Per Gessle in radio documentary about Jonas Åkerlund

Swedish Radio P3 did a radio documentary about Jonas Åkerlund’s career. They interviewed Jonas about his collaborations with tons of world famous artists, the music videos he directed, his black metal band, Bathory, his dyslexia he struggled with and also about his movies. Besides his wife, Bea Åkerlund, Jan Gradvall and Per Sinding Larsen, Per Gessle was also interviewed for the docu.

The Roxette-related part starts with Jonas’ collaboration with Marie Fredriksson at 17:21. It’s Marie talking in the Den ständiga resan docu. Jonas tells that during Den ständiga resan project in 1992 Marie and he became good friends which was easy with Marie, because she was so kind and friendly towards everyone, including Jonas who says he was a nobody back then. He is thankful to Marie that he got the job and that led to so many others. It was that half-hour-long documentary and the videos to the album that Per Gessle saw. Then Jonas began to work with Roxette and that was his break-through.

The first collaboration with Roxette was the video for Fingertips ’93. Jonas thinks it’s a good song. Marie was pregnant and she didn’t want it to be visible, so the clothes she was wearing were hiding it. Jonas was working together with Roxette for 25 years. In 2016 they released Roxette Diaries, a documentary made of home videos recorded by Per and Åsa in the 80’s and 90’s during tours and recordings.

Per tells Jonas is an amazingly creative explosion all over. They became very close friends, both are music nerds. Their style is very different, but both of them are workaholic and dedicated to their own job. Mr. G tells every recording occasion with Jonas was an adventure, because anything could happen. Per thinks Jonas is quite organized in a way, but he is also very spontaneous. If a new idea comes up, he is testing it.

According to Per, Jonas’ best videos are like a very good pop song that is interesting in its whole length, no matter if it’s 3 or 4 minutes long. Jonas is very talented in building up a video that you want to watch again. Per feels it’s the same how he works with his pop songs, to make it interesting and catch the attention. That’s what Jonas is doing both when he is filming and cutting.

Per Gessle appears at the end of the docu again (at 1:24:53) telling Jonas will go down in history as one of the greatest music video directors not only because he has been working with many of the greatest artists, but also because his style is so unique and innovative. Mr. G says he is superproud to have been working with Jonas.

During the documentary, you can hear Small Apartments soundtrack several times and of course, part of Marie’s DSR docu and songs, as well as parts of Roxette songs.

Jonas photo by Allis Nettréus/TT/SR, Marie and Per stills are from Fingertips ’93 video

Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3’s morning show

The program leaders of Morgonpasset i P3 were very excited to have a „legend, Sweden’s greatest songwriter, the one and only” Per Gessle on their show last Friday, 24th September. Mr. G arrived to the studio and was on air some minutes after 8:30 am. HERE you can listen to this episode of the morning show and hear Per himself from 2:08:38 to 3:08:10 in the complete version and from 58:15 to 1:28:08 in the „utan musik” (without music) version.

After the program leaders give a loud welcome (applauding him and shouting „Per! Per! Per!”), Mr. G thanks for it and says now he has woken up. One of the guys tells Per that probably not all his mornings start like this. Mr. G jokes and says it’s his family – his son and wife – standing in line shouting „Per! Per! Per!” „Wake up! Wake up!” – one of the program leader guys adds. They all laugh.

To the question how he is doing Mr. G replies all good, he is back in Stockholm for a while and it feels great. The guy asks Per if he has a place to stay in Stockholm. PG tells he has an office and an apartment there. He loves Stockholm and thinks it’s a very nice city. He tells he is so old that he has seen how Stockholm has been changing over the years. It has become a very cool city, much more international than when they were hanging out at Café Opera in 1981. He adds that becoming pop stars in 1980 was awkward. There were gangs who wanted to make jokes of them, e.g. once they got an open can of surströmming in their tour bus.

The guys are talking about the upcoming PG tour. Per tells it’s going to be an unplugged tour. They play the songs in an acoustic arrangement, without drums. He tells that in summer they had 10 concerts at Hotel Tylösand with appr. 480 people sitting in the audience each night, due to the restrictions because of the pandemic. The band was also sitting on stage and it was much fun. Per tells he had never played in such an intimate atmosphere before. They played songs that were quite lyrics-based and he was telling anecdotes in between the songs. It was a new experience for him.

To the question why he wants to be on the road Per replies that in his case it has something to do with the fact that he got hooked to the pop world and pop music when he was 6-7-8 years old. There is an incredibly strong romance in pop culture Per is stuck in. He can’t describe it better. It’s in everything he is doing from when he wakes up and probably also when he is dreaming. He loves everything about pop culture. When he was young it was e.g. the long hair guys had, which might sound a bit ridiculous nowadays that it meant something back then, but it was awesome. Per tells there are many pop nerds out there who won’t become musicians or songwriters, but he ended up in the creative processes. He adds that with Roxette they travelled around the world and there are different religions and cultures all around, but everyone sings It Must Have Been Love, The Look, Listen To Your Heart and Spending My Time. It’s magical to experience it and this connection is simply indescribable.

The program leader lady asks Per what songs he plays on the unplugged tour, if Tycker om när du tar på mej is one of them. Mr. G tells it is and they play mainly Swedish songs, but also a couple of Roxette songs.

The guys are talking about Per’s hairdos and it turns out Per goes to the hairdresser in Stockholm. One of the guys asks Per if there is a style on which he looks back like „what the hell did I think?”. Mr. G tells all hairdos and clothes have something to do with the times you live in. When they started

Roxette, Marie e.g. had red hair and Per had purple hair. It might have been a little odd, one can think now, but it felt hot back then. Old clothes are trendy again, so the ones they bought at Trash and Vaudeville in New York in 1989 are stylish again.

One of the guys asks whether you become less or more conscious over the years. Per says it’s a tough question, but he feels the older he gets the calmer he becomes. Now he doesn’t have to prove anything, but he was under pressure and had performance anxiety when he was 20 years old. He is the ambitious type and he has always been working very intensively to achieve something. Now he still works intensively, but such things don’t bother him anymore.

The lady asks Per if he has written 500 songs. Per says he thinks it’s more, he has 1000 songs registered at STIM.

The guys are talking about how Per grew up. Mr. G tells he had an older brother, Bengt who was 7 years older than Per. In the middle of The Beatles era Bengt and his friends showed Per the true spirit of 60’s pop and that actually became Per’s life. He started writing lists all day. Lists of songs or who played the bass on different songs, he just liked lists. Later, as he got older he sold Christmas magazines and was handing out newspapers. With that he earned 50 öre and he bought a single for that money. He had 100 records in his collection when he was 10 years old. The lady asks if there was any musician in Per’s family. Mr. G says not really, but he heard that his father’s father’s father was a musician. He played the violin.

One of the guys asks PG if the nerd in him has disappeared, maybe now he thinks he is too cool for that. Per laughs and says he has never been cool. The lady says c’mon, he became a world famous pop star already in the 80’s. Per tells when they broke through with Gyllene Tider they all came from the countryside. He came from Halmstad, the other guys from Harplinge and Åled. He only started singing in the band because no one else wanted to. The whole journey of GT was about being lost in the woods, but they were very ambitious, had fun ideas and they were lucky that a guy at EMI in Stockholm liked their song, Billy. One of the program leader guys asks if that guy from EMI went to listen to GT, but Per says it wasn’t him, but Lasse Lindbom who was sent down to Halmstad. Later he became their producer, but at first he wasn’t impressed at all. Per thinks they were a very good band. He still has rehearsal cassettes from 1979-1981. When Per listens to those today, he thinks it was more than OK, it’s rather wow, how damn good they were already then. And they were only 20-year-olds. The arrangement was good and all songs sound quite ready. PG thinks GT is still a fantastic pop band. When they play together there is something special happening. The lady asks if there is a plan for another comeback. Per replies one can never know when it comes to GT.

After playing It Must Have Been Love on the radio, the guys are talking about what this song means to people all around the world. Per thinks it’s amazing and it’s the best thing in his job that you get so much back from those who are listening to your songs. The lady asks about the story of IMHBL. Per tells it started out as a Christmas song. When Roxette recorded their first LP they also wanted to go to other markets, e.g. Germany, which was the biggest market in Europe. Their songs didn’t get airplay, so EMI Germany asked them to write a Christmas song, because maybe with that it would be easier to get airplays. So Per wrote It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted). It was released as a Christmas single in Sweden in 1987 and it became a gold record. The Germans didn’t like the song, so they didn’t release it. The lady says „Germans have no taste” and Per reacts: „it wasn’t me who said that”. They laugh. Mr. G tells that Marie was releasing a solo album then and he was writing songs for the album that became Look Sharp! 3 years later he was asked to write a song for Pretty Woman, but he didn’t have time for that, but they had this Christmas song. They made a new intro to that and changed the lyrics. The guy tells Marie sadly passed away and asks Per what he thinks about when he hears this song nowadays. Anytime Per hears a Roxette song Marie was singing, he is amazed how good she was. She was totally awesome. He remembers the early Roxette days when he heard in the studio what Marie could do with his songs. The idea behind Roxette was that Marie would be the singer and Per the songwriter. Everything he wrote was written for Marie. The Look he also wrote for her, but Marie thought it didn’t suit her style, so in the end Per sang it.

Mr. G tells Marie and he met at the rehearsal studio in Sperlingsholm outside Halmstad. Gyllene Tider and Marie’s band, Strul shared the studio. When Per first saw Marie she was playing the electric piano, she had long brown hair and she was singing fantastically. Per tells Marie’s gang was rather progressive rock, while GT was pop and never wanted to deal with politics. Marie had many sides, she also liked e.g. The Monkees. They became friends and very early, already in 1980 she sang with Gyllene Tider, she was there with GT on TV too. Marie was doing her solo things too with the same producer GT had.

The lady asks Per to talk about the relationship between Marie and him and to tell what Marie meant to him. Mr. G tells he and Marie lived quite intensively together for years, Roxette took all their waking hours from the time they broke through till Marie had her first child. Then she had her second child and then Per also had a son in 1997. Then everything became a bit calmer and they were working together until Marie became ill in 2002. Then they did a comeback in 2009 and toured until 2016. After her illness she became a different Marie, but the band also became different and it changed how they could work in the studio and on tours. On the last tour Marie was sitting on stage, because she couldn’t walk too well. One could see her conditions got worse, but it was she herself who really wanted to tour and work, even if her doctors advised her not to go on tour at all. So they did everything on Marie’s terms. She was the warrior type. She wanted to meet her fans. One of the program leader guys asks Per if he remembers the last time he met Marie. Per says of course he does. Here the program leaders feel they shouldn’t ask more about this topic.

One of the guys asks Per if he has ever met Sir Paul McCartney. Per tells he met Paul when McCartney played at the Apollo Theater in Harlem a couple of years ago. The event was presented by Sirius XM where Per also has a show, Nordic Rox with Sven Lindström since more than 10 years. The guys intervene here and say Howard Stern is also at Sirius XM. Per tells Howard Stern will also appear in his story with Paul. So he goes on with his anecdote. The boss at Sirius XM asked Per if he had ever met Paul and Per said no. So the boss organized a meeting. Per and Åsa and Howard Stern and his wife went to the green room before the concert and had a small talk. There was a photographer too. Suddenly, a door opened and boom, there was Paul McCartney with his thumbs up and said „Hey, fancy a picture anyone?” Per stood there, Åsa stood in the middle, Paul on the other side. Per suddenly felt a hand on his ass and he hoped it was Åsa’s. They laugh. He tells they took that picture, which he still has. After they left, Per asked Åsa if it was her who put her hand on his ass. Åsa said she put one hand on Per’s ass and the other hand on Paul’s to see who had the firmer ass. Paul had it. They laugh. Per says „that’s my wife in a nutshell. She is from Trelleborg.”

The lady tells she heard Per was at Mickey Rourke’s 30th birthday party back in the days and that he was also at Prince’s Paisley Park Studio. She asks about this latter one, how it was. Mr. G tells Prince wasn’t there himself. They went there because they planned to work in the studio. The first thing they saw was a giant white cage with a giant white bird. The studio manager asked „Do you want to see Prince’s private apartment?” They thought why not. The bedroom had a removable roof, so you could see the sky and Prince’s bed was purple of course and it was heartshaped. Regarding the roof the guy says Per must have tested the button and here Mr. G imitates the sound of the moving roof. Haha. The lady asks Per if he saw Prince’s bathroom and PG says he probably did, but he can’t remember and he doesn’t like to lie.

The guys ask Per about a most memorable story that happened to him related to another famous people. Mr. G tells the story that made him very happy. It was when Marie and him were in Amsterdam in 1989 and they were giving an interview. Someone from above shouted „hey man, I love your record!” and it was Tom Petty. Per shouted back something like „we love your record too!”. That meant a lot to Mr. G. Tom Petty is the best, Per thinks.

One of the guys asks Per how it is when Mr. G goes abroad. In Sweden everyone knows him, but how is it abroad? Per says he doesn’t get recognized abroad or if it happens, it’s mainly Swedish people who recognize him. He tells it’s quite calm in Sweden nowadays, he is most often recognized in Halmstad of course, when e.g. he fuels the car. As a last anecdote, PG tells that appr. half year ago he was walking on Storgatan in Stockholm and a 40-year-old woman asked him if she could take a selfie with Mr. G. He said OK and while they were taking the selfie, two 12-13-year-old boys were passing by, looked suspiciously at Per and asked him if he is famous. Per said how come they didn’t recognize him, he is Foppa (Peter Forsberg, famous Swedish ice hockey player). The kids were like „whaaat?!” and so Per signed their backpacks as “Foppa”. The guys are laughing at the fact that PG didn’t write Foppa on a paper that can be thrown away, but on expensive backpacks. Per laughs and says it was the boys’ punishment. Haha.

At the end the guy asks Per if he has the photo with Paul McCartney on his phone, but Mr. G tells the photo is in his office.

The guys thank PG for coming and Per tells „my pleasure”.

Stills are from the Foppa story video on Morgonpasset i P3’s Instagram.

2-hour-long show with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3

Halla_P3_Per_GessleThis morning there was a 2-hour-long program with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio P3. Listen to it HERE! He was today’s guest of Linnea Henriksson’s show, Hallå P3. The whole show is based on questions from listeners either via phone call, SMS or e-mail. Anyone could send questions to Per or call the show and ask him personally. How cool is that! The net time with Per without the music and news is more than an hour, so it is really worth a listen if you couldn’t catch it during the day. If you can’t really deal with Swedish language, here is a summary of what he was talking about.

Linnea asked him if it is possible for him to go out in town as a private person or there is always someone recognizing him. He said most of the time when someone recognizes him, he only gets positive energy.

People were asked on the streets to tell who they could see on the picture. They recognized Per, told what he is doing and many of those people even started singing his songs. Someone told she also thinks immediately about Marie anytime she sees Per. While listening to people’s comments, Per was constantly giggling. Lovely!

He was asked about some of his songs, Billy among them, about which he told it was inspired by happenings in his life. It’s a long song with long verses which is not too typical of him. Regarding songs like Tycker om när du tar på mej he told his lyrics about love are mainly about his dear wife. Yeah, we know it, but hearing it from him from time to time is still wonderful. Besides this he said he is a writer, so he also makes things up in his lyrics, of course. Funny that about Gå & fiska! now he said he probably wrote it in Malaysia when he was on holiday. I think we already heard a United States version of the story.

Regarding writing in Swedish and in English he told that over the years it became quite natural writing in English, too. One learns to think in English and it became better and better with time.

An old Roxette fan asked where the name Roxette comes from and Per told the story of choosing the title of Dr. Feelgood’s song, as well as the story of everyone thinking Roxette was Marie and he was her assistant.

Someone asked Per if he would do something totally different, a totally different musical project. He explained it’s not only Gyllene Tider and Roxette in his life, but he also did soundtrack for Small Apartments and now he is also involved in EDM, which is quite new to him. The listener said he was thinking about something for the older public maybe, like more acoustic stuff. Per said he is planning to do an acoustic album (and if I understood right, an acoustic tour, too).

Regarding taking part in Så mycket bättre (“So Much Better”; a Swedish reality TV show on TV4 where the basic premise is that each artist attempts to do their own version of another artist’s well-known song) he said it’s definitely not his cup of tea.

To the question how it feels playing in Halmstad he replied it’s always special. It’s nostalgic and romantic at the same time. His whole Mazarin album is about Halmstad, for example. Playing in Ullevi in 2004 was of course magical, but the whole 2004 Gyllene Tider tour was wonderful.

About an ordinary day of his he said he is working a lot, writes songs, spends a lot of time in the studio, he is handling Roxette’s Facebook page and he is doing some interviews. He is not the kind of person who is looking for tranquility.

Before the 2013 GT tour he did some acoustic versions of old GT songs (I guess some of them are demos we will get on The Per Gessle Archives in September) and one of them was played exclusively in the show. It’s Honung och guld from the album Puls. It starts at about 39:40 and ends at about 43:02. It’s an awesome version of this beautiful song. Be sure you are listening to Per’s killer voice and fab guitar playing!

He mentions Pugh Rogefeldt, John Holm, Ulf Lundell and even ABBA meant a lot to him from the early Swedish pop era.

He tells that he is an LP guy, he grew up with vinyls and loves physical releases, but nowadays music is spread all over iTunes and Spotify and of course, he is also listening to music via these possibilities. Still he thinks an album cover is very important. He told about the brainstorming for the Look Sharp! sleeve: superstars, journalists around, limousine, front page picture, fake ads, newspaper style.

He shares that he is incredibly unstructured when he has meetings, but one always has to follow his gut feeling not only when he has a meeting, but also when writing songs.

Mr G talks about his first jobs: distributing newspapers, weighing mushrooms (he was the only guy among appr. 300 girls) and playing as a troubadour in old people’s home and hospitals for eight months in Halland. He learned a lot from this latter one also about what is it like playing and singing in front of 5 people. När alla vännerna gått hem he wrote e.g. during those times. He also mentioned that once they brought a man out of coma. They played music in one of the hospitals and the man suddenly started moving.

To the question what he is interested in besides music he replied he never played golf in his life and never took a swim at Tylösand beach. When he was a child, they usually went to Frösakull’s beach. He said he is interested in music (yeah, besides music, he is interested in music, surprise, surprise), in art and he likes taking walks.

Per says MTV Europe meant a lot to them during the ’90s and also mentions all the videos cost millions those days.

To the question which songs changed his life he replied a lot of songs are changing your life, but for example, Refugee from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was one of the songs that changed GT’s and his own life, too. He also tells the story when he was a little child (1966-67) he played with his friends and they used cue sticks and mimed to songs of The Monkees, e.g. to I’m A Believer. The first time he saw David Bowie’s Life on Mars? video was also fantastic.

Linnea asked him which song he would choose to play on the radio and Per chose to play David Bowie’s Space Oddity for his son. He mentioned Gabriel is a computer nerd and once he surprised Per by sitting next to the piano, playing this song (if I understood it right).

To the question what is different for them when they play on the same tour, the same songs each time Per replied each night is different. They play 100% live and anything can happen. His ambition is to make each night as good as possible. He also explains there is nothing better than standing on stage in front of a huge crowd, playing live for them and hear them singing along your songs confirming they like what you are doing.

Regarding the upcoming Roxette tour he says their tours have always been based on their hits, but they also play some unexpected songs or new ones. Now he is writing Roxette songs again and they will start rehearsing in autumn.

All in all, it was a great show! I must add that Linnea can bring out the nicest smile of Mr. G! Marvellous pics they shared today on P3’s website, on Roxette Official and on Per Gessle Official.

“Svarte Rudolf” sang by Gessle on P3

Last week Swedish public radio P3 broadcasted programme “Livet är en fest” (Life is a party) with episode called “Halmstads pärlor, del 1” (Halmstad’s Pearls, part 1). Yesterday it was time for the second part with such pearls as “Svarte Rudolf” (accoustic song sang by Per Gessle) or “Farlig Terräng” (early Flickorna… demo by Gyllene Tider). The first 20 minutes of episode are dedicated to Roxette’s career including songs like “Neverending love”, “Listen to your hear” and extracts from interviews with Marie and Per in Swedish.

Legendary “Parkens paviljong” on the Swedish Radio

As The Daily Roxette informs on its Facebook page Swedish public radio P3 broadcasted the 25th episode of “Livet är en fest” (Life is a party) programme called “Halmstads pärlor, del 1” (Halmstad’s Pearls, part 1). This radio programme included some of early Gyllene Tider and Marie Fredriksson’s gems like “Parkens paviljong” recorded in 1977 and songs from Strul and MaMas Barn record in good quality. Old interviews with both Marie and Per were used, but nothing new – except great music cuts – were revealed.

Next Thursday at 9 pm CET – second part will be aired. The second part will be on the Roxette’s career.