Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – August 2022

Sven Lindström starts the August episode of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM by telling they have pulled their brains together to maximize their IQ to pull up today’s list of goodies. It’s an exciting list, Per adds. They went back to 1979 with focus on Sweden. Sven tells Per was a major part of that era, the late ’70s is when PG started playing professionally. Mr. G tells they got signed by EMI Records in 1979 when his band, Gyllene Tider was really fresh and really young with lots of pimples. The guys are laughing.

First they kick off with Sonic Surf City’s Let There Be Surf. Next song is Sugar Town by ShitKid and then comes Rock ‘N’ Roll Highschool by Teddybears.

The next track is a song Roxette recorded in 1995, She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. It was actually Gyllene Tider playing the drums, the bass and the guitars. Per explains that in 1995 they just came off this huge Crash! Boom! Bang! world tour that lasted over a year and they were supposed to release their first compilation album, Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus! Sven laughs and says he knows it was a saying by Roxette’s American manager, Herbie Herbert. Per says he was supposed to do a solo album after the CBB tour, mainly because Marie wanted a second child, so she wanted to take a break. PG also started writing songs for his Swedish band, but then this compilation idea came up with Roxette. So he took a couple of songs, e.g. June Afternoon, She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore from his solo thing and made them into Roxette records. Then they did two additional tracks, so it was 4 new songs on that compilation album. Sven adds Per also wrote a song for Belinda Carlisle during that era. Mr. G tells that was actually a song he wrote for Roxette, but nobody liked it in the Roxette camp except him, so he presented it to Belinda and her English record label. It was Always Breaking My Heart. Belinda recorded that and another song Per wrote, Love Doesn’t Live Here.

After they play SDLHA, Sven asks Per how does it sound now. Mr. G says it sounds great. He remembers recording that motorcycle in the beginning of the intro. It was his old Harley Davidson bike. That was fun. He thinks it’s a good track and they did a great video and had a good time doing that.

The guys play A Passanger from Johnossi’s new album, Mad Gone Wild.

Here comes the new wave part of the show. They pick some songs from Sweden from the new wave era, 1978-81. This is actually when Per got off the ground. He tells it’s a very important era in pop music. You came off the progressive music and everyone was supposed to be a very good player, but then suddenly when the punk and new wave thing happened, it was OK not to be very good. That fit Per perfectly, he laughs. Everyone started bands and got together. Here come tracks by Swedish bands singing in Swedish and it sounds amazing and really good according to Mr. G, a lot of enthusiasm and adrenaline going on. Seldom heard – for good reasons – on American radio.

Sven introduces the first band, Docent Död, which translates to „Doctor Death”. Good punk name, the guys think. The picked track is Solglasögon (Sunglasses) is from 1980. Sven asks Per if he remembers hearing it for the first time. PG tells he thought this was so good. He especially liked it because it sounded really cool, so much better than most Swedish recordings at the time. In those days, in the analogue days there was a big difference in how it sounded in the UK or in Los Angeles or New York compared to Stockholm. Things changed of course when everything became digital, then everything started to sound the same. Per was blown off by this band and their attitude was really cool. It still sounds like a hit record for Mr. G. Sven agrees.

The next group is Reeperbahn. It’s a notorious street in Hamburg, Germany, where The Beatles arrived in the autumn of 1960. Sven doesn’t know if the band took the name from this sort of Beatles connection. Per thinks they just took the name because they thought it was hardcore. The song they play is Lycklig (Happy). Sven remembers Per once said he was impressed back in the days by the sound of this group. Per thinks they were a very good band. Dan Sundquist played bass and he became a really good producer as well. He knew what he was doing even in those days. The one who wrote the song was probably Olle Ljungström, the guitar player who was also singing. They did many good songs, something to look up to, Per says. The guys are laughing.

The next song slows the tempo down a bit. Tant Strul – roughly translates to Auntie Hassle – was one of Per’s favourite groups. An all female band from the new wave scene in the late ’70s. PG liked them a lot. He thinks Vild blomning (Wild blooming) is their best song. It doesn’t really make sense if you don’t understand Swedish, but the lyrics are really beautiful and Kajsa Grytt, who wrote the lyrics for this band is a great lyricist. Per always loved this song. You can hear this era, the band is almost tight, everyone is almost in tune, and it sounds real. Sometimes you just need to listen to music like this instead of all this autotuned stuff that goes on at the moment. Sven tells that this recording is not that far away from the first rehearsal. It’s organic and charming. Sven remembers Per mentioned he always wanted to cover this song. PG says he just liked the song a lot. He thinks it has a great melody and lyrics. He always finds it interesting to read lyrics by female artists, because it’s a different perspective of things. He is not going to do a cover of it, but if there was a Top10 list of Swedish songs that he might do a cover of, then this is definitely on the list.

The next one is Jag kysste henne våldsamt (I kissed her violently) by Anders F. Rönnblom from 1980. This guy made his debut album in the early ’70s and then he got a kick out of the new wave era and started doing shorter and more energetic songs. Per thinks this is like a reggae track. This was Anders’ biggest song. It wasn’t a major hit, but it was a hit record you heard once in a while. It didn’t top the charts, it was on the B roads, as Per says. Mr. G likes the sound of it, he likes the bass and he thinks it sounds really cool. PG listens to it once in a while. Sven shares the info that die hard Anders F. Rönnblom fans are called F-heads.

This song wraps up the new wave section of this episode of Nordic Rox. The guys play three more songs. One of them is Buffalo Stance by Robyn & Neneh Cherry feat. Mapei and another is Hello It’s Me by Todd Rundgren. He is American, but Sven tells they sometimes open the door to Swedish heritage. He once read Todd’s father is from Swedish and German descent. Per jokes and says „so that’s why his first name is Todd”. Sven says he thinks so and his last name is Rundgren which is a very Swedish name and translates to „round branch”. „Important information you can’t live without”, the guys are laughing.

The usual show closer is Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes.

Photo by Anders Roos (2019).

Thanks for your support, Sven!