2014 – two tours, a box, two books … and lots of good memories

I started to think about this article on the plane back home from two incredible concerts in Finland. It was still a month to go to finish the year but my guess was that the “Rox year” would be over at that point of time, meaning not many more events left. And December is a month of reflection for me anyway and many things happened in 2014, so let’s better start on time and enjoying going through the happenings of the year.

This time I chose to write the summary month by month.

PLECtionary_600x407January was the month of the plectrums. Or was it the year of the plectrums? You’ll see plecs have showed up a few times this year. The PLECtionary, done with the help of Sandra Knospe, opened its doors on January 12th, on Per’s birthday, and what a better way to open it than with an interview with him? Who would have known back then that we would end the year with more plecs (go on reading…)… Also Roxette’s official Facebook page reached 1 million likes and Roxette fans did a digital flash mob to celebrate and congratulate Roxette.

Marie started her long-awaited solo tour on February 19th in Helsingborg, which went on for two months until April 19th. Marie gave a total of 19 concerts all over Sweden. Many people had the chance to meet Marie during this tour, either in meet & greets organised via contests or directly with the management or after the shows or hotels. We have reviews for all of them, for which we also got many “thank yous” from the band and Marie herself. This tour left a big impact on me and many other fans, many things happened during these two months and probably shaped me a little bit more, like all important events in one’s life. Some things were good, some bad, but what I will always keep in my heart and mind are Marie’s looks to the audience, her smiles, her strength and the willpower never to give up. And the fact that fans, supporters, can be ONE when we want to. Those paper hearts will be a symbol for ever. And who doesn’t feel like standing up when “Mellan sommar och höst” starts to sound? Here we collected messages from fans to thank Marie and the band for the tour. IMG_01762

March and April were mostly all about Marie’s tour. We interviewed Marie and Jokke Pettersson, who played guitar on Marie’s tour. Kirsten had met Jonas Isacsson in 2013 and wrote a very nice article about him. April also saw the releases of a special limited edition of “The Look” 7″ vinyl to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the single reaching #1 in USA and “The Per Gessle Archives” 7″, both released for the Record Store Day in Sweden. Thanks to Roxette’s management we were able to give away a copy of each of these special releases. Also in April we got to know that Per would release the box “The Per Gessle Archives” containing tons of demos later in September and that the volumes would be gradually digitally released before reaching the release date. And when we thought we could start saving a bit again… the next Roxette world tour was announced! And almost without noticing that so many years have passed by… Roxette Blog turned 5.

In May, Per revealed that, in addition to the box, two books would be released in Autumn: “Songs, Sketches and Reflections” containing his English texts and “Texter, klotter och funderingar” with the Swedish ones. “You Don’t Want Love”, a single by Finnish DJ Heikki L. featuring Per was released this month. We also started a poll to find out which songs Roxette fans would love to hear live during the upcoming tour. The poll ran until September and the results were published October. Our interview with Christoffer Lundquist, done during Marie’s tour, was published.

The first two volumes of Per’s box “Demos & Other Fun Stuff” were digitally released June and we could get an idea of the treasures this box would contain. The video (directed by Jens Jansson) for Per’s cover version of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” finally saw its light. Roxette’s official Facebook page reached 1,5 million likes. Per collaborated with another DJ, Kill FM from Sweden, and wrote the lyrics and composed the melody (topline songwriting it is called, as Per explained) to “Don’t Go Dark“, which is sung by Helena Josefsson. The PLECtionary was updated with some more plecs and we gave away one 2010 Roxette plec, a GT plec and a PG plec. And last but not least, Per finally got his LaFerrari!

On July 23rd Gyllene Tider‘s live DVD was released, just one year after the amazing tour in Sweden. The DVD entered at number 1 on Swedish DVD charts and remained there for three weeks in August. Towards the end of August Per was busy signing thousands of pre-ordered boxes.

TPGA_box_final_designIn September we could finally hold the box and the books in our hands. And even get them signed by Per at the Göteborg book fair; many fans travelled to Göteborg to be able to hear Per speak about songwriting and get the box and the books signed. We also got two books signed by Per for a contest. A non-alcoholic wine (white and rosé – this one only available at Per’s hotel) was added to the The Per Gessle Selection; its initial name was Klunk, but had to be changed due to copyright issues to Fru Nordin (a better name if you ask me!). The website The Per Gessle Archives was launched just on time for the release and volumes 3 and 4 of “Demos & Other Fun Stuff” were also digitally released early this month.

Dea Norberg, who is doing backing vocals for Roxette on tour since 2012, released the EP “Storm” on October 1st and we took the chance to interview her in Stockholm. We also interviewed Per about the books and the box and published the poll results. The top 3 of the poll were: “A Thing About You”, “Almost Unreal”, and “(Do You Get) Excited”. None of these (nor the top 10) could be heard during the first leg of the 30th Anniversary tour, which started in Vladivostok on the 28th but some new tracks were added to the set list: “Real Sugar”, “The Heart Shaped Sea” and “Queen Of Rain”. And we are always happy with new songs! Per and Mats MP Persson attended the BMI London Awards to receive Million-Air Awards for “Listen To Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love” for being played more than 5 million times each. That makes quite a lot of years of the songs being played non-stop!

In November Roxette visited Estonia, Lithuania and finished the tour in Finland. Early this month the European Tour 2015 with 28 dates was announced, so no time to get bored! The ticket sales were a bit more stressful than others, but all in all one can say that most people got what they wanted.roxette

In December, three more shows in Europe and one at the Sydney Opera House were added to the tour. The Per Gessle Selection champagnes were released as well as Kurt & Lisa 2011. And last but not least, the 2014 plectrums were added to the PLECtionary thanks to Per (and Sandra), who sent a bunch of plecs to Sandra and we also got the chance to give away 10 of them (remember you can still participate until January 2nd, 2015!).

While writing such an article you get the feeling that it’s “only” 12 months, but when you go through all the events you realise that everything is possible in this deja-vu and that 12 months is a long period of time. Once again, another year full of events and surprises and great memories one can only be thankful for.

What will 2015 will bring? Here are some open questions! Will we finally find out more about Per’s collaboration with David Guetta? How will the setlist and stage for Roxette’s 2015 concerts look like? How will the song Marie wrote for a film be like? And how will Roxette’s new material be? in which format (EP, album, …)? Will more dates be added to the existing Australia and Europe tour legs? And when will the dates for 2016 be announced? And what about new plecs?

Thank you for reading us one more year! And to the RoxBlog Team: it’s a pleasure working with you! Thank you for your work.

Cheers to a great 2015!

Update 3-1-2015: Article updated with the BMI awards piece of news after Per noted I had forgotten it 😉

Per Gessle interview in Expressen

So now we know, it was Malin Roos from Expressen who did an interview with Per at the Göteborg Book Fair after the pop quiz and signing session, when Per went ”backstage” on 26th September. The interview is a fabulous and entertaining reading.

PG_Expressen_interviewAbout The Per Gessle Archives Per says it took a year to put together the collection, there are so many tapes in boxes and bags and old denim jackets. MP has done an awesome job, finding everything. But it’s not at all complete, there are certainly 70 songs left still. He says if someone is interested in songwriting, it’s fun listening to demos. For those who knows and like Per’s catalogue, it’s quite interesting, but for those, who are not interested in his thing, it’s completely useless, he laughs.

Malin Roos asks Per what he means when he claims it has never been more fun than it is now. Per replied there has been a big driving force in him to succeed in music, he really wanted to. Especially, when the international career started. He says it’s awfully hard to succeed internationally as a Swedish artist, but it was really important for him.

Now, when I start to get old and gray, I have a more relaxed approach. It’s not as important to win as when I was 30. Now I’m doing things more for myself. There is an incredibly lot of material I finished, but I have not even bothered to release. I have had so much fun when I played them in, it’s not as important for me that you hear it.

Per says he is not reading the reviews anymore. People usually tell him what a review says, but he doesn’t read otherwise.

To the question if he is difficult to work with he replied:

No, I don’t think so, but I’m pretty definite about what I want and don’t want to do, and therefore I’m bad at working with the wrong people. I’m pretty bad at customizing stuff. If someone gives me an order for “what they want”, so I do a pretty bad job, but if someone says “do what you want with this” so I probably do something very good.

According to Per, nowadays songwriters are “hired guns”. They have to please a management, a producer, an artist and a record label. He says he has never had to compromise this way. He is the most proud of Roxette that they managed to make their career based in Sweden and not moved to London, LA or New York, as everyone wanted them to do.

Regarding the Roxette tour, Expressen asked if they will top the number of countries (46) they played in during the last tour. Per said there will be at least as many countries. He says there are always new people around and on Facebook one can see that most of them are between the age of 25 and 40, which he thinks is remarkable, considering that he turns 80 soon. [Yeah, Per’s soon. 😉 /PP ]

The reporter asked Per about how many letters he got when he turned 55, since she read in the book he got 2000 when he turned 23. Per said there are different times today, he gets thousand greetings online. So the reporter said then Åsa doesn’t have to check the love letters anymore. Per replied:

No, not so much, but there are some strange letters coming in every now and then.

When Malin Roos asked him how is it growing old with the role of being a charmer or girls’ idol, he replied:

Hm, I don’t know, I’ve never seen myself that way at all. But of course, we are rock stars when we are abroad. If we are going to South America, it is 400-500 people who greet us at the airport. It is in a way unreal, but also a privilege.

Per tells Expressen he’s been lucky to work with his hobby. He has never had to make a decision about what to be when he grew up. He had so much success that he didn’t have to worry about things that ordinary (non-rock star) people have to care about. Like inspecting the car and stuff. Someone else makes it for him.

Malin Roos asked how many times Per has been caught by speeding. First he replied never, but then he remembered one occasion when he was driving a hired car to the studio in Skåne. He was more annoyed about the fact that he was caught in a Toyota and not a Ferrari.

Per was asked about Gabriel, too, if he also outsourced the ”job” of attending parents’ meetings. He said he is an active parent. He is not a rock star for his son, for God’s sake. His family’s life was more based on what he was doing, but when Gabriel was born, everything became different and he got other responsibilities. Of course, sometimes it was more difficult to deal with everyday things, but during the past 7-8 years, Åsa also gained much more own life. She works with design and has her own lamp collection among others. Per says it’s fun.

Expressen asked Per what he invests his money in besides expensive cars. Per replied he lives a pretty normal life. They have a hotel that costs a lot of money. Then there is art and photos.

To the question what is left to do for him what he hasn’t done yet he replied:

I would like to learn to make good pop music.

He says he is not ready and it feels like it’s just the beginning. He feels enormously triggered for each production and project he deals with. He says he’s hardly listening to guitar pop anymore, but he’s rather listening to modern pop music. E.g. Capital Cities “Safe and Sound”, Donkeyboy “Crazy Something Normal”, Ariana Grande “Problem”, Meghan Trainor ” All About That Bass”.

The only CD I have bought this year is Leonard Cohen’s new one, but I haven’t listened to it yet. I can’t find my CD player.

When Per was talking about his LP collection, Expressen asked him what he would save first when there is a fire in his house. He said then he would leave the vinyls and take a nice photo.

I can’t remember any German guy lying on the floor filming Per’s feet (mentioned in the Expressen article), but it would be fun to know what it was good for. 😉

 

The Per Gessle Archives and the books entered the charts

The Per Gessle Archives beauty box entered the Swedish album charts at No. 7 and the Swedish Per Gessle book, Texter, Klotter & Funderingar. Den Svenska Delen entered Bokus’s charts in culture category at No. 14. The English book, Songs, Sketches & Reflections. The English Part is not yet on the charts, but let’s see what happens next week.

If you are still hesitating about buying any or all of these 3 gems, don’t think any further! They are so worth being bought! Check them out e.g. at Bengans, Ginza or CDON!

TPGA_No7_PG_book_swe_No14

Per’s opinion about the box’s position on the charts:

Great news. If you count the number of actual CDs sold last week the PG-Archives sold TEN TIMES MORE than the rest of the Top 10 combined. Unfortunately the CD box counts only as ONE CD…. /P.

Congrats!

The Per Gessle Archives – all volumes are out!

Per Gessle signing the boxes. Photo taken from The Per Gessle Archives Facebook site.
Per Gessle signing the boxes. Photo taken from The Per Gessle Archives Facebook site.

Surprise of the night! Even if the official release date is 24th September, all volumes of The Per Gessle Archives are available already on Spotify and on iTunes (maybe not in all countries yet)! Well, all volumes, except The Roxette Demos!, Vol. 5, which is on a LP in the box and is not planned to be released digitally. At least not in the very near future. Probably more streaming sites will have TPGA, but don’t forget to order the real deal, the box itself! Here you have some possibilities to order it: Bengans, Ginza, CDON. If you were an early bird, you probably pre-ordered the box, so you’ll get your signed copy in some days. Remember to check your signed copy thoroughly, since Per wrote a hidden message on one of them. If you are the lucky one, please, post a photo of your box! We are dying of curiosity! 😉

Check TPGA website for more info on the archives!

The tracklists to all volumes you can see here. The Spotify and iTunes links to each volume:

Demos & Other Fun Stuff! Vol. 1: Spotify   iTunes
Demos & Other Fun Stuff! Vol. 2: Spotify   iTunes
Demos & Other Fun Stuff! Vol. 3: Spotify   iTunes
Demos & Other Fun Stuff! Vol. 4: Spotify   iTunes
Mazarin – demos:                        Spotify   iTunes
En händig man – demos:             Spotify   iTunes
The Roxette demos, Vol. 1:         Spotify   iTunes
The Roxette demos, Vol. 2:         Spotify   iTunes
The Roxette demos, Vol. 3:         Spotify   iTunes
The Roxette demos, Vol. 4:         Spotify   iTunes
The Roxette demos, Vol. 5 (LP – not available digitally)

 

Update on 3rd October:

As Per shared the info in September, he wrote a special “message” on one of the signed boxes. Today it turned out that the special box has a Leif on it besides Per’s signature. The fan who got it, Álex Usero ordered it from Ginza. Great that it’s a hardcore fan who got this special item. Congrats!

The Roxette Demos!, Vol. 2 on Spotify!

TPGA The Roxette Demos Vol 2Last week we got vol. 1 of The Per Gessle Archives The Roxette Demos! and tonite we can’t go to bed without listening to vol. 2 on Spotify. The Roxette Demos!, Vol. 2 (65m 11s demos, 31m 13s conversations) is out! In case it’s not available at you yet, you will have to wait until midnight (your local time).

Check TPGA website for more info on The Roxette Demos!, Vol. 2 and earlier TPGA releases!

The tracklists to all volumes you can see here.

In case you want a signed TPGA box badly, pre-order your copy until 23rd September latest! Hurry up, only 1 week left! The offer is valid at Ginza, Bengans and CDON. The whole huge box of beauties is out on 24th September!