Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – September 2022

The August episode of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM was a new wave special and here comes the second part of it in September. Sven and Per recorded the show on a sunny day in Halmstad. Per says he was born and bred in Halmstad, which was a tiny city, but nowadays 100,000 people live there. He was born there and still lives there a couple of months a year, especially in the summer season. It’s really beautiful, it’s on the waterside, just by Kattegat. The finest beach in Sweden is just around the corner, Per adds. Sven jokes and says Per is going to get a donation from Halmstad tourist office. Per laughs and says he hopes so. Sven asks PG „if you swim straight out here, where do you end up?” Mr. G tells you end up in Båstad, which is another tiny town. Sven adds it’s the Swedish Tennis Metropol. PG says it’s a 45-minute drive, but it’s 20 km on the water, so if you have a boat and the interest and you don’t have a hairdo that needs polishing, you can take the boat. The guys are laughing.

Sven and Per kick off the show with Crystal Ball by The Nomads. Mr. G thinks the song is beautiful and The Nomads is a great band. Swedish garage rock at its best, Sven thinks. The next one is Drifting Out by Little Dragon and then comes June by Shout Out Louds from their latest album, House.

The guys then take a trip to Norway for some night train music by the Cocktail Sippers. PG thinks Norway is a great country, „if you haven’t been to Norway, you should go to Norway”. Sven adds, if you can’t go to Norway, listen to Night Train. The next track is Endless Sleeper by The Raveonettes from Denmark. Per tells Denmark is a great country if you haven’t been to Denmark, you should go to Denmark. Haha. Sven says he thinks Per Gessle is here on the take from the Danish tourist agency, as well as the Norwegian tourist agency. Mr. G thinks The Raveonettes is amazing. Sven thinks the intro of Endless Sleeper sounds vaguely like the first track on the first The Doors LP, Break On Through. According to Per, it could be influenced by it. Slightly psychedelic track, Sven thinks. PG finds it very cool.

The next band is Sahara Hotnights, a Swedish band. Sven asks Per if he knows anything about them. Mr. G says they have been around for many many years and then they sort of broke up, but then they came back again last year with a new album. The guys are playing something little bit older on the show, Who Do You Dance For? from the Kiss & Tell album, which came out in 2004. It’s a cool gril band. They always had cool songs and great musicians. Per worked with the drummer, she did some TV things with Mr. G many years ago.

Here comes the new wave stuff from Sweden. Sven says he doesn’t know if you can call it new wave after 42 years, but this is the era from 1979. Per tells it WAS the new wave when it happened, so it’s new wave forever. PG is very pleased that he found the band called Sydkraft (= South Power) finally on Spotify. He likes this band because they are from Halmstad. They signed with EMI Records in 1978, so Per’s band a year later sent their demos to all the labels in Sweden except EMI, because they already had a band from Halmstad. Sven laughs and asks, „so you thought that door was closed?” Per says eventually, they wound up with the same record label, EMI. Sven asks how they ended up there, if it was because all other labels turned Gyllene Tider down. Per says EMI phoned him up one morning and said they were interested. He doesn’t know how they heard their songs. Sydkraft made only one album in 1979 and it was produced by the same guy who produced Gyllene Tider’s first album as well. Per thinks it’s a great record they did, but it didn’t go anywhere. It’s definitely the first time they are played on American radio. Sven tells „and if someone picks it up and puts it on the soundtrack of Stranger Things or whatever, these guys are gonna get a call that OK guys, finally you got a hit in the US”. The guys are laughing. The song played is Snack, which means talk or bullshit or rubbish or whatever, the Per and Sven say.

The next one is a track that was a big hit in Sweden in 1981 by one of the foremost punk bands in Sweden, Ebba Grön. Per thinks it’s a great band and he thinks it’s the second or third album they made and this was their breakthrough album and it has a couple of really great tracks. They became a little bit more commercial on this album, a little bit more song-oriented, which of course the mainstream audience loved. Sven says they listened to an interview by Mike Chapman. He was taking Blondie to the studio to make their third album and he forced them to get their act together. Sven thinks you can also hear on Ebba Grön’s album that they got their act together, the bass playing is fantastic. They are really tight as a unit. Per tells if you came from the new wave era, you started to play just because it was fun. Most bands didn’t sound that good, but that wasn’t important in those days. But eventually, if you had to have a career, you had to get your act together, the bass player had to play together with the drummer and the band had to sound great. That’s exactly what happened to Blondie and Ebba Grön here. The guys play one of the biggest hits of Ebba Grön, 800 grader. It sounds a lot like The Clash, Per thinks. Sven thinks it’s not a coincidence, they were really influenced by The Clash, you can hear it. It’s a very good song and still sounds amazing. The singer and guitarist, Joakim Thåström moved on with a second group called Imperiet and they were equally successful. Nowadays he is a solo artist and also very successful. Sven says when The Rolling Stones are gonna play Stockholm in a couple of weeks, he will be the support act. [So this episode was recorded a couple of weeks before 31st July 2022. /PP]

Japop is the next band, also from EMI Records. Sven asks Per what he knows about them. PG says it’s a short for Jan Andersson Pop. Jan Andersson is the lead guitar player. He used to be the lead guitar player for another Swedish act, Ulf Lundell, who is like a Bruce Springsteen figure. The song the guys play is from Japop’s second album, Rysk pop, which means Russian pop. Sven says it wouldn’t be a popular title nowadays. Jan’s got a great voice, PG thinks and he is an amazing guitar player. Per was surprised that this album didn’t do better than it did. Sven says it’s got some cool tracks on it. The song the guys picked is Blodspengar which means blood money. It’s got a cool vibe to it. It’s a great band, a trio, Per adds and they sounded really cool.

Next one is Magnus Lindberg, who wasn’t really a new wave-ish guy, but he was influenced by it. He started out being more like a singer-songwriter playing in a band called Landslaget. It was a sort of Swedish version of The Eagles. They had a girl playing the violin, Maybritte Nicklasson, who added little special things. Magnus left the band and started a solo career from a singer-songwriter point of view, but when the new wave happened, he got a new attitude and a new band together and it sounded really cool according to Mr. G. His album, Röda läppar, which means red lips, was pretty big. The title track is really wonderful. Unfortunately, Magnus isn’t with us anymore, but he still has a big following in Sweden and you can hear his music here and there all the time. Sven tells Kjell Andersson got together a bunch of artists to make a tribute album to Magnus, which came out earlier this year. Magnus is at his most energetic on this album, Sven thinks. Sven asks Per if he saw Magnus live. PG says of course, they toured and played with him. PG tells he was a great, enigmatic artist.

After the new wave section is over, Something Wicked by The Teenage Idols is played. Then it’s Safe And Sound by The Sounds and then comes Golden Age by Union Carbide Productions featuring Ebbot Lundberg on vocals.

Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is closing the episode, as usual.

Still is from a 2017 teaser video for Swedish Radio.

Thanks for your support, Sven!