12 months have gone by in a flash and it's again the time for The Daily Roxette's annual "Year in review" article.
2007 was something you can call a slow news year - Roxette wise. Per released a Swedish solo album, "En händig man," and did a summer tour, but there was not a single Roxette news article after March 2007.
Late December 2006 and a couple of days later in January 2007, Radio Halland aired an interesting two-part interview with Per Gessle. In the interview Per revealed for the first time that he's working on a new solo album. The reporter had also heard rumors of a summer tour and asked Per about it. According to Per, nothing had been decided at that point and that the "Mazarin" tour had been put together only two months before the premier night. In March the tour looked more likely when Expressen published a story about Per releasing an album soon with a tour following it.
Per also claimed he's working on a follow-up to Son of a Plumber album, but later Per admitted that he was only trying to fool people with it. Although, later in the year, Son of a Plumber did make a surprise comeback…
STOCKHOLM (Updated) -
Ring them bells… Ring them bells….
Hola out there in Roxette County!
Just a quickie to wish you the merriest christmas of them all!!! Thanks, as always, for your endless support.
See ya next year (one way or another…)
Update: Per also wishes the fans a Merry Christmas at gessle.com with a nice message and a new old demo called "Lycklig jul" ("Happy Christmas") from 1985.
LJUSDAL - Per Gessle approved this biography to be written by old friend and journalist Sven Lindström when Marie Fredriksson was diagnosed with cancer. He felt that his story should be told while the people he had been hanging out with were still alive. Immediately the idea came up to use the quotation-technique used in the book "Please kill me," which both Sven and Per regard as a major inspiration. Sven drafted a few pages and sent to Per who immediately changed his mind, he didn't want people talking about him!
Then both Marie and Rolf at EMI got sick, so Per changed his mind again, and here we are!
STOCKHOLM - Since many of you are wondering who does what on "Shopping with Mother" Per has been kind enough to share some of his recording info:
clarence: distorted wurlitzer, handclaps, celeste, timpani
christoffer: Gibson bass, drums, Gibson ES-175 el guitar, tambourine, maracas, acoustic guitar, saxophones, wah wah guitar, autoharp, solina string machineper: handclaps.helena: operavoxsomeone's mother: laughter
HALMSTAD - After 20 Swedish towns and 128,800 friends in the audience Per Håkan Gessle has finished his latest tour. The Daily Roxette got a word with him. Per, how do you feel now?
Life's empty, boring and quite sad to tell the truth. It always is when you’ve finished a tour. So the whole band is singing the blues at the moment!!! Everyone wanted to go on for at least another month. This has been the most enjoyable tour I’ve ever done. Maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s just the cycle of life I’m in at the moment, I’ve got so much more confidence in what I do these days. And of course it helps to have all these wonderful people in the band, both on and off stage. The crowds' reception have been tremendous. That helps, of course. And yes, I’ve got some great songs to play. I’m really proud to be able to offer this smorgasbord of music without even a glimpse at the Roxette door. By the way, I have to send some big hugs to all the incredible fans all over the world who came to our shows this summer. You’re so sweet!!! We loved to see y’all in the front row!
Yes, you certainly have a plethora of songs to chose from! Even so the Swedish tabloids have been going on and on about Your Big Flop. What's your comment on that?
Well, the tabloids tend to see everything in black or white. I’m 100% satisfied with this tour and the number of people that came by but apparently the blood seeking journalists' commercial expectations were even higher. And I think that whole discussion is a load a crap. I can’t understand why it’s so important if 6000 or 16000 come to a show. The most important thing must be if the concert’s any good! And I'm convinced that the audience thinks so as well.
The local press, on the other hand, has been very supporting and has given us loads of great press. Yea, the tabloids have really lost it. Check this out: They ran a story in Malmö’s Kvällsposten the other week just before our Malmö gig. The article mentioned that my tour was by far the biggest one in Sweden this year and that our Malmö-gig was the highlight on the season in that particular area. The headline? "The Fiasco continues"…
So typical… So, what's up next, after a weekend off? You mentioned in an evening paper that you have a new "secret project," what can you tell us about that?
HALMSTAD - Before 17,800 people (out of 19,000 tickets available,) Per entered the stage at Örjans vall in Halmstad yesterday. Unfortunately there was a heavy drizzle over Halmstad during the evening. Per was in a great mood and exclaimed "This is the best band I've ever been in. It was also the best tour premiere of mine ever!" Per continues "This band is actually so tight that for the second week of rehearsals we only worked on switching the set list around…"
The concert itself was very Gyllene Tider oriented, with 10 out of 23 songs. The rest consisted of seven "En händig man" songs and six from "Mazarin." Per was a bit upset with the rain as it made it hard to move on stage. "Once with Roxette I ran into Jonas Isacsson when the stage was wet. I smashed into his guitar!"
The band was in top shape. MP was sharp, and looked sharp in his nice tie, Helena was cute (and sang well) and Clarence hit every key.
The stage was fabulous. A great light show with two rather big video screens that showed what was happening on stage with some effects added. The show started by the way with a 40 minute video showing Swedish artists over the years, and ended with Per's new "secret track" which I won't tell what it is. The video wasn't shown though.
Biggest song: Sommartider probably, the sing-a-long must've been heard for miles!
Many fans from all over the world attended the concert; Russians, Norwegians, Finns, Swedes you name it.
The set list
Juni, juli, augusti
(Hon vill ha) Puls
Pratar med min müsli (hur det än verkar)
En händig man
På promenad genom stan
Vilket håll du än går
Det hjärta som brinner
En sten vid en sjö i en skog
När alla vännerna gått hem
Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke
Kung av sand
Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång)
Gå & fiska!
Om du kommer ihåg
Tycker om när du tar på mej
Ljudet av ett annat hjärta
Ska vi älska så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly
HALMSTAD - The Daily Roxette is back at the crime scene - at Leif's Lounge in Halmstad. This time it's for Per's "sneak preview" of "En händig man på turné." There are several hundred people there, among them Freddie Ljungberg, Martin Dahlin and Börje Salming, or should I say as Per puts it "All the guys with their own underwear label is here!" There are also some 20 South American Roxette fans here. And The Daily Roxette of course!
The concert starts at 22:15, a bit fashionably late, it's Per. The whole place rocks with the opening number "Hannas kärlekspil." Per and the band plays 11 songs, and skips one. All of the songs are great, but one stands out; "Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke" which turns into exactly what I had imagined. A show stopper that keeps on going!
TDR meets Per after the concert, where he and the band are presented a triple platinum award for "En händig man." Per is very satisfied with the concert "It felt great, everyone tells me I should do more club gigs." Naturally TDR asks why he doesn't. "Actually it seems I will. I wanted to do this thing for SOAP down in Europe, but now 'En händig man' goes so well in Norway that we are planning a club tour there. We may even pop over to Finland and Denmark," Per says.
Everything seems set for the big premiere tomorrow.
The set list:
1 Hannas kärlekspil
2 Det hjärta som brinner
3 En sten vid en sjö i en skog
4 En händig man
5 På promenad genom stan
6 Juni, juli, augusti
7 Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke
8 Här kommer alla känslorna
10 Gå & fiska!
11 Fru Nordin *
* They skipped Fru Nordin as an extra for reasons unknown.
HALMSTAD - Here are exclusive comments from the hand of Per Gessle regarding the songs on "En händig man." Consider them a holiday gift for you who have listened to the album for a few days now.
En händig man
Was written on the balcony on a sunny day in Halmstad last summer. The title and the main idea for the lyrics came first. We recorded 2 versions in the studio in Skåne.
The first one (which we now refer to as "En händig man (blåser)” /btw. ”blåser” means “to blow”/ sounds totally different with a quite a big intro and with a… that's right, a brass-section. I didn't really like it, it felt like the original idea got lost in the shuffle and my voice sort of disappeared in this big mess… so we made a new, more “primitive” take and that one became the opening track and the first single!
Pratar med min müsli (hur det än verkar)
Did an acoustic demo in Tits & Ass last summer that turned out really cool. When I played it for C&C (Clarence Öfwerman & Christoffer Lundquist) totally new things popped up in their amazing minds. Suddenly we had a "Doors organ", a rattling drum beat in the choruses and The Lovely Helena (Josefsson) blessing the middle eight. I was overjoyed of course!
The lyrics, I’m sure you know, are about a lonely sod sitting by himself talking to his breakfast about how great everything will be… maybe… eventually…
Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke
Was everyone's favorite in the studio from day 1! It's one of those songs that makes you smile while you're writing it! It has happened a few times over the years and I was lucky to experience it even as a 47 year-old!!! The title came first, I've had it in my big black book for ages. We saved this song to the very end since we wanted to get some experimentation out of our systems recording other songs first. Cos this song needs almost nothing. Our main job was to hold back. A few acoustic guitars, some backup vocals and a bassline McCartney would have been proud of. Glorious.
Well, my wife's name is Nordin so everyone assumes it's about her. And that's… so funny. Well, maybe it is… come to think of it…! I wrote it in the studio in Skåne last winter and knew immediately that it needed some frenzy, some "The Who-inspired guitars" and kinky drums that Jens (Jansson) plays so good just after breakfast. Didn't like my lead vocals so I re-did them late at night just before the final mix in April. It's so much better now.
Was also written in the studio in Skåne last winter, both lyrics and music at the same time. It took about 2 hours. When I was done I played it for C&C and we did a take immediately. I had the capo on the 9th fret (my old Martin) and someone thought it would be funny to have a clarinet playing some free-form notes, almost Dixieland-style that we know nothing about. Said and done, Christoffer fetched an old dusty clarinet and did the overdubs before dinner! What a guy! Especially considering this was the second time ever he held the instrument. What would I do without these guys???
När Karolina kom
Yepp, wrote it in the studio in Skåne! The verse has a sort of summer vibe to it that's very appealing to my ears, the chorus is really just finishing up the verse and takes no space at all. It's the verse that's the whole thing, you know… The core in the lyrics is about… no one you know… we're talking about my childhood and the '60s… hence the line "himlen var full av astronauter" ["the sky was full of astronauts"]… They landed on the moon in 68, right?
"Hanna" pops up here and there. She’s so funny. Don't remember much about this, I know I was listening to The Kinks a lot when I wrote it and it does sound a bit like an old Kinks-song from, say '65. Nice saxophones in the middle eight which C&C recorded while I was looking away.
Om du kommer ihåg
I like this one a lot. Wrote it in front of the TV in my living room in Stockholm in August last year. It's hard to be this simple and hold on to it, anyone who writes songs knows this.
Om jag vetat då (vad jag vet nu)
Was called ”If I knew then (what I know now)” when it was born. It was written for Roxette's "The Ballad Hits" and "The Pop Hits" collections 2002. Rox never recorded it so I wrote some Swedish lyrics to it that's been in the drawer ever since. Its time is now!!! I like this one very much. It has a lovely '60s aura around it. And Christoffer added some groovy Beatles-inspired 12-stringed acoustic guitar licks in the verses that are top notch in my book! Awright.
Per’s back with a new album and – once again – we were eager to gather some of our staff around our virtual roundtable to listen to his new album and share our thoughts.
"En Händig Man" is Per’s seventh solo album if you count "Son of a Plumber" (which he nowadays claims was sort of a solo album, but as "no one can pronounce Per Gessle abroad"… you know). So what do we get this time?!? We get a ton of "sha la la's" and Per whistling! Per has also used horns a lot for once.
"En Händig Man" is – like "Mazarin," Gyllene Tider’s "Finn 5 Fel!," "Son of a Plumber" and most recently Roxette’s two new tracks "One Wish" and "Reveal" – recorded in The Aerosol Grey Machine down in the heart of Skåne. It is also recorded with (mainly) the same band and the same producers. Does it sound the same? Well, yes… and no. You can definitely hear the C&C (Christopher and Clarence) sound on this album, but it has evolved. We like what we hear, even though it is very far from the Per Gessle power-pop that most of us usually love (and miss). This album is sometimes very similar to "Mazarin" and also very similar to the Plumber album. We can even hear touches of "Finn 5 fel!" on it. But enough of this rambling introduction, let's get down to reviewing the tracks!
Colin: On this new album I hear many familiar things but also some completely new sounds. There’s a bit of SOAP, Mazarin, GT, more sixties/seventies, but also some new Gessle sound I can’t really define yet. A bit more raw, edgier, live-ier. This album goes from heavy rock tunes to beautifully smooth ballads – Per Gessle has outdone himself – Again!
The first track of the album is "En händig man" – also the first single. Like we mentioned before, this track was at first recorded using strings and horns, but as that version strayed too far from Per’s vision, they re-recorded the track at the end of the sessions. This version is how Per envisioned it. Thomas: I like it, a typical nice mid-tempo Per track that should do very well on the charts in Sweden. And you do understand what Per talks about, don't you…? Colin: Well, frankly I don’t, since I still haven’t mastered Swedish yet. Awesome song though. It really gets stuck in your head after a while. Since I first heard the song, it hasn’t gotten out of my head for at least a week – lots of credit for that! The songs sounds really smooth and relaxed – a perfect song for a sunny (Sunday?) afternoon!
Thomas: The next track starts with what Per calls a "killer organ intro" and it is. It sounds The Doors all the way. "Pratar med min müsli (Hur det än verkar)" isn't even mentioned in the song, but a nice track it is, very up tempo and frisky. Per says this guy is having a conversation with his breakfast cereal about this girl he wants. He feels they have a future together even though they are total opposites. Colin: Well, his breakfast has a beautiful female voice! The percussion makes me think of a marching band, but the organ and melody kick ass!
Thomas: This one is one of my very favorites of the album - "Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke," a mid tempo track that just hits my heart. Great lyrics and a melody that just is right. This can be one of those live songs that goes on and on and on with lighters and sing-a-long forever. I want to see that happen! Five stars for this one! Colin: I keep singing this now and then (when I’m not humming EHM), it tends to relax me a bit I think. I’ll bring a lighter to Stockholm this summer! Judith: This is a soft, cute song which stays in your mind!
"Fru Nordin" is probably about Per's wife Åsa, but we'll probably never know for sure. He mentions in the liner notes that "most people think this is about my wife. That's nice I guess!" Thomas: This song I like every other listen, when I like it I think of the '60s, I think Roxette's "Soul Deep" which has a similar beat. This one is very energetic and noisy. Colin: I don’t agree on the every other listen – this song is really powerful. Per’s voice is kind of distorted and the guitars are pretty loud – I like! Judith: One of my favorites on the album. I love guitars, I love noise, I love distortion!
Thomas: "Dixy" is another favorite of mine, this is possibly how dixieland sounds to Swedes I would guess. Like Per says in the liner notes "we thought a clarinet would sound nice, a touch of dixie which we knew absolutery nada about…" Christoffer plays the clarinet and it's the second time in his life he's even touching the instrument. Colin: Wow, a clarinet in a Gessle song – that must be a first! Nice song. Sha-la-la-la-la-la…Thomas: This was written and recorded more or less on the spot in the studio.
This next track is about one of Per's first loves, a very early love. "När Karolina kom." Thomas: Karolina seems to have been a neighbor of Per's in the late '60s! The song is so-so, I do like it, but it's at the bottom of the favorites list, usually. Although the chorus is rather cute when you know that Per means a 7-year old girl (or something to that effect). Colin: The intro of the song reminds me of another (not sure which), but the overall melody makes me very happy. Thomas: Hmmm, you are on to something there.
Hanna is back, Hanna from "Henry, dansa inte disco" and "En händig man." Here she should shoot Per with her love arrow in "Hannas kärlekspil." Another '60s flirt, an up tempo track. Colin: Oh yeah, bring on the old sixties uptempo! GT meets the Beach Boys - clap your hands everyone! (oh and by the way, "Henry, dansa inte disco" is still a kick ass song!) Thomas: Lots of saxophones in the background here, this track also has a wild drum beat. Not at all bad, but not on my top 5 either. This track concludes the A side of the LP, by the way. It will be really interesting to hear the vinyl edition as that album will be mastered differently!
Thomas: Here we go! This song, "Om du kommer ihåg," is one of my top 3 songs. A mid tempo number that, in my opinion, is reminiscent of "Tycker om när du tar på mej" mixed with some "På promenad genom stan." Very lovely song, and also one of Per's favorites. The lyrics are obviously about Woody… Colin: Acoustic, very smooth. Helena provides the necessary background atmosphere…sounds like dreaming away. Thomas: And like Per said, his fingerpicking is out of this world! Judith: One of Per's best lyrics ever to me. Simple, direct, touching.
For you Rox fans out there, here's the never recorded Roxette song - "Om jag vetat då (Vad jag vet nu)." Thomas: This is my third favorite of the album. One will never know how the Roxette version would have sounded, but I can't imagine it would have been bad. To me this is Per at his best. And contrary to what Per thinks, I think this would've sounded fabulously on "Finn 5 fel!." It's a mid tempo song with an amazing 12-string playing around all the time. Also a wonderful post(?)-chorus. Top notch and single material maybe? Colin: Yes, it’s really a beautiful song, strings & chimes and all. Very powerful chorus, a beautiful duet – Gessle at his best! One of my favorites on this album for sure. Definitely in my top 3 as well, only maybe at second place. Beautiful song, perfectly performed – even better than it would have been with Roxette I think. Judith: My absolute favorite, indeed Gessle at his best! I too think it would have been a great Roxette song.
"TomTom" was written a tad too late to be included on "Mazarin." TomTom is also a character that Per wants to write a full album about. So far he has only this one. Thomas: What can I say about "TomTom"? I like it, but I don't think it'll be a favorite of mine. The lyrics are playful. Someone here suggested there are too many "emergency rhymes" in it. I see the point, but it doesn't bother me. Another mid-tempo track. The album consists of five up-tempo songs, six mid-tempo ones and three ballads, by the way. Not counting the EP of course. Colin: TomTom, Blabla. Unplugged-like song, really relaxing – feels like driving from Halmstad to Tylösand on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The intro is really nice, one of my favorites on the album.
Now this is possibly a reason why Per calls this album a "bluesier cousin of 'Mazarin.'" Thomas: "Våldsamt stillsamt" is my second favorite up tempo track, and on this one I do get a Blues Brothers light feeling, ha ha! Lots of energetic drums, Hammond organ and saxophones. Very Gyllene Tider, but with a twist. "This is how I sound when I put on my dark skinned mask! Ha ha ha!" Per exclaims in the booklet. Colin: Hey! Are the Lonely Boys back in Swedish? In any case they stole an organ player from the sixties! Oh yeah, and some cow bells as well…
Thomas: "Trött" is my other favorite up tempo number. Fast, heavy Gyllene Tider sound. One can almost see Micke Syd play this one. And in the second verse you get a gorgeous angelic background choir! You gotta love that! Per mentioned that it's always hard to not overdub too much, but I have to say that this album is anything but over-produced. Great track! "May be very cool live" Per comments. Colin: Pure Gessle rock, pretty heavy. Trött? Don’t think so when you can perform this!
Colin: Shalalala - need I say more? Thomas: "Samma gamla vanliga visa" is a title Per has been wanting to use for a long while now. Nice track, another "sha-la-la-la" song. There are surely plenty of them on this album. "The idea was to write a summer song without muscles but with a spark in the eye." He has succeeded once again. (Colin is lost in the shalalala's here.)
Finally we get a ballad as the end of the album and side B of the LP. Thomas: "Min hälsning" is from 1978 and was written for Gyllene Tider's debut album but was shelved due to the need of other material for that album. For the biography about Per he was asked to find material that had that "vintage" look to be photographed and when he found this demo he realized that he still liked this song a lot, so he re-wrote two corny lines in the song and they recorded it live in the studio, two acoustic guitars and one electric. They overdubbed a bass guitar and an organ. Voila. And like I mentioned in my interview with Per, this song really sounds like Per Gessle 1978. A good ending of the regular album. Colin: A very old GT song – beautiful in its purity. I’m very happy it survived the years!
Written by Jud on June 5, 2007 to Exclusive.
The Daily Roxette, together with MarieFredriksson.net, are happy to give you the chance to win one of the five copies of Mikael Bolyos' coming album "A Family Affair". The CDs are provided courtesy of Mikael himself.
This contest is open to all TDR subscribers who have an accurate Profile. In order to participate, simply follow the instructions below:
1. Make sure that your TDR user profile is updated with your REAL First and Last Name and CURRENT active email address. If you do not wish to share this information with other TDR subscribers, simply leave that box unchecked.
2. Send an email to mbcontest (at) mariefredriksson.net with your Name, TDR Login Name and your answers to the following questions.
Correctly answer two of the following two questions…
1. With whom does Mikael sing "When The Lord Is About To Come"?
a) Mats Persson
b) Mats Ronander
c) Tomas Ledin
2. With whom did Mikael form his band Stars & Bars?
a) Marie Fredriksson
b) Roger Pontare
The contest runs until June 13 and the winners will be announced the following week.