Per Gessle on Hellenius hörna

Last time Per Gessle was on Hellenius hörna was almost exactly 3 years ago. That was a fun show and so I was looking very much forward to it this time again.

Yesterday’s program you can watch HERE, but only if you have Swedish access to it.

At the beginning of the program there is a teaser where Per is on the phone and imitates that he is talking to someone. His text is made up from his song titles. Host David Hellenius urges him to come, because they soon start, then goes out of Per’s dressing room and bumps into Laleh, the other guest ont he show. David asks her if she noticed anything strange with Per. She says no and her replies are made up from her song lyrics. Then Per appears with a fishing rod and tells them ”Jag går och fiskar!” (Gone fishing!). David runs after him.

Per is the first guest on the show. David introduces him as the one who put Swedish pop music on the world map with Roxette. He sold more than 100 million records and he is the only Swede who reached No. 1 on the US Billboard charts 4 times. There is footage from old shows where Per is playing with Gyllene Tider and Roxette, from his solo tours as well and we can also see award winning moments.

David welcomes Per and tells him it’s high time they celebrate Father’s Day together [it’s Father’s Day in Sweden on 8th November]. He asks Mr. G if he still gets present from his son. Per says no and he never got one. He thinks Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are for gathering the family. David understands one doesn’t have to give a lot of presents.

David tells Per released a new album recently, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. He is curious if it’s a self-experience record. Per tells he didn’t know what to do in summer, it was very quiet and he thought it would be fun to make an acoustic album on which he plays as many instruments as possible himself. He never did that before. Then he realized he doesn’t have songs. David says it’s difficult to make an album without songs. Per agrees, but says he realized that he has been writing songs for more than 40 years, so he got back to his songs from the 80’s and 90’s. David asks Per where he is keeping all his songs. Per laughs and says in a little drawer. He even demonstrates it. David asks what is written on the drawer. Per says: ”Ajajaj.” And they both laugh. David asks if Per sorted them out, but Per says on the contrary. These are songs that still mean a lot to him. David thinks one could say Per saved the best for last, but nah, he is not that old. Per says it’s a bit like that. Time flies and the songs he wrote in 1982-83 mean something different to him now than back then.

David asks Per about the songs Mamma and Pappa, if he wrote them a long time ago. Per says these two songs he actually wrote this year. He wrote Mamma for Mother’s Day and he thought he should write a father song too. He doesn’t know why, but that just happened. Then these two songs became the catalyst to the whole album. Mr. G says he did acoustic videos for his YouTube channel and he thought it was fun to play and sing. He played all the instruments except the difficult ones. David tells it’s smart and a good plan. He starts enumerating the instruments: guitar, bass, piano, but Per interrupts him and says bass is a difficult one. David says he thought it’s easy to play, there are only a few strings on a bass. Mr. G says a good bass is hard to play. He also doesn’t play the drums, but he plays almost everything else.

David tells Per has another special project he started in 2017, Mono Mind. At the beginning no one knew it was Per. He sounded like a robot. David asks him to explain it. Those who don’t know may think ”What happened to Per? Now he has stuck completely.” Per smiles and says it started earlier. In 2017 he reached No. 1 on the dance charts and stayed there for 6 weeks for everyone’s surprise. But he started that project in 2014. It was because he was tired of his own voice. They were sitting in the studio and tried to find effects. David asks if Per was tired of hearing himself. Mr. G says yes, because it was always the same. One intones in the same way. David says he understands it perfectly, that’s why he left ”Let’s Dance” [TV program]. He says he can’t say cha-cha-cha anymore. Mr. G says they started fiddling around on the computer and in the end he was singing one octave lower than usual. Then they fiddled with it. One can write the melody and add a little soul bounce to it. It was exciting and something he never did before. And it made him happy. They show a short part from the video to Save Me A Place. Then David informs Per called himself Dr. Robot. It’s almost like a children’s program, but it became mega huge. He asks Per how it felt to have a world hit without anyone knowing it was him. Per tells when someone is in the music business for as long as he is, it’s hard to enter the younger niche of pop music. There is a little age fascism in pop. David asks if Per feels it. He confirms he does. And since no one knew it was him behind Mono Mind, so he got in the fast lane. It was a little experiment. David says now it’s a little older man who is still there, everyone thought it’s a younger robot. David asks Per if he felt ”There you got it, all of you, who wanted to shoot us away”? Per says not really, but it was interesting. If he went out and said it’s a Per Gessle album, it would have been difficult to make it happen. This way he had American radio supporting him and it was a big hit in France too.

David says Per turned 60 last year and asks what he thinks about getting old. Whether he accepts it or tries to apply a brake. Per thinks it’s OK. You feel that you are getting older. David asks what’s good in it. Experience, Per replies. And that he doesn’t take his job as seriously anymore. He doesn’t need to do everything to become No. 1. David asks what is the worst in getting old. Grey hair and the body gets older, Per replies. David says Per is on stage a lot and that physically strains his body. He asks if Per feels any difference, if he can do the same things as before. Mr. G says he can and he even thinks he became better. David says ”Per Gessle, 60, more vigorous than ever”. David asks if he is training. Per says no, training is the most boring thing. David asks if he tried it. Per says he tried, but it doesn’t work for him. David starts asking if he tried yoga, Per continues pilates, personal trainer…, but it doesn’t work. He is rather walking.

David thinks when you are getting older, you can end up at a crossroads and one way is to become an angry man, the other is to become a cuddly man. He asks Mr. G if he had ever stood at that crossing and if so, which way he chose. He also asks if he gets slightly irritated by anything. Per says he recognized that. You get a little short-tempered as you get older. So he warns David that this is what is waiting for him. Haha. David says he would ask Per some questions and is curious what Per thinks about those things. Mr. G gets a sign which has ANGRY written on one side and GRUMPY on the other. He has to hold up the sign he finds relevant, so it will turn out if Per is an angry man who is purely pissed or a charming cuddly man who is just cursing a little.  Per says he sets it to the ANGRY side immediately.

  1. Bad language and spacing between words – GRUMPY
  2. Electric scooter – ANGRY – Here Per’s facial expression says it all, but David asks why angry. He is angry about the fact that people leave it all around. One has to climb over them on the sidewalks in Stockholm. David is curious if Per is so angry that he told this to anyone. Mr. G says he was thinking about throwing one into Nybroviken. David says it’s nice, there wouldn’t be any headlines about it. David says Per could say ”it wasn’t me. It was Dr. Robot.” Per says he could also say ”it was David”. Haha.
  3. This one David heard that Per gets damn mad at: telephone queues – ANGRY – Per says the worst is when you call a company or authority and you have to push 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and you eventually push 4 and they say that you are No. 31 in the queue. It feels like your whole life is on hold. David agrees, but he says if you are lucky, you can have a Per Gessle song playing in the background. He asks if it has ever happened. Mr. G says it never happened. David says: ”You are No. 127. Sommartider, hej hej… Then you get even happier.” Per tells they have such PG songs at Hotel Tylösand, so you can listen to Gå & fiska! for example. A bit awkward. David says it’s perfect, so one can just ring them if they want to listen to some songs.
  4. Tabloid headlines – ANGRY – Per says if he has to choose from these two options he picks ANGRY, because it’s bad journalism in a way. David asks if he bothers to click on them sometimes. Those headlines are for more clicks – e.g. ”Per Gessle – bathing-trunks disappered”. Per says he stopped reading them, because he gets irritated. It’s the decay of mankind. It’s so ridiculous.

The game ends with this and David says Per is rather a charming cuddly guy, he is not so dangerous.

Before the break, the live band plays Gå & fiska!, but with a rewritten text about the break.

After the break, a tough topic is coming. This part you can watch on YouTube. David tells it’s almost a year ago that Marie Fredriksson, Per’s close friend passed away. He asks Per how this past year was for him. Mr. G says it was terrbile what happened, but at the same time, they were prepared for that. Marie was sick for a long time, so it was more of an end in a way. David says they had known each other since more than 30 years. He asks what was that special thing about them. Per says he doesn’t know. He gets this question often. They both came from a small town, they shared the rehearsal studio in the 70’s, they came from the same roots and had this dream together and completed each other perfectly. She was a fantastic artist and singer and a leader in Roxette on stage, while Per was OK at writing songs. So there was a very good balance. He is missing that of course. David asks if they already had those big dreams when everything started and they stood there on the stage. Mr. G says they didn’t dream about what exactly happened, but when they started Roxette they wanted to succeed abroad. But back then they only thought it would be cool to go to the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark. Then it was actually the US where they broke through, so it became a bit bigger than they thought. David asks if there was a monent when they understood that now something happens, something that they couldn’t even dream about. Per says it was when they started talking about the fact that Roxette entered the US radio charts and then it went so fast with The Look. You can’t enter the Billboard Hot 100 if your song is not commercially released, but they were on a lot of radio charts, so they rush-released The Look as a single and sent it out to record shops. Then in 8 weeks they reached No. 1. It happened so fast.

David asks if Per has a best memory. He knows there are many, but he is curious if there is one special memory from those times. Per says there are tons of such memories, but he tells one. When they recorded Dressed For Success, Marie and Per quarreled for some reason. Per complained about Marie’s singing and Marie became so angry with Per that she went in to the studio and sang the song in one single take. From anger. Then he also thinks of the concerts. She was fantastic there. In all those huge football stadiums in the 90’s. A short clip is shown on the screen from Johannesburg. David says it’s incredible, what a career! Per adds: what a blonde hairdo! David asks Mr. G what he is missing the most when he sees this clip. Per says he is missing that part of his life when Roxette became big. All that romance that you have always lived with in pop culture. He lived in that since he was a kid. He misses those stages where there were 60.000 people in front of them. He misses being involved in it. He is still partly in it, but not in the same way. David asks Per if he is the kind of person who can enjoy things when they happen or rather only when he looks back at them. If he could understand it when they stood there in front of thousands of people. Per says he enjoyed the whole circus back then, but they worked a lot. It was tough during those 8 years. They toured, they recorded an album and then again, without a break. It’s a long time, so when you are in it, you don’t really realize what you are doing, but then there is a break and you look back and ask what happened. It was fun back then and it’s also fantastic to look back on it.

David asked Per if he still had his first guitar and Mr. G brought it to the studio. Per’s mother bought it for him in 1976 when Per was 17. David asks Mr. G whether he started playing it then or he took some guitar lessons before. Mr. G says he never went to a guitar school. He learned some piano playing for a week or so, but he learned to play the guitar by himself. David sees that something is hanging on the guitar. Per says it belongs to it. It’s a cat crocheted by his mother. David says how cute is that and it has held up well. A nice memory from Per’s mother. Mr. G says it’s cool that his mother bought the guitar. It’s a Swedish one, a Bjärton. It cost 1500-2000 SEK at the time. It’s a lot of money for a guitar for someone who can’t play it. David laughs but says it paid off. Per says once you give an instrument to someone, it has to be played. It was easy to tune and it has the right string distance as well. David asks Per if he remembers the time he started playing the guitar. Per says he was lucky because after school he was unemployed like anyone else at the time. Then he and another guy got a job as troubadours employed by the city council. They were playing at nursing homes for old people. David asks if they were payed for it. Per says they were. It was a temporary job for 3 months. They played Drömmen om Elin and Svarte Rudolf. It was a good school for him, to play in front of those few poeple. It was then when he started writing songs. He thinks he tested one of them on 108-year-olds at the nursing home. David asks how they reacted. Per says they never really reacted. They laugh and David says: ”Then you decided, I’ll be an artist!”. Haha. Per says the fun thing was that they got a schedule about when to go where. Once the schedule changed and they had to go to the long-term care at the hospital in Halmstad. They had never been there and when they got in, there was no one there. So they just entered a hall, put two chairs in the middle, sat down and started playing. It was quite a big hall with two beds and two patients on the two sides. Suddenly a nurse came in and wondered what they were doing there. They said that they were sent to play there. The nurse said there must be some misunderstanding and she threw them out. Just then, one of the two guys woke up. It was a young guy who had an accident and had been in coma. They played Proud Mary or something and so he woke up from the coma. Then many doctors and nurses rushed in. David jokes and tells: ”And you held up your hand and said it was me playing.” Per says they were sent out so he doesn’t know what happened after. David says he should try it again, to play and wake people up from coma.

David asks if there is any classic song Per wrote on this guitar. Per starts playing and says it was one of the first songs he wrote. It’s När alla vännerna gått hem. He is singing 2 verses and the audience cheers him. David says his mother is not there anymore, but it’s one hell of a luck that she bought this guitar and crocheted that cat.

Here the part with Per ends, but he stays in the studio until the next break. Laleh is the other guest on the show.

All stills are from Hellenius hörna.

Thanks for the technical support, János Tóth!

Per Gessle on P4 Extra

Per Gessle was a guest on P4 Extra, Swedish Radio last Friday. Host Erik Blix asked him about his new solo album, Gyllene Tider, Marie Fredriksson, Roxette and his new project.

Erik asks Per what the album title, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig means to him. Mr. G says it means to him more or less what it says. He realized that this album is an old love that’s still there. One can say it’s a pandemic album, because he started recording it while he was isolated in Halmstad. Erik says it’s Per and Paul McCartney (who did the same). Per laughs and says there are more who did the same. Per had the idea to record acoustic songs and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t have any material for that, so he thought he should dig deep into his archives from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. There are a lot of songs he thinks didn’t come out of their shadow before. He says it was exciting.

They play Ömhet here. Erik says Per sings together with Helena Josefsson. Mr. G tells Helena is fantastic and it would have been difficult to record this song without her. She is awesome. Ömhet was written right after Mazarin was recorded in 2002. The text remained the same, but he wrote new music to it for Gyllene Tider’s Dags att tänka på refrängen album, but they never recorded it. Then it was lying in the drawer until now. Erik asks how many songs Per has in the drawer. Per reacts: ”You don’t want to know!” And laughs. He himself doesn’t know it exactly either. There are tons of sketches. Before he starts a new project, he is listening to some of his old stuff to get inspiration. He has been writing songs for such a long time and he felt that slowly but surely his style is changing a bit. Erik asks if it can happen that a sketch matures, that earlier Per thought nah, it’s not good for anything, but now it seems to work. Mr. G says it can happen, for example that the text in a verse has a good idea, but it doesn’t reach the goal or you couldn’t make it in 1986, but maybe now you can get your teeth into it. On GKRA it happened that Per corrected verses he thought were clumsy. And there is also the fact that if you write a song when you are 25 and sing it when you are 61, it gets a different meaning. Erik asks if it was the case with Ömhet. PG says not really, because there the lyric is straightforward, but Tända en sticka till is a good example. It was released on Per’s first solo LP in 1983, he wrote it in 1982, so when he sings it today, there is a sentimental, nostalgic feel to it. It changes the text’s angle.

Per tells he works together with Helena since Mazarin. She came to sing backing vocals on 1 song and ended up singing on 10. He knew he wanted a female voice and they did a little audition at the studio in Skåne. Helena was the first he heard on the audition and he said he doesn’t want to listen to the others. She was the one he wanted.

Erik asks Per why he decided to make this album an acoustic one. Mr. G says he wanted to make it personal and organic and he wanted to play as many instrument as possible himself. There is mainly piano and acoustic guitar. He also tried playing bass and drums, but he realized his limits. Erik adds Paul McCartney plays all instruments himself. Per says he knows it. He is very curious about Paul’s new album. He is amazed that at his age, Paul is so sharp and he is doing this recording in his home studio alone.

Erik asks Per if he rewrote any of the lyrics for the album. Per tells he rewrote certain verses. There are songs in the drawer that have a text Per was not satisfied with, but now he has the capacity to make them relevant.

Mr. G tells now he is making an English album and he’s got a kick doing it. Erik asks when it will be released. Per says when it’s ready. They laugh. Erik says it sounds like a good startegy.

They play Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig) here. It’s a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Erik asks Per when he wrote this song and what it is about. He wrote it for En händig man in 2006. First it was mostly just an observation that sometimes things get so close that they get really blurred and you can’t really take it in. Per tells he didn’t know Uno too well. He called Per in summer and asked if they could meet and have dinner together. Per said sure, just he has to sing on one of his songs first. Then Per quickly changed the key in the song so that it suits Uno’s and Per’s voice. Mr. G thinks Uno is a lovely person and he has a fantastic voice.

Erik tells Per is more acoustic during these recent years and his music is softer. He asks if Per became softer over the years. Mr. G laughs and says he doesn’t know. It’s hard for him to answer this question because he thinks he is the same as he has always been. PG says he is lucky that he has a big tree with a lot of branches: Gyllene Tider, Roxette, solo in English and in Swedish, Mono Mind. Many different things. His classic singer songwriter side is reflected in this new album.

Erik asks Mr. G about Gyllene Tider and says he opened the door to a comeback. Per smiles and says: ”That I can never keep quiet…” They did their last tour last year, but who knows. There is nothing planned. He loves the guys in GT and he loves playing with them. When the five of them play together, the outcome is always something very special.

The guys start talking about Roxette. Erik asks Per to describe his friendship with Marie. Per says it’s hard to describe it shortly, but they got to know each other when they were teens, at the end of the 70’s. They shared a rehearsal studio in Sperlingsholm, outside Halmtad. Per was in Gyllene Tider and Marie was in Strul. So they have been friends since then. That friendship became a musical partnership in which they could develop their good sides. The basic idea with Roxette was that Per writes the songs and Marie sings. Marie could sing fantastically and Per could write OK songs. Sometimes it felt like 1 and 1 makes 3. Per says he is incredibly proud of the journey they were on together and feels honoured to have worked together with Marie over so many years. Erik tells Roxette started out as a game with a friend. Per tells they had the ambition and dream to succeed outside Sweden. They loved pop and rock music and they liked the same bands and artists, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles. When they were sitting and chatting in Per’s apartment in Halmstad, they were talking about Germany, Norway, Denmark or Belgium. To succeed in the US and play there and in South America and Roxette being global surpassed their dreams. They had their heydays between 1988 and 1995. Then Marie had her second child and wanted to have a break, so they had a break after the Crash! Boom! Bang! tour. During those 8 years they were together 24 hours a day and worked. Erik adds they travelled around the world, but probably didn’t see anything. Something like that, Per confirms. They were constantly travelling to another city, another country or were locked in their hotel rooms, spent their times at airports.

Erik asks Per how much he misses Marie. Per says it’s difficult to talk about it. It’s almost a year ago that she passed away. There is emptiness. When you lose someone very close or your family member, there is emptiness. It’s difficult to deal with it. Even in Marie’s case when they were kind of prepared, because she was sick for a long time. But still, when it happens, you know that you can’t get prepared for that. Erik asks if Per misses the partnership as well, to work together with someone the way they worked together. Mr. G says of course he misses it, however, the last albums they recorded in a different way than they recorded before Marie’s illness. It wasn’t such an intensive cooperation as during the years before her illness. But there is something special when you are working together with someone or with a band like GT. There are things that only they can share, something only Marie and Per could discuss, Roxette’s success, since it’s them who achieved it with a lot of people’s support around them. There was an enormous tightness between them, so of course he is missing it. He misses calling her and chat and fight and joke around. Erik asks if they did that often. Per says maybe not as often as they should have, but one thinks about it only now. After Marie got ill in 2002, she of course became much more private and he respected it.

Erik asks Per about his musical partnerships, how those work. Per says he is much of a lone wolf, mainly in the creative part of his work. He writes alone and he doesn’t take orders easily if someone wants to tell him how this or that should be. It’s hard for him to write music for someone else. It’s difficult to keep the balance. But then he of course needs other musicians and other singers and other producers who help him on the way.

As an end to the conversation, Erik asks Per to pick a Roxette song to play. Mr. G chooses Let Your Heart Dance With Me that was released recently. A leftover song from their last recordings. He says it’s so nice to hear Marie on it again.

Per Gessle on Musikplats

Per Gessle visited Swedish Radio P4’s studio in Stockholm last Friday and was a guest on Musikplats. Host Fredrik Eliasson tells Per had big success this autumn on the program. 3 of his songs were ”song of the week” on Musikplats which is exceptional, it never happened before during one season and it’s the 30th season. The 3 songs were:

20-09-18 Per Gessle – Nypon och ljung
20-10-02 Roxette – Let Your Heart Dance With Me
20-10-30 Per Gessle & Helena Josefsson – Ömhet

Per is very happy about it. Fredrik thinks Per is in constant harmony with the audience and asks if it was always like that. Per smiles and says not always, but the finest rating one can get is that people appreciate what he is doing.

The guys talk about Per’s new solo album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. Per says it’s a result of the pandemic. He was isolated and spent a lot of time in Halmstad and thought he would record something. He went to the studio and wanted to try and play as many instruments as possible himself. He didn’t really have new material to record though, so he started digging in his archives. It was exciting. He went through maybe 60-70-80 songs from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. He got stuck with appr. 10 which he thought are still relevant, but maybe had a lousy recording earlier, so he gave them a new chance now.

Fredrik asks how Per can decide whether a song is relevant or not. Mr. G says when he wrote the songs in the 80’s, he was a young guy. When you sing or read the lyrics of those today, you see them from another perspective. Tända en sticka till was for example released on his first solo album in 1983. It has a warm text, but it gets another meaning when you are 61 and you sing it today. There is the feeling of nostalgia, sentimentality, looking back on the time passed. That gives another angle. Fredrik agrees that this can change a song. Per tells when he wrote songs for Roxette, he wrote them for Marie and when a girl sings the song it has another meaning when it’s a guy singing it.

Fredrik mentions there is Segla på ett moln on the new album, a hit first released by Anne-Lie Rydé in 1983 and there is also a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Per says Uno came to Halmstad in summer and called him if they could have dinner together. Mr. G said of course, but first he has to sing on a song on Per’s new album. Uno accepted the request and in a rush, Per changed the keys to match Uno’s and Per’s voices. Mr. G adds Uno is a lovely person. When Fredrik asks which song it is, Per wants to tell the title, Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig), but the part in brackets doesn’t come out correctly. Haha. He says he can’t remember and Fredrik says it’s an old song. They both laugh and then they play the song.

After that, Fredrik adds that Helena Josefsson is also singing on DKSN, she is doing vocals on the whole album. Per tells his voice blends quite well with female voices and it sounds fine.

Fredrik congratulates Per on his Billboard record. On the list published a week ago there are 18 sole songwriters who have more than two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 songs. Per says it was a shock to the system. When he read the article about it, it felt very flattering to be on the same list as Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Lionel Richie. A tough list. Today songwriting doesn’t work like before. Now almost everyone works in a team and writes songs in a team. Per has always been a lone wolf. He is extremely proud to be on the list.

The guys are talking about Let Your Heart Dance With Me. Fredrik says it has an emotional story, Marie and Per recorded it at the end of the Roxette era. Per says it was the very last song they recorded together. It didn’t make it to their last album, Good Karma. It was a difficult album to record because of Marie’s health problems, so when they had finished the album, they didn’t do any more recordings. They had some songs left, but they were never recorded properly or mixed. Let Your Heart Dance With Me is one of them. Per had forgotten about it, but he found a raw mix of it last spring. Then they mixed it properly. They speeded up the tempo a bit to make it sound more fresh. He thinks it sounds damn good. It will be released in a compilation box, Bag of Trix that will have 4 volumes of so far unreleased songs, demos, acoustic sessions, etc. There are still a lot of old live concert recordings in the drawers. It was a lovely journey for Per to dig in those drawers. He won’t ever stop being impressed by Marie’s capacity. She is a fantastic artist and singer. They are listening to the song here. Fredrik highlights the whistling. Per tells it wasn’t planned. They just wanted to keep the melody and present it in a fun way and whistling turned out to be quite good. Mr. G also tells that if the song key is right, you can whistle properly. They laugh.

Regarding the music industry and pandemic Per says it’s very sad what happens now. All the people (not only in the music business, but film industry) are affected by the situation. He has a lot of technician and musician friends and it’s very difficult for them now. The longer it lasts the more difficult it is. Fredrik asks Per about his experience how difficult it is to get back on track if someone loses the grip. Per thinks one has to keep on working on it. The same things happen now in most of the countries, it’s not a unique Swedish probelm. It’s a special time we live in, a lot is happening. There is the US elections, terrorism in Europe, it’s a strange time.

Fredrik asks what’s next. Per says there won’t be a tour of course. He is doing some TV these days and then goes back to the crypt and keeps on working in the studio.

Regarding Gyllene Tider the guys discuss it was a big party last year. They decided to close that chapter, but Per personally thinks that it’s fantastic to play in a pop band of Gyllene Tider’s caliber. There are no plans, but cool things are happening when the 5 of them meet and have instruments close to them. Let’s see what happens.

Fredrik thanks Per for coming to the show and they play Kom ut till stranden.

They started the whole program with Nypon och ljung and they also played Ömhet before Per was on air. So all in all 5 PG songs were played on Musikplats on Friday. Nice.

Per Gessle on Nyhetsmorgon

Per Gessle appeared on Nyhetsmorgon, TV4 this morning. You can watch the program HERE! He talked about his success on Billboard, his new solo album, as well as Marie and Bag of Trix.

Program leader Anna Brolin welcomes Per and introduces him as one of the biggest hitmakers of all time. She asks Per how he is doing. Mr. G says he is fine, a bit croaky, but it’s not the program leader’s fault, he jokes.

Anna asks Per if he follows the elections in the US since he has many friends and colleagues there. They shortly discuss a lot is going on in the US now and the corona situation is worrying. Anna mentions that Per got on a unique list in the US. He is one of 18 sole songwriters who had more than two No. 1 songs on Billboard Hot 100. They check the list of all the great songwriters on the screen and Anna is surprised that the number next to Per’s name is 3, because they had four No. 1 songs. Per tells Listen To Your Heart was also No. 1, but there he wasn’t a sole songwriter. He wrote it together with Mats MP Persson. Per is impressed that Anna can enumerate the other 3 songs. They laugh. Anna asks Mr. G which is his favourite from these 3 No. 1 hits. Per picks The Look, because it’s a crazy pop song that is still special and unique in a way. The song’s construction and half nonsense text is contagious in some way. But he loves It Must Have Been Love too, of course. It’s a magnificent song thanks to Marie and she turned it into a firework of film music with her voice. They watch a part of the IMHBL video and Anna says it’s a big song and it’s special to see Marie. She asks Per how it is for him. Mr. G says it’s almost a year ago that Marie passed away. There is emptiness. They had a very long friendship, they met at the end of the 70’s. They played in separate bands, but they shared the rehearsal studio outside Halmstad. Then they lived ”together” during whole their adult life. They had an awesome journey together.

They get back to the list of 18 and Anna asks if there is anyone on the list who inspires Per. Mr. G says all others are rubbish on the list. They laugh and of course he jokes. He says just look at those names: Paul Simon (Jesus Christ!), Paul McCartney (he grew up with The Beatles), Michael Jackson… It’s a fantastic list. Per says the one who inspired him and Gyllene Tider the most was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty’s songwriting style and his band made them want to be Halmstad’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They’ve been trying for 40 years, he laughs. He was very much inspired by The Beatles as well and by singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon. He likes their music too.

Then Anna asks Per about his new album. Mr. G says it’s a Swedish solo album, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. It came to life due to the pandemic. He was isolated in Halmstad this summer and thought he would go to the studio and record something. He had the ambition to play most of the instruments himself. Anna asks if it went fine. PG says it was OK, but he realized he needs some help, so he invited some local musicians to help him with bass, drums and saxophone. It became a cool album. The material on it is his old songs. He went back to the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s and found many Swedish songs he never recorded before or gave them to other artists. Songs he still felt are relevant. Per mentions Tända en sticka till which was released on his first solo album and says it has a warm love text, but he was 23-24 years old when he wrote it. Now that he sings it at the age of 61 it gives another angle to the text. One looks back at that young age and becomes melancholic and sentimental, which is not there in the 1983 version. And some songs change their identity while time goes by.

They watch a short part of the lyric video to Du kommer så nära (du blir alldeles suddig), a duet with Uno Svenningsson. Per says Helena Josefsson also sings on this one, as well as on other songs. She often sings with Per and that’s very lovely. Per thinks Uno has a fantastic voice. Anna asks why he chose Uno and Per says because he is a lovely person. He called Per this summer and asked if they could meet and have dinner together. Per said of course, but first he should come and sing on a song in the studio. He did it and it turned out to be very nice. Uno greets Per via a video message shown on the screen. He sends sunny greetings from the West coast. He thanks Per for the cooperation and says it was cool to be at MP’s studio in Halmstad and sing a little on one of Per’s nice songs. He says he is looking very much forward to Per’s new album and wishes him god luck and that he takes care of himself. Uno has a very special voice and Per says he has a special voice too, so it’s a little strange when they are singing together.

Per tells he started writing songs at the age of 15-16, so of course there are a lot of songs in his archives, the tree is growing. He doesn’t know how many songs he wrote, but someone said it’s 800 or 900 of them are registered at STIM.

Anna asks Per about the Roxette release as well. Mr. G tells he started digging in the vaults in spring and found many Roxette songs that disappeared because they were released e.g. only on CD or maybe on LP as well. Now in the times of streaming services they are not there anymore. He also found acoustic songs, a lot of demos from the 80’s when Marie and he started working on their first Roxette album. He also found unreleased songs from different albums and a Spanish song that wasn’t released before. Per says they were very big in South America and Spain.

Anna asks Per what is on his agenda. Per says artists can’t play concerts like before and technicians and crews are also affected by this. It’s a very strange time in the music business. Mr. G shares that he is working on a new English album and says he always tries to have an ongoing project.

Stills are from Nyhetsmorgon.

Per Gessle interview on El Universal, Mexico – ”Marie Fredriksson is irreplaceable”

In a recent interview on El Universal, Per says ”Marie Fredriksson is irreplaceable”.

She was a very strong woman, she fought even to the end, she never gave up, she wanted to keep going. She loved being on stage, meeting the fans, sharing her love and affection with them everywhere.

Per tells El Universal:

Our last concert was in 2016 in South Africa, there she could still be on stage; she didn’t want to leave the stage or her fans. Eventually, we got to do more than 300 concerts, because she loved it, even if during the last shows she had to sit. But in the end she always got a lot of energy because she loved her audience, she was a great person.

Mr. G remembers Marie as an amazon. She never gave up and always remained strong. He tells she had bad days and good days. The last recording was made in her home studio, because she couldn’t travel anymore, but she wanted to continue participating in all the processes. She was only 44 years old when she got ill, she was very young.

Per says:

I feel fine, but it was very hard when Marie passed away. I knew her since I was 17, it’s been a long time. Although we knew about her condition, when you lose someone who is very close to you it’s difficult to get prepared. At the end of the day it’s very difficult to get used to the idea that you’re going to lose someone. It brings emptiness and changes you forever. It was very difficult what happened, but life goes on and we must continue to be positive for what comes next.

Roxette’s journey lasted more than three decades and their iconic songs (Listen To Your Heart, It Must Have Been Love, The Look among others) will live forever. Per tells El Universal that when they started in the 80’s, it was almost impossible for artists from Sweden to become internationally recognized and successful. At first they thought they would only get to listeners in countries like Germany, Denmark, Norway, but in the end they were very lucky and ended up being around the world. It was a dream come true for them, something magical, a wonderful journey.

Roxette is a legend, however, Per tells that his wife doesn’t think so (laughs). Mr. G’s wish is that the new generations take the efforts and courage the duo had in all aspects as an example.

Per says on El Universal:

We know that we are a great inspiration for young people and that’s superb. We were nobodies, we came from a small town in Sweden and eventually we had that success. Everything can happen in life, so I hope that people will take us as an inspiration.

Per tells it’s impossible to replace Marie. She was unique, she was the lead singer of all the songs. At the same time, he wrote most of the Roxette songs and he wants to continue touring and playing them, singing them himself or using more singers. But it doesn’t mean that Marie can be replaced, because that is impossible.

Regarding Bag of Trix, Per tells El Universal that there are many different things on it and it also reminded him of many things that he experienced with Roxette and Marie.

Every time I heard her voice it made me remember what a great person she was and how brilliant she was.

Photo of Roxette by Jonas Åkerlund