Per Gessle on “Halv tre med Lotta Bromé” on Mix Megapol

Per Gessle was Lotta Bromé’s guest on radio Mix Megapol on 26th October. You can listen to the interview HERE.

Before Per was on air, the radio played The Look by Roxette and När vi två blir en by Gyllene Tider.

Lotta welcomes Per on the show and he thanks for that. Lotta asks Per how he is doing. Mr. G replies he is actually very well. Lotta asks why and Per laughs, because it’s a weekday. Lotta is curious if PG has any fun things to do now that he is in Stockholm. Mr. G thinks there are only fun things around him and a lot is happening right now. Gyllene Tider ticket sales and tour and a new album and everything possible.

Lotta asks Per how he is functioning. Whether he is always in a hurry or he is one of those who have ADHD or if it’s just that he is a very creative being. Per thinks he is a combination of all that. He usually says that he probably has all the letter combinations except I and Q. [They are laughing.]

Lotta is curious if Per was good at school. He was quite uninterested in school. He liked art and drawing and English and Swedish. Lotta finds it strange that Per hasn’t mentioned music. PG says he wasn’t that interested, music teaching was quite boring in his time. He doesn’t know how it goes nowadays, but back then there were a lot of theory things.

So the question is, when he found music in his life. It came very early thanks to his 7-year-older brother who had a massive record collection. Already as a 6-7-8-year-old, he was completely engaged in the pop universe. Lotta asks if Per’s brother had a good taste. He had very broad and good taste that Per thinks he has carried with him. It was everything from Hepstars to Led Zeppelin. So Lotta thinks it was PG’s brother who laid the foundation for Per’s chords. Per agrees. It’s his brother’s record collection that he dug into until he got his own back then.

Lotta wants to know how many records Per has in his collection. Mr. G has gotten rid of a lot since then, but he has maybe a couple of thousand LPs left. A lot of singles too. He split the collection and keeps the vinyls in Halmstad, while the CDs are in Stockholm. He has a record player in both places. He is also using Spotify, but he likes to buy vinyls for the sake of the cover. He loves record covers and the smell of vinyl records. Holding the record and listening to it is magical. Lotta says her 16-year-old daughter started collecting vinyls, using amplifiers and speakers and stuff. Per can identify with that. You think about all the music you grew up with. Aladdin Sane by David Bowie or Sticky Fingers by the Stones or Sgt. Pepper. Without the cover it’s just empty. Album covers are like the face of the music.

Lotta says Per asked her not to invite him for too early on the radio show, because he is old. Now it’s afternoon and she asks Per if he has already woken up. PG has woken up.

They get down to Gyllene Tider and Per tells it was hysterical back in the days. It was crazy in 1980-81. He lived with his mother, his father had passed away by then and his siblings, 7 and 14 years older had already moved out. Lotta is curious what Per’s mother thought of the people standing outside their door the whole time. Mr. G says she took it pretty well, until people started stealing the laundry that was hung on the dash and the number plate of the car. Then she thought it was time for Per to get his own apartment. So he found one. He had a very close relationship with his mother. She was very supportive [Per says the word „supportive” in English], as it’s called in Halland. It was Per’s father who thought you should get a real job instead of fooling around with 3 chords. He had a real job, he was a plumber.

Per’s family members passed away in 3 years and it was tough of course, it always is, everyone knows that when you lose your relatives. But that happened when Per was quite mature himself and as a man you can handle it in a different way than when you are small. It was harder when his father passed away when he was only 19. It was difficult in a way, but there isn’t much to do. You go through that and you learn to live with it. The older you get, the more human people disappear around you, so you learn to deal with it in a way, even if it’s difficult.

Lotta remembers that Per once said that when relatives disappear, you get different values. She is curious what values he thought of. Per can’t remember he said that, but he thinks that when you lose friends and relatives, you become thoughtful. You think through what you are doing. This pandemic was a shock to the system that lasted for years. Per thinks people changed a lot, how they travel and stuff like that. Also one of the reasons for a Gyllene Tider comeback is because they have realized that, perhaps, you should value things and value things in a different way. Value relationships, for example.

Lotta plays Tittar på dig när du dansar and asks Per to tell something about it. He hasn’t heard it in a long time, but he recorded it in Nashville. Using flute and mandolin. Lotta asks if those were real instruments. Absolutely yes, Per replies, ”oh my god, it’s Nashville!”. Lotta says there are other projects when Per is not using real instruments, but rather technical stuff. She thinks of Mono Mind. Per likes switching between his projects, jumping between different things. You do an acoustic tour, then you want to do something electrical next month. Then Gyllene Tider. GT is very organic. It’s played hardcore.

Lotta asks when the tour starts. It starts on 7th July in Halmstad next summer. To the question how many gigs there will be Per replies you never know with this little band. Right now there are probably 15, 16, 17, 18 booked. Two extras were added today. Lotta asks Per how many times they said it’s over. Mr. G says they didn’t really say that more than once, in 2019. And that’s what they meant back then. The decision was initiated by Micke Syd, who thought they should stop when they were at their peak and alive, but as Per said before, the pandemic came and he started thinking again. He started writing songs that had that clear Gyllene Tider feel to them and presented them to the band. All of a sudden everyone wanted to be back on the train. On tour they will of course play the old goodies, but he hopes they will play something new as well, because the new record feels fantastic. Although you won’t be able to listen to it until next spring. Lotta asks Per if he comes back on the show when the date for the album release is decided. They kind of agree on meeting at 3 pm on Maundy Thursday.

Lotta is curious about this new project, PG Roxette. Per tells that a new album is coming out on Friday. It’s called Pop-Up Dynamo! and it’s actually a continuation of Roxette. After a lot of tossing and turning, he decided to go on with that train as well. It wasn’t an obvious decision, but time passed and he felt that he wanted to. Continuing that journey mostly comes from the fact that he would like to continue playing the Roxette songs live. He wrote almost all of these songs and he doesn’t want to put the lid on. He also has to say that he is not trying and has never tried to replace Marie in any way. There are these two fantastic girls who were backing vocalists on Roxette tours for many years. It’s Dea Norberg and Helena Josefsson who came forward when they were needed.

Lotta has just looked at the dates and realized that Marie passed away shortly after Per’s family members passed away, so it must have been quite tough years. Of course it was tough, Per says and then their fantastic drummer Pelle Alsing also passed away not long after. So it was tough.

Lotta says that Marie wrote it in her biography that the last tour they went on was the best rehabilitation. Per says Marie was absolutely fantastic, because she never gave up. He remembers when in the spring of 2016 Marie wanted to meet him in her home and said she couldn’t continue. They had a big summer tour booked and had sold several hundred thousand tickets in Europe. She said she couldn’t do it anymore, but she actually toured from 2009 to 2016. They did several hundreds of concerts together. She did that because she was so strong and she wanted to do that. She was just amazing. Lotta notices that it’s still hard for Per to talk about it. Mr. G says it’s tough indeed. She was a special person.

Lotta tells that Marie’s family has decided to put a part of her wardrobe on auction and the money will go to Stockholm’s City Mission in full. Lotta thinks she would have liked that. Per absolutely agrees.

From the new album Lotta plays Watch Me Come Undone. It has this wonderful ’80s style, Per says. This whole album is a cousin to the ’80s and ’90s records that they did with Roxette. Look Sharp! and Joyride.

Lotta is curious if PG Roxette will tour next autumn. Per thinks it’s not a bad idea. Nothing planned yet, but it’s in his plans to go out and play Roxette songs. Lotta says he should release this one in Spanish as well as they did before. Per hopes he doesn’t have to do that. Lotta says she heard Per was so lazy or didn’t want to sing in Spanish that he gave all the songs to Marie to sing. Per explains it was a ballad record and so he chose the ballads that Marie sang and he escaped.

Lotta wants to know how many ballads there are on the new Gyllene Tider album. Per thinks and says there are no ballads on the album at all. It’s full speed from A to Z, just like how it should be.

Lotta asks how much music Per has in his head and how it can be enough for this many projects all the time. Mr. G doesn’t really know the answer. He is writing all the time, so it gets more and more and as long as it’s fun, he won’t stop. He says that if you are motivated and having fun, it’s music, it’s not a job. He is not the kind of person who gets up every day and sits down at the piano or writes a song. He just writes when he feels like it. Per usually says that he writes as little as possible.

Lotta and PG agree again on meeting at Easter. They wish merry Xmas to each other and happy new year. And with this, the show ends.

Stills are from PG Roxette’s The idea behind the album video.