Per Gessle interview and “The Loneliest Girl In The World” premiere on P4 Extra

Svjetlana Pastuhovic did an interview with Per Gessle on Swedish Radio on 2nd June. PG was guest of the day on P4 Extra and he talked about PG Roxette, the debut single, Marie, Roxette, the Roxette musical, Gyllene Tider and songwriting. The interview starts at 28:39 into the program. Listen HERE!

Svjetlana welcomes Per and introduces him as a small town guy who showed great interest in music at a very early age. His nerdiness led him to success and worldwide fame. Now he returns to one of his biggest successes, Svjetlana says. Per thanks for having him on the show. Svjetlana is uncertain, maybe „return” is not the right word when it comes to PG Roxette. Per tells one can say it’s a new chapter in Roxette’s history.

PG can be pronounced the Swedish way or if you want to make it sound cool, the English way, Per says. He laughs. Svjetlana asks Per how HE pronounces it. PG then pronounces the initials the Swedish way. The debut single is out the next day (3rd June), but Swedish Radio got the chance to play it for the first time on radio and they are very happy about it. Svjetlana asks Per how he feels about it. Per tells the whole PG Roxette project is a new chapter, as he already mentioned and it’s based on him and the old Roxette band. He brought in several people who helped him e.g. with the singing and production. It took about a year to record the album and it was much fun. He looks very much forward to release it. Per got very good response from those around the world whom he already showed the songs. It feels great.

Here they premiere the The Loneliest Girl In The World. Svjetlana tells she becomes happy when she hears this song. Per says it’s nice to hear. He tells it’s an ear candy. The album comes out in September. Mr. G tells he tried to write an uptempo album and it’s a challenge to write such pop songs. Especially when you are getting older, because it’s something that you do very easily when you are 20. It becomes harder when you get older, because you have written so much and you become too sophisticated in your writing when you know all the tricks. Svjetlana is curious what Per means by this, if it means you get more serious when you get older. PG tells pop music builds very much on instant energy and it’s just there when you are younger. When you have written hundreds of songs, you learned all the crafts very well and it’s hard to write these 3-chord pop songs when you get a bit older. Per thinks Svjetlana probably has also noticed it regarding other artists that the finest and fastest songs they wrote in their twenties. Svjetlana asks PG if he was struggling with this a bit. Per tells he had the idea that he would make a sibling to Roxette’s albums they recorded at the end of the 80’s, beginning of the 90’s, so he tried to think about how he was working back then. Then he sat down and spent time with writing. Actually, it went very well. The Loneliest Girl In The World was the third or fourth song he has written that immediately felt it had a great chorus.

Svjetlana wants to know if it was an obvious choice to go on as PG Roxette. Per tells it wasn’t obvious at all, because it was really tough when Marie passed away in 2019, so he didn’t really know what to do with Roxette. He knew there is the legacy of Roxette that someone has to take care of. Also, he devoted 30 years of his life to Roxette and he has written almost all the Roxette songs and it would have felt weird not to go on with Roxette in a way. He has the ambition to take PG Roxette on tour and play the old Roxette songs. There is a huge amount of people around the world who still like those songs.

Svjetlana tells Marie was ill for many years and she is curious if Marie and Per talked about the future of Roxette. Per asks if Svjetlana means about the future without Marie. Svjetlana says yes, because Marie was ill for a long time, however, when she got better, they went on tour together again. Per tells Marie was ill for 17 years before she passed away. She never really got better, but despite the doctors’ advice, she went on tour between 2010 and 2016. It was fantastic that she did that. In 2018 Per went on a European tour that was called Per Gessle’s Roxette and Marie had no problem with that. She thought like Per, that someone has to take good care of the legacy. If you look at other artists who kept their audience, they worked actively, e.g. Queen with the Bohemian Rhapsody movie or ABBA with the Mamma Mia! musical and movies and now also with the Abbatars in London. Per thinks you have to work actively to keep the legacy alive. You just have to let it go on and who else could take better care of the legacy than Per himself. It’s not about replacing Marie with another singer – even if Per worked together with several female singers on this record. Dea Norberg and Helena Josefsson appear the most on this album. Both of them worked with Roxette as backing vocalists on tours. But there are other female singers as well, so it has Per and his songs in focus.

Svjetlana asks how it was to look back on the 80’s and 90’s, those crazy times when they were touring so much with Roxette. Mr. G says it was crazy indeed. They had their peak for 8 years between 1988 and 1995. They were touring all around the world, they had 4 US No. 1s and they were the most played artists for 3 years in a row. It was a fantastic period. Svjetlana asks how they could cope with their success. PG tells when you are in the middle of it, you don’t think about that. You are working, you go on. He was anyway triggered by it back then. When they toured with and promoted Look Sharp! he wrote Joyride, when they toured with Joyride he wrote their next album, Crash! Boom! Bang!, etc. Svjetlana notices that Per wanted to do more and more. She asks how he felt about it back in the days. PG says he travelled all around the world, but didn’t really see much. He was mainly in hotel rooms and at the concerts. When you are in such busy period, you just can’t make it. After the pandemic it’s fun to travel to cities he knows he had been to before, but doesn’t remember much. When you wanted to keep everything at the same high level as they did their things, you had to work 24 hours a day and stay focused and keep yourself in top shape. It’s like what sportsmen do. They enjoyed being up on stage every night and perform to tons of people who loved what they were doing. That’s the best reward ever. It’s a fantastic job Per has, he says. Even if it was tough at times, it only has positive sides.

Svjetlana says it’s almost unreal what happened with Roxette abroad, all their success. She asks if there is melancholy besides pride when Per thinks back at those times and if such thing can happen again. Per says it can’t happen again, because we live in different times now. It’s 30 years of his life he has devoted to Roxette and he is very proud of Roxette. As he already said, when you are thirty, you are at a certain stage in your life, now that he is 63, he is at another stage. He of course hopes that the new album works well, but it’s not the most important, it’s not why he made it. He made it because he wanted to have fun and he tries to follow his way as a songwriter and artist. He is doing several things at the same time. He has just finished an acoustic tour in Sweden with 31 gigs, they had a Gyllene Tider tour earlier, many other things.

Here Svjetlana plays What’s She Like?, which she knows is a special song for Per. After playing it, she tells how wonderfully Marie sings. Per agrees, she sings fantastically. Svjetlana asks if this song will appear in the Roxette musical. Per laughs and says it’s a very exciting project. There is a very nice script that the musical will be built on, a book written by Jane Fallon. Per thinks that Roxette’s music matches very well in such a conetxt. There are so many nuances in the Roxette song catalogue, one could use really many of them. It’s gonna be tricky to match the songs to the story though. What’s She Like? could be one of the songs used, they both think.

Svjetlana tells Roxette sold more than 80 million records, they had an international career, there are millions of Swedish crowns on their bank account. She is curious what is Per’s driving force still. PG tells it’s about finding your place in life. He is super grateful that he could work with music fulltime, writing songs and playing them since he was in his teens. It’s not just a way he is following all the time, it’s not like he has plans that in 5 years he has to reach this or that. He has a lot of ideas and tries to implement them as well as he can. Svjetlana says, so it’s not fame, not money, not such things. Per says it mattered when he was young, e.g. when they started Gyllene Tider. When they played at schools, they dreamed about playing in Stockholm or Gothenburg, when an album became gold, they wanted a platinum, when they had a platinum, they wanted to have a double platinum. That’s how people work. It was the same with Roxette. The idea at the beginning was that they wanted to go abroad, because he himself felt he covered Sweden with Gyllene Tider’s success. But when Marie and Per talked about abroad, they meant Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands. Or maybe playing in Copenhagen. Svjetlana laughs and asks „no South America or China in your thoughts?” Per laughs and says no and also not the success that they had in the US.

Regarding keeping the legacy alive, Svjetlana asks Per if he is doing it because he thinks Roxette would be forgotten. Per says he knows there is a fantastic power in Roxette’s music. Also in his Swedish music. It’s not that he thinks that „oh, maybe in 30 years we would be forgotten”. He wants to experience it again, to be standing on stage, singing his songs and feel the communication with his audience. It’s the most awesome feeling. The acoustic tour he did was one of the most amazing things he did so far. It was so intimate in those small theatres in an acoustic arrangement. Sometimes it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. In certain songs he played only one string at a time, because it was so quiet. It was awesome that people were sitting there and listening. It was also fantastic that he played some old Gyllene Tider songs in a totally new arrangement. Lyrics of songs like Ljudet av ett annat hjärta that he wrote when he was 22, had a totally different meaning, both  for him and for everyone else, now that he sang it as a 63-year-old. There is another thing in there what wasn’t there in Gyllene Tider in 1981. There is a different energy as well, but the core of the song changes. And it also feels good for Per as a songwriter that the time goes by and the lyric becomes a different thing. It’s the same with What’s She Like? When he wrote it, he wrote it for Marie, because he knew that when Marie sings it, it will have a totally different meaning when he sings it. If he sang it, it would have been What’s He Like? That’s awesome in music. You can change it all the time.

Svjetlana tells she asked people about Per and most of them said he is an ordinary guy. She asks Per if that’s correct. Per says he doesn’t know what „ordinary guy” means and it’s hard for him to judge, but he is happy that people think so, because he doesn’t think he is an unusual guy, even if he has had an unusual life. He had much luck in many ways, but he is also very ambitious. His family and friends often say that he is working too much, but that’s in his personality and he knows you have to work much to get to where you want to be. He is not talking only about commercial success, but also about his writing. He wants to do his best all the time, otherwise he can’t sleep well at night. He laughs. Svjetlana notices Per has high expectations of himself. Per agrees. Svjetlana says the other thing people mentioned was they were wondering how Per keeps himself in shape. PG says he tries to pay attention to what he eats. When he was a kid, he looked quite like a meatball at school. That was always his Achilles heel, but especially during the past few years he tried to shape up. Svjetlana asks if Per is training. He quickly reacts he isn’t at all. He is rather walking and listening to things he is working with or tries to hatch an idea and to find answers to all the weird and stupid questions about his projects. So he sticks to his headphones, he is antisocial and he is in his own bubble then.

As a last question, Svjetlana asks Per about Gyllene Tider. PG says it’s a nice little band. Svjetlana thinks it’s a damn good band. Per says it’s also something he is very proud of. He is very proud of them being good friends and that they have fun when they meet. He can’t promise anything, but he hopes that there will be more Gyllene Tider in the future. But he doesn’t know anything yet.

Svjetlana thanks Per for coming to the show, PG also thanks for having him.

Per Gessle on Mix Megapol’s Maracas

Per was guest on radio Mix Megapol’s new show, Maracas today. It was a pre-recorded appearance. The show contained lots of music and maybe even more ads, but one could hear the program leaders chatting with Mr. G in between.

Anders Bagge (musician and songwriter) and Arantxa Álvarez (TV presenter and singer) are very happy and feel honoured to have Per on their show – not only because PG poured milk into Arantxa’s coffee (as seen in the teaser video). Anders says Per is insanely musical, he has always seen Mr. G as Sweden’s Beatles king in a way, writing nice melodies, using simple chords. He thinks Per is a fantastic songwriter and he feels starstruck having PG on the show.

Anders and Arantxa ask Per to tell about how he spends a weekend. Mr. G says he spends it with his loved ones. When it’s normal times, there is a lot of travelling in his life, e.g. he spends one or two weekends at the F1 racing, which he is very much interested in. Anders asks if he is racing too. Per tells he tried it once, but it’s not for him. Arantxa asks how fast the cars are driving there. PG replies way too fast.

Here they play Här kommer alla känslorna.

The guys call DJ Rob Wåtz who is in Marbella and ask Per which song he should mix during the program. Mr. G wants to hear The Look in a mash-up. He thinks there could be many songs, but this one is a classic and would be fun to hear. Rob says he likes challenges and he will not gonna let Per down.

Then they leave some time for Rob to mix and Arantxa and Per play a little quiz. They have to recognize a weird cover band’s take on 3 songs and tell who the original artist is. The first song is a cover of Billie Jean. Per finds out very quickly that it’s Michael Jackson. The second cover they play is Eye Of The Tiger and Arantxa knows it, but she doesn’t know the artist, so Per has the chance to guess it and he guesses it right of course, Survivor. The third one is Joyride, which Per recognizes immediately, haha, so he is the winner of this game.

Then comes another game. Arantxa says there is a bird with a backpack and brings some info in it. The first is that Per’s whole house is spinning after the sunlight. Mr. G’s reaction is: what?! Arantxa says rumor has it in Halmstad. Mr. G laughs and says there are many rumors in Halmstad, e.g. that they took away all speed bumps for him to be able to drive faster with his cars. His house is located in the South, so there is a lot of morning light on one side and a lot of evening light on the other, the house doesn’t have to spin. Another info from the bird’s backpack is that Per started his career as a street musician playing on streets and squares. PG says it’s not true at all. What he did on streets and squares was walking as a sandwich man when he was 13-14 years old in Simlångsdalen for Lonebergs Keramik. He tells he and a friend of his started as troubadours employed by the city council and played at nursing homes for old people around Halmstad. They performed songs that were for the target group they played for, e.g. Drömmen om Elin, Svarte Rudolf, Så skimrande var aldrig havet. He remembers he also played När alla vännerna gått hem, because it had just been written then and he got tired of those 50 songs they always played 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. It must have been in 1978.

Another game is coming, where you have to spin a wheel. There is some kind of wheel in the studio and Arantxa asks Per to tell who he sees on it. Mr. G tells there is e.g. Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana. Arantxa explains that Anders tells a story related to the artist on the wheel Per will spin. Per spins it and it lands on Enrique Iglesias. Anders tells a story of his revenge on Enrique after he gave Anders a near-death experience in his private plane. You can watch this part HERE.

Arantxa reads questions from listeners they asked on Mix Megapol’s social media sites. One of them is which song Per has written he is most proud of. Mr. G says it changes all the time, but he likes The Look because it was born when he was learning how to program his new synth. It felt something special. Another listener says he wants to hear some questions about Per’s wardrobe, because he gets too little credit for it, but he also wants to hear a little about his guitars and of course some juicy anecdotes. Per laughs and says it sounds like he could have an own program to talk about all this. Regarding his wardrobe he says since he is performing a lot and has many photo sessions, there are a lot of clothes involved. Anders says Per has always dressed very nicely. Mr. G thanks for it and says Anders is very kind. Regarding guitars Per says he has way too many, about a hundred. He says collecting them is a sign that he starts getting old. He buys new ones, but never sells the old ones. All guitars are unique and if you want a special sound, you have to have the guitar to have that special sound.

The guys come back to DJ Rob Wåtz in Marbella and he starts playing the mix he prepared in the meantime. He mashed Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler with The Look. HERE you can watch a video of PG enjoying it (nevermind that Mix Megapol wrote Joyride instead of The Look in the video text…). After the mash-up ends, Per says it was very good. He thinks Freestyler was a cool choice, it’s a forgotten tune.

Anders thanks Per for joining the program and tells he is a very nice person. PG tells Anders is so sweet. Arantxa thanks for Per too and Per thanks for them as well and his part is over.

Stills are from Mix Megapol’s videos linked above.

Per Gessle’s teddy bear charity concert

Mix Megapol organized a charity event to be broadcast on the radio and their Facebook channel at 19.30 CET, 25th April. Due to the pandemic, the venue couldn’t be filled with listeners, but by donating 100 SEK, a listener helped to place a teddy bear in the audience. And wow, there were tons of bears in the crowd! Per Gessle, Lena Philipsson and Petra Marklund performed at “The Teddy Bear Concert” on Mix Megapol’s Guldscen this evening. The show was recorded yesterday, 24th April.

Lena Philipsson was first with 5 songs and she was followed by Petra Marklund with 4 of her hits. Last but not least, Mr. G appeared on stage together with Helena Josefsson, Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist and Magnus Börjeson and he chose to do an acoustic performance. They played 5 songs (3 PG solos and 2 Roxette hits). Petra Marklund joined them for the last one, Listen To Your Heart. We had a chance to experience Petra singing this song at the tribute event for Marie Fredriksson in January 2020.

It was lovely to hear these 5 songs in an acoustic arrangement again. Per’s vocals sounded very emotional and Helena was singing beautifully as usual. Clarence, Chris and Magnus also added to the intimacy of this little set with their playing.

After the Late Night Concert in December 2020 we all hoped for more acoustic appearances by Per. Even if we hoped for real live events, corona still doesn’t let us enjoy such happenings in real life, but fortunately, we had this opportunity to have Mr. G in our living rooms once again thanks to Mix Megapol.

Per Gessle setlist

  1. På promenad genom stan
  2. It Must Have Been Love
  3. Ömhet
  4. Tycker om när du tar på mej
  5. Listen To Your Heart

After the concert, Per thanked for watching and listening. A private teddy bear was sitting in front of him while performing. Would be nice to know the story of that one. Maybe it’s from Per’s childhood? Who knows. Looked cool anyway. The teddy bear too. Haha.

All donations related to the event fully go to Barncancerfonden (Childhood Cancer Foundation). Collecting donations started on 29th March and the amount reached more than 1.3 million SEK the day before the concert and one could still donate during the event, so in the end the sum was: 1.614.110 SEK! The teddies will be donated as well.

In case you missed the concert, you can watch it HERE!

Stills are from the concert.

PG’s promo video of the event you can watch HERE.

Lena, Petra and Per say thank you in THIS video.

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 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.