There was a pre-recorded interview with Per Gessle this morning in Nyhetsmorgon on TV4. While program leader Jenny Alversjö introduced the interview Anders Pihlblad did with Mr. G, there were several Roxette photos shown in the background. Jenny says Marie passed away almost 3 months ago, way too early. She mentions Per was devastated and the day after he gathered his thoughts and finished a song, a comfort song, how he calls it.
In the interview you can hear and see snippets from Per’s new song, Around The Corner (The Comfort Song) and its lyric video.
Per says this song was lying around for a while and he finished it the day after. His mother-in-law also died a couple of days after Marie. It was a really hard time and he finished the song actually for himself. He wanted to get it out of the system. That’s how he works. One needs to get rid of things. He expresses himself through his music and lyrics.
It became a comfort song in a way. Per realized it’s a really strong song when he recorded it with Helena and Mats. He doesn’t mean it’s an especially good song, maybe it is, he doesn’t know, but he saw it touched Helena and Mats deeply. So they thought it should be released. He knows there are a lot of people in the Roxette gang, all the fans, all the friends, the whole world were affected by what happened. Almost all people go through this when they lose someone close to them sometime in life. Everyone needs this comfort. Per’s way to get through this was writing.
Anders says there are 2 Roxettes. One before Marie’s illness and the one after it. 2 totally different challenges. He asks Per what he was thinking when Marie got ill, how to go on with his career and if he thought they could go on with Roxette. Per explained he didn’t think they could, because it felt that Marie was in really bad shape, so it wasn’t in the cards to continue with Roxette. The first thing he did after Marie got ill was Mazarin, then Gyllene Tider in 2004, then Son of a Plumber, then En händig man, so all his other stuff. So it was really surprising that Marie wanted to make a comeback. Per thinks even Marie didn’t count on it, that she would come back. She came to visit him in Amsterdam where Per played on his European tour. Anders says he talked to a Dutch girl who was there at the concert and said there was a surprise. Per laughs and says Marie and her husband, Micke came to visit him and he asked Marie if she wanted to come up on stage so they would play an old Roxette song. She hadn’t been on stage for 7 years and she said she doesn’t want to do that. But Per knew she was easy to convince if they give it some more time, so the question remained hanging in the air and in the end Marie said OK, let’s rehearse and see how it feels. One could see she really wanted to do it. So they rehearsed and Marie said let’s try it. For the first extra song Per invited Marie up on stage and there was only Marie and Per on stage. Mr. G thinks they played Listen to Your Heart and maybe It Must Have Been Love too, he can’t remember. Per says the audience died of course and he had never seen so many people crying. It was incredible. It was the first thing Marie did and then a few weeks later she called Per if he could write a new Roxette album. That’s what eventually became Charm School. Then there were 2 big tours, maybe with 300 concerts.
Anders asks Per how important he thinks it was for Marie to realize that she managed to do it and that it became such a success. Per thinks it was super important for Marie, because she loved music more than anything else. She loved being on stage and she enormously missed the communication with her fans, with their fans. So she wanted to do it at all costs. Her doctor advised she shouldn’t do that, because touring is exhausting with all the travelling, the waiting, the flying, the time zones and so on. But she wanted to do that. Per told her whatever they do, they do it based on Marie’s conditions. If she wants three days between the gigs, that’s how they will do it. Per thought it was amazing that Marie wanted to do it and that they could go on.
Anders says he saw an interview with Marie that was done by Niklas Strömstedt and there she said Per was a big support to her during that period. He asks Per what he thinks about it. Per smiles, drinks a little water and says he doesn’t know. He hopes so, but it’s hard to answer this question. When someone gets ill, you want to help as much as you can, but it’s always hard to help someone without stepping too much into their private lives. People have families and you don’t know how to behave. This is how he felt about his family too. Sometimes you feel that you go one step too close and they want you to leave them alone. They want to take care of their illness in their own private way. So it’s hard to know. But Per also saw that interview in Niklas’ show and he was of course happy to hear that Marie thought so.
Anders says Marie and Per had many common memories from Roxette times. He is curious about the greatest ones that Per will remember forever. Mr. G says there are too many. He thinks it’s kind of a fairy tale what they have been through. The possibilities, the chances, the odds for them to succeed, coming from Sweden those days and in this industry were less than minimal. It’s fantastic, all the success they have achieved. But if he skips all the golden records, chart positions and such things, he remembers those days when they were on stage in front of 50,000 people in Chile, in Sydney or wherever and looked into each other’s eyes. And then Per knows Marie thinks ”how the hell did this happen, Per?” and he thinks the same. You see the rolling ocean of people in front of you and they all love what you are doing. Such things are fantastic. But of course there are many more.
Anders realized Roxette has extremely loyal fans. He read what they were writing and asks Per how much of that has reached him. Per says he was of course devastated when Marie passed away, but he was also happy to see the response she got from all around the world. From many other artists, producers, radio people and fans, all the people. There are hundreds of thousands of greetings coming in and it’s awesome that Marie gets that appreciation. Per says they definitely have the best fans in the world. They have always been super loyal and followed them in all times. It’s been a long journey.
And here the interview ends with the flame of the candle going out in the lyric video. All in all it was a very touching interview. One can see it’s still hard to talk about what happened and it needs time to find comfort. Per says they have the best fans in the world. What I must add: and we have chosen the best idols in the world. Undoubtedly.
Stills are from the interview.