Per Gessle on TV4 – Hellenius hörna

Last weekend was busy on Swedish TV for all Gessle fans. On 26th November Per appeared on TV4’s show, Hellenius hörna. The recordings took place on October 4, so almost 2 months ago. During the past few days we could see some teaser videos to the program and they promised a fun show. Unfortunately, it can only be watched online in Sweden.

The program starts with showing Per taking care of the other guest’s, Carina Berg’s hair when David Hellenius, the host of the show enters the dressing room and says Carina should already be in the make-up room. Per says he has full control, he took care of Carina to look modern and nice. Oh well, she got a very similar hairdo to that of Mr. G’s. Ta-da! David says it’s Per-fect! Funny enough that Per DOES look like a fab hairdresser. Haha.

Carina is the first guest, so she gets interviewed by David. Per, Sweden’s biggest pop star is welcomed by David as the second guest. David asks Per if he has any thoughts on what he heard from the show so far. Per says Carina likes talking a lot. David asks Per if he got a bit nervous now. Per says actually a bit.

David asks Per if he has any relation to Carina, if he saw any of her shows. Per says, actually he hasn’t. Everyone laughs. David says Carina moved into the house of many (because of her TV show, Berg flyttar in), but not into Per’s house. Carina says Per is a little secret. David asks Per what he is hiding, what he doesn’t want to show. Per says he is hiding kind of everything. Carina says rumor has it Per lives like a Russian oligarch, building something huge, 7 meters high, art all around the house, big balconies. David tells Carina she is lovely, but totally crazy.

 

David says they were talking about bravery and asks Per if he likes to expose himself to scary stuff. Per jokes and says well, he is married. Everyone laughs. David asks Per what the bravest thing is he has ever done. Mr. G tells that once when he had his birthday, Åsa’s gift for him was to ride a horse. It didn’t go too well, because the horse trotted out of the ring and stood in its stall with Per on its back. Bored. Per was terrified.

They talk about Per’s amazing career, a career one can only dream about. They look back on those almost 40 years by the help of old pictures and short footage from TV shows, interviews and concerts. David asks Per what he thinks about it all. Per says it makes him start thinking he is getting old. Nah, he is kidding and says he is of course super proud. A part of what they saw feels like it happened ages ago. It has been a fantastic journey and he is very fortunate.

David asks Per if he can enjoy it when he is standing on stage in front of 50000 people, if one can take it in at that very moment. Per says one can actually enjoy it. He tells that it happened to Marie and him that during Roxette times they looked at each other and they knew they were thinking about the same thing: ”Is that really happening?” One can be in Lima, Taipei or Sydney, this is what is so awesome with music, the power of music. They come from a small country and play songs that work everywhere, regardless of religions, cultures or skin color. Everyone knows their songs. It’s absolutely fantastic.

David asks Per if being Per Gessle is a normal thing for him, being such a great artist. If he can walk on the street and think, ”Shit, I’m Per Gessle”, if he ever forgets it. Per says it has never happened.

David mentions that Per has written almost 1000 songs and asks Per which he thinks is the best or which is the one he is the most proud of. Per says he doesn’t know. He has a lot of good songs and half good songs. David forces Mr. G to choose one. Per thinks ”The Look” is good. David asks if there is a hit song Per doesn’t like, when everyone is jumping and he thinks ”it’s useless, stop singing along”. Per says he is bad at choosing singles. Those songs that are liked by the wider mass he had often rejected earlier. He wanted to leave Här kommer alla känslorna off Mazarin. He had a big song with Roxette, Wish I Could Fly. He wanted to leave it off as well. David says Per is good at writing songs, but his judgement is so-so, he asks if Per lets others to choose then. Mr. G says there are a few people, a little team he is listening to, who he counts on.

David asks Carina if she has any favourite song. Carina chooses It Must Have Been Love. David asks Carina to sing it while Per is playing the guitar. Carina says she learnt the song when she couldn’t speak English, so she says she hopes her English is the right text. Per says all good, he wrote the song when he couldn’t speak English. Then the 3 of them, Carina, Per and David perform IMHBL.

 

David mentions that in the beginning of last year Roxette did their last concert and asks Per if he really thinks it was the last Roxette concert ever. Per says he thinks so, it’s history now (the last concert, not Roxette – PP). David asks what Marie means to Per. Mr. G says they met at the end of the ’70s. They shared a rehearsal room and socialized a lot. So they kind of grew up together and had this fantastic journey together. They are like siblings. They have had awesome years, more than 30 years in their career. He says Marie is an awesome girl. David asks if there is a personal memory that only Per and Marie have. Mr. G says in 2009 it had been 7 years since Roxette wasn’t on stage. Then he did a solo tour in Europe and Marie went to his show with her husband in Amsterdam. Before the show Per asked Marie if she wanted to sing a song with him. Marie said she didn’t, but Per saw in her eyes that deep inside she wanted to, just didn’t dare. Then they rehearsed It Must Have Been Love and then Marie said, ”OK let’s do this one, just the two of us”. So for the first encore she came up on stage and the crowd was dead. Per says he had never seen so many people crying. It was incredible. They performed It Must Have Been Love and the venue exploded.

David says Per broke through with Gyllene Tider earlier and asks if Per has ever had a plain job. He was an elementary school teacher for some months, he was very good at that. David asks what his strength was, to comfort the kids or the time table. Per says his strength was that the kids could do whatever they wanted to. David asks Per: 9×9? Per is fast with the answer, 81. Mr. G says he had to finish that job because of GT’s breakthrough. There were no more lessons, just signing autographs.

Regarding other jobs, Per tells he and one of his friends worked as troubadours and played for example ”Svarte Rudolf” at nursing homes for old people. It was really awesome. David asks if Per also worked at the check-out. Mr. G says he never sit in the check-out, but he worked at ICA, packing at the check-out and collecting milk. David asks when was it. Per jokes it was in 2016.

David asks Per if he has always dreamt of becoming a pop star. Mr. G says when he was a child, he always gathered his friends and they used cue sticks and mimed to songs of The Monkees or The Beatles. He was standing in the front and was miming the most.

David asks Per if he was good at school. Per tells school was pretty easy for him, but he got tired fast. It was hard, because his family moved a lot, like each third year and so he always ended up in a new school, a new class with new mates. He never enjoyed school.  They moved because of different reasons. His father had asthma so once he needed sea air then forest air, then he had to live under water (he jokes). Talking about his father, David asks Per about what kind of father he himself is. Per says he is a fantastic dad. Of course. David asks Mr. G what Gabriel thinks about Per Gessle being his father. Per thinks that Gabriel thinks it’s OK, but he has never asked. David says he can’t imagine Per baking buns and selling them in the bazaar. He asks if Per has ever been a class parent. He hasn’t. A lot of that responsibility was on his wife. She is fantastic. David asks if Åsa has ever got angry and asked him to bake something. Per says no, she is happy that she doesn’t have to taste what Per bakes.

David asks Per if Gabriel likes his music. Mr. G says he didn’t dare to ask that either, but when they were on the Room Service tour in 2001 and played in hockey arenas, they always had a room full of games for the kids. Then Gabriel always wanted to come out for the 8th song. It was Real Sugar. He was totally uninterested in the rest. Gabriel is 20 now and still lives at home. David asks if he has to pay a rental fee. Per says it’s a good idea. David asks Per if he thinks it’s important that Gabriel goes to school, thinking of how Per’s relations to school were. Per says he tried to convince Gabriel to skip school and hang out with him in the studio, but he didn’t want to. He doesn’t want to be a pop star.

David tells he checked Per’s Instagram and he realized that it follows a pattern. Per sitting in different cars. Per says he was searching for those shoes he is wearing on one of the pics. David says it’s funny, the car costs 10 million and he is searching for a pair of shoes that cost 300. David tried to find out how many cars PG has and he found an interview where Per said he doesn’t know, 11-12 or so. Per still has the same answer. David asks how many car a pop star has to have. Per says 11-12 maybe. Haha. David asks if Gabriel can borrow the cars. Per says he can use whichever car he wants, but he didn’t drive any of them yet. David realizes Gabriel lives his own life. Per says he has his own scary old BMW. David asks about the customized registration numbers. Per says all his cars have it customized. They show the LALALA and David thinks it’s from a song, but Per explains it’s a LaFerrari, so he thought it’s fun. David says it’s car humor then.

In the last part of the show David asks Mr. G how much he cares about how he looks on stage. Per says he is doing his best, but on stage he has quite limited possibilities, because he is sweating as he is moving a lot on stage. So he can’t have lots of clothes on. It’s always a shirt, trousers and sneakers. David asks if Per is vain. Per says his wife says so. David asks if Per gets angry when he hears that from Åsa and tells her ”leave me alone, I don’t care at all”. Per says she thinks he is in the way in front of the mirror. David asks if Åsa is right. Per says she is.

David asks Per about hairdos and mentions he heard that Per cut the hair of Barbie dolls in the past. Per says he had a little doll collection when he grew up and he styled their hair. If the hairdo wasn’t good, he just cut the hair off. David hopes Per doesn’t do the same with his wife’s hair. Mr. G confirms he doesn’t. Both Carina and Per changed their hairstyles a lot of times in the past and here comes a test. David shows pictures from different eras and they have to find out which year it is. A picture of Per is shown from 1993, another from 1987, a third from 1991. Per can guess the years right and he wins the contest.

   

The show ends with Per and John Holm performing Det är vi tillsammans together with the band (Malin-My Wall, Christoffer Lundquist, Ola Gustafsson, Martin Höper) and a children choir. Yet another beautiful live performance of the song, which is sadly cut before it ends, in the middle of the children choir part.

 

Thanx for the technical help, János Tóth!

Per Gessle on SVT – Go’kväll

As you all know, Per Gessle appeared on SVT’s evening show, Go’kväll on 25th November. The recordings took place in the TV studio in snowy Umeå 2 days before. Even if the TV broadcast was at 18:15 CET, SVT Play made the whole program available on the web very early in the morning. Watch the whole show HERE!

The show starts with host Pekka Heino and Per Gessle standing in the front, the band sitting on the couch in the back. Pekka is having a discussion with Per saying he doesn’t know what he’ll become when he grows up. Per says it’s actually the same with him. So they’ll see if they come up with something during the show.

Besides Per, there is a chef, Gustaf Mabrouk in the studio to prepare some dessert and stylist Hedvig Andér. Pekka starts talking about fashion with Hedvig and apropos talking about fashion icons, he turns to Per. Before they are talking about clothes, Pekka mentions Per has released 2 albums, one in spring, one in autumn. Both recorded in Nashville last year. He also mentions that Per went on tour this summer, for the first time with songs from his entire career and he is going to release a live album and a photo book as well. Pekka says he is old-fashioned and still buys records at record stores. Per is joking and asks where he can find a record store. Pekka says there is at least one in Stockholm.

Getting back to fashion, Pekka says they found a recording from Jacob Dahlin era, from Jacobs stege show on TV. Per says “Help! Fasten your seatbelts!” Roxette’s Soul Deep performance is shown from 1986, Marie and Per wearing their stylish shoulder padded clothes. Then Pekka shows a picture of a young Per Gessle from the ‘70s, Per says it was 1977 when he was 18. He recognizes the nice white buttons and mentions wearing socks with moccasins is not so good. But it was cold in Halmstad. Haha. Then a 1981 Gyllene Tider pic is shown. Per was wearing a white belt to a pair of black leather pants. Back then it was cool, but not anymore. And it was the era of narrow ties. Pekka asks Per how many hair colors he has had over the years. Per replies now it’s mostly grey, but he had all possible hairdos. Blue-black hair, then blonde, purple and red like wine. Then carrot red during his David Bowie era. Pekka shows a picture of Roxette from 1989, from the breakthrough era. Marie and Per were styled and photographed in New York for this pic and had their clothes from Trash and Vaudeville that sold fantastic clothes on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan. The stylist confirms that the clothes are really cool and fit the era. The last pic shown is a private photo of Per and Åsa. Per says it’s from the ’80s, this is how they looked when they were young. Pekka asks whose hairdo took longer time to be done. Per says it was his. The stylist says Per’s jeans on the pic look quite modern for that time. Patched jeans. Pekka asks Hedvig about what is still to be found in today’s fashion in any form if they look at these pictures from the ’70s and ’80s. Leather jacket, as well as patched or torn jeans are still trendy. Maybe the striped tights aren’t, but everything comes back into fashion. Maybe not in the same combination, but everything comes back. Then Pekka and Per take out 2 pairs of boots. Per says they bought them in 1989 for photo sessions, TV shows and stage use. One can see on their sole they are hardly used. Per tells they had 1800 interviews in 8 months back then and 400-500 photo sessions at the same time. So they had tons of clothes. Especially Marie has a fantastic collection of leather jackets, one can see photos of them in her autobiography book.

 

Pekka walks back to Gustaf to see what he is doing in the kitchen. Per follows him. Gustaf is preparing lemon fromage. Gustaf asks Per to taste the yuzu cream he prepared. Per reacts, woohoo, there is minus sugar in it. He says it’s very good. Per looks happy when he sees Gustaf adds white chocolate to the dessert. Pekka is kidding Per, saying Per tries to memorize the recipe. Haha. He asks Mr. G how he is in the kitchen. Per says he is pretty bad, but his wife is very  good, so he rather lays the table, opens the wine and washes up the dishes. (Look at the band’s reaction when Per says washing up, LOL! 😉 ) Mr. G says he wishes he could cook. He says he is good at preparing mincemeat sauce though. Pekka and Per laugh when they see Gustaf as a man can do multi-tasking, 2 things at the same time. Before leaving Gustaf, Pekka says hi to the band and tells Per and Co will perform a song with a children choir. Then he leaves Per and there is a short discussion with Hedvig, without Per.

After some minutes, Pekka greets Per again. Now they are sitting on the couch and the real interview starts. At this point you realize that torn jeans are really trendy these days… Haha. Pekka talks about the fact that actually in Swedish media he was the first one who came out with the news of Roxette having a No. 1 in the US, The Look. It was in Frukostbrickan on P3 Swedish Radio. Pekka asks Per if he remembers how the news about No. 1 got to him back then. Per says he was in Halmstad, Marie was in Stockholm. They knew that they had the chance to become No. 1, but they were in separate places not to become disappointed together if they don’t become No. 1 in the end. But they became No. 1 and it was silly to be in 2 separate cities.

Pekka then remembers a story he read back in the ’80s. ABBA-Frida released her first solo album in English in 1982. Per wrote music to a Dorothy Parker poem that Frida read a lot of times. What Pekka read is that when the album came out, Per asked his financial adviser ”Am I a millionaire now?” Per laughs and says it’s not true. Not everything is true what one can read.

Pekka says ABBA members were around 30 when they broke through and that was the case with Roxette, too. Per says both Marie and him had approximately 10 years of experience in Sweden before they broke through with Roxette. Pekka asks how they handled succes after that. Per says they could make decisions differently. When they became big in the US, their record label wanted them to move to the US, but they wanted to stay in Stockholm and work with their band and they could decide for themselves.

Pekka asks if there is a difference between luxury back then and luxury now. Per says he doesn’t know. The more you get older, the more you value other things. Time, for example. When you are 25-30, you don’t think about time. Then you waste it, with all rights. But when you get older and lose your friends, parents and siblings, time becomes valuable. At this point they start talking about ”En vacker natt” and ”En vacker dag”. Per tells he recorded the albums in Nashville and EVN has his sister on the cover, while EVD has his mother on it. He tells he lost his mother, sister and brother in 3 years so he is the only one who is left in the family. It was tough. He handled it via working further. This is how it works for him. He uses his experiences and feelings in his work.

Pekka and Per talk about the fact that long relationships are important for Mr. G both in his private and professional life. Per says he is together with his wife since more than 30 years, he works together with the same guys in Gyllene Tider since 1979, his manager since 1986, the same booking company and Marie and producers and almost the same record label.

Pekka talks about the 2 Polish guys, Jakub and Dawid who made a video to Roxette’s song, ”Some Other Summer” and Per surprised them at the QX Gala in Stockholm earlier this year. Per says Roxette has the best fans in the world. They are very creative, active and have always been supporting them, especially when Marie was ill in 2002. Per says the surprise at the gala was cool. The guys got a lot of shit in Poland and it was lovely that they came to Stockholm. They are wonderful people.

They move on to the songwriting topic. Pekka asks Mr. G if he decides in advance whether the song he is writing is for Gyllene Tider or Roxette or for his solo career. Or if it is the song that comes first and then he decides where to use it. Per says both can happen. One deals with several projects and writes for a certain project, but it can happen that a song is too heavy for Gyllene Tider for example, then he can put it in his solo box and take it out 3 years later. Pekka says there are songs that have Swedish lyrics and also English lyrics. He asks Per whether it goes smoothly or it’s challenging for him. Per says he translated his Nashville albums to English and it was actually quite hard to do, because the texts are very private and personal. To find the feeling in English was very hard, so half of the texts is written by a Nashville girl. The album is to be released in spring 2018.

Pekka says he is quite convinced that one day there will be a jukebox musical, the question is only whether it will be based on Gyllene Tider, Roxette or Per’s solo songs or all together. Per says each can have an own musical, why to choose.

Pekka mentions that Per has described his career as a tree. Per confirms, he has many branches on his tree and he tries to exploit it, not to tire out his audience. Working internationally provides a much bigger market. It’s harder to work only in Sweden, you can make people feel ”not him again”. Per says he is very fortunate to have all these branches.

Pekka asks Per about what he thinks about songs all people want to hear at the shows. Mr. G says when he works in English, the audience is international. They don’t know Sommartider or Gå & fiska! or Leva livet or Här kommer alla känslorna. But Gyllene Tider never rehearse Sommartider for example. They would laugh, but when there are 10000 people in front of them, then it’s wonderful to have these songs. Every artist loves their own hits, those are the spine of their activity.

Pekka asks Per if he thinks about what comes next when he creates playlists. It happens, but Per has a long playlist that suits most. It’s an easy listening how he calls it. Sounds a bit like guilty pleasure. There is everything possible from old jazz to James Taylor.

The interview ends here and the guys go back to the kitchen to see what Gustaf is doing. Per enjoys seeing the final steps of preparing the dessert and says it looks fantastic. He also touches and smells the lemon verbena plant that’s right in front of him. Gustaf asks Per if he is a dessert guy. Per says, unfortunately, he is. He says he loves Italian kitchen and so he loves Tiramisu. The guys talk about TV series and Per says he likes it when the whole season is available and can watch it at once. One can get hooked to some series.

Before they can all taste the dessert, Pekka leaves the guys and goes back to Hedvig. After the discussion, they all gather to try Gustaf’s treat. Per is joking and says he has crumbs all over his mouth already – trying before others. They all like it and say they will save Per’s portion, but Mr. G has to leave for the stage, because the band is already waiting and they perform ”Det är vi tillsammans”. John Holm isn’t there this time, Helena Josefsson is singing the parts John sings on the album. What an incredibly amazing performance it is! You can also watch it separately HERE!

The band: Helena Josefsson, Malin-My Wall, Christoffer Lundquist, Ola Gustafsson, Martin Höper; children choir: Vasakyrkan Amigos.