take it in. Per tells he didn’t know Uno too well. He called Per in summer and asked if they could meet and have dinner together. Per said sure, just he has to sing on one of his songs first. Then Per quickly changed the key in the song so that it suits Uno’s and Per’s voice. Mr. G thinks Uno is a lovely person and he has a fantastic voice.

Erik tells Per is more acoustic during these recent years and his music is softer. He asks if Per became softer over the years. Mr. G laughs and says he doesn’t know. It’s hard for him to answer this question because he thinks he is the same as he has always been. PG says he is lucky that he has a big tree with a lot of branches: Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo in English and in Swedish, Mono Mind. Many different things. His classic singer songwriter side is reflected in this new album.

Erik asks Mr. G about Gyllene Tider and says he opened the door to a comeback. Per smiles and says: ”That I can never keep quiet…” They did their last tour last year, but who knows. There is nothing planned. He loves the guys in GT and he loves playing with them. When the five of them play together, the outcome is always something very special.

The guys start talking about Roxette. Erik asks Per to describe his friendship with Marie. Per says it’s hard to describe it shortly, but they got to know each other when they were teens, at the end of the 70’s. They shared a rehearsal studio in Sperlingsholm, outside Halmtad. Per was in Gyllene Tider and Marie was in Strul. So they have been friends since then. That friendship became a musical partnership in which they could develop their good sides. The basic idea with Roxette was that Per writes the songs and Marie sings. Marie could sing fantastically and Per could write OK songs. Sometimes it felt like 1 and 1 makes 3. Per says he is incredibly proud of the journey they were on together and feels honoured to have worked together with Marie over so many years. Erik tells Roxette started out as a game with a friend. Per tells they had the ambition and dream to succeed outside Sweden. They loved pop and rock music and they liked the same bands and artists, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles. When they were sitting and chatting in Per’s apartment in Halmstad, they were talking about Germany, Norway, Denmark or Belgium. To succeed in the US and play there and in South America and Roxette being global surpassed their dreams. They had their heydays between 1988 and 1995. Then Marie had her second child and wanted to have a break, so they had a break after the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour. During those 8 years they were together 24 hours a day and worked. Erik adds they travelled around the world, but probably didn’t see anything. Something like that, Per confirms. They were constantly travelling to another city, another country or were locked in their hotel rooms, spent their times at airports.

Erik asks Per how much he misses Marie. Per says it’s difficult to talk about it. It’s almost a year ago that she passed away. There is emptiness. When you lose someone very close or your family member, there is emptiness. It’s difficult to deal with it. Even in Marie’s case when they were kind of prepared, because she was sick for a long time. But still, when it happens, you know that you can’t get prepared for that. Erik asks if Per misses the partnership as well, to work together with someone the way they worked together. Mr. G says of course he misses it, however, the last albums they recorded in a different way than they recorded before Marie’s illness. It wasn’t such an intensive cooperation as during the years before her illness. But there is something special when you are working together with someone or with a band like GT. There are things that only they can share, something only Marie and Per could discuss, Roxette’s success, since it’s them who achieved it with a lot of people’s support around them. There was an enormous tightness between them, so of course he is missing it. He misses calling her and chat and fight and joke around. Erik asks if they did that often. Per says maybe not as often as they should have, but one thinks about it only now. After Marie got ill in 2002, she of course became much more private and he respected it.

Erik asks Per about his musical partnerships, how those work. Per says he is much of a lone wolf, mainly in the creative part of his work. He writes alone and he doesn’t take orders easily if someone wants to tell him how this or that should be. It’s hard for him to write music for someone else. It’s difficult to keep the balance. But then he of course needs other musicians and other singers and other producers who help him on the way.

As an end to the conversation, Erik asks Per to pick a Roxette song to play. Mr. G chooses Let Your Heart Dance With Me that was released recently. A leftover song from their last recordings. He says it’s so nice to hear Marie on it again.

Per Gessle interview on El Universal, Mexico – ”Marie Fredriksson is irreplaceable”

In a recent interview on El Universal, Per says ”Marie Fredriksson is irreplaceable”.

She was a very strong woman, she fought even to the end, she never gave up, she wanted to keep going. She loved being on stage, meeting the fans, sharing her love and affection with them everywhere.

Per tells El Universal:

Our last concert was in 2016 in South Africa, there she could still be on stage; she didn’t want to leave the stage or her fans. Eventually, we got to do more than 300 concerts, because she loved it, even if during the last shows she had to sit. But in the end she always got a lot of energy because she loved her audience, she was a great person.

Mr. G remembers Marie as an amazon. She never gave up and always remained strong. He tells she had bad days and good days. The last recording was made in her home studio, because she couldn’t travel anymore, but she wanted to continue participating in all the processes. She was only 44 years old when she got ill, she was very young.

Per says:

I feel fine, but it was very hard when Marie passed away. I knew her since I was 17, it’s been a long time. Although we knew about her condition, when you lose someone who is very close to you it’s difficult to get prepared. At the end of the day it’s very difficult to get used to the idea that you’re going to lose someone. It brings emptiness and changes you forever. It was very difficult what happened, but life goes on and we must continue to be positive for what comes next.

Roxette’s journey lasted more than three decades and their iconic songs (Listen To Your Heart, It Must Have Been Love, The Look among others) will live forever. Per tells El Universal that when they started in the 80’s, it was almost impossible for artists from Sweden to become internationally recognized and successful. At first they thought they would only get to listeners in countries like Germany, Denmark, Norway, but in the end they were very lucky and ended up being around the world. It was a dream come true for them, something magical, a wonderful journey.

Roxette is a legend, however, Per tells that his wife doesn’t think so (laughs). Mr. G’s wish is that the new generations take the efforts and courage the duo had in all aspects as an example.

Per says on El Universal:

We know that we are a great inspiration for young people and that’s superb. We were nobodies, we came from a small town in Sweden and eventually we had that success. Everything can happen in life, so I hope that people will take us as an inspiration.

Per tells it’s impossible to replace Marie. She was unique, she was the lead singer of all the songs. At the same time, he wrote most of the Roxette songs and he wants to continue touring and playing them, singing them himself or using more singers. But it doesn’t mean that Marie can be replaced, because that is impossible.

Regarding Bag of Trix, Per tells El Universal that there are many different things on it and it also reminded him of many things that he experienced with Roxette and Marie.

Every time I heard her voice it made me remember what a great person she was and how brilliant she was.

Photo of Roxette by Jonas Åkerlund

Per Gessle interview in Aftonbladet – ”Writing songs is my way of existing and taking care of myself”

The interview for Aftonbladet was done by Håkan Steen in October in Live Nation’s office in Stockholm. Håkan tells Per is sipping on coffee which doesn’t seem to be the first one during the day. Per informs him that in the past he was able to do 15 interviews a day, now he is done after three.

Per talks about his new album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig which consists of newly recorded songs from his archive. He says it’s a kind of result of the pandemic. He had started working on an English record when suddenly the song Pappa popped up this spring. This led to another song, Mamma and a double A side single was released on Mother’s Day. Then came the idea of making an entire record while he was staying at home in Halmstad and playing almost all instruments himself.

Per tells Aftonbladet:

I didn’t want to write new music, because I wanted to focus my songwriting on the English record. So I realized that I have a lot of songs that would be great fun to record again.

So he started digging in his archives and found a little Gyllene Tider, some solo songs from the 80’s, some others that he gave away to other artists. Ömhet was also found in the drawer:

It was written a week too late to be included on “Mazarin”. Now that I had recorded it, it first felt a little too commercial, too much pop song for this record. There is always such a song that you hesitate over a bit. But then it’s always the one that gets the most streams in the end.

Per tells Håkan that then he actually wrote two more songs, even though they were very much Gyllene Tider. They are really fast, playful songs. So he thought he would save them for something else.

Regarding Gyllene Tider, Per says he has mixed feelings about their farewell last year. It was Micke Syd’s idea to close this chapter while everyone is still healthy and in good shape and they all agreed to that. But Per thinks it’s a shame too. Because GT is a great band. They have grown up together and have the same love for the same kind of music. Gyllene Tider is a kind of homemade beer in a way, he says.

We’ll see if we live in four, five, six years, what can come out of that.

Besides Per’s new solo album, last week the first of four volumes of Roxette rarities was released on streaming services. Demos, songs in Spanish, odd single tracks and remixes. Bag of Trix is the name of the project, which will also be released physically as a box, just in time for Christmas.

Håkan asks Per if it was difficult to go through the Roxette archives after Marie’s passing. Per says:

It was. There are several professionally recorded Roxette concerts that have never been released and it’s awesome to listen to them. You are struck by what an amazing singer Marie was.

Håkan supposed it was a difficult period for Mr. G last winter when both Marie and his mother-in-law passed away almost at the same time.

It was hard. Marie had been ill for so long, so one had in a way prepared for it to happen sooner or later. But you can never really be prepared. There is enormous emptiness. In the end, Marie and I often talked about the past, the amazing journey we had been on. And it’s really something that only the two of us can share. A lot of moments. Like when we were playing in a giant arena somewhere and looked at each other and I knew we were both thinking “is this really true?”. It’s clear that you miss that. But that’s life.

Håkan asks Per about Around The Corner (The Comfort Song). If songwriting is therapeutical for Per.

Yes, that’s probably what makes you do this. Writing songs is my way of existing, somehow. My way of expressing myself and taking care of myself. “Around The Corner” I didn’t write to Marie, but when it was finished I felt that it must be a song about this situation. And then I added “The Comfort Song” in the title, because it became a kind of consolation song for me.

Håkan realized that Per’s songs became more personal during the past years and he asks if it has to do with what happened around him. Per tells:

Could be. I also think it’s an age thing. It’s not possible to write “Dansar inte lika bra som sjömän” and that kind of lyrics now. At the same time, it’s a very good question, because sometimes I think why should it always be so fucking serious just because you get older? That’s a bit why I want to make this English record now, a kind of uptempo pop record, because no one of my age makes classical pop music anymore.

Per hopes the album can be released next spring.

Mr. G says when they formed Gyllene Tider and then Roxette, he always wanted them to be the biggest and make the best records, the best videos and win win win. But he doesn’t feel like that today. There are other things that trigger his creativity today. Per explains that nowadays he is mainly driven by restlessness and the desire to realize ideas. That’s why first he is jumping in an electronic project with Mono Mind then into Nashville-country.

At the same time, I think it would be incredibly fun to have a new hit. But I don’t know how to make it, because today’s music rarely has anything to do with the music I really like.

Per also comments on 5 photos from the Aftonbladet archives.

  1. Aftonbladet interview with Gyllene Tider 1980: “Look at this, damn, how cool. ‘MP’ has his little mustache, he looks really tough. And there I am, my God. A little spotty (laughs). And then a TV of course, because we had just released ‘Flickorna på TV2’. This was in the very beginning. Later, we tried to learn how to look like in order to have good pictures.”
  2. The “Joyride” hairdo 1991: “This is my lovely ’91 hairdo. A completely obvious hairstyle at the time. Damn, how young I was. And a little dumpy too. In fact, I have never seen this picture before.”
  3. Recording of the video for “June afternoon” 1995: “Jonas Åkerlund made that video, wonderful. Marie had a little wig party. The song was actually written for the album ‘The World According to Gessle’, but when we released our first compilation with Roxette, it ended up there. We did the ‘Återtåget’ tour with Gyllene Tider then too, so it’s actually Gyllene Tider playing on that song.”
  4. Per and Marie on the Great Wall of China 1995: “It was great to play in China. And very strange. We calculated that it was 17 meters to the front row of the audience. As soon as someone stood up in the crowd during the concert, the room was lit. You did not get that. When we played “It Must Have Been Love” the whole arena lined up. The guards could do nothing. In addition, banners appeared with the text “one world, one unity”. Afterwards we went out to the dressing room and all cried.”
  5. Press photo for the album “Mazarin” 2003: “An Anton Corbijn picture taken down in Italy. I met Anton when he was going to make the video for ‘Stars’ with Roxette in 1999 and we still have contact. When we were in Nashville recording my country records, he called, ‘I’m in New Orleans shooting Arcade Fire, shall I come by and take the next album cover?’ (laughs) He is a fantastic photographer who manages to do a lot with simple means. He has been here and took photos of my family several times as well.”

Check out the 5 photos in the original article HERE!