Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – March 2023

After a well-deserved beachtime, skipping one month of being on air on Nordic Rox, Per Gessle is back on the Spectrum with Sven Lindström. Mr. G is taking a break from recording to make this episode with Sven. He is in the studio at the moment. Also preparing for a big summer tour in Sweden with Gyllene Tider, but he says it’s great to be back on the show. Nordic Rox is where it’s at. Sven asks PG what kind of project he is working on right now. Mr. G says right now he is working on some solo material. There will also be a Roxette musical coming out late next year, so he is working on that one as well. There is a movie coming out about Gyllene Tider next summer, so he is keeping himself busy. No peace for the wicked, Sven laughs. Per says it’s good. He just released the PG Roxette album in October last year, so he is still releasing some singles from that one. Some promotion here and there. Sven says as soon as that one is out, they will play it on Nordic Rox. He asks Per when the EP will be available in stores. It’s out mid April and he is preparing some videos and stuff for that one as well.

The March episode has a special where the guys are focusing on a Swedish group called Atomic Swing. They are a great band that started out in the early ’90s. They were big in Sweden, big in Japan.

The first song the guys play is Sven’s band’s new single, Close To You. The only thing he has to say is „here’s Nordic Rox with some good looking music in the shape of Velvet Beat”. After the song is played, Per says Velvet Beat is a Malmö band.

The next track is Gold Rush, new music from Stella Explorer. Then comes Hey Princess by Popsicle. Per thinks it’s a beautiful song. A classic.

Next one is The Loneliest Girl In The World, one of the hits from the PG Roxette album, Pop-Up Dynamo! Sven says they talked about this song earlier, but he is curious how it came about. PG says he doesn’t know, but when he wrote it, he just felt immediately that it’s got a really catchy chorus. He says you feel that in your spine when you are writing songs, when it hits that a chorus is really going somewhere. So he felt immediately that this is going to be a very strong song. He didn’t have a title or any lyric at the time, but it turned out to be the first single off the album. Sven says Per could have written it for Gyllene Tider. They were making an album around the same time. PG reacts that it was a little earlier, but it is sort of the same style, he agrees. The big difference of course is when he works with GT, it’s a very organic band with five people playing all the time, while with PG Roxette everything is programmed. So it’s more like an ’80s-’90s synthesizer based production. Even though the music is quite similar, the end result is pretty different.

Next is Sergels Torg by Veronica Maggio. Sven says it’s always great here on Nordic Rox to grab the chance to polish up your Swedish with the help of Veronica Maggio. Per adds for those who haven’t been to Stockholm that Sergels torg is the big square in the center of town where you are sort of wheeling and dealing, underworld, dark web. Sven adds it’s a place where you can buy this and that.

The Atomic Swing special starts with the guys talking about the band. Sven asks Per if he remembers when they came out. They were formed basically when Roxette were travelling the world in 1992. Atomic Swing made it quite big in Sweden. Per remembers their breakthrough. He liked the band a lot and they sounded pretty different. Per thinks their sound was really fresh. Good songwriting as well and they are a great band with great singers and great arrangements. The first album was a massive success for them. Sven says they made it really big in Sweden and they also broke through in Japan and Australia. Sven thinks the singer, Niclas Frisk has got a special attitude. Nobody else sounds exactly like him and he is also a very good guitarist. Per agrees and says it was a complete band. A really good band and they looked cool too. The first song the guys play from them is Stone Me Into The Groove, their biggest hit from their debut album, A Car Crash In The Blue (1993). The band was definitely influenced by the ’70s, but still there are some new elements to it in their sound. They sound like the ’90s as well. Sven says it’s just like the way Oasis updated the ’60s, to make it into a ’90s thing.

Per thinks that what made Atomic Swing work was that they had good songs. The next one they play, Dream On is an even better song, he thinks. It was a big success for another Swedish artist called Jerry Williams, an old rocker from the ’50s. Atomic Swing made their own version and it’s from another album. They made three albums in the ’90s and split up in 1997, and then they were gone for like 10 years and they reformed to make The Broken Habanas in 2006. Dream On has a wonderful guitar and organ solo where they sort of overlap each other in a wonderful way. Per thinks it’s a great song. He loves the guitar sound and the Hammond thing as well. They used Hammond a lot in the production arrangements. It makes the whole production sound really big.

The next song is also sort of flirting a bit with the ’70s sound. The guys go back to Atomic Swing’s second album called Bossanova Swap Meet. It was released in 1994 and had a track called Soul Free. There is a great little flute melody in the intro. It’s nice. Per thinks flute is a very underrated instrument. You immediately think about Jethro Thull. The flutes were everywhere in the late ’60s, early ’70s and then boom, off they went.

The last Atomic Swing song they play is Lovin’ Out Of Nothing, which Niclas Frisk, the leader of the band wrote together with Swedish singer Titiyo. She released her version in 2004 and it became a big song. A couple of years later, Atomic Swing released their own version on their comeback album, The Broken Habanas. Titiyo’s version is quite different, but it’s a really good song. Per didn’t know that the Atomic Swing had recorded it themselves, but when he heard it, he immediately recognized it of course. Sven was looking for the word „atmospheric” to describe it. Per says why not, it’s a good word.

The guys go back in time to 1995. Sven asks Per what happened in 1995. PG says it’s a long time ago. He was on the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour with Roxette. Sven says in Stockholm, Sweden a young girl was recording her debut album. He talks about Robyn and plays Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect) from her.

Hollow Talk is next by Choir Of Young Believers, a Danish one man band. It was the theme song for The Bridge TV series. Great TV series, Per thinks. Sven also thinks it’s very cool and it turns out Per didn’t see the last two episodes, because for some reason they stopped showing it on the network. That’s what you call a cliffhanger, Sven laughs. Per says he has to do something about that. Haha.

The guys wrap up, thank the listeners for joining them and Cigarettes by Anita Lindblom is closing the show.

Still is from the Bag of Trix comment videos recorded by Anders Roos.

Thanks for your support, Sven!

Per Gessle and Magnus Börjeson discuss ”Station to Station” on Bowiepodden

A Swedish David Bowie podcast, Bowiepodden invited Per Gessle and Magnus Börjeson to discuss David Bowie’s Station to Station album. The conversation was recorded at T&A in December 2022 and the guys talked about the album track by track. Listen to it HERE!

After the podcast host, Sebastian Borg welcomes Per and Magnus, he turns to Per and asks him about when Station to Station came into his life. Mr. G says it happened as soon as it came out at the beginning of 1976. He has always listened to David Bowie a lot and followed him. He attended the Station to Station tour at Scandinavium. He remembers they went there with a group and wore platform shoes, because they thought it was appropriate. Then they were a little disappointed when David Bowie entered the stage looking like Frank Sinatra. Haha. There was also Luis Buñuel’s short film, Un Chien Andalou shown, but it was a fantastic concert, Per thinks. Sebastian can imagine it was magical. Mr. G agrees that Bowie was magical. Sebastian thinks Per was the right age to be a Bowie fan. PG was 17 at the time. On the other hand, Per says these albums from 1976 still sound depressive in a way. Destroyer by Kiss is probably the worst. Hejira by Joni Mitchell was quite good, although it was complicated. You can’t miss Hotel California by the Eagles, but it didn’t mean much.

Per says when he was 11 or 12, he bought New Musical Express and Melody Maker every week and sometimes he bought Goal which was about English football. Magnus adds Per probably bought Buster (sport comic magazine) too. Per says indeed, he forgot about that one. Mr. G remembers that there were a lot of pictures of Bowie all the time. Bowie usually travelled by train, he was afraid of flying. Also, you heard that he stocked his urine in the fridge. It was quite a tough time. ”Or a good PR campaign”, Magnus adds. He thinks you have to take it with a pinch of salt, like everything. Sebastian thinks the whole myth-making around how decadently Bowie lived had an impact on him when he discovered the album long afterwards. He feels like it can’t be removed from the music and sometimes he would just like to listen to it without knowing any background to it. Magnus thinks the album is a bit detached. Per agrees and he adds it has very complex texts and there were no texts printed on the sleeve and there was no internet back then. So you didn’t understand it all, all this weird stuff he referred to, especially in the title track. You don’t exactly understand it even when you read it. Magnus says he has read through it a hundred times, but he has got only half of the answers still. Sebastian says you need to have Wikipedia available when you want to keep up.

Per says there is a book called Bowie Books. He collected books and it’s a book about 100 books that were most influential in his life and there is a lot of stuff he refers to in his texts. Sebastian says Bowie was a bookworm, he read a lot. Sebastian thinks it might not be that interesting to dig into why Bowie did things. He thinks it makes perfect sense that Bowie buried these and also his fascination with Hitler. Sebastian feels a bit that it is a storm in a glass of water, because it’s clear that at some point you are interested in those powers. Magnus says Sid Vicious had Nazi ties back in the days. It was the easiest way in England to provoke at that time. There is a PR element in all this, you have to remember that. After the war, it was so present. It was there all the time. Per says that after Woodstock and the Summer of Love, it feels like the ’70s itself was a real mess if you look at Pasolini, books, music, fashion and everything. Sebastian says he read someone who wrote that Bowie was like a roll of film exposed to too much light, because he was good at taking in all the impressions at the same time.

He was so extremely receptive. There were talks about drug abuse and using drugs, his main thing was cocaine. If he had gone hard for heroin, then he might not have survived. Sebastian feels that Bowie didn’t take drugs for partying and hogwash, but because of being extremely productive. So he had it more as a fuel to endure. He wanted to make music, he wanted to read, he wanted to write, he always had a thousand ideas going on. He was also quite isolated. He didn’t meet many people at the time and mostly hung out with himself and his musicians. There is a story about him putting up little piles of cocaine in the studio in different places, so that he doesn’t have to stretch so far if he was sitting by the piano for example. Magnus inserts it was the same with Fleetwood Mac. That was a Los Angeles thing.

Sebastian adds that Bowie also wanted to keep away from rock at this time. He had already done Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs. Sebastian has a quote where Bowie says himself: „I was absolutely infuriated that I was still in rock ‘n’ roll. And not only in it, but had been sucked right into the centre of it. I had to move out. I never intended to be so involved in rock and roll… and there I was in Los Angeles, right in the middle of it.” Sebastian thinks you can feel very clearly that this is a transition album and it’s not so rocky. It has really come a long way from the Ziggy Stardust sound. Per says if this record had come out today, he wouldn’t have listened to it at all. You gave records so much more time in the old days. Magnus adds that this record needs much time. He listened to it so much on a cassette in a car he had one summer. It always went on and after a while he thought, wait, this is damn good. But in the beginning, listening to this long, long, long intro, was not the best thing in the traffic. Per says it’s better to listen to it in your bed with your headphones on. Mr. G thinks it’s not a fantastic album. He thinks there are elements in Stay, for example, or TVC 15 that are damn good, but the other 5 minutes they could have edited a bit more, to make it more effective. Station to Station, the song itself is extremely protracted. Sebastian says that’s a typical cocaine impact. PG says he never liked Word in a Wing at all. Wild Is the Wind was his favourite, because that was a real song.

Sebastian thinks that a large part of the album’s sound and Bowie’s songwriting was also characterized by the fact that he was in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth. Actually, he wanted to make the music for it, he wrote a lot of music. Magnus says Bowie got super pissed off when they didn’t use it in the end. It was John Phillips from The Mamas & the Papas who got to do the soundtrack instead. Sebastian says he hasn’t seen that movie earlier, but he gave it a chance now before this conversation. An alien, Newton comes down to civilization, trying to find water is the storyline, but it’s a bit loose. And that’s how the sound is on Station to Station too. The cover of the album is a still from the movie.

Magnus says that Bowie got the world’s best partner on this record, producer Harry Maslin, who is so extremely underrated and not talked about. Per says Harry produced 2 albums of Bowie, Young Americans and Station to Station. He also produced Air Supply. Sebastian says Young Americans is also much Tony Visconti, but for example, Fame was produced by Harry and David, without Tony.

Per says it’s true that the sound of Young Americans is very different to Station to Station. There is a distance, STS is a little more metallic, a little cold. Magnus says it’s hard to get into it. PG says when the lead single, Golden Years was released, it was very surprising. He gave it like 30 chances and then finally put it away. It’s not an obvious single right away. For Magnus it was in the late ’80s when he discovered it and started listening to it. It was after Ashes to Ashes, so it was another Bowie.

As a fun fact, Sebastian mentions that Bowie was together with a designer named Ola Hudson who had a son who later became famous as Slash. So Bowie nursed little Slash. His real name is Saul Hudson.

The guys here get down to this epic album, which opens with Bowie’s longest song in his career, Station to Station. When the intro starts, Per says here comes the train. Magnus asks if this was the sound that was during the movie screening. Per says no, the whole concert started with this train and then it was Earl Slick standing in the front of stage doing the intro. Bowie was standing at another place and started singing [here Per demonstrates how deep his voice was] „the return…” It was fantastic.

Still listening to the intro, Per says you would like them to sprout up the song a little bit, get a little tough. Magnus says maybe that was cocaine. PG says, but then it should be fast. There is a little turn though, but you feel like it’s at 4 BPM. It gets a little faster, Per says. Magnus adds you get the reward when Bowie starts singing. Sebastian says the singing starts only 3 minutes 16 seconds into the song, so it’s a massive intro. From the first lines you get a little goosebumps, but musically, it could have been more cheeky. At one point Per asks Magnus what instrument is the one that comes. Magnus thinks it’s melodica, but he is not sure. Per says it sounds like being played with the mouth, so it can be. Sebastian says that when he heard this song for the first time it was at KB in Malmö. A Bowie tribute band was playing with Fredrik Karlsson. The opening lines were inspired by Aleister Crowley, an occultist about whom there is a story that he lured a young couple into his apartment and terrorised them until they died.

Sebastian thinks that there is something strange about the „return” of the Thin White Duke, because it was the first time we heard about him. Who is this guy that he was apparently talking about? Magnus says these characters always come back and descend and come back to take over. It was the same with Ziggy. Per says Bowie is such a storyteller in his lyrics. There aren’t many love lyrics in David Bowie’s catalogue. Per can’t even remember if there is any. Wild is the Wind has beautiful love lyrics, but it’s not Bowie’s song. All the lyrics are about… it’s impossible to say what they are about. Sebastian feels like this is Bowie’s way of tying together a lot of song ideas. It’s a little patchwork that applies to songs like this that have many parts in them. Like a symphony. Magnus says it kind of has a small connection to symphonic rock. It’s not symphonic rock at all, but the form is close. It was big back then. Such super pop people like McCartney did a lot of this sort of thing and there were other bands that made a whole career out of doing it.

Sebastian thinks the intro is magical. Maybe a bit too long, but the second half of the song brings him to Young Americans land. The transition isn’t that pretty. Per and Magnus think differently. They think it’s damn good. Sebastian thinks it’s a bit Jethro Tullish. Per thinks this part is in the song’s DNA. Sebastian thought about comparing it a bit to the title song on Blackstar, because it was also almost 10 minutes long. It’s funny that Blackstar was actually over 10 minutes, but they had to cut it down to 9 min 57 sec, because iTunes didn’t sell singles that were over 10 minutes.

Sebastian thinks Blackstar works better. The parts there fit together more neatly. Regarding why these songs have to be so long, Carlos Alomar talked about it in an interview. It was because he found out on Station to Station that they pay you extra money if your song is longer than three minutes. So it was because of more money.

Sebastian thinks there is a lot to talk about in terms of Station to Station‘s lyrics. They don’t need to talk about every single line, because it’s almost too much, but there are some things that are very interesting. For example, Bowie sings „such is the stuff from where dreams are woven” from The Tempest by Shakespeare.

Above all, he was into Kabbalah and there is this mysticism. It’s dark, but it feels pretty harmless. Then he sings „here are we one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth”. Sebastian says it was hard for him to figure this out without internet. Per agrees that it’s difficult to understand that. He looked it up on the internet too, but he must have forgotten it. It is a reference to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, where Malkuth is the lowest branch and represents the physical world. Kether is on the top of the Tree of Life. It means crown. Life is a journey from one to the other.

Talking about the title, Station to Station for Sebastian it has a train reference, but it’s not really. He thinks Bowie is referring to the Stations of the Cross. It also fits better. The journey goes from station to station, he is on his way from the dark to the light. But it’s a bit misleading that they start with train sounds. So it can be both. Per has always thought that it’s Bowie’s life, he is on his way, but from A to B or from A to F and it’s really wonderful, simple and effective to illustrate it with a train. It could be a boat or any other vehicle, but it’s also like a mental journey. Magnus says Bowie always had a lot of themes going on at the same time, overlapping one another. It might be a dream game. It’s just that things go on and on and on. Per thinks that is the magic of pop and rock music in general, that you can interpret texts in so many ways. Sometimes you can think that it’s all about you. Of course it isn’t, but you interpret it that way and that’s the power of this. Magnus says texts should stand on their own. They can always rest in the music and you can just throw in a line to hold it together. If you have listened to a song a lot, you’ll eventually get into the lyrics too. Every now and then it starts to stick and then you try to draw your own logical conclusions.

Sebastian says that in the lyrics, Bowie was very figurative and has poetic descriptions that are now quite straight to the point when he sings „it’s not the side effects of cocaine, I’m thinking that it must be love”. Magnus says it was one of these lines that you were hooked at first, but that was it.

Sebastian says that Bowie’s texts are not really why he bought a ticket for. They are hard to understand. Per agrees. Magnus thinks these texts do work, but on a much more subconscious level. Sebastian doesn’t like this song as wholeheartedly as everyone else. He thinks some parts are better than others. He is curious if this is one of Per’s favourite Bowie songs. PG thinks it’s really good. It’s long, but he has listened to it a lot. As he said, he was 17 years old when it came out and that’s exactly when he really listened the most for the music.

Magnus says he was maybe 20 when he started listening to this record. Per thinks it’s very difficult to say which are Bowie’s best songs. It depends a little on what you are out for. He thinks Life on Mars? is fantastic, even though it is from a certain angle. Drive-In Saturday from Aladdin Sane he loves. It’s one of his strangest songs. Time Will Crawl is also a fantastic one.

Regarding Station to Station, Sebastian says he tried to get into it. He listened to it closely, listened to it a little less closely, but he can’t get over the fact that for him it’s a little too much of a collection of song ideas that he doesn’t think fit together. He can’t see what everyone else is seeing or can’t really hear what everyone else is really hearing. Per says it helped a lot for him that he listened to it when it came out. Back then you gave music so much more time to get into it and like it. If it had come out today, PG would have never listened to it. Magnus says that back then, you’d never heard a song like that before, but today you don’t have that patience with music. Per adds that it was also the case that everything that came out then was new. It felt new.

Mr. G remembers that when he heard stereo for the first time in the headphones, it was fantastic to experience it. Magnus says it was like a new dimension. Per explains we don’t live in such a time anymore. Today there is such a huge range of everything.

Magnus says it’s so funny that even if Bowie is supposed to be experimental, there is always this damn boogie. Both Per and Magnus demonstrate what they mean by boogie. It’s also there on Heroes. That’s what makes it so cool that you get 2 dimensions.

Golden Years is the next song the guys are talking about. These kind of songs are Sebastian’s type of pop songs. He really loves these pop singles and this, of course, was the lead single and it came out before the album was released.

Per thinks it’s quite lovely to hear a live band that plays funk and soul. It doesn’t exist anymore. Today everything is fixed. Sebastian thinks that this is like a groove and it has different perfect guitar parts that sync up so very well. It’s almost like a duel between two guitarists.

Magnus says it’s also very much the ’70s, where everything is a bit messy. Then there is Let’s Dance in the ’80s, but that record is super swingy in its own way and is organized in a completely different way.

Per says he hears a little Elvis echo on here. Magnus says Bowie wrote it with Elvis in mind. Per says he can’t hear Elvis doing it actually. Sebastian confirms that Bowie indeed thought that Elvis might be interested in doing that. Bowie also forwarded it to Presley’s management, but as far as Sebastian knows, he never got a yes or no from them. He doesn’t even think that Colonel Parker passed it on. Sebastian can hear it with Elvis and thinks it would have been cool if he sang it.

It resonates like the electronic music that Kraftwerk were doing, but not as swinging. Sebastian thinks that songs like this must be hard to learn. It feels natural when you hear it, but if you were to stand alone and try to keep up, you would lose track. Sebastian thinks a bit of Beyoncé, too, having such songs where everything is connected. Sebastian is just very grateful that he doesn’t have to learn the formula.

According to Sebastian, the inspiration for this one apparently came from a song called Happy Years by The Diamonds, but there is also a song called Funky Broadway by The Blazers. Sebastian rather thinks that Carlos Alomar was probably right when he said that it came from when Bowie wanted to do something in the style of On Broadway. He also sings a line from On Broadway on Aladdin Sane on the outro. Per says the song jumps out on the album, because it’s rather commercial. Magnus thinks it’s an obvious single. Per agrees.

Sebastian says that Bowie’s childhood friend, Geoff MacCormack has a big role here. Bowie had some problem with his voice during the recording, so Geoff had to sing some parts. It was his idea to add „run for the shadows” as backing vocals. You would think it’s Bowie singing, but it’s Geoff. Sebastian tried to separate their vocals. Per thinks that when Bowie sang live, his singing was perfectly clear, everything was fantastic. PG has never heard him sing out of tune. Sebastian says that it’s strange that Bowie didn’t play this song live from 1983. He wonders if it could have been something with the key, something that made it difficult to sing it. Mr. G says it’s very falsetto. Magnus says he knows they usually liked to keep first takes on the records. It was almost always the case. According to Sebastian, it is said that if you can sing clearly, you can also whistle clearly. He doesn’t know who is whistling here, but it’s just perfect.

Magnus says it’s so much fun to hear vocals from the time before all became so fixed. We are reminded how exciting it can be with singing. Per says he understands that if you sing out of tune or you make a mistake you can correct it now, but if you have the vocal capacity like Bowie, you wouldn’t want these voices to be autotuned.

Sebastian says drummer Dennis Davis plays wonderfully on the whole album, but here he is in his element. The band is in its full power on this song. It’s so incredibly good, it’s so far from swinging. Sebastian thinks this mixture is so perfect, the black band, the white music. Per and Magnus also find it awesome.

Sebastian says this song is not as long as some of the others, but 4 minutes is about right. Magnus says they got more money for this length too. Haha.

The guys start talking about what the song is about. Sebastian thinks there are lines that are either about Angie Bowie or about Bowie’s girlfriend, Ava Cherry. At the same time, as Bowie said himself, he wrote this with Elvis in mind, so who knows. Per doesn’t think it’s about anything special. It’s that you can interpret it in so many ways. He thinks it sounds pretty nice. The song came about very quickly, Sebastian says.

Now the guys are at the last song on side A, Word on a Wing. Sebastian loves that tentative piano that feels like testing the sound. He is also very fond of how Bowie starts singing. Per thinks it’s the world’s strangest arrangement. He never liked this song and always skipped it. He never liked the melody, the construction of the song. Sebastian likes it quite a lot, but he realized that he wouldn’t like it if it wasn’t written by Bowie. Then he would think it’s too buttery. He maybe also has a little difficulty, because there is a very Christian message in it. Sebastian chose to see it as a love song that might as well be a tribute to a woman, but the consensus seems to be that it’s Bowie who turned towards Christianity or religion in general. He himself had never really been an outspoken Christian like Dylan in a period. Here Bowie sings „Just because I believe, don’t mean I don’t think as well / Don’t have to question everything / In heaven or hell”.

Sebastian says that it’s said that you become more religious by getting older. Per says once again that he thinks people put in so many interpretations. Bowie was probably just looking for a good rhyming word with „well” and found „hell”. Haha.

Sebastian reads Bowie’s words: „I had never been so near an abyss of total abandonment. When they say that one felt like a shell, an empty shell, I can really understand that. I felt that any of life’s intrusions would crush that shell very easily. I felt totally, absolutely alone. And I probably was alone because I pretty much had abandoned God.” A couple of years later, in 1980 he says: „There was a point when I very nearly got suckered into that narrow sort of looking… finding the cross as the salvation of mankind.” Sebastian says that here Bowie admits a little that he had at least opened up the idea that there could be salvation in God, but quite quickly realized that it wasn’t for him. Although he was wearing a cross on his necklace throughout his career. He wasn’t an outspoken religious person, but an intellectual. Sebastian says he is not a convinced atheist, but he has a hard time when there are Christian messages like this in a text, but he chose to ignore it and like the song anyway. Magnus thinks that Bowie sings so terribly well and he can do these super theatrical things that still don’t make it too ridiculous. It gets a little ridiculous and good at the same time.

Per says that in the ’80s and ’90s Bowie’s music became so tough and so harsh that his voice disappeared. Earlier PG mentioned Time Will Crawl and he thinks Bowie sings amazingly on that one, but he also has a lot of resistance. The production is so powerful that he kind of has to push through it.

Sebastian thinks the drum accompaniment is strange, some double beats are a strange choice by Dennis. Then comes the part where Sebastian says this is the only song he has a little difficulty with and that’s when you go into this so-called chorus. There’s something about the falsetto that doesn’t work for him right here. Per and Magnus think it’s nice. Sebastian realizes that he and the guys think a little differently all the time. Haha.

Sebastian says if you want to hear a little Springsteen in a Bowie song, here it is. It’s Springsteen’s pianist, Roy Bittan playing here. Sebastian thinks the song as a composition feels a little Springsteenish. Magnus has never thought about it. Per says Bowie recorded Springsteen songs as well, e.g. It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City. Sebastian has never seen Bowie as being inspired by Springsteen, but he has seen Bowie as someone who looked up to Springsteen musically. Magnus thinks they were contemporaries, but they were completely different. Sebastian feels a little Springsteen vibe in this song, but he doesn’t know Springsteen too well. Per says maybe it’s only because Roy Bittan sits at the piano. Sebastian feels that at parts there is a little too much space for the piano. Per agrees, but says it let’s Bowie relax a bit. Sebastian played with the thought that this is what it would be like if pianist Mike Garson was on this record. Per says there wouldn’t be less space for the piano then. The guys are laughing. It became a bit more theatrical and Garson didn’t really fit.

Sebastian says there is this instrument at the end of the song, a Chamberlin. Per thinks it sounds a bit like a Mellotron. Magnus explains it’s almost the same thing. Mellotron was used a lot in Bowie’s songs.

The guys get down to side B and start talking about TVC 15. Sebastian says it was this song that Roy Bittan was invited to play on, it was only meant to be on this one, and then he stayed and played on all the songs except Wild Is the Wind. Bittan had just recorded Born to Run and Bowie mentioned he was looking for someone who could play like Professor Longhair. So David asked Roy if he knew Professor Longhair and he did, of course. Sebastian thinks the intro is very similar to Hey Now Baby by Professor Longhair. Per says there was Elton John and Leon Russell who played this New Orleans style, so to say, Magnus adds Dr. John.

Sebastian says even this „oh-oh-oh-oh” you can find in a song by The Yardbirds, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. So it also sounds like it had been borrowed, but if you were to look in the history of music, you would find quite many of such things and that’s totally fine. Magnus says Bowie was a filter for all this stuff that was in the air at that time. That happens today too, lifting the vibe from another song and stuff like that. It has always been so, just we didn’t know about it before.

Sebastian loves this chaotic soundscape. Per says you hear a little of that guitar chaos that came later with Robert Fripp. There are no keynotes anymore. Magnus says it’s like trying to get through a chaos. PG says it sounds a bit like how the test picture looks on TV.

Sebastian says the sound pattern creates the airiness that then enters into this wonderful transition part. Per says it’s empty, but it’s fun. Magnus thinks it’s damn good.

This song also became a single, Mr. G says. He thinks that if they had skipped Roy Bittan’s intro, it could have been a very effective single.

Sebastian says that the lyrics were inspired by a dream that Iggy Pop told Bowie. He had dreamed that his girlfriend was eaten by a TV. Apparently, TVC 15 is a TV model. Sebastian doesn’t know more than that. The text can actually be read as a narrative. After all, there is a story and it’s a bit twisted.

Sebastian says that according to Maslin, the mixing was a nightmare with the very many different parts. So he had to make sections by the help of an assistant and then cut it together. You don’t work like that today. They had a 24-track tape, which was also a lot at the time and all the tracks were full of different instruments, so it must have been tough to mix them. Bowie wasn’t involved in the mixing at all. He kind of let them take care of it.

Sebastian thinks it’s one of the highlights on the record. It’s one of Bowie’s classics, one might say.

The guys go into song number 5 called Stay, which was a single in the US. Per thinks it’s amazingly good. It’s enormously good according to Magnus too. Sebastian was sure that the guys would say this. He is a guitarist himself, so he should like the intro, but… he will try. He feels like it could be something that John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers could have come up with. It feels like a punk riff.

Per has always thought that this intro is promising so much, but then nothing comes out of it. Magnus also thought the same, that it was just building and building, then nothing. Sebastian says it could be half the length, because half of it is just guitars. Per thinks it wouldn’t have gone wrong with a nice melody. It could have been a big hit.

At a point, Sebastian says this is a reworking of John, I’m Only Dancing (Again). Bowie never released it on any record. Per says it sounds like the Young Americans sessions. It’s not that good, but it’s very similar to Stay. Sebastian says it’s the same chords and same arrangement. John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) is also insanely long. It’s 7 minutes.

Sebastian has a clip here with Carlos Alomar where he tells a little about Stay. Stay is John, I’m Only Dancing. The music is the same. Bowie said: „Hey, Carlos, I have a great song. Could you have a new arrangement of that song for me?” And that was it, he got this all new song by changing the lyrics. Sebastian says the album consists of six songs of which one is a cover and this one is a reworking of another song. Sebastian says Bowie started working more and more with soundscapes, ambient pieces and that was of course because he wanted to, but also because he couldn’t write songs. Per says that you can hear that he is moving more and more away from melodies. These are not really songs, but grooves. Sebastian agrees, it feels like he was writing less and less compositions in the way he had done before as a songwriter. Magnus thinks it was a bit like Bowie had ideas, came to the studio and he had the world’s best band and then he wanted to see what they can make out of his ideas.

Per says Bowie is singing amazingly here. There is a fantastic groove to it. Sebastian says that from 3 minutes 50 seconds into the song there is nothing interesting to him anymore. Per can imagine it was very good live. He thinks this part is pretty good, it’s better than the melody. Magnus also thinks it’s fantastic. It sounds like they had much fun.

Here comes the last song on the record, a cover, Wild Is the Wind. Per thinks it’s magical. Sebastian thinks the intro sounds so soft and lovely. It’s also nice that the acoustic guitar comes in. He also thinks that it sounds like this could have been mixed by Tony Visconti. There is something about the drum that sounds differently. It sounds a bit like a Bond song. Per says when there is a really good song on the record, it really pops out. This is really magical music. Bowie sings just amazingly. PG has always thought it’s Bowie’s best vocal performance. Sebastian read it at several places that this is considered as his best and he himself thought so too. Bowie was extremely satisfied with this one.

Per says there is a little slip in there, which is like what you have in Golden Years too. He thinks it is so very attractive. Sebastian says Bowie even got a compliment from Frank Sinatra who came by the studio. He was recording in another part of the building and heard this version and was very appreciative. Magnus says it started with Nina Simone’s version of the song. Sebastian adds that originally, it’s a cover of a song sung by Johnny Mathis for a movie Wild Is the Wind. That version was nominated for an Oscar and peaked at number 22 on Billboard. It was a hit. But it’s Nina Simone’s cover that Bowie actually covers on the album. He was very fond of that version. Bowie and Simone were friends. They had met at some club in 1974 and talked a bit and then later that night Bowie called her at 3 am and wanted to talk a little. According to Nina, the first thing he said was: „The first thing I want you to know is that you’re not crazy. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re crazy, because where you’re coming from, there are very few of us out there.”

Nina Simone told in interviews that Bowie didn’t think he himself was a talented or a particularly good singer, which feels so damn strange, Sebastian says. What Bowie said was „I wasn’t a genius, but I planned, I wanted to be a rock-and-roll singer and I just got the right formula.”

Sebastian thinks that one can understand why Bowie got stuck with this song and this is one of the rare cases of Bowie choosing a cover which is absolutely perfect, because he sometimes had extremely strange and boring choices and here he really does a good version, not just a carbon copy.

Per says it would be interesting to know why he chose a cover. Maybe he felt he didn’t have enough material. This song is a rather odd choice on the album. He heard an interview with Nile Rodgers where he talked about Let’s Dance. He said there wasn’t much coming from Bowie what to make with the songs, but it kind of was like „can you do something about this?” That’s how Let’s Dance and Modern Love were produced. Bowie probably never saw himself as a songwriter like Elton John. It just strikes Per right now that it could be one of the reasons of doing the Pin Ups album to gain time. He didn’t have time. He planned to do an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, but he was denied the rights, then he was busy with the ambitions to make Diamond Dogs. Sebastian thinks so too. The record company also wanted to strike while the iron was hot, so he could gain time.

Sebastian feels that Station to Station is an album of a rather searching and slightly confused Bowie who still manages to do something that is so comprehensive. Even if the record may not have hit Sebastian the way it would have if he was 16 or 17 when it came out, it’s impressive that Bowie somehow manages to get out of this state he was in. Of course, to a large extent it’s thanks to that now he had great musicians and had a machine that controlled things, but he didn’t care that he was in the studio working and toiling. He wasn’t out there rumbling around like Morrison or Zeppelin. But he realized that somewhere around here he had to find his way out of LA and go further. He was damn lucky that he made that step, because Sebastian thinks Bowie wouldn’t have survived otherwise.

Magnus thinks it’s really incredible that he made a record like this when he was in that state. Even he himself couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

Sebastian feels like this is Bowie’s journey, that he sort of makes his way from the darkest dark up through to lights. The ending is amazing, a positive, beautiful song. It’s a big difference from how the album starts. Magnus says Bowie is really like a Renaissance man.

Per says he met Bowie in 1983 on the Serious Moonlight Tour. PG got down to Lyon, France and had the honor of meeting David. Magnus asks if it was at that gig. PG says yes and it was fantastic. He was blonde of course and he had a pastel coloured suit on. He looked amazing. Per was 23, it was the year after Sommartider. So it was a „hej hej, good luck” before the concert. PG was impressed because Bowie had an environmental manager, a girl who built up those ugly dressing rooms including furniture and stuff.

With this, the conversation comes to an end. Sebastian says a big thank you to Magnus and Per for joining him and he also thanks MP to let him sit in his studio, Tits & Ass in Halmstad and lent them his equipment and the studio itself.

Picture is from Bowiepodden

Per Gessle releases Wrecking Ball and updates Party Crasher

Per decided to celebrate this year’s peegeebeeday by sharing a so far unreleased song of his and update the Party Crasher album on streaming services to include all tracks that belong to PC. Wrecking Ball became a killed darling when the album came out in 2008, but in the EPK we could see part of the lyrics of this song (11m 38s into the video). WB was written on 10th October 2007.

We could get used to the fact that no tracks remain in the can forever in PG’s laboratory and actually, this song we already had the chance to enjoy in another form. Thanks to the many branches of Mr. G’s project tree, part of the lyrics had been recycled by Dr. Robot for Mono Mind in Have Another Go, to which new music was written on 7th December 2013 in Halmstad.

The three additional songs in the Party Crasher family are Theme From “Roberta Right” (released on the Sing Along single previously), I’m Glad You Called and Silly Really (Right Into Your Bed Remix) (remix by Dick Mixon). These latter two were released as bonus tracks on the iTunes deluxe edition back in the days.

Listen to the album on Spotify, YouTube or any other streaming service.

Tracklist of the updated Party Crasher streaming

  1. Silly Really
  2. The Party Pleaser
  3. Stuck Here With Me
  4. Sing Along
  5. Gut Feeling
  6. Perfect Excuse
  7. Breathe Life Into Me
  8. Hey, I Died And Went To Heaven
  9. Kissing Is The Key
  10. Thai With A Twist
  11. I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On
  12. Doesn’t Make Sense
  13. Wrecking Ball
  14. Theme From “Roberta Right”
  15. I’m Glad You Called (AGM – May 5-7, 2008)
  16. Silly Really (Right Into Your Bed Remix)

Wrecking Ball

There’s a neverending line of funny people to watch
Here’s another cup of coffee that I put my trust in
Have another go you gotta go it’s time to move on

There’s hardly any reason to get oversentimental
Some days are really kinda overrated anyway yea
Have another go you gotta go you’d better move on

You hit my head like a wrecking ball
You hit the head you’re a wrecking ball
How could anything remain the same
When I can’t even recall my name?

Whatever happened to the ordinary record store?
I know so many songs referring to you anyway yea
If you want it I can pour them on the table and cry

There’s hardly any reason to get oversentimental
Some days are really kinda overrated anyway yea
Have another go you gotta go you’d better supply

You hit my head like a wrecking ball
You hit my bed you’re a wrecking ball
It would be easy to locate my grave
If I only could recall my name

Pretty much like a wrecking ball
Got quite a touch you’re a wrecking ball
I’ll be forgotten with the setting sun
I wish this conversation came undone

You hit my head like a wrecking ball
A bit like lead you’re a wrecking ball
It would be easy to locate my grave
If I only could recall my name

Pretty much like a wrecking ball
Got quite a touch you’re a wrecking ball
I will never ever be the one
I wish this conversation came undone

Words + Music by Per Gessle
© Jimmy Fun Music

This is a mash-up PC cover by PP. Not official, just for fun, of course.

Roxette on MTV Unplugged – 30th anniversary

MTV’s acclaimed music series, MTV Unplugged premiered in 1989 and it showcased top artists in the industry performing acoustic versions of their songs. Roxette was the first non-native English speaker band invited. It was a fantastic opportunity for Roxette to show their qualities as a live band to a large audience worldwide. They recorded their show live at Cirkus in Stockholm, Sweden on 9th January 1993 and it was broadcast during MTV’s Roxette Weekend on 20th and 21st February, then on Swedish TV a week later.

Per says in the Att vara Per Gessle book:

It was good for our self-confidence to do the songs acoustically. The sound on the studio versions was based almost exclusively on production technology, but it was still quite easy to strip the songs down and play them in a natural way. And that probably affected the way we approached the new record [Crash! Boom! Bang!]. We wanted to tone down some of the technical stuff and find a more organic sound.

The gang

Lead vocals: Marie Fredriksson
Acoustic guitar & lead vocals: Per Gessle
Drums, percussion & Samsonite suitcase: Pelle Alsing
Backing vocals, accordion & mandolin: Vicki Benckert
Acoustic bass: Anders Herrlin
Acoustic guitar: Jonas Isacsson
Piano & pump organ: Clarence Öfwerman
Backing vocals, percussion & glockenspiel: Staffan Öfwerman

3 songs from the set – Joyride, The Look and Dangerous – were released on Roxette’s Rarities album in 1995, but for the rest we had to wait until their 20th anniversary in 2006 when they released the entire performance on a DVD in The RoxBox / Roxette 86–06 box set.

The 53-minute-long concert – 12 tracks + 3 short interview parts – on the DVD was what anyone could watch on MTV. The 8 bonus tracks weren’t on TV, they saw the light of day only on the 2006 release.

Setlist (they played the songs in this order originally)

  1. Dangerous
  2. Hotblooded
  3. Spending My Time
  4. The Heart Shaped Sea
  5. Fingertips
  6. Cry
  7. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Aretha Franklin cover)
  8. Heart Of Gold (Neil Young cover)
  9. Surrender
  10. It Must Have Been Love
  11. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (The Byrds cover)
  12. Watercolours In The Rain
  13. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)
  14. Here Comes The Weekend
  15. The Look
  16. Perfect Day


  1. Listen To Your Heart
  2. Church Of Your Heart
  3. Joyride
  4. Queen Of Rain

There would have been a second encore with Things Will Never Be The Same, The Big L. and So Far Away, but unfortunately, it never happened.

DVD setlist on the RoxBox

  1. The Look
  2. Queen Of Rain
  3. Hotblooded
  4. Interview
  5. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Aretha Franklin cover)
  6. It Must Have Been Love
  7. Fingertips
  8. Interview
  9. Heart Of Gold (Neil Young cover)
  10. Church Of Your Heart
  11. Listen To Your Heart
  12. Interview
  13. Here Comes The Weekend
  14. Joyride
  15. So You Wanna Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (The Byrds cover)


  1. Dangerous
  2. Spending My Time
  3. The Heart Shaped Sea
  4. Cry
  5. Watercolours In The Rain
  6. Surrender
  7. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)
  8. Perfect Day

Now, 30 years later, it would just be amazing to have this gem on streaming services. Both as audio and video. Maybe one day?

Stills are from the DVD.

Photo from the press conference shows Brian Diamond, MTV Europe Executive Producer and Monica Eek, Head of Entertainment at Swedish TV next to Marie and Per.

Micke Syd Andersson about Gyllene Tider on Norwegian podcast

Micke Syd was a guest on Oppland Arbeiderblad’s podcast, Backstage the other day. It’s a Norwegian podcast, so the questions were asked in Norwegian, the answers were given in Swedish. Since these two languages are so close to each other, there is no need for an interpreter to understand each other. Here comes the English transcript of the chat between Micke and Frode Hermanrud. Listen to the podcast HERE!

Gyllene Tider had a concert in Gjøvik on the Moderna Tider tour in 1981, so a bit more than 40 years ago. Micke says it’s a lot and he informs that they are going back to Finland also after more than 40 years on this next tour. He says it’s great to come back and say hello. When GT was there last time, 41 years ago, the reviewer wasn’t too happy, Micke says. He explains he got a clipping of a review from Frode and from that he sees that the reviewer didn’t think GT was that good. Frode reads from the review that the music goes straight to the heart of teenagers in the Nordic region, it’s built on worn-out clichés with lyrics that address youth love and all its variants. „Jag vill känna din kropp emot min…”. It can’t be Swedish top music and the vocalist wasn’t shining either. Micke laughs and says here we are 41 years later and the singer has had three careers and GT is still there. He thinks it’s awesome and it would be fun to meet this guy who wrote the review. His name is Tore Hansen, Frode says. Micke thanks him for the review and says maybe they see each other in Fredrikstad in summer. He puts the guy on the guest list, he promises. „Let’s see if you feel the same way now.” Haha.

Micke says it wasn’t unique that guys didn’t like them back in the days. It’s because the girls thought they were cute. But what could they do… They were nice, sweet and kind. They were on the Swedish charts and so there was a lot of screaming girls. It has evened out over the years. Now the girls don’t scream as much and the guys are much happier these days. Haha.

Frode says what a tour it was in 1981. Micke says it was amazing and just think about that they went all the way without GPS or mobile phones and they set up and took down everything at the concerts themselves. He just watched a film 2 weeks ago when he was at home in Halmstad and did Christmas shows at Gessle’s hotel together with Tommy Ekman from Freestyle and Lili & Susie, Swedish eighties artists. So, a friend of his parents had filmed them in 1981 in a folkpark in Falkenberg which is another town in Halland where Micke Syd comes from and then he saw all the work and all the people. It was a lot of work. And it’s so funny because they did all that job during one year in 1981, then in 1996 they went to „only” 21-22 places and played for as many people. The ’80s were very different.

Frode says Gyllene Tider had 6 concerts before their incredible break-through with Flickorna på TV2. Micke says there was a TV program called Måndagsbörsen, which was huge in Sweden at the time because there were only two TV channels. If you had the chance to be on Måndagsbörsen then there was a big chance to break through. Gyllene Tider appeared on the program as a replacement of an English band, because they couldn’t come. Micke can’t remember who they were. They had Flickorna på TV2 with the lyrics „tänk att få sätta på flickorna på TV2”, but „sätta på” (turn on) has this double meaning, although that was not what it was about. It’s about turning the TV on. Per is good at those formulations. And to appear on the TV was enough for them to make it happen. It’s only them five who sound like them, they had a unique sound already back then. So what Frode said regarding the gigs is true. They had booked some gigs because they had a record deal and were going out to play. They were paid very little, but that was a few years before they were on TV. And then they got paid more after TV, because then everyone wanted to book them. Micke Syd has a friend he has known all his life who was 16 at the time. He organized a gig up in Rottneros which is outside Karlstad in Värmland and he had booked GT for 2500 SEK before the TV program. 2000 people came. There was big chaos and it was overcrowded, because everyone wanted to see GT. Micke’s friend said he has never had such a good evening.

Frode asks Micke about their ambitions outside Sweden, in Norway, for example. Micke says it’s been so long ago and to remember anything from the ’80s they have to be together all 5 of them. Haha. But he is pretty sure their record label EMI had an office in Norway. The music industry was completely different back then. The ambition was to come over to Norway as well, because Swedish music existed there after all. Ledin and lots of others before GT existed and became popular in Norway, so it’s clear that they also wanted to go there. They wanted to be as big as possible. That’s why they did The Heartland Café album. So yes, that was definitely the intention, Norway, Finland. Denmark is a bit more difficult because the languages differ. Some Swedish artists work in Denmark and GT also did some TV in Denmark, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. Norway has always taken Swedes with open arms. Micke is in Norway a lot with Tommy Ekman from Freestyle, doing corporate gigs and other stuff. They appreciate Norway a lot and Norway appreciates them too. Also that’s why Gyllene Tider played in Fredrikstad and then in Oslo, on the roof of the Opera in 2019. Micke tells how the opera gig was. They were on the stage that was above the water and played for people on the opera terrace and it started raining cats and dogs. Micke says they are coming back to Fredrikstad again this summer. Gonna be fun.

Frode asks Micke about the concert film, Parkliv! and is joking if he had a stylist. Micke thinks he looked too terrible. His mom was a hairdresser and had permed his hair. Micke didn’t like it, so he was wearing a cap the entire film and shorts and a T-shirt that he got in a rock club in Southern Sweden. So it wasn’t anything he thought about. The others looked quite nice, he says. It’s as usual with the drummers… So they didn’t have a stylist. If you compare it with the band Freestyle, the old Freestyle, it’s a completely different thing. They have really thought well about the clothes and everything. But that’s Micke’s personality, it’s the way he was. He wanted to play and didn’t think too much about other things. He thinks it’s also part of their success that they are quite ordinary. Now it has become different and Per also had his career with Roxette, but they are from the countryside, they all grew up in small towns and have been close to it all the time throughout their career. Micke thinks maybe that’s what makes people like them too, besides making really good music together of course. And they are good at it. They are good at working. They are very good at what Gyllene Tider is and they stood the test of time. Those songs stay with us. You hear this and that song and think about your teenage years when you were in love or anything else. Micke says he can see it when they play that there are a lot of young people too. When he did those Christmas shows in Halmstad, there were many tables with guests who were 20-25 or so. They weren’t even born when GT broke through. Their parents were teenagers then. But they are just as happy as those who are 60 now, because it means the same thing. Micke thinks it’s cool. It still feels a bit unique that you can get the same feelings when you hear these songs now. They are 40-year-old songs, but still they fit into life in a way. That it would be like this they didn’t know. After all, they just did what they wanted to do, it kind of worked and then it turned out well.

Micke says that when you work with music, it’s not like a regular job. He works with different bands and sings a lot and then he doesn’t play the drums. People in those bands can be much younger than he is. They are working with Gyllene Tider songs too and then Micke sings them. He says you forget age then. He doesn’t think about how old he is. He thinks it’s just as fun now. Micke explains they sat and watched Parkliv! on Youtube in 2013. He tells the listeners to watch it if they want to see him in terrible stage clothes. Then they sat and looked at themselves. They were 20 years old on that film. When he sees it now, he realizes that his youngest son Eddie, who turns 30 now, he was the same age in 2013 as Micke was on that film. And a second later he thought „wait, where am I sitting now”. He is as old now as his father was on the film. It was huge and when you still do it what you were doing back then, it’s just as fun. You can carry something like this with you for the rest of your life. Now there comes another tour, they have finished a brand new record, which they all think will be great. They feel that they make relevant music. Those who like Gyllene Tider will like the record, because it doesn’t sound like they are 62 to 64, but it sounds like they are 20. That’s how they sound together and the best part is to be on this journey together and to share it with people.

Frode shows an autograph card and Micke says he appreciates completely different things now than when he was 20. Then he wanted to be a pop idol and wanted the girls to scream. Then he was kind of satisfied. It’s not quite like that now. But sharing this experience of what they went through together with the others and to talk about that means something to others too. Not so much for Tore in 1981 maybe. Haha. For Micke it’s cool, because it feels like they have done something good with their lives and Per has done even more, because it’s absolutely unique to succeed in having 2-3 different careers at an even bigger level. There isn’t that many artists who have done it the way he did. Micke thinks Per has a great career as a Swedish solo artist and also with Roxette. And Gyllene Tider to begin with. Without that, the other things had not happened and that they are still around is amazing. They reunite every few years and they all have the same attitude as they had when they were 20. They think they should do their absolute best.

The guys talk about 2019, the farewell tour. Micke says it was his idea. He pushed the guys for it to be the last tour, because it was 40 years since they started. He thought anything can happen anywhere at any time in life, but the older you get, the greater the risk is that something happens to you and you wouldn’t be able to give your 100% to, for example, playing in Gyllene Tider. They have some kind of long marriage with their audience that actually the audience has taken care of. They broke up in 1985, but in 1995 they realized how popular they still were, because they sold a lot of compilation albums. So they did a gig at home in Halmstad in 1995. A lot of people came and they didn’t understand it. Then they went on the Återtåget tour, which became the biggest tour in Scandinavia. A band that doesn’t exist. So it’s the audience’s credit. And it was because GT made the songs that you listen to. GT and the audience need each other. They don’t exist without each other. So Micke thought in 2019 they end with the flag at the top, because he saw so many bands and artists that he looked up to and they don’t have the force anymore. Then how to play if someone might pass away, so it’s not all 5 of them? The whole thing about them is that it should be the 5 of them playing, because it’s the 5 of them who can make that Gyllene Tider sound. So he felt they should stop and wanted to honor it. They were doing this because Micke’s feeling was that if they go on stage with that attitude, that this is the last thing they do, then they will have another gear when they do it and those who will see them will understand that. It was so important for Micke, because what he appreciates about all of this is that they and the audience have had this long marriage. They still perform the songs in different forms, Per is out on his solo tour, Micke is out as well playing them. But the 5 of them, they played together then and Micke kind of wanted to say thank you very much to the audience. This is how he wanted the audience to remember them, having a lot of fun instead of saying „yes, it was good when I saw them in 1996, but shit, now it wasn’t fun because they don’t have the power anymore”. So then they decided to make a record in France and that it would be a fantastic tour. But then Covid happened and it was terrible. Sitting for 2 years and not being allowed to do anything. Micke was lucky, because he had a buffer to live on. But he has a lot of musician friends in Norway and in Sweden who didn’t get any money. They didn’t know how to survive. For 2 years, it’s completely unacceptable. Not getting to work, not getting out and do what they think is the most fun. Micke thinks his mental health affects him a lot and it was like that for the others too. Per did a seated acoustic session when it wasn’t allowed to be so many people in the audience and they had to sit. He sang GT songs as well. That session at Hotel Tylösand was a huge success, because people got to see music and we got to go out. Then he was visited by 4 girls who have a film production company. They said they want to make a film about the ’80s from when GT started until they finished in 1985. There should be actors and it should be a feel good drama. So the guys had a meeting with them and were surprised the girls would want to make a movie about them. The girls thought GT has a fantastic story. So there will be a movie. Then Per had bought a new guitar and started writing songs. He is always writing songs, Micke says. So PG wrote 2 songs and said they sound like Gyllene Tider. He asked if they could just test them. Micke was very doubtful, but they did it. Just for fun. The guys recorded those songs and they turned out great. So Micke was more in doubt. He was thinking and also talked to his wife about all his doubts. He thought they fulfilled the criteria, he felt the album is great. They are still doing their best when it comes to GT. Obviously, people would be happy if they go on tour. We are living in pretty tough times now so maybe they can contribute to better times with a little joy out there. And they get the joy back form the audience. So he felt OK, let’s do this. That wasn’t the plan, but no one said that he would be locked up for 2 years either. Haha. So if life is stupid to him, then he can enjoy life instead. So they decided to do this and they did it so good. They can do even better than what they did before and that’s right.

Since it’s a video interview, Micke tells Frode that he can see his drums behind, his digital drums. He thinks they are very good. Micke says this room is his mancave where all the gold records and everything from the ’80s and on can be found. He thinks it’s great fun that nowadays, how the two of them are now sitting and talking to each other via the computer or that thanks to Facebook and Instagram you have contact with so many people who have seen them on stage over the years. He is in contact with 2 or 3 girls in Stockholm who were outside the studio when GT recorded their first album. Micke knows they are very happy and as Frode said, he also bought a ticket to Ullevi. For Micke, this is what makes him think it’s worth it. If people are happy, he is happy. Micke says maybe Frode should bring Tore with him to Ullevi. Let’s see if he still thinks the same as in 1981. If nothing else, then at least it’s a nice ending to everything that he gets to come and check on GT again. Micke says he loves such things. It’s great fun to have reviews from a young person who didn’t think it was fun and here we are again.

Frode says he was there in Karlstad in 1996 with his brother and had much fun and it will be fun again. Micke says the same thing again, we have grown older, but the memories also grow in us. He can see from the stage when someone remembers what it was like when they fell in love with the one standing next to them, things like that. And it’s so cool to see and it’s so much fun. We are older and he is not that little guy in shorts anymore. Haha. He says it might be stupid for a middle-aged man, but when he can see a girl who was in love with him in the ’80s looking at him with the same eyes now, then he knows it’s just an illusion, because it is the memory that she is in love with. It’s so nice to see that music has that power. All music has that, but Micke can only talk about their own songs.

Micke says that he is the type of guy who if once said something, he sticks to that. So he really thought the last tour was the last tour. It wasn’t the case that they wanted to get the most money out of it. Some people think that it was the case, but not at all. He thought it doesn’t work for him, once he said that was the last one, then that was the last one. But then he was thinking a lot and it was exactly as Per said that with Covid and everything that happened during that time, they needed to do something to feel good. He thinks it’s fun and, after all, that’s the way it is. The 5 of them have done it all their lives. He has done a lot of other things too, but without GT none of the other things would have happened. And when life goes in a way that didn’t turn out as you had imagined and you sit at home for 2 years, then you just feel that. They still have very high demands on themselves, both how they deliver the music but also with songs and everything. Micke says no one thought Per would have the motivation to write songs for GT again. They recorded the album a little differently. MP has his own studio where he and Per have made demos since long. Mats has been a very, very important person in Per’s life because he has been involved and done Roxette songs and other projects of Per over the years and so they have done a lot together. They had done rough sketches of songs for GT and done a lot of vocals and guitars so the guys got to listen to them. Micke and Anders come from a small community outside Halmstad called Harplinge and 1 km from Micke’s parents’ home there is now a fantastic studio. It didn’t exist back then, but now it’s there and they recorded in that studio for a week. Micke went home and slept in his boy room at his parents each day after the recordings. The room looks the same as it did when he was 16. He was the last to move away from his parents, so everything remained in the room. It’s hard to understand for those who are not making music, but even if he has played with so many great musicians, them 5 have something together that he couldn’t find anywhere else. The sound and everything. That’s what makes it sound like Gyllene Tider and it doesn’t go away. It’s there even though the years go by and once they are at it again, it’s just there. They were going to do soundcheck in the studio, that’s how it should work, but everything sounded good. They haven’t played together in 3 years, so they tested the drums and bass and MP tested the guitar. Staffan, the technician sat there and recorded. They were all sitting in the same room, tested a song the first day. They would just do soundcheck to see if everything worked well to record the next day. So they tested a song and half an hour later another one. And then all the others. Staffan told Micke a month ago that he was completely shocked. He wasn’t prepared for the guys to start recording right away. Micke says it was like they kind of knew what they were going to do. It’s so cool that it works like that for them. He wants to honor what they have done all the way as long as they exist. Now it seems they got another chance to go on. The album release date is not decided yet. They have just signed a record deal in their fifth decade. How nice, Micke thinks.

Frode asks Micke about his parents whether they supported him in being a pop star or they were skeptical and wanted him to have a regular job. Micke says all five of them wanted to do just this, music. They actually all had regular jobs in principle. But they didn’t care. They recorded their first album and went on with that. That’s how it’s been all the time since then. Micke is turning 62 this year and the only permanent job he had as an employee was for 4 years in the early and mid ’80s. Since then he has always been a freelancer. He is coping with his own life and no one believed it would work. He doesn’t know what his parents thought back then, but it’s clear they were worried and that’s right. But it went well and he can see how happy they were for him over the years. Especially after 1996 when GT reunited again and that they have been allowed to participate. It’s only Micke’s and Göran’s parents who are still alive. Micke’s parents are probably the ones who have been at the most gigs from all the GT guys’ parents. For Micke personally, it is also another highlight, to be able to share this with his parents. They sat and listened when Micke was practicing drums in a sauna in the basement with regular drums for whatever number of years and they never said anything. As he said, his mother was a hairdresser and the saloon was in their house. So the clients always asked about Micke and lot of fans, especially after Roxette, came to see where they lived. Fans have travelled from all over the world and sometimes people knocked on the door at home and said „hello, we are from Germany. Are you Micke’s parents?” Then they tried to talk to them in English and they were very proud and even showed Micke’s room to the fans. Haha. Micke is happy to share all this experience with his family, wife and children now. In the video of Småstad by Pers Garage there is a quick cut of a baby. It was recorded in 1989. It’s Micke’s oldest son who turns 34 this year. He was a newborn then. Micke’s father is also in the video in the car repair shop. His dad was 58 in that clip, Micke was 28. Both his mom and dad are very proud of him. His mother had a lot of contact with people who came to their house. In Parkliv! there is this scene where they say a phone number. That was the number of Micke’s mom’s saloon. Even if they beeped it out, it wasn’t the best of ideas, because it wasn’t that difficult to read the lips what number it was. This was in 1981. There were so many people calling. It was Per’s fault, he was the one who said the number. Haha. Now that’s fun, but it wasn’t back then.

The guys talk about Tuff tuff tuff (Som ett lokomotiv) in Parkliv!, how Micke played the drums there. Micke says it’s called youth and testosterone. It’s fun to see himself there and think „damn, is that me?” Micke says that in the movie it’s not visible, but there was someone who threw a coke bottle on stage. He thinks it was during the first song even. So a glass bottle landed on stage and it might as well hit him. There was some guy who wasn’t completely satisfied, so he threw a coke bottle and it landed between Micke’s legs. He was sitting and playing. They have gotten eggs on them too and things like that sometimes from guys who were mad at them. But that’s what makes it so fun to see themselves there in that film.

Micke says it’s a completely different musical world today than it was back then. But that’s what he thinks is so fun about them that they keep going. They make music the way they have always done it. They can do it in a different way now, but what drives them is that they play together. That’s where their sound comes from. That they are 5 souls, 5 hearts that contribute their part to this delicious cake that becomes Gyllene Tider. That mix has only been refined over the years. They are still doing the same thing. Although, they have a little more screens now, but it’s more for the experience for the audience. It’s all about the connection between the band and the audience.

Frode is curious if it has ever happened that Per presented a song that later became a hit, but when he presented it they thought it wouldn’t work. Micke says they had hits in every decade from the ’80s to the ’90s to the 2000s. And it might happen this time too. There are some songs that can be hits, Micke thinks, because they are spreading Gyllene joy. But to be honest, he can’t remember if they ever said to a song that later became a hit that it wouldn’t work. They must have had it, but it’s been so long and he, for some reason, have gained the ability to remember events. He can remember feelings and stuff, but especially when the GT guys all talk. He always says it’s full on the hard drive. There is no space left up in the hub, things happen all the time. He says he remembers that Per wrote Sommartider while all other four guys went for a lunch break. EMI, their record company said there was no single among their materials when they recorded Puls. So Per got pissed off and he sat down and wrote Sommartider. There is a song, Mony, Mony by Billy Idol. They got inspiration from the groove of it and then it was done.

Frode mentions that when the EP with Gå & fiska! came out in 1996, there was a new, modern, fresh Gyllene Tider sound. Michael Ilbert was the producer. Micke says they worked with Ilbert already before Gå & fiska! in 1995 when Kung av sand and Det är över nu came out. Ilbert had worked with Per and Ilbert had quite a special way of working. And somehow it fitted them and also how Per wrote the songs. So it became a completely different Gyllene Tider that fit with the times and how they played then. How you play also becomes different with the years. You play differently when you are 20 or 25. It worked so well with Ilbert that Per made an English solo album with him and if you listen to June Afternoon and She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Roxette, it’s MP, Micke and Anders who are playing there too. Micke liked that era too. It was Roxette, but sounded like Gyllene Tider, just without Fritzon. Now GT is back to something else that’s more where they come from. Now it’s a poppier album than their last record was. Don’t bore us, get to the chorus. Micke says they really felt like 20 and somehow they got the energy. It was like when they did the Sven-Ingvars song on their previous album. That was the last song they recorded, they had 4 hours until their flight departed. They thought they try it and an hour later, it was all done. Micke says it’s nice to have this extra chance to do it again and say that age ain’t nothing but a number. He says they are lucky that they became musicians instead of sportsmen, because then it would have been over. If you take care of yourself as best as you can and you think it’s fun what you are doing, then you can actually maintain a divine level as you get older. Age has nothing to do with it really. It’s more about the attitude. Tommy Körberg is still out there, for example. He plays shows in Sweden. He sings so well and his presence on stage is amazing. Micke says he went to see Paul McCartney at Tele2 and besides the songs that are amazing themselves, it was great to hear McCartney being able to sing that way. And he still has that energy. Music is like that. It works. The joy of it. And the audience will be just as happy.

Frode asks Micke about Ullevi. Micke says it will be the fourth time they play there and he hopes that there will be a lot of people. That will be the last gig in Sweden on the tour. They played Ullevi for the first time in 2004. They were the first real Swedish band to play at Ullevi. When you keep going as Gyllene Tider have, you always have dreams, Micke says. When they started, they wanted to be on a big stage in Halmstad. They made it in 1981. Then there were some other places, 1996 was Stockholms Stadion. There were a lot of people. There were probably no Swedish bands that had been there before, so they have constantly moved the goals. Micke remembers he was at Ullevi when Springsteen was there in 1982 or so. He was also there when the Stones played there. You think you would want to do that too and you thought it would never happen, then it does. They got there and they broke crowd records and it was 26 degrees and a perfect day. It was summertime as much as possible and everyone who was in town was excited. 15 minutes before they started playing Micke’s wife said this is completely crazy with so many people there. Everyone was very happy. And then they went out on stage, started with En sten vid en sjö i en skog and it starts with the drums. They have never played for this many people, they were the first ones. The only ones who did it until then. It was a great day. Micke’s whole family was there. He says first you are nervous, but then it falls and then it’s just outpouring love. He couldn’t manage to sing at the top of his lungs. It was overwhelming. It’s the same thing for the audience, so the band and the audience take each other to new levels. All those who were there they knew that they were part of something unique. Then it happened with a lot of other Swedish artists after that, but right then they were the only ones. Foreign artists came and they did a gig, but GT did more than 20 shows and had almost thirty thousand people at each gig in Sweden except for Ullevi, where the number of people in the audience was double. So that tour was completely crazy in itself, because there were half a million people attending that tour. Micke will never forget that.

Frode asks Micke what he would suggest someone who has never listened to Gyllene Tider and know nothing about them. Micke says they should just put on a compilation album and start there and see if there is something that makes them happy. Everyone finds their thing, or if they don’t find anything, they listen to something else. But there is surely a song they will like.

Frode says or they just have to see Min tjej och jag in Parkliv! Micke says that’s exactly what he thought about. It’s the first song in the encore. When you watch it, you can see why Göran climbed a lot on Micke’s back in that film. Watching a GT film now, you can see why Göran wouldn’t climb on Micke’s back these days. Haha. He says it with all love. He thinks it’s funny how they have changed as people, both in size and in everything else. Although they are the same in spirit.

Pic by Patrícia Peres, GT40 Tour, Halmstad 2019