21 questions to Per Gessle in Aftonbladet Söndag

There is a 2-page Per Gessle article in Aftonbladet Söndag’s 2nd September 2018 issue. Nina Jakobson asked Mr. G 21 interesting questions and he answered them in his entertaining, Gessleish way. Here it is in English.

1. Two albums last year and one this year. How many songs do you actually have in you?
– I’ve had a good flow for many years. As long as it feels important and is fun, I’m rolling on. I’m still very curious musically. That’s enough for quite a long time.

2. Which song are you most proud of?
– In a way I’m proud of all finished songs I have written. Otherwise I wouldn’t have finished writing them. Most end up in the trash bin. The other day a song from En händig man, TomTom popped up. It’s a good one. Min plats from En vacker natt tunred out to be as I had hoped. Tycker om när du tar på mig is nice. What’s she like? from Roxette is special. Hjärta utan hem from Gyllene Tider makes me happy. Gyllene Tider is a fantastic little band.

3. And is there any song you’re a little less satisfied with?
– Some songs have definitely not improved over the years. But when they were written and recorded, they felt like future classics!

4. What is the leitmotif in your music?
– Melodies. Always strong melodies.

5. What is the difference between singing in English and Swedish?
– There are two completely different expressions. English is easier to sing. It sounds better. There is even greater difference in writing in English than in Swedish. In your native language, you can express yourself “heavier” and more precisely.

6. You are the idol of many, but who is yours?
– My wife! I have no real idol anymore. When I was young, I had quite many: John Lennon, Elizabeth Taylor, Ronnie Peterson, the Monty Python gang, Uncle Melker in Saltkråkan.

7. How was singing with Nick Lowe?
– Incredible. He came to Stockholm and I had the honor to spend a few days with him. Besides working in the studio, we played music, drank wine and talked about dirty tour memories.

8. What would you have done if you were not a musician?
– I wanted to be an architect when I was little. But then I heard Get It On from T. Rex.

9. When is it the hardest to be you?
– I’ve been lucky enough to work with what I love, that is, songwriting and music. So it’s not that difficult to be me compared to many others. Possibly, when I put too high demands on myself and my environment. I do it sometimes. It’s tricky to break that pattern.

10. If I were to move in with you, what’s the first thing that would bother me?
– That everything is in order and is very organized. It doesn’t fit everyone. Some get stressed by it.

11. What is your most unknown talent?
– I like cleaning.

12. Who would play the main role in the movie about your life?
– Micke Syd.

13. Who would sing the soundtrack?
– Marie Fredriksson and Helena Josefsson. They are the best I have worked with. I love when girls sing my songs. There is some sort of feminine fragility in many of my songs that comes out so well then.

14. What do you do when you are not making music?
– Watching movies, reading car magazines and thinking.

15. Why do you have so many cars?
– It would have been a shame if they were left unsold.

16. What do you do when nobody sees you?
– I’m always visible. It feels so.

17. Do you get starstruck? When?
– Earlier more than now. When I met David Bowie, I barely dared to speak. But it was in 1983. I have since then noticed that all performers, artists, actors and sportsmen/women I like, strangely enough, are very ordinary people. They work hard and determined and have talent, luck and timing. Most of them are very open and nice.

18. What’s your favorite swearword?
– Fuck.

19. When did you use it last?
– Recently when I realized that the squirrels chewed up our cushions and towels out in the garden. Squirrels are sweet but my Chip and Dale quota has been filled for a long time.

20. What gives you goosebumps?
– Music. Sometimes I can end up in some sort of music coma and bury myself in Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell for hours. Goosebumps are lovely.

21. What would you do if you were God for a day?
– Clean up a little.

 

Mono Mind live Q&A on Instagram

Mono Mind decided to do a ”live” Q&A on Instagram and announced it 2 days before the happening. It wasn’t a real instalive thing though, but you could type in your Qs in the Mono Mind instastory and they picked the ones they wanted to answer. In written form. So no live video with MM characters or real life members and distorted or non-distorted voices. It was much fun anyway. Mainly after Mr. G posted THIS pic on Instagram, right at the time the whole thing went ”live” at 19:00 CET. So you could be sure it was Per himself answering the questions. Not that from the style of the answers and the wording you wouldn’t know. 😉 Cool thing!

Here is the complete Q&A:

Q: – Do you plan any live promotion?
A: – YES, that would be lovely, wouldn’t it? Cooky cookin’ on stage and the other lads beefin’ things up!

Q: – When will other band members join Helena in the videos?
A: – Well, it isn’t really Helena in the video, it’s Cooky! They look similar don’t they?

Q: – How did you choose your pseudonyms? What do they mean?
A: – They don’t really mean anything! They are just great names. Don’t you like them?!

Q: – How did it feel that SMAP reached No. 1 on different charts just for the music itself, no one knowing who behind the band are?
A: – Isn’t it lovely that music can have a life on its own? Mono Mind believes that a great song is always gonna stay a great song!

Q: – If Madonna’s 60th b’day is a song, what would it be?
A: – Oh, we love Madonna! We can’t really believe she’s turned 60! A song? We’ll send out LaLaLove any day!

Q: – How important do you think lyrics are in EDM songs?
A: – Our idea is that a good lyrical really makes the song better in any genre. It’s as simple as that!

Q: – Any plans on releasing a full album?
A: – Yes! We have an album in the can. Hopefully, it can be out before we get the chance to change our minds! We do that all the time…

Q: – Do you plan to shoot more videos?
A: – Yes, hopefully we’ll do a videoclip for every single we release. Sometimes we’re gonna use humans, sometimes it’s cartoons. They look lovely, don’t you think!

Q: – How do you look for the DJs who are making your remixes?
A: – Well, we try to use our network and also listen a lot to what’s happening on the remix scene. There is so much talent out there it makes you dizzy!

Q: – Why ”Mono Mind”?
A: – Well, the project started out as ”one man’s vision” but then expanded into something else. But we kept the name!

Q: – Who writes the songs? Dr Robot maybe?
A: – There are quite a few people who have been involved in MM so far. That’s the whole idea. The Doctor is like parmigiano on the pasta!

Q: – I love your group! Will you be touring?
A: – Well, nothing is planned yet but we would love to tour. We think the world needs Mono Mind more than Mono Mind needs the world. Or is it the other way around?! We need to release more songs first, though. But, short answer: Si, Si!

Q: – Any physical releases?
A: – That’s a very good question! We’re talking about it. Mono Mind is definitely a vinyl group. Si si!

Q: – How did this project come to life? Tell us how you decided to start MM, please?
A: – It’s a very looonnngggg story. We will reveal everything in the Mono Mind book 🙂 or in the Mono Mind musical 🙂 or on Netflix 🙂

Q: – ABBA or Roxette?
A: – HAHAHA. Dr. Robot fell to floor and grabbed after his Voulez-vous T-shirt!

Q: – Your laboratory is in Sweden, but you started spreading your music in the US. Why did you start from there?
A: – It’s the land of opportunities, dear you!

Mono Mind finished the Q&A at appr. 20:10 CET with this bye-bye note: ”That’s all folks! Thank you for all your questions! Until next time, loves!”

Follow Mono Mind on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, check their videos on YouTube and most importantly, listen to them on the usual digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, etc.) and sing along. Enjoy!

Mono Mind shows a real face

The first – and so far the last – time I myself wrote or posted about Mono Mind was almost a year ago. I remember when I saw the lyric video to Save Me A Place (Bridge & Mountain Remix) on SiriusXM’s YouTube channel in September 2017 and couldn’t believe my eyes it was already uploaded a month before. Then I started searching for more info and was amazed by finding out that this song had something to do with David Guetta (at least according to BMI). We’d been wondering since 2014 what kind of project it could have been, what Per worked on with Guetta. Then some more research and found out Mono Mind had existed even longer, since 2016 when they released a song called Sugar Rush, however, it was withdrawn later and Save Me A Place became the gang’s debut single.

I couldn’t imagine how come we (Gessle fans) didn’t know anything about this project until September 2017. Then I remembered some kind of interview in which Per said it’s not important for him anymore to let us hear what he records. He is doing it for fun. That’s something hard to accept for a fan. Not the fun part, but that you might not get to hear ”everything” what your idol records.

Then there were these Mono Mind characters. No real names mentioned, just fantasy names for each of them (we all know PG loves aliases), and how they looked as Per on some of the Party Crasher booklet pics or as the characters on The Per Gessle Selection’s champagne labels.

A playlist including some of Mono Mind’s favorite tunes and musical inspirations across the decades provided one more clue who could be behind MM.

Besides these, there was the voice of Per (that you can recognize no matter how distorted it is) and Helena Josefsson singing, so all the obvious clues who Mono Mind are. Still… I felt kind of guilty writing about them, revealing the connection to PG & Co. Even Billboard kept the whole Mono Mind project a mystery. When the gang entered the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts at No. 39, Billboard still wrote it was a mysterious act. Then bang, in October Save Me A Place (Bridge & Mountain Remix) became the No. 1 dance song on the US radio charts and the No. 1 electronic song on iTunes and Amazon in the US. On the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts SMAP climbed up to No. 2! History repeated itself. Reaching such success in the US without using Per’s fame, just by the music itself. I can imagine it was a fantastic feeling for Mr. G.

And I think then I understood the whole mystery act thing. To get to see how far they can get without revealing who is behind. A bit like Daft Punk (however, it’s a different story) don’t really show their faces and wanted to succeed with their music instead of making too much fuss about who they are. Or The Fireman, the experimental music duo of Paul McCartney and Youth. Even if the band members’ names had been known to the public since soon after their first album release, they remained officially anonymous for 15 years, until their 3rd album release. Blame it on the 21st century and social media, these days it’s even harder to keep such secrets and mysteries.

Fortunately, with every Mono Mind release there are more and more details revealed. Some on purpose, some ”by accident”(?) – a collaborator posts about a common project with his childhood idol here, a digital platform shares Per’s name as the songwriter there. By the latest reveal, namely Helena appearing in the LaLaLove official video shared on several MTV websites I start feeling relieved. That sooner or later all members in Mono Mind show their real faces. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. G, pardon me, Dr Robot in the videos as well.

As per PG, there is nothing left to prove for him, but he proves to be an Artist who can constantly renew and challenge himself, while still keeping his trademark in songwriting. I admire him for being able to do so. He is so incredibly talented!

I can’t say I’m a fan of remixes or better said, I don’t find it interesting enough for me to hear a song in different types of remixes, because I’m mostly interested in the original artist’s thoughts on the arrangement and less in what other musicians think what they could do with a song. There are of course cool remixes. If I have to mention one related to Roxette, then it’s definitely Bassflow. At the same time, I must admit some remixes in general sound better than the original song.

From the 3 Mono Mind releases so far I have 1-1 favourite version. Save Me A Place was released in 5 remix versions and the Bridge & Mountain Remix is the one I consider being the ”original” and that’s what I like the most. I would love to hear an original original of this one though. I Found My Soul At Marvingate sounds the best to me in the Sofa Tunes Remix version, better than the original (being too slow). LaLaLove sounds better in its original version than in the Hugel Remix.

A dream would be to hear the demos one day, without any distorted PG voice. However, I must say Per’s voice sounds attractive to me in any version. 😉

What do we know so far?

So, what we know about Mono Mind so far is that ”is meant to be a musical laboratory where everything is possible. Mono Mind’s home turf is Sweden but the collaborators are plentiful and can be from anywhere. Mixing the inspiration from the current music scene with an insatiable appetite for vintage pop, electronica and ambient music Mono Mind strives for electrifying beauty and something quite different. The journey begins here.”

Members: Dr Robot (Per Gessle), Cooky Carter (Helena Josefsson), Rain Davis (Clarence Öfwerman) and Bright Jones (Christoffer Lundquist).

They started introducing the band members in short videos on their Facebook page, but stopped after 3 Rain Davis, 2 Cooky Carter and 1 Dr Robot videos. Where is a video with Bright Jones?

There was an Ask Anything Chat with the guys and girl last October. It contained more fun & fantasy than reality: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. Very creative with tiny references only hardcore fans can connect to the real people behind.

Songs released so far (credit info from Mono Mind’s website):

  1. Save Me A Place Words by Mono Mind; Music by Mono Mind / Jack Hisbach / Giorgio Tuinfort / Michael Einziger (however, BMI also mentions David Guetta among the composers, so could Jack Hisbach be an alias of DG?)
  2. I Found My Soul At Marvingate Words & Music by Mono Mind
  3. LaLaLove Words by Mono Mind; Music by Mono Mind / Alex Shield

   

NRJ DJ Awards 2018 – Vote!

Why I also decided to write about Mono Mind now is that there is a voting taking place in France. MM is nominated at the French NRJ DJ Awards 2018 in the following two categories – ”Group Of The Year” and ”Club Hit Of The Year” (Save Me A Place – Hugel Remix). They are now in the same league as David Guetta or Tiesto or Armin Van Buuren. It’s already very cool, but imagine if they won! You can all vote until August 26, but the results will be announced at a ceremony only on November 7. Click HERE to vote for the ”Group Of The Year” and HERE to vote for the ”Club Hit Of The Year”. Don’t get scared by the French website. Once you are on the voting site, click Mono Mind. A sign in window will pop up. You can sign in with your Facebook account (that would be the easiest to get through). If you’re signed in for the first time, you will have to validate your e-mail address and click the confirmation link in the e-mail you get. Then you’ll have to go back to the voting site (click the links I mentioned above) and click on Mono Mind again. To be sure that you have really voted, you can see a tick at the category you’ve already voted for. Until you can’t see the tick next to the category, your vote doesn’t count.

Follow Mono Mind!

Some Roxette fans who are not much into jazz or country can identify with Mono Mind’s music more than with any other PG or MF solo project these days and that is also why I think their tunes have to reach more people worldwide.

Follow Mono Mind on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, check their videos on YouTube and most importantly, listen to them on the usual digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, etc.) and sing along. Enjoy!

 

Per Gessle’s Top9 songs from the 90’s

This program is from more than a year ago, but last summer there was a heavy Per Gessle solo tour, so I didn’t have the time to sit down and summarize Gessles nio i topp in English. Now I feel like I need to practice my Swedish, so why not listening to these enthusiastic PG podcasts again. Maybe you get into the mood too. 😉

Per and Sven Lindström talk about the 9 best songs from the 90’s in THIS podcast. The guys say there could have been thousands of songs chosen for this program and it was really hard to pick 9 real good hits that remained in the heart and brain. Per says it was the decade when Roxette had its greatest success, so he was also involved and actually listened to other bands’ music differently vs. how he listened to music e.g. in the 80’s or 70’s and 60’s.

Per’s Top9 songs from the 90’s:

9. The La’s – There She Goes
8. Matthew Sweet – Sick of Myself
7. Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
6. The Dandy Warhols – Every Day Should Be A Holiday
5. Guy Clark – Dublin Blues
4. Oasis – Supersonic
3. Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
1. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

Per’s first choice is The La’s There She Goes, a song that was released in 1988, but it flopped, then it was released again in 1989 and it flopped again. Then it was remixed by Steve Lillywhite (U2’s producer) and re-released in 1990. Per thinks it’s an awesome song, survived all the trends and is still cool.

Per looks at his list and says there are several one hit wonders on it. Matthew Sweet is his next choice and Sven says besides the song chosen by PG, Sick of Myself, Matthew Sweet had at least one other hit. Per then laughs and says he means one hit wonders in HIS world. Sick of Myself from 1995 is a fantastic song, it’s kind of a bubblegum pop song. It’s from the album, 100% Fun, and that’s exactly what it is: 100% fun. Pure power pop, which fitted the 90’s so much.

Natalie Imbruglia (it’s worth listening to PG how he tries to pronounce her name, haha) is No. 7 with Torn, released in 1997. Per thinks this song has that magical power good pop music has to have. Mr. G says 1997 was the year when The World According to Gessle came out, while he and Marie were taking a break from Roxette. Sven says in the 90’s Per worked with Roxette, Gyllene Tider and solo as well and real power pop songs were born then, like June Afternoon or Sleeping In My Car. It was the decade of classic guitar pop. Sleeping In My Car he tried to write with the thought of Gyllene Tider power pop a la Roxette. Sven mentions SIMC was released on Crash! Boom! Bang! and Per says after they had been working on the album for more than a year, EMI couldn’t find a single. Then Per went home pissed off and wrote SIMC and that became the lead single off CBB.

No. 6 is The Dandy Warhols, Every Day Should Be A Holiday, also from 1997. Per thinks The Dandy Warhols made cool pop music, he thinks their song Bohemian Like You (2000) is a masterpiece. Sven likes their tough guitar sound and the melodies.

The next song on the list is a wonderful country song, Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues from 1995. Per thinks it’s incredibly good. Guy Clark lived in Nashville where Per recorded his latest 2 Swedish solo albums. Mr. G likes how Guy Clark expressed himself as a singer-songwriter and how he sang his own texts. Per says country music came into his life indirectly. His mum listened to Gunnar Wiklund in the 60’s, Jim Reeves classic country songs, then there was the Eagles, then The Rolling Stones’ Dead Flowers in 1971 and then Neil Young. There is country music everywhere.

Mr. G says one can’t write a list of 90’s songs without Oasis, so they come next with Supersonic from 1994. It’s a very well-done song with a really cool guitar sound, everything is good about it, the singing and title as well. Sven mentions Liam Gallagher said Oasis is like Ferrari. ”Great to look at, great to drive, and it’ll fucking spin out of control every now and again.” Per (a Ferrari lover) says Liam was right.

The third place is of a one hit wonder, Crash Test Dummies and their Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm from 1993. The song was produced by Jerry Harrison from Talking Heads. The exciting video made the song even bigger and it was shown on MTV all the time. It was an odd song, just like XTC’s Senses Working Overtime. Per likes the title a lot.

No. 2 on PG’s list is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Mary Jane’s Last Dance, released on the Greatest Hits album in 1993. Per thinks it’s an awesome song with an awesome guitar sound. It had a fantastic video starring Kim Basinger. It was worth buying the Greatest Hits album for those 2 new songs on it. Sven jokes this is what they did with Roxette as well, releasing a greatest hits album with new songs. Per laughs. Sven is wondering why Per as a huge Tom Petty fan didn’t put this song to the first place, but Mr. G says it’s because the No. 1 on his list is a bit better than this song.

Saying that, you might be surprised that No. 1 is Friday I’m In Love from The Cure, from 1992. For Per they are a typical one hit wonder band, even if there are hardcore fans still following them. Friday I’m In Love is such a good song that no other hit comes even close to it. It has timeless pop quality and great production and has followed Per through all his life since it was released. After the song Per shows his high and low voice. It’s worth listening, haha. Awesome!

Sven says Per had at least 6 different lists before he finalized THIS list. There was a list that had Brainpool on it with Bandstarter, which is an awesome song and there could have been R.E.M. with Man on the Moon as well, but this Top9 wasn’t a double LP, so they got erased from the list in the end.

Per Gessle – En vacker kväll – live DVD

1 year after Per Gessle’s most wonderful  ”En vacker kväll” tour you can now relive the whole 2017 summer feeling. We already hoped for a live DVD when we were there in Halmstad for the 16th gig on 11th August 2017 and saw so many cameras around. Then in December we could see the fantastic documentary, Gessle enligt Gessle (Part 1; Part 2), in which there was footage from the tour as well. We’d been kept waiting a bit longer, but at last, tadaaa, the live DVD was released on 25th June.

The DVD looks beautiful already on the outside. It comes in a shiny cardboard sleeve which you can take off and there is the usual plastic DVD case, including the same pictures and info on the front and back covers as the cardboard sleeve. The picture on the front cover is not from Halmstad. It’s probably from Rättvik. The black & white inside picture, showing PG + the whole band + Lars Winnerbäck from the back after taking a bow is from Linköping. Pictures are taken by Anders Roos.

You put on the DVD and you’re right back in Halmstad. The crowd cheering before PG & Co come up on stage, clapping, whistling, shouting. Then they are all there and start playing the hits. It’s awesome to see and hear Per and his fantastic band and also to see so many familiar faces, not only on stage, but also in the crowd, from all around the world.

Goosebumps during the whole film, from the first shalalalalalalala singalong to the gang taking a bow. It’s really great to have the complete show recorded, including all the talkings, intros and of course, the fab songs. The sound is awesome, the recordings are perfect. Grumpy Production did a wonderful job filming it all.

”Ljudet av ett annat hjärta” was a highlight during each gig. A cool uptempo song among the ballads. It makes you jump up from your sofa and dance in front of the TV. And ”Spegelboll” keeps you on your feet too. And towards the end, ”Sommartider” with the adrenalin rush drum intro. Gosh! Can we just turn back time? Or maybe fast forward to October now, please! I need a tour, right now! 😉

P.S.: Thanx for including ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” over the cast & crew credits!!!

If you were there in Halmstad, it is a must to have this DVD in your collection. If you were not there, it is a must too! Get it from Bengans, Ginza or CDON and e.n.j.o.y.! Watch the trailer HERE!

 

Per Gessle – Small Town Talk album release

Per Gessle will release his next English solo album on 7th September 2018. The title is ”Small Town Talk” and the album can already be pre-ordered in 3 formats at Bengans: standard CD, standard 2 LP gatefold and an exclusive, numbered limited edition white 2 LP gatefold (500 copies available – only at Bengans).

CD tracklist:

  1. There’s a Place
  2. The Finest Prize (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  3. Small Town Talk (feat. Nick Lowe)
  4. Simple Sound
  5. Far Too Close (feat. Savannah Church)
  6. Hold on My Heart (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  7. No One Makes It on Her Own (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  8. Being with You
  9. It Came Too Fast
  10. Name You Beautiful (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  11. For the First Time (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  12. One of These Days
  13. Rudy & Me (feat. Jessica S)

2 LP tracklist:

Disc 1 – Side A

  1. There’s a Place
  2. The Finest Prize (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  3. Small Town Talk (feat. Nick Lowe)
  4. Simple Sound

Disc 1 – Side B

  1. Far Too Close (feat. Savannah Church)
  2. Hold on My Heart (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  3. No One Makes It on Her Own (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  4. Being with You

Disc 2 – Side A

  1. It Came Too Fast
  2. Name You Beautiful (feat. Helena Josefsson)
  3. For the First Time (feat. Helena Josefsson)

Disc 2 – Side B

  1. One of These Days
  2. Rudy & Me (feat. Jessica S)
  3. Far Too Close (feat. Savannah Church) [Alex Shield Remix]

The album cover is a hot Nashville pic of Per taken by Anton Corbijn. Curious what other pictures we will find in the booklet. Exciting to see the tracklist! Looks like a great mix of Per’s Swedish Nashville songs translated into English, 2 gems that we could only hear as demos so far, 1 song that is probably a re-arranged version of Roxette’s NOMIOHO and at last, we will get to hear the duet with Jessica Sweetman, which Mr. G skipped to release on ”En vacker dag”. Probably, because he already knew he would release his Nashville project in English later. Very cool that ”Name You Beautiful” got a spot on the album and that Mr. G is doing the title track as a duet with one of his greatest idols, Nick Lowe. I personally wish ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” would be hiding behind one of the English titles, but somehow I doubt it’s any of them. Never mind! Mahi Nana! 😉 Many other fab songs to be enjoyed anyway. The first single is one of the fan favourites, the English version of ”Första pris”. ”The Finest Prize” is planned to be released digitally on 13th July.

 

Here we go again: 2018 solo tour setlist predictions

Only 4 months are left to – what is currently planned – the premiere night of Per Gessle’s solo tour in Prague, Czech Republic on the 7th of October. The upcoming tournée will take the man from Roxette across 12 countries & 21 European cities in just 40 days. For the second time ever Gessle takes himself and European fans on the English language adventure through music, lyrics and memories he has been part of for the last 30 years.

Last year over 1,000 of you, dear RoxetteBlog readers voted for your favourite songs of Gessle, Gyllene Tider and Roxette in the series of 10 polls just before the solo Swedish tour took off. We are still hoping some of your suggestions might help Mr G to prepare a setlist as the band will surely start rehearsing during late summer. So here comes a little summary of what we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know (and we might never know).

As Roxette sadly became the past, Per declares his plans to concentrate mostly on the vast Roxette catalogue during his European tour in the exclusive RoxetteBlog interviewIn the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one (…) Most of the songs will most certainly be Roxette-songs. I’ll probably sneak in a couple from the new solo album as well. Time will tell.

Do we have any hints of what Roxette gems can be performed during the tour? In the generic TV commercial produced for promotional purposes you can easily see and hear 3 Roxette songs from Halmstad’s 2017 concert as follow: The Look, Joyride, It must have been love. These hits are likely to get the same treatment as last year as it’s going to be the same band that goes on European roads with Per. It must have been love with Helena on the lead might be a hard to swallow for some, but well, we’re in 2018.  Dressed for success and Listen to your heart were also performed on a brief occassion during 2017 gigs, so these are another safe bets.  Looking also at some historical data, during the Party Crasher Tour the band performed 13 Roxette songs, beside 5 megahits mentioned previously, tracks such as Wish I Could Fly / She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore / 7Twenty7 / Opportunity Nox / Church Of Your Heart / Dangerous / Sleeping In My Car / Queen Of Rain. Country arrangements, anyone?

Would there be enough space on this year’s setlist to put songs less known which we haven’t heard in a while? I belive mosts fans support the idea of hearing compositions Per has created and sang himself originally on the official releases which haven’t heard live at all. One of the Swedish auction site Tradera user put a poster on sale that seems to be the official one for the Swedish leg of 2018 tour. What can come as a little surprise is the fact it includes tracks’ names that haven’t been performed by Gessle solo so far which are: Spending my time / How do you do / Fading like a flower / June Afternoon / Crash! Boom! Bang! / Vulnerable / Real sugar. Back in 2009 Vulnerable was said to be “impossible” to perform live. Have 9 years changed anything in that matter? Is it a random choice from the concert agency? Or maybe the poster is just fake? But hey, June Afternoon or Real Sugar are brilliant choices anyway.

On the top of that there is a Spotify Roxette playlist recently created by The Man himself which includes – beside obvious – incredible pearls (if you seriously consider theses songs could be performed live): “Paint”, “Jefferson”, “A Thing About You”, “Some other summer” or “Secrets that she keeps”. Unfortunately, we know such teasing on social media rarely leads to anything surprising in the end. In the last year’s poll you voted for She doesn’t live here anymore as the most desired Roxette songs that needs to be performed live. “a safe risk” with most popular Roxette songs? Time will tell, to quote our Guru.

Let’s not forget the fact the previous tour was also partially about solo material which actually received a very positive feedback from the audience back then. 11 songs performed during the Party Crasher Tour were a mix of Son of a plumber classics (Drowning In Wonderful Thoughts About Her / I Have A Party In My Head (I Hope It Never Ends) / Late, Later On / C’mon /  Are You On Old Hippie, Sir? / Hey Mr. Dj (Won’t You Play Another Love Song), highlights from The World According to Gessle (Stupid / Do You Wanna Be My Baby?) and very little off Party Crasher (The Party Pleaser / Doesn’t Make Sense). Yet another time we were said Silly Really doesn’t really translate well into a live song, so let it be. There was also a little surprise at the end – The Monkee’s (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone cover, also briefly performed by Roxette in 2010.

Looking at various interviews Gessle hopes “Small Town Talk” album (English version of last year’s Swedish solo projects) will get a little bit of exposure during the concert. If so, then the title song (Nick Lowe as a special guest in London?), “The Finest Prize” (Första pris last year was great live) or “There’s a place” (Min plats) could be live options off that album. Let’s face it, anything above 3-4 new songs will be a shocker. I’m hoping Per Gessle’s Roxette tour name anyway gives Per  a little bit of space and freedom to include his favourite English solo songs from the last 21 years. They are worth to be sang, they cannot be forgotten.

Just a quick reminder how you voted for your favourites off English solo albums last year: 1997 The World According to Gessle: Son of a Plumber: 009 – Party Crasher: 

Summing up, my prediction would be a setlist of 24 songs as it always makes a perfect 90-100-minute concert in the Gessle’s world. 16 songs would come out of Roxette and 8 would be solo tracks. But the more, the better.

What songs would you like to hear this year? See you around in Europe!

Bäst när det gäller – Gyllene Tider’s new song is out!

Gyllene Tider together with Linnea Henriksson made the official Swedish Soccer World Cup song. “Bäst när det gäller” (Best when it counts) premiered on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 today. Per Gessle, Micke Syd Andersson and Linnea Henriksson were on TV to talk about the song and soccer. It was also revealed that a video to the song will be shot this weekend. Cosmos Music made available an official lyrics video until then.

“Bäst när det gäller” is available digitally on the usual platforms. There will be a physical release as well, a 7″ and a 12″ vinyl single on 1st June. The 7″ version is a limited edition single, released in 500 copies. The guys are in blue jerseys on the 7″ sleeve and in yellow on the 12″ sleeve. You can pre-order the singles at Bengans or Ginza or CDON.

Tracklist for the 2-track 7″ single:

  1. Bäst när det gäller
  2. Bäst när det gäller (Instrumental)

Tracklist for the 4-track 12″ single:

  1. Bäst när det gäller
  2. Bäst när det gäller (Bridge & Mountain Remix)
  3. Bäst när det gäller (Galavant Remix)
  4. Bäst när det gäller (Instrumental)

Per says, to write the official song is of course a huge challenge and you can’t say no to that. The guys in GT were extremely proud when they were asked. Mr. G says he already had the title in his mind for a while, but now he had the reason to write the text as well. It became a little story about a couple who are the best when it counts, but also a text filled with soccer references that most recognize.

Bäst när det gäller

När vi träffades i vimlet
Det var ett hat trick att minnas
jag kom från farmarlaget
Du var populär

Du sa du älskade fotboll
Jag såg en sol igenom fönstret
hur kan man låtsas att det regnar
när du ser ut så där?

Vi är bäst när det gäller
Vi är bäst när det gäller
Vi är bäst då när allt står på spel vi är bäst då när allt kan gå fel

Liksom dårar på nätet
Gillar vi ringarna på vattnet
Vi vill att världen ska få veta
Vår karaktär (eller vad säger du, Per?)

Att aldrig tappa kontrollen
Att aldrig ta nåt med en klackspark är aldrig tvåa på bollen
När du ser på mej så där

Vi är bäst när det gäller
Vi är bäst när det gäller
Vi är bäst då när allt står på spel vi är bäst då när allt kan gå fel

© Per Gessle

 

What would you like to see among the upcoming Per Gessle merchandise?

During the past few years we all attended several tours. Roxette, Gyllene Tider, Marie Fredriksson, Per Gessle. One of the evergreen topics discussed among fans was the merchandise. There is a bunch of useful merch stuff, there are some gadgets which are good only to gather dust on a hardcore collector’s shelf and there are some which would never sell out of stock. Now, 5 months before the Per Gessle’s Roxette tour starts, we thought a poll could be an option to let your voice be heard and tell us what kind of merchandise you would happily buy during the tour. Please, vote for the ones you would definitely buy, because you find it cool, useful, a lovely thing to make you remember the tour anytime you use it or look at it. If you have any other idea to add to the list, please let us know in a comment on Facebook and we might add some more ideas to the list.

Of course, all items would ideally be printed with a PG pic or a tour logo. Regarding the T-shirts there are usually discussions about them including the tour dates or not, so there you will find two options.

Please, choose as many merch stuff as you wish, but don’t forget to choose ONLY those which you would definitely buy. This might be helpful for Mr. G’s team as well, to decide what to include. 😉

 

Exclusive interview with Per Gessle: ”Boogie shoes are allowed!”

We are all very excited about Per’s upcoming tour and also the new album. Both we at RoxBlog and fans are very curious about some details, so we put together a few questions and sent them to Mr. G after the news came out.

RXB: – Hi Per! The question was never IF, but WHEN you would hit the road again. We’ve been wondering if it’s high time for another Gyllene Tider celebration, but you first teased and now suprised us with a European tour called ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Would you mind telling us more about how the idea was born?

PG: – Hello! Yes, the idea came up during the rehearsals for the summer tour last year. The band sounded very special and it just occurred to me that it would be interesting to play Roxette songs with these amazing players and their instruments. I suddenly had violin, pedal steel, dobro and several  wonderful voices available. I hope my gut feeling was correct. I’ll know when we get together after the summer.

RXB: – In 2009 you were called ”the man from Roxette” in all materials, now it’s more direct, potentially better marketing-wise ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Some fans think it sounds quite controversial, like you would set up your own ”Roxette tribute band”. Have you hesitated choosing that name?

PG: – No, I think it’s a great name since it’s exactly what it is. This is my personal version of Roxette. I play Roxette-songs I’ve written, music that still is such a big slice of my life. In the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform  but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one.

RXB: – In the press release it’s mentioned that this tour’s idea was ”blessed” by Marie. Have you been in discussion with her about your plans regarding this tour?

PG: – Of course.

RXB: – It’s no secret 2009 was a success music-wise with fans being positively suprised by the setlist, band and the whole atmosphere, but it was more challenging in financial terms. You even mentioned in one of the interviews that you were forced to finance the tour yourself. Has this experience influenced planning of this tour in any way?

PG: – No, I’m a musician, songwriter and an artist. My mission is to play, write and perform. Sometimes you make records that sell well and get lots of airplay and streams and you make money. Sometimes your music doesn’t work commercially.  Same with tours. You win some, you lose some. That’s the name of the game. That’s how the music biz works.

RXB: – What can a fan expect? Would that be 100% of Roxette (we still hope for your live take on ”Vulnerable” and ”A Thing About You”) or will it be more balanced setlist with songs also from your long English solo career including ”The World According to Gessle”, ”Party Crasher”, ”Son of a Plumber” and ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – I don’t know at this point but most of the songs will most certainly be Roxette-songs. I’ll probably sneak in a couple from the new solo album as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – How would the concerts in 2018 differ from the tour in 2009 – except of you being 25-year-old this time (18 back then)?

PG: – Hahaha, I don’t know yet. Different players, different point of views.

RXB: – How final is the current tour plan? Are there any further dates in additional countries in the can?

PG: – Could be more gigs poppin’ up.

RXB: – Do you consider taking this tour outside Europe – to South America or Australia maybe?

PG: – Maybe. I’d love to play South America, Asia, Oz, South Africa, New Z, Canada and the US as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – What was your role in deciding where to play or was it all in the hands of touring agencies?

PG: – The tour is put together by Live Nation. They’re doing a great job. We all strive for the same thing; to play where it’s possible.

RXB: – Many concerts are seated. Was that your clear intention with this tour? Does it mean we get more ballads this time?

PG: – No, it’s because my audience is getting older and many of them prefer seats. If you want I’m sure you can stand up. Boogie shoes are allowed!

RXB: – In 2009 you said the ”Party Crasher Tour” was the best gift for yourself on your 50th birthday. Is the 2018 tour another self-made present for your next birthday?

PG: – No, I don’t think in those terms. Quotes like that just pop out of my mouth when I talk to the media.

RXB: – Do you consider ”Per Gessle’s Roxette” being a one-off project or something you could do in the coming years more often?

PG: – I will continue to play my Roxette-songs as long as  I can. It’s who I am and where I want to be.

RXB: – In autumn you are not only touring Europe, you also release your first English solo album in 10 years called ”Small Town Talk”. First you planned to have an English song on each of the 2 ”En vacker…” albums. Was it during the recordings when it came to your mind to rather release a ”complete” English version some time later?

PG: – I got really positive reactions from BMG Europe re the Swedish albums so I decided to go for an English version as well. The hardest part was to translate the lyrics since they’re quite personal and almost impossible for me to re-write. I got help from Sharon Vaughn out of Nashville to make new interpretations on a few of the tracks. She’s amazing and has been a big help.

RXB: – The first thing we realized when the tracklist for ”En vacker dag” was available was that the English duet was missing. Will that missing song with Jessica Sweetman see the light of day on ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – We know already that you do a duet with Nick Lowe on the forthcoming album. Helena Josefsson is of course in the picture as well. You posted a selfie with Linnea Henriksson the other day. Does it mean there will be an English version of ”Känns som första gången”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – Which songs from the 2 Swedish albums will land on the English one?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – It’s your sister on the cover of ”En vacker natt” and your mother on the sleeve of ”En vacker dag”. Will you have the same family vibe for ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – No. STT will have little old me on the cover.

RXB: – Oh, and before we forget – any plans to release the 2017 ”En vacker kväll” tour on DVD / Blu-ray in the nearest future?

PG: – Yep, there will be an amazing DVD from the Halmstad-gig very soon. It looks and sounds great.

RXB: – And what about releasing past Roxette gigs we mentioned here several times?

PG: – Yes, there will be old Rox live shows out this year as well. No rest for the wicked.

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour!

PG: – Cheers.

Official Swedish Soccer World Cup song by Gyllene Tider

It’s all about sports these days. First table tennis, now soccer! Gyllene Tider together with Linnea Henriksson will make the official Swedish Soccer World Cup song. The title is “Bäst när det gäller” (Best when it counts).

Per says, to write the official song is of course a huge challenge and you can’t say no to that. The guys in GT were extremely proud when they were asked.

Mr. G says he already had the title in his mind for a while, but now he had the reason to write the text as well. It became a little story about a couple who are the best when it counts, but also a text filled with soccer references that most recognize. The song is already recorded and will be released at the end of May. The recording sessions took place mid March when Per posted a picture of himself and Linnea in the studio.

As Micke Syd says, they recorded “Bäst när det gäller” with experienced technician Stefan Boman and Christoffer Lundquist mixed it later. To the question how it sounds, Per laughs and replies ”just like when Halmia takes the lead in Örjans vall on a beautiful day”.

 

Be part of the official video to Per Gessle’s new single!

As you could see in Per Gessle’s video message, he tells the details about how to be part of the official clip to his new single, Name You Beautiful.

It’s the official song for the World Table Tennis Championship, so that’s why table tennis is involved. You can film yourself or anyone else singing along Name You Beautiful or playing ping-pong. 10 seconds are enough! Make sure you film in landscape mode, NOT in portrait! Send your video to tabletennis@gessle.com. If the file is too big to be sent in a simple e-mail, use wetransfer.com. Send your file to the pingis master until 30th March! Be creative and funny, guys and girls!

Per says he might even do a backhand himself, so fingers crossed he will also appear in the video! Maybe playing a match with Helena Josefsson? 😉

 

Per Gessle interview in Scandinavian Traveler magazine

There is a short interview with Per Gessle in the March 2018 issue of SAS Scandinavian Traveler inflight magazine. The interview was done before the Melodi Grand Prix (Norway’s entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest) appearance of Charla K with ”Stop The Music” and it still states that Per would release his new English album this spring, which we already know will happen in autumn.

Love how the intro is written by Anders Dahlbom:

”An obsession. That’s how Per Gessle describes his relationship to music. An unadulterated passion for pop music that has colored almost the entire life of this simple guy from Halmstad.”

Anders and Per talk about Mr. G’s childhood, how it all started and the funny thing is, here it’s stated it all began with the hair. When Per as a 6-year-old went to have his hair cut. The barber was a relative, Artur and he promised not to clip Mr. G’s hair that fell down over Per’s ears, but in the end, he cut the hair off. Per cried for weeks as his Beatles haircut was gone.

It wasn’t really about the hair, rather the loss of a way of identifying with the pop world. The haircut had become such an iconic symbol. I wanted to get into the pop bubble.

During his teenage years, Per tried to find his way to express himself. He tried to learn to paint, shot movies with friends and worked in a theater. At high school he made friends with another student, Peter who was a bass player in a band, Audiovisuellt Angrepp. Mr. G went to see them practice in March 1977 and he tells Scandinavian Traveler that it changed his life.

Seeing how they created music together completely changed my life. The sheer power of expression, volume and creativity. From that moment, I just wanted to play in a pop band – nothing else would do.

Mats MP Persson was the drummer in Audiovisuellt Angrepp and they quickly became good friends. They started making music together and the rest is history.

Scandinavian Traveler writes that ”the joy of playing with others has been an everpresent feature in Gessle’s music over the years, regardless of whether he is playing with old friends in Gyllene Tider, on a huge world tour with Roxette, or with a country music band as he did during last year’s solo tour. But away from this, for songwriter Gessle, music has been mostly a job for a lone wolf.”

I’m quite comfortable working alone, even if the process has become a little more different at this stage in my life. I work more with others today than before.

Anders Dahlbom and Per talk about ”Stop The Music”, the Melodi Grand Prix contestant song penned by Gessle, Alex Shield and Charla K.

I actually don’t know who submitted the song. It’s one of many songs we’d written together sending files back and forth. I really come from another, older pop school, but it’s fun, mostly because it’s possible to write in this way.

About the upcoming album Per tells Scandinavian Traveler that he has employed a similar team approach to song composing. Many of his Swedish lyrics from En vacker natt and En vacker dag have been translated by American songwriter Sharon Vaughn.

Talking about the European tour in autumn, performing songs both old and new – the joy of playing with others remains as strong today as it was back in 1977.

Many of the songs I wrote as a young man I couldn’t write today. But it’s awesome to be able to interpret them now with a new group of musicians. A pop song is never finished; it just stops at different stages.

 

Thanx a lot for keeping your eyes open and sharing your pictures of the magazine with us, Erina Kuznitsyna!

Official song for the World Table Tennis Championship by Per Gessle

Per Gessle’s new song, Name You Beautiful is the official song for the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad. The song premiered on February 27th during the European Championships qualification match between Sweden and Denmark (3-1). The game was played in Halmstad Arena.

We thought this really catchy hit song would be available digitally right after its premiere, but it seems we have to wait a bit more for being able to listen to it on the usual digital platforms. The good news is that it won’t be released digitally only, but as Per informed today, there will be 500 copies of 7″ vinyl singles. Woohoo! Can’t wait for the release date! Update on 1st March: there will be 500 blue copies & 500 yellow copies. How cool is that!

Official press release in English:

Per Gessle from Roxette writes official song for the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad

Halmstad native Per Gessle, with a track record of 80 million albums sold worldwide, is supporting the World Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad with a song composed especially for the event that will be seen by 350 million viewers all over the world.

Over 100 nations from all corners of the globe will visit the coastal city when the LIEBHERR World Team Table Tennis Championships descends upon Halmstad Arena between April 29th and May 6th 2018. On top of experiencing world class table tennis, visitors will also be able to enjoy world famous artist Per Gessle’s music, as he is behind the official WTTC-song “Name You Beautiful”, performed together with Helena Josefsson.

– When I was asked to write the official song for the tournament I didn’t hesitate. I was really up for the challenge. I wrote it together with some other local Halmstad-musicians, namely the guys from Galavant (Sebastian Atas and Victor Sjöström). Their super talented friend Viktor Broberg also contributed. We had lots of fun, says Gessle in a statement, adding:
– The song isn’t really a net ball, more like a killer smash in the backhand corner!

Johnny Ewerstein, project manager of the 2018 WTTC, is happy and pleased that Gessle chose to contribute a song to Sweden’s biggest sporting event 2018:
– This is absolutely fantastic! Gessle is a world renowned artist, and the fact that he stems from Halmstad makes it all the more special and an honor for us as hosts. We’re very glad and grateful for this song, which fits in excellently with a sporting event of this scope and importance.

The WTTC-song will be played publicly for the first time during the European Championships qualification match between Sweden and Denmark. The game is played in Halmstad Arena on February 27th at 18.30. Entry is free of charge, so don’t miss this opportunity to combine world-class table tennis with a brand new song from Per Gessle. The song will be available shortly on both Spotify and iTunes.

LIEBHERR World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018 is held between April 29th and May 6th in Halmstad Arena. The championship will be followed by 350 million viewers from around the globe, and will be monitored from approximately 350 journalists on location. 72 men’s and 72 women’s teams from around 100 nations are participating. Hosts are the International Table Tennis Federation, the Swedish Table Tennis Association and Destination Halmstad.

Photo: Anders Roos

Per Gessle podcast interview in Framgångspodden

Alexander Pärleros wanted to do a podcast interview with Per Gessle since 3 years. Now it was time for Per to say yes and they did the interview on 21st November 2017. The whole conversation is very easy-going, Alexander is well-prepared with questions and Mr. G is as down-to-earth as usual. Hardcores will hear some new anecdotes and have to wait until the very end to get some real news – about the new album which is out in May. You can listen to the podcast HERE (no. 160 is the interview with Per) or HERE or on iTunes.

Here is my summary of the interview in English.

First there is a 2.5-minute-long talk about the podcast itself. The PG-related talk starts after it, with a mix of Per-penned song fragments and an intro about Per’s career. Per joins in at appr. 4:50 in the podcast.

Alexander asks Per how he is and Mr. G says he is a bit tired because he just came back from the US. He tells he changed publishing company, so he had a lot of work meetings, also with his American record label, as well as Sirius XM. Per tells he saw Bruce Springsteen on Broadway. Alexander asks Mr. G what he likes the most in the US. Per tells he likes New York a lot, he gets energy there; Los Angeles, Florida, Miami, South Beach. Alexander asks Per if he has ever been to Michael Jackson’s house. Per says thank God he hasn’t. Alexander asks if Per doesn’t like Michael Jackson. Mr. G says he met a lot of people who love Michael Jackson and think that he was the most important person in the world of music, but he was not the most important in Per’s world. However, he was of course fantastic, but he is not in Mr. G’s Top10.

Alexander asks who Per’s Top3 most important artists are. The Beatles are No. 1, because the music they represented is reflecting the times when Per became interested in music and their music formed Per a lot. Then there is Tom Petty, who he probably listened to the most and with Gyllene Tider they kind of became the Swedish Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the 70’s. Here Per mentions the story when Marie and Per were doing a TV thing in the Netherlands and Tom Petty shouted out to them from the second floor that he loved their record. Per says that after Tom Petty passed away, he got a video link from a friend in Los Angeles where Tom Petty at the end of the video mentioned the weirdest cover he had ever heard was the Swedish version of I Need To Know. It was Vill ha ett svar by Gyllene Tider. Mr. G says Tom Petty was an awesome artist, songwriter, singer and guitar player.

The third place is shared between Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. They also formed Mr. G a lot with their singer-songwriter tradition and listened to them a lot in the 70’s. When Per was 13-14 years old he started writing lyrics by translating Leonard Cohen into Swedish. Per couldn’t play the guitar back then, but the first songs he learned to play on the guitar which he got from his mother were Leonard Cohen songs: Famous Blue Raincoat, Suzanne, etc. Per thinks Joni Mitchell wrote the best lyrics. She is totally fantastic.

Alexander asks Per how a typical day is for him. Mr. G says there isn’t really a typical day for him. E.g. on a day like today (when the interview was done), he has almost nothing else to do just to talk with Alexander. He woke up at 9. He has a son who goes to school so sometimes he also wakes up at 7. If they are talking about a typical year for Per, he can tell that for a third year he is in Halmstad, for a third year he is in Stockholm and for a third year he is on tour or travelling. Alexander mentions it’s interesting that Per sets an alarm clock. On a normal day Per sets the alarm clock not to sleep for so long, but when they are working in the studio it can last until 2-3 am, then one can feel he should sleep more.

Alexander asks Per what he eats for breakfast. It’s boring, he always eats the same thing: coffee with milk and 2 sandwiches. One with apricot marmalade & cheese (he starts with this one), and one with ham & mustard & chives. Then he drinks a little vitamin C, lemon flavour. Alexander asks if there is any routine for the evening. Not really, but when he is free and is at home then he shuts down the computer at 6-6.30 pm, then it’s rather family time. They eat dinner together or with friends, watch a movie.

Alexander says Per and he has a common friend, Erik Bergman and Alexander asked him what to ask from Per Gessle. He said ask him about Halloween. So Alexander is curious if Per is interested in Halloween. Per says he is not interested in it at all. Once he was there in Los Angeles when it was Halloween. There was a bizarre parade on Lincoln Road with appr. 100.000 people. Everyone went there and Per dressed as Sony Bono with a thick mustache and Åsa dressed as a police woman, she looked very cool.

Alexander asks what the difference between the everyday Per and the Per on stage is. On stage Per leaves himself out in a way, he kind of becomes someone else. It’s like there is an official and unofficial Per Gessle. Many think that what he is writing the songs about is something he went through, but it’s usually not the case. Bruce Springsteen told on his Broadway show that he became the working class voice of America, however, what he writes about is not always something he experienced. Per feels the same. He always tries to write the lyrics in a way that those who are listening think it’s trustworthy. It doesn’t mean that the text is true, just that you believe it is. Everyone interprets the songs in different ways. For example, how he interprets Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is different to how someone else interprets it. This is the magic of music and texts that you always find something in common with your own personality in it. Per always hears stories that people get married to his songs or get divorced to his songs (laughs) and they feel the songs are about their lives.

When Per is writing songs he tries to write as little as he can. He plays the piano or the guitar, checks the computer, but writing always depends on how he feels. When he really wants to write something, then it goes quite easy. Sometimes when he has a little music idea or a chord or a melody on his mind, he tries to find a word or a phrase that harmonizes with it. Then he starts writing the lyrics based on that one word or phrase. It’s like when you start painting a paint. You start with something little and there is more and more in the picture, maybe an environment or an abstract stuff, different colors that harmonize or not. There is no rule.

The guys are talking about Per’s childhood. Mr. G tells he was rather a lonely boy. His mother was a teacher in porcelain painting and worked a lot at home and when she was working she was quiet for hours while creating. Per liked it, the peacefulness in this process. He and Åsa are very different when it comes to listening to music. Åsa likes music being played anytime, but Per doesn’t put on music unless he listens to it actively. He likes silence otherwise, being in his own bubble. Per likes old Amercian country music more, Åsa likes dance bands more. When they are driving, Åsa always turns the radio on, Per turns the radio off. When they are in the same car, Åsa always wins.

Alexander asks Per what he thinks the secret of their long and happy relationship with Åsa is. Per says they have been on the journey always together. Åsa was working in the travel industry, so when Roxette broke through she organized everything related to their travelling. She was always there with him during Roxette’s busiest years, 1988-1995. They couldn’t really meet if it weren’t so. They have a lot of experience together and they are each other’s best friends. Åsa and Per met in a disco in Halmstad. Per was there to date with another girl who was going out with another guy back then. Åsa knew that girl and tried to help that girl and Per meet in secret, so organized a date for them in her house. Per in the middle of the date got more interested in Åsa. Per was 24-25 years old then, Åsa was 23. It was during the times when Gyllene Tider was over and Mr. G’s career was down. He had no record contract, he was writing songs for others. He had no money at all. Actually, he and the guys came from the 70’s, everyone was unemployed and they didn’t earn that much money. If they earned 10.000 SEK a month they felt like Scrooge McDuck, it was much, because otherwise they didn’t earn anything.

Per tells he left his mother’s house quite late, when he was 21-22 years old. He bought an apartment and his mother’s old car, an orange Passat. After they broke through with Gyllene Tider he started buying stuff for the apartment, 2 Andy Warhol paintings on Mick Jagger (it cost nothing back then and he still has them). He bought instruments, guitars and stuff. He bought a Prophet-5 synth that cost 34.000 SEK. It was a lot of money, but its value went up and now it’s vintage so it is worth probably even more.

Mr. G tells the story of getting thousands of letters when they broke through with GT and that fans stole the laundry on dry. They stole everything movable as a souvenir. It was the same when Roxette broke through. It was even bigger in a way, because it was international. When they played in Buenos Aires for example, in 1991 there were 1000-1500 people in front of the hotel and they were singing Roxette songs all night long. It was Formula-1 season and there was a Grand Prix at the same weekend. The drivers stayed at the same hotel and Per met David Coulthard who said they couldn’t sleep because of the singing. Those times were hysterical, mainly in South America.

Per tells there weren’t any extreme problems, they always had very good security teams. What he remembers being an extreme weird thing was when Gabriel was born in Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and one of the tabloids that wanted to have the first pictures of Gabriel went in to the floor where Åsa was. The woman had flowers and told he was a relative. The same tabloid hired a helicopter and was doing rounds above Per’s house in Halmstad, to be able to take pictures. It was in 1997.

Per says if you work in the music business, one of the keys to success is that you become famous. That people can listen to your music and buy tickets for your concerts. When he is talking about the above mentioned things he is not whining. These are facts that go along with being famous. One learns to live with that.

Alexander mentions that Per wrote a song while he was weighing mushrooms and asks if it’s a success tip to weigh mushrooms to be able to write a song. Per says he actually wrote that song, (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän while he was waiting for being able to weigh mushrooms. They had 45-minute-long breaks. Per says there is a good idiom, that you have to sleep on it, so you don’t finish things spontaneously. He thinks it’s a good rule. It’s good to write a song and then get back to it a bit later after you were doing something else. So there are different stages of creating. When Per sits down and writes, he has his phone at hand and he records what he plays. So later he can check where he did a mistake. Maybe that mistake becomes the hook of a song. Same when he is writing lyrics. He sits in his own creative bubble, he is writing and writing and then gets back to the text some time later. Writing a song is a long process, it takes time until a song becomes something that people listen to, there are a lot of filters before it gets ready. When you want to record an album you maybe have 30 songs, but in the end it’s only 14 that makes it into the album. You say bye to some songs because they might be too identical or similar to others you recorded before or the lyrics aren’t good enough.

Alexander asks how Per met Marie. Per tells they met in a rehearsal studio in Halmstad in the 70’s. Gyllene Tider and Marie’s band, Strul were rehearsing at the same place. Marie was singing in that band and played piano and his boyfriend, Martin was also in the band. Marie was fantastic. They became good friends. Marie was singing on Gyllene Tider’s song Ingenting av vad du behöver on Schlager’s new year’s single in 1981 and then on TV, Vandrar i ett sommarregn in 1982. She went on tour with GT in 1984 and was doing backing vocals with another girl. They were always thinking of doing something together and make it international. Per’s career was down, but Marie’s was on a high. She got an EMI record contract and made a second solo album. Then they decided to make a song in English. It was Neverending Love. Per wrote it originally for Pernilla Wahlgren, it was called Svarta glas in Swedish. Pernilla never recorded it and Rolf Nygren, the boss at EMI suggested Per to write English lyrics to it and record it with Marie, because it was a fantastic song. So they did. It became a big summer hit in 1986 in Sweden. No one wanted to have it abroad. As Per didn’t have a record contract and he had written songs for a solo album, he started translating the lyrics into English and that became Roxette’s first album, Pearls of Passion. Alexander asks if Per felt he was good at English texts. Per says he doesn’t know, but he was growing up with English lyrics and he learned English via pop music and English music magazines. Maybe they could have won more if they had a better lyricist, but they didn’t know anyone who was better. He also tells that Roxette’s peculiarity vs. any other international artist back then was that everything was homegrown, they did everything in their own way. It was Per’s songs, Marie’s singing, recorded in Stockholm with Swedish musicians. Even if they went to the US quite some times, they never wanted to move there. Their first US No. 1 happened in April 1989. Alexander asks Per when he really felt that they broke through. Mr. G says it was when Tom Petty shouted. Haha. Alexander asks when he felt for the first time that it can really become something global. Per says there wasn’t an exact occasion when he felt so. One of the last songs they recorded for Look Sharp! was The Look. They felt it was awesome and the whole album was very strong. He remembers he told Marie if they succeed with one of the songs on that album then they would have some good years. There are The Look, Listen To Your Heart, Dangerous and Dressed For Success on that album, 4 huge hits.

The guys start talking about It Must Have Been Love and Pretty Woman. Their German record label told them to record a Christmas song, so Per wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted). It became a Christmas hit in Sweden 1987, but the Germans didn’t want it. Marie released Efter stormen, Per started writing songs which later were recorded for Look Sharp! Then they broke through in the US and were having lunch with their record company in Los Angeles. The record label said they signed a contract for a soundtrack to a movie then called 3000 Dollars. Julia Roberts was to debute in that movie and it was a comeback for Richard Gere. They said it was a low budget movie. They also signed David Bowie and a new version of Fame was to appear in the soundtrack. They also wanted Per to write a song for that movie. They were travelling a lot with Roxette, so he didn’t have the time to write a song, but he said he has a Christmas song that Marie sings beautifully and he can re-write the text and take away the Christmas reference in it. So Christmas day became winter’s day. Then they partly re-recorded the song and sent it to Garry Marshall, director of the movie. Per and Marie were already working on the Joyride album when they got a call in the studio in Stockholm. It was Garry Marshall himself who called Per to tell him he loved the song so much he even re-edited the movie, because he didn’t want any dialogue during the song being played. He wanted the song to speak for itself. Some months later they screened the movie for Marie and Per in Burbank. Per says he never met Julia Roberts or Richard Gere though. Mr. G tells thanks to It Must Have Been Love’s success they won half a year before Joyride was released. Someone told Per he could have won an Oscar with IMHBL, but it couldn’t have happened, because the song wasn’t originally written for the movie.

Alexander and Per talk about Roxette’s record label. Per says they had a mediocre record label in the US. EMI was very good in Germany, Australia and Canada. Later EMI got sold and the new company was more into grunge music, like Nirvana in 1993. Mr. G says one can’t do such a journey as theirs without fuck-ups.

Per says he always liked working under pressure, with deadlines and such, but when he is looking at his old books and sees what life they lived, he is surprised how it could work. Alexander asks if they drank a lot. Per says no, they have never been that much of party animals in that sense. They were quite job-oriented and civilized. They were travelling a lot, touring a lot, doing hundreds of interviews. On tour the name of the city they did the show in was always written in front of them to know what to say to the crowd, where they performed. But sometimes shit happened and for example when they were in Santiago they read San Diego.

Alexander mentions that a listener asked a question. The guy worked at MegaStore, a record shop in Sergles torg, Stockholm. He says Per went there often and bought a lot of things, but wanted a discount of 15%. Per says it’s not true at all. He has never bought records there and why should he get a discount. It’s so much not him.

Alexander asks which Per thinks are the 3 best Roxette songs. Per says it’s difficult to say, but he likes Queen of Rain, The Look, What’s She Like? on which Marie sings fantastically. She always sings fantastically, but here she is outstanding. The 3 best GT songs are Juni, juli, augusti, (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän, Honung och guld.

The guys are talking about the fact that Per’s mother, sister and brother passed away in 3 years. It was tough. His brother died of lung cancer, his mother got a heart attack and his sister died of cancer too. Alexander mentions Per’s father also died of cancer. Per says he doesn’t think too much about death, but of course he is aware that time goes by and the older you get the more important time becomes. Alexander asks what tips Per would have for a 20-year-old, like his son or anyone else. Per says if he looks back at himself at that age, his father died when he was 19, but he got a lot of support from his mum. She always let him follow his gut feeling. Mr. G says he tries to help Gabriel find out who he is, what he is motivated by. The worst thing parents can do is to force their children what to become: you’ll be a doctor, you’ll be this or that. It’s clear that not everyone can become Zlatan for example, but you have to start a discussion and support them. Per says he is very lucky that he can do what he loves. Alexander asks what’s the key to success to release hit after hit. Per says he doesn’t think about it, that there is a key. He is often asked how to write a hit, but there is no trick in it. He has this musical capacity, which doesn’t mean he is a good musician or singer. He thinks he is very good at finding the right people to work with and via them he becomes better. He is also good at motivating them so those who he works with become better too. Per thinks for example that Marie gives her best when she is working with him, but it’s subjective. Most of the relationships, even in Per’s working life last long. He’s been  working with Clarence Öfwerman since 1986, he has the same business management since 1980, same management since 1985, Live Nation since 1982. He is proud that both the people around him and he himself still have the motivation to work together after so long years. But how the songs become hits, he doesn’t know. Mr. G says he always wants to maximize the potential of everything. Why should one be satisfied with being great in Halmstad if he can become the greatest in Sweden? Or in the world. Per doesn’t rate himself being nearly as good songwriter as Lennon-McCartney or Tom Petty or Burt Bacharach, but it’s not a contest anyway. It’s about maximizing what you can do.

In the interview Per tells he is about to release a live album before Christmas and a tour photo book (photographed by Anders Roos) as well. Mr. G says he released 2 Swedish albums in 2017, En vacker natt and En vacker dag. Now he has finished translating on of the albums into English. It will be released in spring 2018. For that album he recorded 3 new songs. There are other plans too, but he can’t talk about them yet. It will be busy, busy, busy.

The last questions are coming. Alexander asks Per if he could recommend a good documentary. Mr. G says he has just seen a good one on Netflix, Danny Says about Danny Fields. He worked for Elektra Records when it was an exciting period in the music industry. He worked with The Ramones. Regarding a good book, Per says he is reading mainly biographies. Now he is reading Robbie Robertson, a book about albums recorded in 1971. For a nerd like him, it’s a great book about a fascinating year in music.

Alexander asks Per to tell a tip to become successful. One should follow his gut feeling as much as possible, but it is also important to find what you are really burning for. Once you find it, you will succeed. Regarding money, Per says if you are working in a creative process, you always have to prioritize creativity. If money comes along, it’s an extra.

Alexander asks Per who he thinks he should do an interview with. Per says it’s a difficult question. It’s always fun to hear Ulf Lundell in an interview, so good luck with catching up with him.

At the end of the interview Alexander asks how someone can get into contact with Per. Mr. G says one can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook and listen to him on Spotify.

 

Pictures of Alexander and Per during the interview: 1; 2;