Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – February 2021

The February show of Nordic Rox on Sirius XM is No. 494 in the program’s history. Wow!

Per tells there are songs in Swedish and in English on the list for this show, but he couldn’t find any Danish songs. He tells American people think if you are Swedish or Danish, you can understand each other’s language, but Mr. G has a problem understanding Danish, even if he is from the South of Sweden. He tells these are very different languages and understanding Danish is like trying to understand French. The guys laugh.

The first song, Blow My Cool is from one of Per’s favourite Swedish bands ever, The Soundtrack of Our Lives. He thinks they are amazing.

The guys also played Black Car by Miriam Bryant, Yours To Keep from Teddybears and Miss Mac Baren by Tages. Per tells he still has this Tages single and he got it as a Christmas present when he was maybe 7 or 8 years old. Sven adds some say Tages were the best dressed and most talented Swedish band in the ’60s. Per tells they were actually called the Swedish Beatles and they were produced by Anders Henriksson. All their singles sound amazing still.

The next song is Intermezzo No. 1 from ABBA. It’s an early instrumental track and it’s very special according to Sven. Per says Benny had a lot of strange spices in his lunch when he wrote this one. The guys are laughing. It’s on the ABBA album (1975) which was a lightweight record according to Per and he adds that Christoffer Lundquist loves this track and plays it regularly, which is sort of weird. Sven pictures Benny dressed up as a young Mozart when they recorded this one.

Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John is also played from 2006. When it was released it didn’t make the charts in Sweden. It charted in England first and then it became a big song and spreaded like wildfire. Per thinks it still sounds great.

Sucker Punch from Sigrid (Norway) is played too. Per thinks this is her best song. I’m in the Band from The Hellacopters was on the show as well.

Then comes a song in Swedish from the band November. They were a Swedish equivalent to Cream, a British rock band formed by Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. The guys play the first track from the first album of November, Mount Everest from En ny tid är här… (1970). Per’s brother had this album and Mr. G always loved it. It’s very bluesy and it sounds great. Sven adds guitarist Richard Rolf was very much inspired by Eric Clapton and the singer and bassist Christer Stålbrandt was also the songwriter in the band, Per tells. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics of Mount Everest, it sort of translates, Per thinks.

Edith Backlund’s Black Hole was played. Mr. G thinks it’s a lovely song. Sven adds it’s a great pop track and it has a beautiful melody.

Christof Jeppsson’s cover of Roxette’s I Call Your Name was played on the show as well. Per tells he is a guy from his hometown, Halmstad. He plays a lot of acoustic stuff and he is very talented, he’s got a great voice and is very focused. Mr. G thinks Christof did a great job on this song and Per is very pleased about that.

Milk and Toast and Honey by Roxette was played. Per says it’s a beautiful track, Marie is singing it so well. [The program was recorded probably i November last year. /PP] Sven says it’s almost a year since Marie passed away. He asks Per if he still thinks about Marie. Mr. G says of course he does. You do when you lose someone so close to you. So he thinks about Marie a lot. They had this wonderful relationship. And even if he doesn’t think about her, she pops up when he hears a Roxette song. Per tells he loves MATAH, for him it’s his favourite track off the album. Sven says it’s a nice sounding album, it has a warm sound.

Ride or Die by Sindy, Not Forever by Popsicle, a Swedish band from Piteå and Say Lou Lou’s Julian were played too. The mother of the sisters in Say Lou Lou played in a Swedish punk band, Pink Champagne and their father is from an Australian band, The Church.

My Favourite Game by The Cardigans is one of the last songs played on the show. They had a global breakthrough at the time, Sven says. Per remembers the amazing video to this song, directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Sven laughs and says he finds it interesting that they are sitting there on a radio show talking about watching videos.

Jo-Anna Says from Per’s Son of a Plumber album was on air too. Per tells it was released in 2005 and it was a liberation to use another name back then. They were spending many months in the studio. Per just decided that if he does the record under a different name, it will be his debut album. Sven adds it probably gave liberty to Per to do whatever he wanted. Per agrees and says he then thought let’s do a double album, because he always loved the idea that if you do a debut album it becomes a double album. He thinks that’s really cool. In 2005 you were still thinking in albums, he says. It doesn’t work like that anymore. However, Per in his mind will always do that. Mr. G thinks SOAP is one of his greatest recordings. Sven tells it’s really fun listening to. It was recorded during the iPod era and Per was transferring a lot of music to his iPod. Doing that he recognized so many songs that he forgot about. That was the inspiration for this album.

Until they „are back to make the airwaves glowing again”, the guys say goodbye and Per tells Sven he is proud to be on this show. Anita Lindblom’s Cigarettes is closing the program.

Still is from the Bag of Trix comment videos recorded by Anders Roos.

Thanks for the technical support to János Tóth!

Per Gessle on Nordic Rox – January 2021

In the latest 2 episodes of Nordic Rox Per Gessle and Sven Lindström got back to playing Nordic music instead of Per’s top favourites. For the fans it unfortunately means much less talking and less insights, but in the January episode Mr. G added some info related to his songs, so I thought to share the transcript here.

The guys are in Per’s Stockholm apartment and Sven tells they have a stack of records in front of them. Per adds there are lots of vinyl singles and asks Sven if he likes his apartment. Sven looks around and tells there are a lot of guitars, lots of records and music books, so what’s not to like.

Per says there will be some Swedish songs on the show and maybe even a Danish song. Sven adds, there will be something new, something old, something borrowed. Per adds something blue. First they have the Sahara Hotnights. Per thinks they are a great band, but he doesn’t think they are around there anymore. Sven tells they took a break, but they made some excellent records while they were kicking. The song they play is Mind Over Matter. Per says he loves that one.

The guys also play Undressed by Kim Cesarion. Per thinks it’s an amazing song. He doesn’t know much about Kim, but he is a Swedish guy and this is a wonderful song. Sven asks what makes the song so special. Per thinks it’s just a great track. Great production and convincing music.

Adiam Dymott’s Black Cloud is also played from her self-titled album. Sven says it’s a Nordic Rox favourite. The guys can’t really agree on how to pronounce her name. Per says it sounds very French. Sven tells she is from Uppsala. The album is produced by Thomas Rusiak, who worked a lot with Teddybears and made solo records as well.

A song by Metro Jets is played too, The Morning Show. David Birde of Brainpool and Magnus Börjesson teamed up for Metro Jets. Magnus played bass in Roxette for many years and now he is in Per’s solo band as well. Per tells he has no hair, but he is a great guy. Haha. This song was the signature song of Hipp Hipp!, a Swedish TV comedy show.

Sven jokes and tells Per now a band called Roxette is coming up, he doesn’t know if Per knows them. Mr. G says he heard about them. The song they play is a demo Per did for 7Twenty7 which was recorded in 1997 and it was written for the Have A Nice Day album. It sounded very different on the album and the demo is like how it was supposed to be. Guitar-driven power pop. Sven says he always preferred this version. Per says he knows it, Sven likes simple stuff. Sven adds it’s because it’s less synthesizers and more guitars. Per explains that for the album they took a different direction, to use more synthesizers and technology. Live they performed it more like how the demo is.

Teknikens under by Wilmer X is played. Per tells they are a great band and explains that the title means „the wonders of technology”. He thinks it’s a wonderful track. Kjell Andersson was the A&R guy at EMI and he was the mastermind when Wilmer X went from the garage rock style to a bit more 80’s production. The song is produced by Dan Sundquist. Per says he loves Wilmer X. Lead singer Nisse Hellberg sings in a very strong Southern accent, which makes it impossible for Stockholm people to understand what he is singing, but that doesn’t matter. It’s got a great attitude and it’s just great songwriting.

The Hives is also on the show, Hate to Say I Told You So. Per thinks they are also a great band and wonders what happened to them. He hasn’t heard anything from The Hives for a long time. Sven says they are not as prolific now as they used to be, but they pop up every now and then.

Hang With Me by Robyn is also played. Per says Sven is the biggest Robyn fan he knows. Sven laughs and says he loves the Body Talk album. Per says he knows and as soon as he looks away, Sven sneaks in another Robyn song, which is nice. Sven says and when he looks away, Per sneaks in a demo from himself. Haha.

Per tells during the pandemic he felt very isolated in the Swedish West coast in his house, so he went into the studio and recorded stuff that he wrote in the 80’s and 90’s and had this grand ambition to play all the instruments himself. It was a stupid idea, he laughs. Then says no, it wasn’t, but after the fourth or fifth song he realized he wasn’t a very good drummer and certainly not a good bass player. So he took some help from some local guys. It turned out to be a great album, it entered the charts at No. 1 in Sweden. Sven picked the first song off the album, Nypon och ljung. Per says he can’t translate it into English, because he doesn’t know the English words for that. Sven says the whole album has a homely feeling. Even if now Per has a great bass player and drummer on the album, he plays the guitar which is all over it. Per says that’s why he wanted to play as much as possible, because he is not the best musician in the world, but he wanted to make it personal. When he plays the piano or the harpsichord or the mouth organ or whatever, it’s him. And that’s what he wanted to do. He didn’t want a fancy production. He picked songs that are still relevant for him at least lyric-wise. Some songs he wrote when he was 23-25. Those lyrics get a different meaning when it’s sung by him in his sixties. You change the point of view what the lyric is all about. Suddenly you get a touch of sentimentality, it’s different with the experience. So for Per it turned out to be an interesting summer. For Sven it’s like Per wrote the songs, now he sings them and in between life happened. Mr. G says he has written almost 1000 songs in his life, these are the registered songs, so when he digged into the archives there were so many songs he forgot about. Some songs he was surprised by and some songs felt like „shit, what was I thinking?”. He realized that he changed his style of songwriting. He made longer songs when he was younger, he edits songs more now when he is older. He is trying to be a bit more efficient nowadays. He thinks that goes with being a musician all your life. Per says that was the story of his life and asks Sven „how about yours?” Haha. Sven says it’s even shorter. They laugh. Sven says let’s listen to the song, which is 2 minutes 35 seconds of bliss. The album’s title, Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig is a Swedish saying, meaning old love never dies. Per took that title because most of the stuff on the album is old and it fits the album pretty well.

Blue Fun – The Robert Palmer Mix by Mikael Rickfors is played from 1984. Per thinks it sounds great and is really cool. He thinks Mikael is an amazing singer. Sven says you can hear it in this version of the song, but in the original version his voice is unfortunately drowned in echo. Robert Palmer just stripped everything down.

Sleeping In My Car in Asha Ali’s interpretation is also played. Per thinks it’s a great version. Sven tells it’s different from the Roxette original. Per says the original choruses are in major and Asha is doing it in minor style.

Melody Club’s Baby is also on the show. Per thinks it’s a very good song. He asks Sven if the band is still around. Sven doesn’t think so. Their Face The Music album was great, Per loved it.

Miles Away by one of Sweden’s best garage rock bands, The Nomads is also played. Sven says Per has just finished playing air guitar. Per admits it, you can’t resist when you hear this one.

I’ve Been Waiting For You by ABBA is on the show. That’s a pretty early track from 1975. Per says it was a good year for the roses. Sven says it has its musical vibe to it, you can almost sense Mamma Mia! is coming up. Per says he loves this track.

She Owns the Streets by The Raveonettes is on. Per says he played it a lot, he loves it. Sven says they are a superb cool Danish duo.

A next song is Inivisible to Her by Brainpool, one of Per’s favourite bands. Mr. G says he misses the original setting of Brainpool. They still exist, they pop up every three years or so, doing something. The setting with Janne Kask as the singer was amazing. Per thinks their Painkiller album was their big breakthrough. It’s a brilliant album produced by Michael Ilbert. Christoffer Lundquist plays the bass. Sven says Per has spent many years in Christoffer’s studio in Skåne. Per says he became one of Mr. G’s cornerstones in his musical life ever since they started in the late 90’s. Per realizes how time flies. 20+ years and Chris hasn’t shaved since 1999. He has got this Rick Rubin look, he says. Sven says he’s got his mad professor look. They laugh and agree that it’s really cool.

The guys threaten to come back whenever you least expect it with more good-looking music on The Spectrum.

Still is from the Bag of Trix comment videos recorded by Anders Roos.

Thanks for the technical support to János Tóth!

Vote for Roxette – Piece of Cake for Song of the Year 2020 on Musikplats!

Musikplats on Swedish Radio P4 Stockholm organized a voting for Song of the Year 2020. The jury for Song of the Week has voted and put together a list of 20 songs for the decision and now the power is in the listeners’ hands. Roxette’s Piece of Cake is also on the list, so hurry up! Click HERE and vote for it!

Voting runs until 11:00 CET, 18th December. Then 5 songs that enter the final are presented. After another listener voting (the counter is reset before this), the winner is published the same day at 11:50 CET. So don’t forget to vote on 18th December at 11:00 CET again!

Fingers crossed!

Top20 songs – pick your favourite HERE!

Vargas & Lagola – Always
Agnes – Fingers Crossed
Albin Lee Meldau – På Riktigt
Jakob Hellman – …Och Känner Mig Utanför
Victor Leksell – Svag
Dotter – Bulletproof
The Sounds – Things We Do For Love
Gustaf & Viktor Norén – Rise Again
Laleh – Det Kommer Bli Bra
Thomas Stenström – Ser Du Månen Där Du Är Ikväll?
Roxette – Piece Of Cake
Mando Diao – Själens Skrubbsår
Miriam Bryant – Nån Av Oss
Darin – En Säng Av Rosor
Sarah Klang – Canyon
Hurula – Tro På Er Ruin
Kygo & Avicii & Sandro Cavazza – Forever Yours (Avicii Tribute)
Miss Li – Komplicerad
Ana Diaz – Bästis
Håkan Hellström – Tillsammans I Mörker

Per Gessle interview on Radio ZET, Poland

Magdalena Barczyk did an interview with Per Gessle for Radio ZET in Poland.

Magdalena’s first question is about Bag of Trix. Per tells her he started digging in the archives in spring and found a lot of materials, e.g. the Abbey Road sessions from 1995, as well as their first demos that served as the basis for their debut album in the 80’s, or leftovers from their Good Karma album. This compilation is kind of a mishmash of everything. He didn’t expect to find that much, so it was a bit overwhelming.

Magdalena is curious if there is still something unreleased left in the drawers. Per laughs and tells there is more. After completing this compilation, he came across even more recordings. It seems to be some kind of infinity. It’s been a really long career. He also found a lot of live tapes from the Joyride and Crash! Boom! Bang! tours. Maybe one day he will release them, we’ll see. He says they sound pretty good.

Magdalena tells Marie passed away a year ago and asks Per how this year was for Mr. G without Marie. Per tells it’s been a crazy year because of the pandemic. He thinks it’s been a special year for everyone in a way. Marie was ill for 17 years and everyone was slowly preparing for the worst, because she wasn’t in good shape. But when the time came, he felt like he couldn’t really prepare for it. He thinks everyone who lost a family member or a close friend understands it. He tries to think positively about what they went through together, their relationship lasted a very long time. She has always been and will always be one of Per’s closest friend. They met when they were teenagers and the adventure they experienced as Roxette is still amazing and difficult for some to understand. He feels lucky that he had a friend like that and a partner like that in his music.

Magdalena asks Per how he sees contemporary music and if anything surprises or annoys him in it. Mr. G tells he noticed that as you get older, you realize how much you are stuck with the music you grew up with. He started listening to pop and rock when he was 6 or 7 years old. So he can say that pop of the 60’s and 70’s is his DNA. Therefore, in his work he has always tried to come back to it. He just likes that style and he likes the way the songs were written. Looking back, pop is a reflection of the era in which it’s been made. In the 60’s it referred to societies, now we live in the times of social media, computers and laptops. You can hear it in music, it’s done on computers, it’s done differently. If you turn on 40 of the most popular radios, you will notice that all the songs are in a similar style. It’s hard to tell these songs apart. He doesn’t say pop music today is better or worse, it’s just different. It’s reflecting its own time.

Magdalena tells now there is a noticeable trend of musical return to the 80’s and is curious how Per likes it. Mr. G tells it puts a smile on his face. Those were his times and he immediately recognize the synthesizer or even the drum sounds. He can hear the sound that young people try to imitate and the way they arrange their songs. It’s cool, he likes it and thinks that The Weeknd captured it sensationally in the song Blinding Lights. He thinks it’s a nice trend.

Magdalena is curious which contemporary artist Per finds interesting and if he likes specific songs. Per says it’s a good question. He likes a lot of artists, but if he is listening to e.g. Billie Eilish for too long, it’s too much for him. The same applies to The Weeknd, even if they make very good pop. Per has always been a fan of creating concept albums where he would write 12, 14 or 16 songs. However, these days people only listen to one song. Album format is dead.

Magdalena mentions that Per is not only a musician, but also a businessman. Mr. G says he doesn’t consider himself a businessman. He has a hotel, which he bought 25 years ago. It’s in his hometown on the Swedish West coast. But he is not managing it, his wife is doing that. Per drives there and checks out everything from time to time. Sometimes he signs autographs and takes selfies there. Haha.

Magdalena asks Per how this strange year was for him personally. Mr. G says it’s been a crazy year. None of us have experienced anything like this before and he doesn’t even know what to say about it. He spent his time in isolation with his family in their house on the coast, although now he is back in Stockholm. He misses travelling the most, because he has always lived out of suitcase. He would like to meet his friends from all over the world in real life, not only via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. He just misses the socialization that doesn’t exist today. Besides that, they can’t tour. Many of his fellow musicians and technicians barely make ends meet because they have no jobs. It’s a tough year for this business. He hopes next year will be better.

Magdalena tells the word „Poland” and asks for associations. Per says there has always been great concerts there. He always tells that he has travelled the whole world and saw nothing. This is how it is on the road. You come to a country or a particular city, you go to a hotel, then you have to do a soundcheck, you play a concert and you leave. But he knows that every concert in Poland is a great pleasure. They have a lot of fans there who are still supporting them and he appreciates it. If it weren’t for them, he probably wouldn’t be here talking today. It’s the fans who make the band big.

Magdalena asks what Per wishes for himself and Radio ZET listeners for the upcoming holidays. Per thinks the previous months were a nightmare for all of us. It’s depressing for everyone working in hospitals, for children not going to schools and for teachers working in difficult conditions. That’s why he thinks that during this holiday, the most important thing for everyone is that we return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.

Magdalena thanks Per for the interview and Mr. G thanks for it too.

The radio also recorded Per telling their slogan: ”Hi! This is Per Gessle from Roxette. You are listening to Radio ZET – Si?a muzyki.” (= The power of music). With Per Gessle’s Polish accent. Lovely, haha.

Thanks for the technical support, Tomasz Wysocki!

Per Gessle on RIX FM

Per Gessle was Martina Thun’s guest on RIX FM yesterday. Martina tells she heard Per was creative during the pandemic. He wrote and rewrote songs. Per says he couldn’t stay home and went to the studio to record an album based on his old materials. He had the idea to play as many instruments as possible himself, but he soon realized it wouldn’t work. He realized that he is not a good bassist and drummer. But the album turned out to be nice and it was a fun idea to go back to the material he wrote in the 80’s for other artists or songs he never really finished for different reasons. He found some songs where he thought what he meant with this one. He tried to pick those that still feel relevant. What he found exciting was that he wrote these songs when he was 23-25 years old and now when he sings them as an 80-year-old (haha) they get another meaning. They are more sentimental and nostalgic now.

Martina asks Mr. G about how he has developed from a 23-25-year-old songwriter to a songwriter today. Per thinks he wrote longer songs in the past. The most difficult when you are writing a song is to make it simple. To bring forward what you actually want to say. When you are getting old you know more and you easily become a little oversophisticated. You can also feel that you did something 18 times before, so you have to find something else and then it’s easy to lose the starting idea.

They talk about Ömhet that it was written during the Mazarin era, but back then it had another music and he thought it was lousy. Then in 2012 he wrote new music to it and brought it to the Dags att tänka på refrängen session with Gyllene Tider, but he thinks they didn’t even try to record it, because they already had enough other songs. It was lying around a bit more and when he went to Nashville in 2016 he took the song again, but it wasn’t recorded then either.

Martina asks Per about Marie, how it was losing her. Per says it was very hard of course. It’s terrible when such a close friend is passing away. They met already at the end of the 70’s when they shared a rehearsal studio, but played in separate bands. It was tough and it still is. You miss calling each other and chatting. During the latest period they didn’t do that too often, but when a close friend or relative disappears you miss those little bickerings or sharing something with each other.

Martina is curious about what the highlights are during Roxette’s career. Mr. G says there are so many, but when they first became No. 1 in the US with The Look was a sensation for the brain and the heart. Back then, more than now, the music industry was very much focused on the US and England, so that they as Swedes could succeed was unbelievable. He remembers that after The Look became No. 1 in the US and they were to release the album in the UK they were told to be an American band, because no one would want to sign a Swedish band. So for a couple of weeks they were an American band.

Martina asks what the roles were in the band between Marie and Per when they were on tour, on stage. Per says it’s a good question, Marie became the front figure quite fast. She sang the most and the best. She learned very fast how to handle the audience. Taking the crowd with you at a club is very much different to a stadium. She was very good at that. Per was the eager beaver. It was him who asked what if they do this or what if they do that, what if they release another single, what if they make a video to this, etc. The big thing with Roxette was that 1+1 made 3 in a way. The idea behind Roxette was that Per was the songwriter and Marie was the singer. She needed songs and Per needed someone to sing his songs. That’s how it started besides the friendship they had. They had the ambition, the dream to succeed abroad, in Belgium or Luxemburg. Haha.

Per says he doesn’t sit down to write every day, he is writing a lot when he is in his bubble. There are periods like that. But he always has his antennas out, he is always looking for an idea. He saves those ideas that can be from a film scene or anything that might be used for something later. His music is his way of expressing himself and to communicate with other people or make an impression on them through his music is great.

Regarding how the music industry changed over the years Per says pop music always reflected its era. In the 60’s and 70’s it was much about the teenage revolution and long hair for the guys. Pop music went hand in hand with fashion and art. Pop music also gets poltical from time to time, e.g. John and Yoko. Nowadays mainstream pop music is a formula made on laptop. When you listen to Marie singing Listen To Your Heart or It Must Have Been Love, you can hear that she is really singing, there is no technical support to it, but nowadays you can do many things on computers. It’s a different time, a different craft. He can’t say it was better before, but he comes from that generation and grew up with the music of the 60’s and 70’s. So his heart is beating for that style.

Regarding his plans, Per says he just had a Zoom interview with a radio in Argentina and he is recording a new album that will be released next year.