Per Gessle’s Roxette – PLECtionary update

Another year, another tour, another set of guitar picks. When it was announced that Per would go on a solo tour in 2018, one could be 100% sure there would be some new plectrums involved as well. Mr. G shared how the new set would look in August. The tour started on 7th October in Prague and ended on 16th November in Gothenburg. Many fans posted pictures of how lucky they were, catching picks at the shows. It was new that this year some could get hold of plecs covered by PG’s blood, since his power chord finger got hurt badly at 2 gigs (Linköping and Gothenburg). Don’t ever clean them, guys & girls! Haha.

You will find the 7 new picks added to the PER GESSLE’S GUITAR PICKS – PER GESSLE SOLO section and 1 pick has been added to the MIKAEL NOGUEIRA SVENSSON’S GUITAR PICKS section as well. Check out the PLECtionary HERE!

Pic from Roxette’s Facebook page

Huge thanks again for the updates, Sandra!

En vacker RoxBlog interview with Per Gessle

After Per Gessle’s new album, ”En vacker natt” was released, several questions popped up in my mind. I was reading and watching all the interviews with him, but many questions had no answers in any of them. So it was obvious there is a need for a RoxetteBlog interview and so I put all the Qs together and sent them in hope for answers.

We all know that Mr. G is faster than a shot from a gun, but while he is in the middle of a signing session tour, doing a lot of promo stuff and other interviews, you would think it would take much more time than just 2-3 days to have the answers. Not in his case! Yesterday I had the chance to meet him in Malmö and his answers were sent back to me before the signing session started. I was already prepared to ask him not be ”angry” with me because of those many Qs, but this way it was far much better. I could thank him in person! I told him I didn’t expect him to send the answers back so fast. He said it’s incredible that there are many interviews with him, but there are still this many Qs that weren’t asked by others. I told him I thought he might have felt tortured because of this. He said no, no. It’s a long interview, but he had a long flight and at least he had something to do while flying, so all fine. You must love him!

When you will read on, you might get the feeling that the long flight was coming to an end fast towards the last questions, related to the tour. On the other hand, all ”could be”-s sound rather ”yes” or ”partly yes” in my ears. Or… let’s see what happens! 😉

I’d like to thank D&D Management for their cooperation and of course, thanx a million to Mr. G for the answers. Very much appreciated!

So, now to the interview. Besides all the detailed info about the new album and the recording sessions, you will find out what Per thinks about Roxette’s future and you’ll have some hints regarding the upcoming tour as well. You’ll even read about a y.u.m.m.y. surprise release for the first time here! What can I say? Mahi Nana! Enjoy!

Patrícia Peres: – Hej Per! First of all, thank you very much in advance for taking your time to answer all nerdish Qs coming here! In each interview and in your posts it shines through that the ”En vacker…” project is a love project for you. How does it feel that you get so much positive feedback on the first album?

Per Gessle: – Hello Patricia, hope you’re doing fine. As always I’m very flattered that people are connecting in a positive way to my songs. You can never take that for granted. As you know, it’s been ten years since I did a Swedish solo album and so many things have changed. Not only in the ”real world” but also in the music industry. It can be really hard for artists my age to cut through the enormous amount of music and information that surrounds us. It’s pretty competitive out there. But I’ve been lucky this time. Hopefully the album will grow organically, more and more people will hear it and eventually it will be a part of their lives just like Mazarin became in 2003. That would be lovely.  And I’m really proud of the records.

PP: – There were no leaks, everything seemed to be in order regarding the release and there is much promo around the album. It’s a perfectly organized release. Do you think so too?

PG: – Yes, it’s all been handled beautifully by Her Majesty Queen Marie Dimberg together with her sausage dog Harry + Josef Hermansson and Lotta Eriksson at Space Station 12 together with media mastermind Liza Berthelsen together with Sanken, Sebastian and Johanna at BMG together with Bosse-the-radioguru together with the distribution folks at Sony. So many people are involved in this release and they’re all bringing positive energy to the project. I’m a lucky guy.

PP: – The albums are released on Space Station 12 in cooperation with Sony / BMG. What is the role of SS12 and what is that of Sony / BMG?

PG: – SS12 is the home office, BMG is handling marketing and Sony is responsible for physical products, like CDs and LPs.

PP: – The first album’s title is ”En vacker natt”, then there is the summer tour, ”En vacker kväll” and in September comes the second album, ”En vacker dag”. Is it intentional that the timeline is in reverse order (instead of dag -> kväll -> natt)?

PG: – Yes, when we were mixing the records I decided that was the only way to go. Backwards. I have this song ”En vacker dag” which opens the second album and since I wanted it on album nr 2 that dictated the titles of the two records.

PP: – Does the first album contain more ”night” songs and the second more ”day” songs? Or how did you decide which songs to put on which album?

PG: – Well, there are no big differences between the albums. They basically got the same vibe. They’re all from the same sessions. Same coffee machine. As always I’ve tried to make running orders that make each album as strong and vibrant as possible and also ”easy” to get into and listen to. The tempos and keys have to be right etc.

PP: – We know you see songs in colors. Can you tell what color the album has in your mind? Does the ”color coding” in the booklet mean the color of the songs?

PG: – No, the colour coding in the booklets was done by Pär Wickholm. He did an excellent job. He’s really talented. For me the album contains lots of nuances from the 60’s and 70’s, beautiful shades, not too bright. Just like the pictures on the albums. Or like old polaroids. It’s getting pretty sentimental here and there.

PP: – The album is quite melancholic. Could you tell us which song in music history you think is the most melancholic?

PG: – Oh, there are so many songs that mesmerize you and make you slow down a bit. ”Duncan” by Paul Simon. ”Let the wind carry me” by Joni Mitchell. ”Bird on a wire” by Leonard Cohen. ”Sweetheart like you” by Bob Dylan. ”Pancho and Lefty” by Townes van Zandt. Songs that change your life forever. Powerful stuff.

PP: – You listen to the songs uncountable times during the recording, mixing etc. phases. How does it work after everything is done and the album is ready to be released and you have to say a final OK? Do you listen to the album from A to Z? In what circumstances? How did it happen with ”En vacker natt”?

PG: – For these particular records I had the running orders pretty much in place before we began to mix so we decided to start mixing song nr 1 (Min plats) and go from there. But with every mix the big picture altered a bit and in the end you have made quite a lot of changes. Sometimes songs get a different vibe in the mix. You remember it to have a certain attitude or feel but maybe it doesn’t when you’re done with it! Maybe it feels short. Or too long. It’s all about the emotion. Since I still think in terms of ”albums” it’s important for me to find the perfect spot for every track so they ”help” and assist each other. For instance, I didn’t want ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” too early on the first album since I want to give the listener four or five songs before the first classic ”pop song” occurs.

PP: – When we interviewed you after Roxette’s ”Good Karma” release, you said you think 40 minutes is a perfect length for an album. Now we got a 32-minute-long record. What’s the case with this length?

PG: – Well, there were two options. To release one album that was 64-65 minutes long or to split everything in two parts. Personally, I think an hours worth of music at once is much too much so the choice was pretty obvious.

PP: – The opening song, ”Min plats” sets the tone of the album and you say without ”Allt gick så fort” this project wouldn’t have come alive at all. Then it’s surprising a bit that the first single is not one of these 2 songs you seem to find the most important on the album, but a third one. How has ”Småstadsprat” become a single?

PG: – I told my partners-in-crime I’m not really that interested in releasing singles at all. However if they (SS12+BMG) prefer any of the songs as a ”teaser” for the album I’m open to anything. The duet with LW made sense since it was a very media-friendly choice for Sweden and Norway. Everyone got curious. And it’s a good song, I love it. But then again, I love them all!! This is not a project built on hit singles, this needs more attention than that.

PP: – The single was released digitally only and there were some promo singles issued. Why no physical release? It’s not too collector-friendly.

PG: – I know. However, there will most likely be a physical release of ”Småstadsprat” in a couple of weeks. We should have done that to begin with. Our mistake. You live and learn.

PP: – Anyway, collectors are crazy to pay an unbelievable amount of money for this promo single on Tradera. It’s sold for much more than your Peter Pop and the Helicopters single. How about that?

PG: – People are crazy. But you have to love the kings and queens of Nerdom.

PP: – You mentioned in interviews that there is no radio bomb on the album. But Swedish radio seems to play ”Småstadsprat” heavily. How does it feel?

PG: – Well, I’m very happy about this of course. I didn’t expect that at all. Maybe it’s because it stands out. Nothing on commercial radio sounds like ”Småstadsprat”.

PP: – Will there be a 2nd single off the album? If yes, can we get to know which song it is?

PG: – Yes, there will be another one and it will most likely be ”Tittar på dej när du dansar”. It’s got a great summer vibe to it, don’t you think?

PP (& Kiwein): – After listening to the album so many times, it feels that it could easily be used as a soundtrack to a movie. Are there any soundtrack plans in sight?

PG: – No, but I would love that. I would start working on it within the hour! Let’s tune the guitar!

PP: – Which song do you think has the best title on ”En vacker natt”? Which one do you think makes one curious about the album?

PG: – Titles are very important to me. It’s the first impression you get from a song. I like all of them. They make me interested and curious. ”Några glas rosé” was a title I had played around with for a while. I love that one.

PP: – Now in the digital era, in the times of streaming, it’s known that more than one third of the listeners skip a song after 30 seconds on Spotify. From this point of view, which song would you suggest to start listening to, so that the listener gets to know what the album is about and maybe decides not to skip?

PG: – You’re right and it’s totally stupid and silly and mindblowing when you think about it. I don’t want to play that game. This is not music for that type of restless audience. The whole idea with these two albums is that you have to give them time and get into the vibe and let yourself be seduced by this particular musical universe. I think you should start with ”Min plats” where you get eight seconds of waves and seagulls as a bonus!

PP: – When you start singing on ”Enkel resa”, one immediately has the feeling that he/she could sing along, because the lyrics sound familiar. Then we realize it’s a bit of ”Blåa jeans (och röda läppar)”. Haha. I love your recycling habit and the way you do that! How did these lyrics came into sight for this project?

PG: – I re-wrote that lyric from 1982 so it fit MP’s chords that eventually became ”Enkel resa”. I’ve always liked some parts of the words and the quotation-style but not until now have they made sense to me. Something was missing and I finally grabbed it. Probably thanks to MP’s weird chord progression.

PP: – One could sense it and in your ”song by song comments” you confirmed that ”Första pris” and ”Far Too Close” were originally written for Roxette. When did you write them, for which Roxette album?

PG: – Both were written for ”Good Karma” but we never worked on them for several reasons. The ”original” version of ”Första pris” is called ”The Finest Prize”.

PP: – How much did you change the lyrics of ”Första pris” when you decided to do it in Swedish? Have you recorded an English demo to it?

PG: – I tried to capture the same lyrical idea about a woman and a man living in their own universe. Content and strangely unaffected by life’s rewards. Yes, there are several English demos recorded.  Tits & Ass have been on fire with this one!

PP: – Talking about Roxette, we are happy that you mention in interviews that Marie is fine. Good to have some news about her every now and then. In interviews you say that the touring period with Roxette is 100% over, which we have known since April 2016, but you also mention here and there that you don’t think you will record together again. Why do you think it won’t happen in the future?

PG: – I don’t think it will happen because of Marie’s situation. She can’t really be involved in the process of making Roxette records anymore and without her taking a major part it’s no point for me to make those recordings. Roxette is the two of us working together, not me, Chris & Clarence making records with Marie just singing on them.

PP: – Back to the album and the songs, you said it took only 20 minutes to record Savannah Church on ”Far Too Close”, because she was singing so well. Which song took the most time to record and why?

PG: – Everything went really fast. The only song that was a little tricky was ”Några glas rosé” since it doesn’t have any obvious chorus and five verses. There’s always a chance you’ll find it tiresome and long when you have a song structure like that. But we managed to work it out, making a key change for the violin solo and edit the ending section of the song. The original recording was much longer.

PP: – Mahi Nana is the new Sha la la! ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” is probably the most liked ”En vacker natt” song by those who have always been a Per Up-(or at least Mid-)tempo Gessle fan. Sha la la and Na Na Na Na Na are well-known singing phrases, but Mahi Nana is a bit like Inganakee leo yo. One starts wondering, how does such an expression come to your mind?

PG: – On the T&A-demo I’m actually singing ”na na na na…” but in the studio I suggested that Helena-The-Wizard should sing something else so I came up with ”Mahi Nana”. It sounded weird and catchy at the same time. I googled it and I found someone somewhere with that name but I thought that was kind of nice. Glad you like it!

PP: – Which ”En vacker natt” song had the strangest or funniest working title?

PG: – I don’t do working-titles that often. But ”Tittar på dej när du dansar” was called ”Kärlek låter så här” and „Mahi Nana” for a couple of hours…

PP: – You often say you’ve been lucky enough to work together with people who you get on well with and can learn from, even musically. What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned during the Nashville project?

PG: – I was reminded of how much fun it is to play ”real” instruments together. I’ve spent so many years programming in the studio so this was a blessing just to sit down and play together. That’s where I come from and it was really refreshing to experience again.

PP: – What was the biggest compliment you got from the musicians in Nashville?

PG: – Oh, I was really flattered that they liked the songs so much. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I thought they all would come in and ”do their job” like any sessionplayer. But they told me they found my music special and beautiful and that they never played on anything like it before. That made me smile and grab another donut!

PP: – You had the chance to use Roy Orbison’s guitars on the album. It must have felt amazing. What do you think, which song Roy Orbison would like the most on ”En vacker natt”?

PG: – Oh, he could have done a wonderful version of ”Far Too Close”.

PP: – Your mom, sister and brother have passed away during the past 3 years. Does this Nashville project make it easier for you to process the loss?

PG: – Hard to say. Life goes on, doesn’t it? But, of course, you change a bit as a person when your family disappears. I’m sure I’ve changed too. I don’t know in what way but I’m sure it has happened. That’s what life does to you.

PP (& Tomasz): – ”En vacker natt” is dedicated to your sister, ”En vacker dag” to your mother. Knowing your brother introduced you to the music world, it’s a bit surprising he is not mentioned next to your sister maybe. Or are these albums more like ”dedication to women”?

PG: – No, the second album is dedicated to both my mother and my brother.

PP: – In one of the interviews you mentioned that your mother sang a lot. Did she have a nice voice? Did it ever happen that you sang together?

PG: – She had a nice voice but she always sang silly songs. Just like parents do. And no, we never really sang together.

PP: – Which is the song Åsa likes the most on the album?

PG: – Oh, I don’t know. She seems to like all of them, she plays it all the time on her iPhone and in her car.

PP: – Now you are in the middle of a signing session tour, which came a bit as a surprise to us, as you already signed 3600 CDs for those who pre-ordered the album. It’s now harder to buy an unsigned ”En vacker natt” CD than a signed one. Haha. Why did you decide to go on a 1-month-long tour with 14 stops?

PG: – I think it’s quite nice to meet all those people that are interested in what I do. And also, I think it’s a good idea to support the physical format a bit. Here in Sweden Spotify and the streaming services have got 94% of the market so someone like me should wave the flag for the LP and the CD a bit since it’s my preferred choice of presenting music. And yes, I think we’ve shipped around 20.000 physical records and I’ve signed just over 4000 of them. Phew! Could be worse. Could be that nobody was interested!

PP: – When it turned out, many fans decided on meeting you on this little tour. People come to Sweden from several countries to get their signed copies directly from you. How does it feel?

PG: – Lovely. You’ve all spoiled me!

PP: – And after all the signings, how is your hand doing? Can you still play the guitar without any problems?

PG: – Of course, the in-stores are like going to the gym for the hand!

PP: – Will there be a signing session tour in autumn too, when the second album, ”En vacker dag” is out?

PG: – I don’t know. Time will tell. It all depends on how the summer tour feels and the common reaction to the second one.

PP: – Oh and not to forget about the vinyl! Bengans informed the ”En vacker natt” vinyl had been delayed. It almost didn’t make it to the shops until the signing session started. Not the limited edition though. It’s still not on stock. What’s the problem with the vinyl production this time?

PG: – I don’t know. I think nobody expected this kind of interest in my LP. A first batch of vinyl has arrived now but the red vinyl is still a couple of weeks down the road.  It’s a shame but the good thing is that it looks (and feels) FAB!!!

PP: – The tour is getting closer and closer! I have to mention that we are grateful that the complete tour schedule was shared at once (except for the 2 concerts in Finland that were added later, in February). It makes a fan’s life a lot easier, because this way we can start planning early and add as many shows to our to-attend list as we can. So thank you very much for that!

Will you keep the tradition of having a pre-tour show at Leif’s? If yes, is there an exact date set yet?

PG: – Could be….

PP: – Our polls show it won’t be easy for you to put a setlist together. And mixing your 3 careers makes it even tougher. When do you start rehearsing? Will you have a separate session with the new band members?

PG: – We start rehearsing in June. I’m gonna decide what to play in a couple of days. It’s tricky. But lots of fun.

PP: – How Ola Gustafsson, Malin My-Wall and Andreas Dahlbäck came into sight? Did you know them before or someone suggested them to you?

PG: – No, I didn’t know them but had heard of them. I was looking for certain players and these three were my first choices. They’re amazing all of them.

PP: – You mentioned in an interview and well… we also know that you’re a fan of short concerts. You would keep the show around 100 minutes. Can we expect a varying setlist from night to night?

PG: – Could be….

PP: – Can we expect any surprise guests on tour? Besides a maybe obvious Lars Winnerbäck.

PG: – Could be…

PP: – Your support acts will be the amazing Good Harvest and Strandels. Why exactly them? Will both acts play before all your shows or will there be concerts where only one of them will play?

PG: – Both of them are great. I think they will be there every night. Hope so.

PP: – Is Micke N-S working hard on your new guitar picks yet?

PG: – Could be…

PP: – Gyllene Tider is rumored to go on tour next year. We hope it will happen. A 40th anniversary is worth celebrating! So this summer there won’t be many GT songs on tour or …?

PG: – Hmmm….

PP: – Talking about a 40th anniversary, will you see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their 40th anniversary tour?

PG: – No plans yet.

PP: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour! Awesome that you keep us busy all year in 2017!

PG: – My pleasure. And don’t forget that a Mazarin vinyl-LP will be out just in time for the tour. I couldn’t resist…

 

Another tour leg, another set of Per Gessle guitar picks

The last time we updated the PLECtionary was 5 months ago. The XXX tour’s European leg did deserve some new Per Gessle guitar picks, so it’s time for another update. Mr. G posted on Roxette’s Facebook page on 28th March that they had just ordered new plecs for the then upcoming tour leg. The picks were ready in time and he posted a photo of the new beauties some days before the first European gig in Milan.

Aaaah at last! My new guitar picks!!! Enjoy and grab one flying like a rocket at the shows, folks!!! /P.

Reading the word rocket I thought immediately of a real gem on The Per Gessle Archives and this went on and on in my head ”Picks are everywhere / catch a rocket in the air / be ready when they’re there / like a rocket in the air!” Oh well… Grabbing a flying plec is really not that easy, but not impossible at all. There are many lucky Roxers who will surely pop til they drop having a Gessle pick in their collection and there are many who still can’t believe they obtained a pick touched by the hand of Per.

When Per thanked Dunlop Custom Picks for this set of his plectrums after the last show in Sweden, he mentioned:

HAVING A COUPLE DAYS OFF THE ROAD

I thought it was convenient to say a big THANK YOU to:
….
DUNLOP CUSTOM PICKS
for those custom made picks I do my best to spread around the globe with mixed results. Hey, you’re pretty good at catchin’!! To my defense, those red acoustic guitar picks are so thin, they won’t fly…..

Sandra Knospe is of course both handy and lucky, so the PLECtionary gets its update. Sandra found the time in between heavy touring and her also busy non-Rox-World-related life and now before the last show this year in Europe she took the photos and shared the trivia she knows about the plectrums. Check out the PLECtionary and look for the guitar picks No. 100-105! It also includes a new print of the latest Professor Lundquist pick. At No. 157 you’ll find another new item, a Mister Magnus pick. You know, he’s the viking member of the band whose fave Rox album is Baladas en español. Vikings don’t need customized plectrums. Haha.

Huge thanx again for the updates, Sandra! Your collection looks more and more eXXXquisite!

So, one more gig is left for this year and you have the chance to confirm that Per is right when he says we are pretty good at catchin’. Once you catch a pick you have to take care of it though. The print on them is a little bit dangerous. Good luck, you all!

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Pic by Sandra Knospe

Per is talking about the plecs and more in this interview.

If you are interested in reading some more about Sandra’s collection, check out the interview with her.

“Roxette Diaries” premiere – an afternoon in the cinema with Per Gessle

Paula and Stina attended the premiere of “Roxette Diaries” and wrote the following report for RXB. Enjoy this thrilling story about watching the “Roxette Diaries” sitting almost next to Per and Åsa and sharing the experience with other long-time fans.

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Picture by Nico Radoi

W.O.W. Way Out West…
The film “Roxette Diaries” premiere.
…Yes! It is actually very “WOW”!!!!!!!

We met at Gothenburg’s central station and we headed for Bio Capital cinema. A cozy little place, that you almost missed walking by! We were a bit too early so we were sent out in the streets again. We went on a food-hunting adventure and ended up in the area of Haga where we tried to get our heads around the fact that first of all we would be going to the cinema in a few minutes to see a Roxette documentary on the big screen, but most importantly we would be joined by Gessle himself!
We came back to the cinema by 14.00 and little by little fans began to arrive as well as other well-known faces. While taking some pictures of the place and posters, suddenly a big black car arrived in the parking lot on the opposite side of the street… and yessssss it was Per driving with Åsa sitting besides him. Marie Dimberg went to welcome them, it was fun to see how they went to the ticket machine to get the parking ticket for the day! They came to the cinema and said hi friendly and started to talk to some people. We were all together by the cinema door on the sidewalk, talking and waiting for the time to be let in.

The event started with a representative from Way Out West festival welcoming the few people/fans who had found their way into the darkness this Friday afternoon. We were approximately around 35-40 people who joined for this journey down memory lane. The film began with a small written introduction by Per himself and then it immediately took off beginning with the early days back in ’80s and the recordings of Look Sharp!

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Photo by Paula Cafiero Högström

So many funny moments and rarities…going through TV-shows, recordings in the studio, private meetings, eating at restaurants, recording video clips, celebrating Usa #1’s, shows and concerts in different parts of the world, fans waiting and singing outside hotels, radio greetings, photo sessions… so much to take in and that as a fan you just soak up and it was absolutely lovely to see.

Laughter, happy emotional tears, goosebumps, vivid heartbeats of those you feel your chest is gonna explode, shivers… and so many memories from those times in our lives. It was incredible to recognise many moments during the film that we once had seen from another angle, we could even see the camera-man filming that angle as we now were watching it from mainly Åsa’s camera. And SO MUCH never seen stuff it was awesome.

Some of our favorite parts (out of way too many) were to see them fooling around, having so much fun with each other… being silly and laughing… And seeing everyone so young! At some point Micke (with hair!) joined the craziness.

The behind the scenes filming of some of the most well-known official videos. Maybe it’s because we watched the videos to pieces back in the early 90’s, maybe it’s because the videos are such a big part our teenage years, but seeing those gems from a different view, different angle, with attitude and humor…. It’s just goosepumpingly priceless.

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Picture by Nico Radoi

Another era to mention are the many footage from the Tourism-recordings (including the suitcase-drum kit) as well as the recordings from Capri making C!B!B!

With “Roxette Diaries” we joined Marie and Per travelling the world many many times in only one and a half hour. As a viewer you really get the sense of hard work and how tough it can get being on the road touring. And you get this particular weird feeling that we had been part of this all. And in a way we fans are part of this all. Either because we had been present in person at some TV-show or concert shown on the film or just merely because of the fact we have all followed this amazing band throughout all these years, through their music and magazines and radios and other sources of information…

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Picture by Nico Radoi

Specially these kind of old videos and films that we saw during endless evenings and nights, by ourselves or together with friends when we were so young, these old interviews, TV-shows, promo shows, concerts. We could spend a whole evening – or even long into early morning hours and through the whole night – watching those VHS tapes. Sharing laughters, amazement, admiration, commeting a look, a phrase, a face, clothes… We had so much to talk about. We even helped each other understand some word they had said in English that the other hadn’t really understood… and later came the Swedish!
The “pause” and “rewind” buttons were pressed way too much and often by then. It was common that the ink on the keys had faded after a while on the VCR-player!!
Those times were magic and are of those moments in life you’ll carry with you for ever. So many strong memories and laughters. And sharing this passion we have under the name Roxette, it´s magic! SHARE, we love that beautiful word! Share among friends from the “old” days and some others from recent years… many who are around in Europe and who started as pen-pals back in the mid 90’s!!!

So nostalgy and memories hit us hard while we wrote this!

… and you could really SENSE and FEEL in that cinema yesterday, the same way we felt then, all over again while watching.

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Picture by Christina Tholander

When the film was over (what?? How can 90 minutes go this fast!!) Gessle came forward and answered a few questions.

He was asked how he felt when he saw the movie and he said proud and happy because he had forgotten 95% of it… Proud because this whole Rox thing originally started as a hobby and the idea was to play at clubs…
He was asked what had made Roxette so succesful and he said luck, and experience, the fact that they were not that young and that they both had careers from before in the luggage and all that experience. He mentioned here the amazing gift that Marie has as a performer singing and on stage, which made his songs and music so good.
He was asked who they made this film for… he answered for the band, the inner circle, to sum up all those video tapes that mainly Åsa had recorded when video cameras were not so common to own. It was important to cherish special moments like shows in odd parts of the world where other big bands never played before, like in South America or China.

Then fans could ask questions too and Sandra began with THE question: if they were gonna make this film available for us fans, specially the ones that hadn’t been able to come to the premiere. He said they are working on it, talking to TV stations in Sweden for them to broadcast and hopefully release it … or “ilegally put it up on youtube” 😉
Another fan asked if there is something negative about this whole glamourus and luxurious way of life we just saw on the screen and he said that there are some tough parts like all the travelling and the boring parts of promo and making interviews and photo shoots and miming the same songs over and over again, it’s very tiring and Marie hated it, specially since they both have a very good live tradition with lots of tours and playing live… but it’s part of the job and in the end you have the positive around you that beats the tough part.
He was asked if it was the first time he saw the film we had just watched. He said the first version was 12 hour long!!! Then cut to 3 hours… it was a lot to see and go through and there were parts they have “missed” like MTV Unplugged 1993, the show in Johannesburg in South Africa january ’95…

per_roxette_diaries
Picture by Nico Radoi

After this,  fans could take pictures with Per and get some autographs. He was very social and positive and talkative.

We also talked to Åsa and she told us it was her premiere to see the movie as well and that for them it’s many happy memories and emotional going back in time, too. But I have to say it’s like that for us fans too!

So this 90-minute storytelling is a true pearl for both hardcore fans and for people with a genuine interest in music and it tells the crazy intense story of everyday life for one of the worlds biggest pop sensations. It’s worth watching many many times and we truly hope it won’t be long before it will be released out into society!

Quotes from fans AFTER the film:

– Tanja Hesse had brought her friend Patricia Bienko (both from Germany) and they were both speechless and so happy to have been able to take part of this.

– Karin Rubischung and Jörg Zimmerli from Switzerland said this was their best meeting (with Per and Åsa) ever, very emotional to see the film too!
Jörg added: “the movie is a very good memory for having been a Roxer since the very beginning”

– Nico Radoi from Romania living in Gothenburg was very pleased with the whole thing and happy she took many pictures to eternalize some of the many magic moments during the film.

– Marie-Claire from Holland living in Stockholm was also very happy and overwhelmed.

– Sandra and Jana were full of joy and couldn´t really sum up what they felt… so we went for some drinks and food afterwards to talk talk talk talk talk about this whole amazing happening in our Rox-lives and share it with each other… coz after all it isa ll about sharing! … and it all begins where it ends!!! ?

Thanks so much Roxette Blog and D&D Management for this amazing opportunity that we were able to be part of!

Paula Cafiero Högström & Christina Tholander

Interview with Per Gessle: “I wanted the books to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines”

PG BookFair01-1 We had the chance to ask Per Gessle some questions about the books (“Texter, klotter & funderingar” and “Songs, Sketches & Reflections”), so we went through the books and thought of some detailed ones. Per, who is currently busy with the Roxette rehearsals, nicely took the time to answer to all these questions. Here is the result!

Don’t forget to grab the books and check them out while reading for a complete experience. Or to buy them if you haven’t yet (or you may be lucky in… read at the bottom!)

RXB/J&PP: So let’s start from the beginning. When did you get the idea to make these books? Was it born at the same time as the box? What came first, the idea of releasing TPGA box or publishing the books?
Per Gessle: Hello.. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind for a long long time. There are so many songs around, so many demos. It really is “a lifetime of songwriting”! Also I’ve got so many studio diaries that need some fresh air!!

Through our Facebook-site I’ve also noticed that many people are interested in the demos. That feedback was certainly important to me in my decision.

It’s been a great ego trip in spite of the endless hours of research that was needed to make (especially) the box happen, since the amount of material is so vast. Lots of people have been involved, primarily MP (finding & refreshing old tapes + recording & editing Sven’s and my conversation-pieces which took forever), Pär Wickholm (CD-box layout) and Benny Mårtensson (book layout). Without those guys it wouldn’t have happened. Not like this. I’m extremely pleased with the result.

The books are not simply some lyrics put together black on white with a few pictures but something much more personal, with comments, drawings and other things from your archives. What was your initial concept you had in mind? Did you have such design in mind from the beginning?
Yes. I didn’t want to do just standard lyric-books. I wanted them to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines. To write a song is a long journey and most of the time people only get to know the final destination.

Why did you decide to split them in two books, English and Swedish? Do you plan to release the English book outside of Sweden?
I’m sure both books will be available globally through Amazon etc. The reason for two separate books is that otherwise it would have been too thick. And I don’t want to compete with the bible. Or the complete edition of “Fifty Shades Of Grey”.

We also realized that some songs are missing from the books and some are missing your comments and only the lyrics are included. How did you decide on which songs to include and comment on?
I wrote down what I remembered and if there were any good stories or anecdotes connected with the songs. Some songs I don’t remember writing. Some lyrics didn’t make it due to copyright-reasons. “Tylö Sun” and “Skicka ett vykort, älskling” for instance. I don’t own the copyrights to those.

10624861_10152244866910178_591528627164385920_nEvery page on the books is different, some pictures are used more than once but each page has a different design. We know Benny Mårtensson did this part, but what was your involvement? Did you check every page or give hints to certain lyric pages how they should look like?
Yes. I wasn’t in favour of using the same pics more than once but Benny found that OK. A few of his pages I didn’t particularly like so he remade them. He’s done a fantastic job. A very talented guy. The original idea was just to mix the lyrics, my studio diaries incl drawings and combine them with a few comments about the songs. Then I realized that some of the original lyric-sheets looked really cool with coffee-stains and dead flies on them so we used a lot of those. The pics should not be the main thing. Just to spice things up a bit and make it even more personal and easy to look at.

One can read the books in (at least) 2 different ways: Either with or without the music to the lyrics. While reading the books without music one gets a deeper insight into your lyrics and realizes (once more) how great songwriter you are. Did you (re)discover parts of your lyrics that impressed you? Lyrics long forgotten where you thought “wow, did I write that?”? (or some you thought “what was I thinking?”).
Thank you. I’m happy you enjoy my work. My ambition writing lyrics has always been that they should be capable to stand on their own two feet. I think it’s crucial that you should be able to read a song lyric without getting too embarrassed. Both as the writer and as the reader. Sometimes I’ve screwed things up, sometimes it feels good when I bump into one of my lyrics.

We have both interviews in the Swedish book, but only the Sven interview in the English one. Both are great reading for fans or even non-fans and going through all the interesting things in the Tomas Andersson Wij interview, it would have been a good idea to translate it and include it in the English book as well. Why didn’t you decide for having it there?
I agree. TAW’s interview is great and should have been included in both books. If there will be a 2nd edition it will be translated and made available in English as well. The reason we didn’t include to begin with was that Tomas and I mostly talked about my Swedish work and thought it didn’t really interest that many people abroad. We were wrong.

In the Sven interview you say you try to avoid learning too much, because you are afraid of losing the unconscious. At the same time, working together with all those fantastic musicians, it’s impossible not to learn from them. How can you keep the balance?
Well, what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t really work for me to “educate” myself too much and learn the classic and proper rules of music. I want to trust my gut feeling and if I need help (which I do all the time…, I know what I want but I don’t know how to get it…) I consult more “educated” people than me, Christoffer and Clarence for instance.

I truly believe that I’d been a far less interesting songwriter if I didn’t follow my own set of rules and instincts. I don’t really know when I’m doing things “right or wrong” and that’s the whole idea for me. Follow that sweet smell of surprise.

Read moreInterview with Per Gessle: “I wanted the books to show who I am, my style, my drawings, my silly notes and confused guide-lines”