Per visits Spain on promotion tour

MADRID – As part of the promotion surrounding the release of “The Ballad Hits,” Per Gessle is visiting Spain this week. He arrived in Madrid Tuesday night with his wife and son, and drove directly to the hotel.

  Yesterday, Wednesday, he gave a press conference at the Hotel Villamagna with about 25 reporters and photographers present.

  Walking into the room with someone carrying a poster of “The Ballad Hits” behind him, he posed for the cameras as flash after flash went off. Marie Dimberg, Roxette’s manager, and her assistant were sitting together with Åsa, Per’s wife, on chairs placed at the right side of the room.

  The reporters started to shoot the typical questions. To the “How is Marie?” question, he gave an answer now familiar to readers of The Daily Roxette.

  “Considering the circumstances, she is doing fine,” he said. “It is a very delicate situation for her and to the people around her, and we still are very shocked after the first day when we knew about her fainting. However, Marie is a very positive person, and she’ll get well soon. She’s a survivor..”

Hits since 1987

  “We started to think about this project last year when we were on tour,” said Per. “First we thought of releasing a double-CD, but in the end we decided to release it separately. First the ballads and then the power-pop songs.”

  Per isn´t sure of what the future will bring. “We are a live band and we love going on tour, but right now we aren’t sure of what will happen next.”

  When he is asked about a new solo album, he says that Roxette has always worked fine because both himself and Marie have given each other the freedom to release solo material, even in the most successful time for Roxette. “I am going to release solo albums in the future, and Marie will do so as well.”

Q: This album is out together with a lot of other artists’ greatest hits compilations. Is this a strategy of the record companies against piracy?

PG: (smiling) Well, actually every year around this date there are a lot of compilations out. We had already thought about that some time ago, so it’s not part of the anti-piracy movement. As I said before, we decided about it during last year’s tour.

Q: Roxette has two faces, the ballads and on the other hand, the power pop songs. Which do you feel more comfortable with? What does Roxette owe to ballads like “It Must Have Been Love?”

PG: Both. I feel at home playing both kind of songs. I like ballads, but I’m also a three-chord power-pop song fan.
I think that Roxette is a mix of one and the other. I like to write good songs. “It Must Have Been Love” was written in ’87. Already in another planet. Songs like this made Roxette so successful.

Q: Some years ago Roxette released another ballads compilation, “Baladas en Español”. What do you think of Spain?

PG: I love Spain. The concerts are always great here. The album was recorded because fans asked for it, especially fans from Latin American countries. The bad thing about it is that I don’t know what I am singing, and even if we repeated the experience with three more ballads (was it three? – Per wonders-) from “Have A Nice Day”, we don’t think we will do it again. It was a very romantic album and the language works very well with our music. It was fun.

Q: There’s a new wave in European TV which is to use reality shows to manufacture new artists and singers. What do you think of these and how do they affect the music world?

PG: (raising his hands in surrender) I don’t watch such programs. I am not interested in them. It’s sad that the record companies are manufacturing artists through TV. It´s an easy and fast way of making money. Nobody loses here. This means that real bands won’t have the opportunity to get financed and supported to develop their music. However, The Monkees for instance, were created the same way and there they are. It is therefore not a modern thing. When I was young I had my heroes, my albums. And I would like my son to have the same luck I had and be able to talk about his rock heroes. What to do? (Shrugs again).

Q: What´s your favorite song from this album?

PG: Most of them. But “Milk and Toast and Honey” has very nice lyrics. I had this song in my mind for six months before writing it. Yes, it´s one of my favorites. We liked the new “A Thing About You” so much from the beginning that we kept part of the demo for the album. I don’t tend to sing ballads, but in this song there’s a nice flow from the melody to the chorus that I like so much.

Q: What do you do to avoid monotony? Would you do as Madonna and try with electronic music?

PG: The truth is that after 15 years it’s difficult to escape from monotony and fall into a trap. What we do is we bring one new person to the team each time we work for a new album – Producers, DJs, sound engineers – to give a new taste to each work. The only problem is that I am very conservative. And Marie is even more (laughs).

Q (this one asked by Peter): It seems that “The Ballad Hits” will be released in the US towards St. Valentine’s Day. Will the rock compilation also be released there?

PG: We’re still negoiating with Capitol-EMI in the US, though it does seem we will reach an agreement and release the ballads and maybe the rock album. In the UK we also want to release, but they always are a bit behind.

Q: It seems you have become thinner compared to previous years. Are you following any diet?

PG: (Smiles and gestures a “thank you” to the female journalist). Yes, I may have changed my diet in the last few years.

Q: About the new songs. What can you say about them? Will you carry on recording new material?

PG: Well, there are two new tracks. “A Thing About You” and “Breathe” which were recorded for this compilation. We are also releasing an EP which will include 4 tracks which are actually leftovers from “Room Service” and “Have A Nice Day”. We are now finishing two new songs for the spring rock album. After that we haven’t planned any recordings specially under the given circumstances.

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

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October 31st, 2002

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