Meanwhile aboard the RoxJet
Since the tour grew to twice the size the other day, we contacted Per to see what he has to say about some of this and some of that. And Pelle.
Per Gessle, how does it feel like being oot and aboot again, as the Canadians say?
– Greetings from the RoxAir Jet. Waiting for an early lunch. Spaghetti Arrabiata. Coke Zero. Some cheesecake maybe. I’m starving.
It feels great to be back on the road. The band has already become that superb power pop machine we all strive for. We’re playing and singing and fooling around without thinking. Sounds scary but it makes everything much more relaxed. And everyone in this band is enjoying each other’s company which makes life really easy. We’re not Pink Floyd. No fistfights.
Is the old band in shape again? Who needed the most treatment? Don’t say Pelle…
– The rehearsals are always the toughest ‘cos it’s almost impossible to take “The Look,” “Listen To Your Hip” or “It Must Have Been Lunch” seriously without a crowd. We’re feedback-junkies. The band consists of some of the best players ever to come out of the grey Swedish caves so they always sound terrific and behave accordingly… as you might have noticed during the shows. Except Pelle, of course.
Of course… When you go on tour together again, like now, after a gap of almost two years, how long does it take you to get used to the touring schedule?
– You know what to expect when you start touring. We’ve done it so much. All or lives. It’s no big deal. The hardest part is to be so far away from your family and your local paper in the morning. And the cars. They miss me too. I’m sure. At least the cars.
OK. we noticed that you (Per) mostly walk around in clothes that rather fit the Swedish late summer, not exactly what you would expect being in Russia’s Far East, no matter whether you are in warm Seoul or bitter cold Siberia. How in the world are you not getting sick?? I mean, you do freeze, Chris keeps saying you do.
– I started a social society club long ago called ”Vägra Vinter” (”Refuse The Winter”). I’m the CEO since I’m the only member. So I have to take responsibility for my old actions. And besides, I don’t like winter clothes. They’re so heavy. And I’m always indoors anyway. If I go out I take a car. Or borrow Pelle’s hockey gloves.
How can one actually kill time between the concerts? While the band seems to check out all the local pubs one by one, what are you doing? Apart from excessive Facebooking.
– Playing guitar in my room, writing songs, Skyping with friends and family, doing interviews via mail, going to the gym, sleeping late, having dinner, drinking wine. Checking out if Pelle’s alive. Normal stuff.
Alright, we’ve seen you shopping in malls in a few cities. Do you ever buy any interesting souvenirs from the coolest corners on Earth?
– I found a fab pocket flask with a picture of Putin on in a very weird store. Irresistable. The shop sold camouflage-helmets and guns and psychedelic sunglasses and fake watches. I think Pelle bought a knife. Or a fork. Or a bomb.
As far as I could tell from watching your home videos, the hotel standards are not always comparable to the one you run in Tylösand. As the quite comfortable person that you are, what has been the worst experience so far?
– Oh it’s nothing. I’m traveling without my family on this short trip and when I’m on my own I can basically live in a cupboard. As long as there’s proper Internet and a decent bathroom I’m quite happy. I’m a very easygoing rhythm guitar player.
On a more serious note, I could not help but notice that the tour so far looked a lot like the tour from two years ago. You once mentioned there would be a new stage and maybe video screens. When is it to arrive and what will it look like?
– Well, the current stage-set is quite different from what we had in 2012. Small but efficient. The ”XXX” stage-set will premiere in New Zealand and go on from there until the tour finishes in 2016. There was no chance we could bring it to the Russian dates due to the very long distances in Siberia. It takes days for the trucks to arrive. We knew that from the beginning. Everything XXX is being built in London as I write this. It looks really really cool. Patrick Woodroffe and Stufish designed it. Even Pelle is impressed. On the other hand, he can’t see that well. And he can’t hear.
The European tour dates have just been published, congratulations to this massive list first of all! Besides the usual places, you now also go to Milan (last time there in 1989) and even Paris (last concert in 1992). These are markets that have had to suffer from a long physical absence of yours. Could this be a sign that you are going to reconquer long forgotten markets again?
– Why not? L’Olympia in Paris is awesome. Every artist wants to play there at least once in his/her lifetime. Classic aisles. And Italy has always been a sour spot on our touring map. We have lots of beautiful fans there but we never really became part of the domestic live market. When we toured in our prime all over the world between 1989-1995 there were no proper promoters available in Italy. All of them were in jail, ha ha ha. We really love Italy so it will be a killer show in Milan. You should come.
I should, I should. When is it again? Is this European tour list fully complete or could possibly more dates get added along the way?
– May 26! A few more will probably appear. Four or five maybe.
What about other regions of the world, like the South and North Americas? Canada is missing you, eh!
– Yes, the tour will continue after Europe. At this point I can’t say when but we are of course eager to play South Africa, South America, the US and Canada as well. And Asia could be fun. And Jupiter. Time will tell.
There are bigger gaps between the tour legs. How are you going to fill them? Say: “studio.”
– Yes, I’m working on so many projects I don’t know where to start. Right now we’re finishing a couple of Rox tracks and more recordings with Rox will take place in January. We have to go back to rehearsals again before NZ/Oz due to the new stage production. Everything takes time. Can I borrow some of yours?
Like I have any to spare? I can rent you some maybe. Shiny new press pictures have materialized just in time for the concerts. Have they been made for the tour only or will they suit another purpose? A single sleeve, maybe?
– Just for the media. More will follow.
On a total side-note, a fan asked us if you ever have been approached to do a Bond theme?
– No, but I would love to give it a shot. We all love the Bond-movies. Pelle could play the villain. The Drum Lizard.
Thank you for your time. What’s the next thing you’re going to do right now?