Per reflects on Roxette’s 20 year milestone
STOCKHOLM - Roxette… multiplied by 20 years, that's a milestone most bands never reach. How do you feel about it really Per, the best and the worst of these first 20?
"It feels excellent even though we've slowed down some these last few years. The best thing is of course the huge response from our audience, everywhere on planet Earth; different religions, skin color, political values… they all like 'The Look' and 'It Must Have Been Lunch'. Amazing. The worst things are that time passes so fast… and that I never learn how to play solos."
What do you miss accomplishing with Roxette? Roxette has accomplished so much, but maybe you have an unfulfilled dream?
"No, nothing really, it would be fun to play more concerts and record more albums. We'll see what happens."
So, the RoxBox, can you tell us a little about what will be in it? Remixes, live, demos?
"It will contain the best of what we've accomplished so far, plus hard-to-get stuff, (like the Abbey Road Sessions '95). A DVD with, among other things, hopefully MTV Unplugged from '93. And possibly a bonus-CD with 20 demos…"
Benny and Björn (from ABBA) hate releasing demos, you are quite the contrary, why is that?
"I didn't know they felt that way. I think demos are interesting so you can figure out how a song came to. I guess I'm a bigger nerd than they are."
Any new remasters of the older albums?
Tell us more about the new Greatest Hits album. Of course you can't tell us about the new material as it doesn't exist yet, but what will make the cut? Maybe it'll even be a double?
"No, a single CD with our biggest hits, plus one or two new tracks. Some are whining about another compilation, but Roxette's music gets more and more airplay in the world (trust me, I see the royalty figures!) and we get new fans all the time and new generations that want to buy the albums. That's why we release new, updated collections in regular intervals. The alternative would be that people would have to try to get our records among the catalogue selection and there one very easily gets lost.
If you have a problem with another compilation, my tip is to skip this purchase and put your money on your local women's soccer team instead."
EMI Sweden is a sure thing on all of this (GH & RoxBox)… what can you tell us about the other EMI units? What's your best guess on all that?
What's you best guess – given your unique insight on the music business as it relates to Roxette – as to what will happen in the States? There are many of our readers who believe that "Wish I Could Fly" would have gone further up the charts if a label with more financial resources than Edel would have been promoting it.
"I'm also (of course) under the impression that Roxette's music is very special, and my gut feeling is, yes, WICF (and more songs for that matter) would have been bigger hits under different circumstances. However, the US market is extremely complicated and Rox can't really offer what most companies demand; heavy touring, endless promotion and preferably a change of passports! All these issues make it tuff for these two geezers from the south of Sweden to work that part of the planet properly.
But believe me when I say that Ms. Dimberg is on the case… working her way with her usual endless devotion to secure a future American partner."
And speaking of your fanbase… there are fans EVERYWHERE who hold on to the dream of another chart-topping Roxette hit. You told our Managing Editor once in Boston that you had more Roxette songs in your head that could become Billboard #1's. Might this be the chance for that to happen again?
Radio Sweden last month had a segment where they were talking about Roxette and The Cardigans. You mentioned that group in our interview with you in Vienna, what's your opinion of them?
"I think the album before the most recent one is one of the best albums ever made in Sweden ["Long Gone Before Daylight"]. Terrific stuff! The new one is not up to that standard to my ears. However, I consider myself a fan. Peter S. is a stunning guitarplayer. Happy now?"
And while we're at it… what other Swedish acts do you see ready to break onto the international stage? Anyone worthy of mention?
"Helena's new solo album will kick a##!!!"
You were seen at the premiere in Stockholm of Benny and Björn's "Kristina" that is now set to open on Broadway in a year or so. The story, as you know, is a historical one about Swedes emigrating to "the new land." What did you think of the show, and does your family (or Åsa's) have relatives in the U.S.?
"Not my cup of tea really, to tell the truth. I'm known to leave musicals after the first act… No relatives in the US that I know of, no."
Since you will be recording at the Aerosol Grey Machine, how do you think this will affect your sound? Will it be softer like "Mazarin," "Finn 5 Fel!" and "Son of a Plumber" or something completely different?
"Wow, dunno. I hope we get lots of '80s and sounds of sunshine."
There's been some magic coming out of that little studio in Skåne. Can Roxette fans hold out hope that some of that fairydust or Skåne gooseshit or whatever it is rubs off on new Roxette songs?
"Yes yes. It's gonna be fab to get together with MF down there. She's gonna love it. We'll do our best to make the songs extraordinary. If only I could find my rhyming dictionary…"
Lars-Erik Olson contributed to this interview.
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