A word with Per, the handyman

LJUSDAL – The Daily Roxette is talking with Per Gessle in the mix, down in Skåne:

– A handyman, that's not really what people think when they hear the name Per Gessle, is it?
"Ha ha, no I suck at most things like that and people know this, that's why we chose that title. There's a song called that too."

– Speaking of that, you've been recording new Son of a Plumber material simultanously with this, how has that worked out?
"Nooo, I just said that to fool people. We've only recorded Swedish material… 21 songs. Some are even over three minutes!" he says with an obvious humorous grin present in his voice. The fact is that we are mixing as we speak," Per says as the sound of a keyboard blares in the background.

– Ha ha, OK, funny as ever… What has been your inspiration this time?
"Well, I'm an old man, so it's the same inspiration, same influences as ever." Read: We're getting soft pop á la Gessle. "But there are a few rocky Gyllene Tider-power pop numbers as well!"

– So, you're still in the mix?
"Yes, and we've also recorded material live in the studio, because it's so much fun to sing and play at the same time. But I'm really a bit nervous. What if the album isn't good? Some of the material we haven't heard since September… then it might not be done in time? But they wanted it in the press release so they could sell tickets," says Per.

– I'm sure you'll do fine. So this Plumber story, it's dead at the moment?
"Naah, no, yes, at the moment. EMI Blue Note was releasing the album in the US, but as EMI is down-sizing now I've just received a thanks but no thanks. Too bad, as my contact at Blue Note just loved the album. I'm still shopping around though, as the album is quite timeless it doesn't matter if it's not released in 2007.

– A handyman on tour?
"That's right, it's been four years, isn't it time again?"
– Absolutely!
"Yes, my feeling exactly, it's so much fun to play, we have a damn hunger [for that] now, after four years… and MP is with us this time. He was on the album but we remixed him off of it! Although some Gyllene Tider songs can't be played without good old MP. And Christoffer," Per divulges, "can't play 'Det hjärta som brinner' so… This Gyllene Tider thing is hard, you can't play for example 'När vi två blir en' without a bouncing Göran Fritzon behind the Farfisa, can you?"

No you really can't, but Per and I quickly agree that "(Hon vill ha) Puls" sounds quite decent with Clarence behind the keys.

– Back to the tour, what will you play for us?
"You know, we don't really know yet. We've been considering playing some Plumber live, because it would sound great. On the other hand, it's hard to mix languages because you may lose the focal point. Besides that we have tons of material to choose from."

Per says that the Swedish media will probably call this tour a flop as he'll never get the numbers that GT got in 2004.

– Who cares about that?
He agrees reluctantly, and says "well, you know media…"

Per tells us that as usual there will be a single before the album release, but as he hasn't even mixed the album yet, he doesn't even know what it'll be. "I may not even be in on the decision making," he says. Nor is the sleeve even started. The new press photos, taken by Henry Diltz in Los Angeles, were taken only for the tour and possibly posters, but won't be used for the album. "It'll be Anton (Corbijn) or Jonas (Åkerlund) if I can get them," he explains. "They're both shooting movies right now. Jonas was going to do the L.A. shoot but couldn't get away from Canada, where he's filming."

– As you've been recording since September, will Marie be on the album?
"No, not this time."

"See you soon!" says Per as our conversation comes to an end and he returns to the mixing board.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of our readers may be interested to know that Henry Diltz, who recently photographed Per when he was in California, has been a rock photographer for over 40 years, having helped "invent" rock photography in the 1960s. His work has appeared on over 80 album covers and has been featured in books, magazines and newspapers. He's produced photographic essays of Woodstock; The Monterey (California) Pop Festival; The Doors; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Jimi Hendrix and scores of other legendary artists. – LEO

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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  ★ Publishing date:

March 12th, 2007

Internal reference code for TDR's Good Reporters: [tdr 111453]

This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

Archive, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Per Gessle, vintage.

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