Per Gessle was Lotta Bromé’s guest on radio Mix Megapol on 18th October. You can listen to the interview HERE.
Lotta welcomes Per in the studio and mentions that it was exactly a year ago when Per was on this show, October 2022. She finds it fun that PG always releases new music in October. Per laughs and says it’s a coincidence of course. He releases music all the time. Lotta knows it and says she was sitting here in the studio all Easter waiting for Per to come, because he promised to come back then when he was on the show last time. She had eggs and stuff, but PG didn’t come. Per laughs and says something came in the way. Lotta says it was Gyllene Tider. She asks how the tour was.
Per says it was fantastic. The GT tour was magical and Gyllene Tider is a wonderful little pop band. They have always been touring regularly with odd intervals. These days, it feels like there is almost no one left who makes that kind of music anymore. So all of a sudden, they kind of represent a bygone era. They felt it for the first time this year. It didn’t feel like that at all when they toured in 2019. Lotta asks if it was a farewell tour again this summer. PG says it wasn’t. He doesn’t think you should paint yourself into a corner. Only Micke thinks so. Per laughs. So Lotta is curious if another GT tour is coming. Per doesn’t know, but it’s always fun to play together with the guys.
Lotta thinks GT has a very mixed audience. PG confirms it. It’s mostly those who have been there before, but it’s a fantastic mix of all sorts and they have been lucky enough to have managed to build up a song catalogue that is still attractive to a lot of people.
Lotta says it must be fun to get to a younger audience as well and that there are people who only now discover the music that has been around for so long for us. Per confirms it’s cool. The case is that the majority of those who listen to almost all music he makes, it’s music that they have gotten married to, they have divorced, they have graduated and stuff like that. There is so much going on in their lives and the music represents so many life events. It becomes a kind of soundtrack to everything that people have been through. It’s cool to be a part of it.
Lotta asks Per if he himself should pick one GT song that meant the most to him, what song would that be. PG finds it difficult to pick one and Lotta says he can’t cheat and say a Roxette or PG Roxette or Per solo song. It has to be a GT song. So after thinking, Per says a song that was some sort of a stepping stone to something new is Det är över nu. It was the first time that they really sounded the way they always wanted to sound. They got a new producer and it was recorded in 1995. Per had been out for 7 years with Roxette and got more routine through Roxette, so that all of a sudden when GT got back together in 1995, they sounded damn good.
After they play Det är över nu on the radio, Lotta mentions that Per will be on stage tonight. PG explains that there will be a tribute concert to Pugh Rogefeldt at Cirkus. It’s Per, Tomas Ledin, First Aid Kit and other artists on stage. Lotta asks Per why Pugh meant so much to him. Mr. G says Pugh has been with him his whole life. Pugh’s first concert Per saw was when he was 14, in Halmstad’s folk park. Pugh played there with his band Rainrock. Per remembers that Pugh had a bandana on his head and a long ponytail and after a few songs he took off this scarf and then they saw he was completely bald. He looked like Kojak. The Halmstad audience had never seen anything like that before, so they were shocked. Afterwards PG and his friends went to the Esso Motor Hotel where the band lived. They waited for the band there at the reception. Lotta asks if they dared to say hi to the band. PG says they didn’t dare to talk to them. Lotta asks if Per had the chance to tell Pugh about this when they met. PG says he did.
The first time Per and Pugh met was when Gyllene Tider recorded their second LP. It came out in 1981 and Pugh came to the studio to read the stanza “mina damer och herrar, det är gyllene tider för rock’n’roll”, the intro to the song Gyllene Tider för rock’n’roll. It’s unbelievably big for the guys in GT that he did it. Then he went on tour with Gyllene Tider in 2004, on the biggest GT tour. Pugh was a special guest.
Lotta says people always talk about Pugh as the father of Swedish rock. His first album was Ja, dä ä dä! and he wrote lyrics in Swedish. PG says not only that he wrote in Swedish, but he actually created his own language. The second record was called Pughish and there he sings in his own language. Per has always been interested in lyrics and he thinks there are similarities between Pugh’s lyrics and John Lennon’s lyrics. There are these nonsense, odd lyrics, e.g. I Am The Walrus. That’s very attractive to Per. Especially Pugh’s early records, which are a little more fuzzy and a little more unstructured are incredibly attractive to PG.
He chose to cover Vandrar i ett regn. It came out on a live record called Ett steg till in 1975. That was recorded at Halmstad Theatre – among other places – where Per saw Pugh and Rainrock and Janne Lucas and Ola Magnell.
Lotta says Pugh was truly an idol. Per says he had great vibes and he looked cool. Mr. G says he made a video for Vandrar i ett regn and Ebba, who directed this video, has managed to find a lot of cool pictures of Pugh from the past. He looked damn cool.
Lotta says Per doesn’t wear a bandana. Per laughs and says he doesn’t have any. Too much hair to put under, Lotta says. Per laughs and then they play Vandrar i ett regn.
Lotta asks when was the last time Per met Pugh. Mr. G says he met Pugh in person at his last concert. He performed at Cirkus in Stockholm in 2019. Per was there with Clarence Öfwerman, Roxette’s producer. They were sitting in the first row of the gallery and at one song Pugh went out into the audience and sang the song. He caught sight of Per, walked up to him and then he hugged Mr. G. It made Per so happy, because they never had that kind of a relationship, but he just hugged PG. He was happy to see Per.
When Mr. G had recorded Vandrar i ett regn, it ended up with Pugh, so he listened to it and thought it was great that Per recorded it. It was only a couple of days before he passed away, so it also feels great that he got to hear it and Per got a response to it.
Lotta is curious how often Per makes covers. It’s not that often. However, PG likes covers as an artist, because you can use them to tell a little about where you are coming from. They did that with Gyllene Tider early on. They played, for example, ABBA’s S.O.S., Mott The Hoople, The Beatles, a bit of everything by Tom Petty. Roxette played a bit of Blondie and a bit of The Birds. One of Per’s favourite records is David Bowie’s Pin-Ups album, which is a fantastic collection of Bowie’s ’60s favourites. Lotta adds that Bryan Ferry has done some great covers too. Per agrees.
So, Per thinks covers are fun, but he doesn’t make covers that often. You have to prioritize your own songs.
Lotta wants to know how many times Per was asked to be on Så mycket bättre. [It’s a Swedish TV reality show in which participating musicians perform their own version of well-known songs by other artists. /PP] Many times, Per replies. Lotta is curious why Per doesn’t take part in it. Per says from what he understands, you have to go away for 6 weeks and live with other artists. It sounds like a nightmare. They are laughing. Lotta says that Per is touring a lot and asks if it is OK to live with the guys in GT then. PG says it’s true he is away on tour a lot, but there are no cameras all the time.
Lotta says the last time they also talked about getting older and people passing away. Then Per also talked about the importance of nurturing relationships. PG says you have to make the most of what you have. He says you start to become like your parents, throwing out clichés like this about how you should behave when you get old. Per laughs. Lotta says she is very happy that Per came here today and nurtures their relationship. Haha.
Last time Per was on the show he had many things coming up. There was the PG Roxette album, the Gyllene Tider record, then a tour. PG says there will be a lot of stuff happening next year as well that he can’t really reveal yet, but he thinks he will have to do it before Easter. Haha.
What he can tell is that a Gyllene Tider movie will premiere next summer. The shootings end this week. Then next autumn the Roxette musical will premiere in Malmö.
Lotta asks Per about contemporary music. She is curious if Per heard anything lately that he liked. There aren’t too many new songs that Per gets hooked on, but there are occasional artists who are exciting. Weyes Blood, for example. He says now he is like his parents again and laughs. Mr. G says when he really needs to listen to music, he often goes back to the music he grew up with. He doesn’t need a new Joni Mitchell, because he has Joni Mitchell and he doesn’t need a new Tom Petty, because he has Tom Petty. He knows so much music and he has such a huge music collection that it’s enough for him. So it’s not that easy to knock on his door and get in with a new song.
Lotta asks Per to pick an old song they should play then. PG chooses American Girl by Tom Petty.
Lotta says it’s always a pleasure to see Per and a warm welcome back at Easter or even earlier. Per thanks for it and says he’ll be glad to come back.
Stills are from THIS video.