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.