Per turns his attention to Roxette’s 20th; no tour for Son of a Plumber
EDITOR'S NOTE: Per spent last Monday in the Netherlands promoting his new album. Earlier in the day, he was interviewed by the newspapers Algemeen Dagblad, Telegraaf and Metro, and the website Vrouw.nl. Now, at lunchtime on a rainy afternoon, it's an interview with The Daily Roxette that appears on Per's schedule. TDR reporter Colin van der Bel and photographer Jaap de Vos walk into a suite on the 8th floor of Schiphol airport's 5-star Sheraton Hotel where they're met by EMI's Li Lindebäck and Danielle Metselaar. After a few minutes, they enter Per's room and sit down for a chat. Because of some changes in the schedule and heavy traffic ahead of him, Per has only a short time to spend with us…
AMSTERDAM – When Per sees the big old-fashioned tape recorder this reporter brought along, he says it reminds him of a funny story: Gabriel had just realized Per had a turntable and wondered what it was. So Per played Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" because "it has the guitar riff which has affected the most people on this earth, and now I had the chance to see a nine year old hear 'Smoke on the Water' for the first time." Per said this made Gabriel a big Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Roxette fan.
First of all, welcome back in the Netherlands! It's been a while since you've been here on promo tour, I think it was some years ago for Roxette?
Yeah probably, we didn't make it here for the Room Service Tour.
What's today look like for you?
We did some other interviews earlier and after this we're doing this radio thing and then we're flying to Berlin.
Do you still enjoy these promo days, or have they become routine for you?
Well, no, it's not become a routine, but in a way, every interview is like the other one. I remember the days that we were doing this every day for months and months – it's not like that anymore, it's fine. But it's also an album – a project – that needs to be described, you have to sort of talk about it a bit and tell what's behind it. If I could do a big talk show on TV, that would be easier.
Any developments yet regarding performances for S.O.A.P.?
No, you know what, we're gonna do some new Roxette stuff in the summer and so I think there won't be any Son of a Plumber shows, because I have to work on the new Roxette.
Earlier this year you started a new project called Bad Hair Day, which puts unreleased songs and demo's online. Bad Hair Day has seen Mazarin and S.O.A.P., but lately there haven't been that many songs… how is the project going, and will there be any Roxette and Gyllene Tider demos or albums on there?
Might happen, though there is this Rox Box thing coming out in the autumn. That will include demos as well so we haven't decided yet what is gonna be on that album. I don't wanna interfere with that. So the latest thing was "Keep the Radio," since it was released for S.O.A.P., as well as other stuff in the past. But I don't want to release too much of the Roxette stuff because I want to save the best for the Rox Box. But on the other hand there are the demos for Finn 5 fel!. All the demos for Finn 5 fel! exist, and there are still hundreds and hundreds of songs left.
Any more updates on the Rox Box? Will it include the CD Kill Your Darlings which was cancelled a few years back?
No, the RoxBox will be 3 CD's, the core of Roxette's music. It will have the most common songs as well as some hard to get songs like for instance "Happy Together." And then we have the demo thing. And then we have a DVD thing, which is videos I think. We're trying to get permission to release MTV Unplugged. It's really hard, but I have people working on this, I'm not that involved.
Will the Rox Box include a book or booklet about Roxette?
Yes, made by the best Swedish music journalist of all time, Jan Gradvall. He was our first choice.
Any ideas on how the Rox Box is going to look? The design? Could you reveal something about that?
No, but it looks good. Stunning!
What is the market for the Rox Box? Is it only for fans or will it also be in the record stores among the normal Roxette CD's?
Yes, it's not like it's mostly hard to get stuff and b-sides, things like that. It should be like an introduction to Roxette. I think it's almost 60 songs on there. It should be like an enjoyable ride on these CD's, as well as some hard to get stuff – if they're good. There are two songs we really loved, "See Me" and "Weight of the World," which we didn't include because we didn't want to lose the tempo of the album by having these acoustic tracks, even though we loved them. So both of them are included here. So it shouldn't have songs which are inferior to the others, it should have songs which are hard to get but really good.
The Night of the Proms gigs that had to be cancelled at the last minute a few years ago… at the time they said they hoped to reschedule. Is there any chance Roxette will play NOTP again now with Marie releasing a new album and working on Roxette again, or is that pretty much a closed book?
I don't know. I think it's a closed chapter. I don't think Marie ever will tour again. I don't think she will leave her family. But on the other hand I can't speak for her, it's really up to her, but I don't think so, no.
Last Sunday, a brand new radio program – Nordic Rox – began on Sirius satellite radio in the States, and you co-hosted most of the show. Will you be doing this more often?
I do, yeah. I'm part of the first three shows, but I might do it later on, too. So I'm talking a bit about my heroes, I think it's gonna be fun.
At this moment Li Lindebäck enters the room, telling us they really have to leave for the radio studio now. We thank Per for the interview, and accept his offer to answer the rest of our questions via e-mail…
Do you have any plans at this moment about more online releases (Son of a Dancing Plumber, Vol. 1 hints at more)?
Yes, more will follow but I've slowed everything down a bit due to the upcoming Rox Box which will contain one full length CD with demos… don't want to bore people…
Earlier you mentioned that there were no outtakes from S.O.A.P. Since Plumber in Progress #2 will be on "I Like it Like That," what is going to be on the B-side of the next single, "Substitute"? Maybe more remixes?
Don't know. Don't even know at this state if there will be a fourth single from the album. We might pass on that due to the upcoming Rox releases.
During an interview in Vienna about a month ago, you said Marie should do an album like S.O.A.P., and that it would be fantastic . Now she has done something like that. What do you think of her album?
Well, I haven't heard very much from her album yet. Will do next week…But it doesn't sound like SOAP…
Both Marie's new single and "I Like it Like That" will be released in the same week in Sweden. How about that?
I'm sure Marie will get the most attention. She deserves it.
Let's go back to Nordic Rox. Lars-Erik, our Managing Editor who lives in New York, tells me that Sirius has been working on this idea for at least a year-and-a-half, having sponsored the Swedish Music Seminar in New York City for the past two years. When were you approached and by whom? You're billed as the producer and they mention you will provide "creative guidance," but what does that actually mean?
Yes, Scott Greenstein is the main man behind all this. He is a huge fan (he even knows the "Leva Livet" lyrics by heart) and approached me about a year ago about this. I'm not the real "host" of the shows (Viktor Petrovski is doing that… he's great by the way) but I'm the one who, in the end, decides what's gonna get aired. So far we've done four shows and I'm actually taking part in all of them with some stories about the songs I've chosen, not only Rox stuff of course but Scandinavian music that has meant a great deal to me over the years.
The publicity Sirius is putting out on this prominently features mention of Roxette. Is this a good thing as far as EMI/Capitol in the U.S. is concerned? I mean, can they be counted on to fully support the upcoming Roxette compilation album?
Will know next week when I meet them in NYC. If not, we'll go somewhere else.
OK, maybe we're daydreaming a bit here… but wouldn't it great if one of the new Roxette songs took off and became another hit record? Do you still have those kind of daydreams?
That's what I live for.
You played "Opportunity Nox" on the program and promised it would definitely be included on this next album. You also said the original demo version was called "Yellow-Bellied Alligator." Do you remember how the lyrics went for that?
Yea, I have them in my computer but I won't reveal them. They're awful (even though the title is very cool…)
Could you tell us a bit more about the background for "DJ," how did it come to you?
Well, I just wanted to write an old-fashioned country song for Helena and me. I never expected Clair & Chris to like it but they really did… I was so surprised. And, of course, it turned out to be one my fave songs on the album.
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