Thought of a big comeback long gone, but “maybe a mini tour,” says Marie Fredriksson
STOCKHOLM – Roxette turns 20 years and celebrates by releasing their greatest hits. But even if the album contains two new tracks,
the thought of a comeback is far away.
“I take everything much, much slower these days,” Marie Fredriksson says.
Talking to Roxette, who turns 20 and releases a compilation album is of course a dead straight stroll down memory lane. Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson dwell more than willingly on their memories of sold out arenas, chart positions and the superstar lives they lived during the early ’90s.
“We sold a decent amount of records in South America, but nothing remarkable. Maybe 30,000 records in Brazil. But when we released tickets we sold 120,000 – just in Rio. 60,000 in Sao Paolo, 55,000 in Montevideo. Totally amazing!”
says Per Gessle.
“China was special. Or Porto Alegre [Brazil],” says Marie Fredriksson in a noticeably quiet and a bit shaky voice.
Per Gessle adds “It was like Albert Hall only much bigger. Someone in the band had the stomach flu and threw up on stage. That was fun. And after a TV interview in Amsterdam we saw a guy in a window yelling ‘I love your record!’ It was Tom Petty, my old hero. ‘We love your records too!’ we yelled back.”
It’s easy to forget how big Roxette really was. During four years in the ’90s they never – never – left the Billboard chart. Roxette has sold around 75 million records. “It Must Have Been Love” has been played over four million times on American radio. It means it’s been played 685 times per day. For 16 years. Not bad for a band everyone considered a one hit wonder when it broke through with “The Look” in 1989.
“That’s what everybody thought. But we weren’t in our twenties, we were almost in our thirties. We owned our own
publishing companies, we had chosen our management, we kept a check on things. When we got our foot into things, we hung on,” says Per Gessle.
The comparison with ABBA they’ve heard a few times. But you can’t help it: a Swedish band selling enormous amounts of records all over the world. Loved by many but never favorites among the critics.
TT Spektra: “ABBA went from being despised by the establishment to being embraced twenty years after their
debut. Will the same thing happen with Roxette?”
“Yes I believe so. The climate of pop music is totally different today. Almost no artists get time to make mistakes anymore, it’s more of a product thinking these days. Suddenly Roxette stand out as the real deal. It’s for real, we write and produce ourselves and people know all our songs,” says Per Gessle.
The last few years have been dramatic to Roxette. When Marie Fredriksson [was discovered to have] a brain tumor, many thought that was the end for her and for Roxette. Today she’s well, but still marked by her illness. She talks quietly and moves stiffly.
“There was a time when I really didn’t think I’d be sitting like this and talking to reporters. But thank God I’m here again. But I take things much, much slower these days.”
TT Spektra: “Do you really have the energy for this?”
“I can manage, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But I take one week at the time. No long-term plans. Very slow and quiet. I have my family as well, so I don’t want to be rushing about,” Marie says.
And by that, the question of a real comeback seems to be answered. To start long tours or record full albums doesn’t seem to be on the agenda.
“It’s this album that is for now. A world tour would be nice, but I don’t think we will do it the way we used to do. Maybe a mini tour?” says Marie Fredriksson.
Per Gessle can’t hold it in, he really has to tell another anecdote:
“When I was in New York this summer and went through immigration, the officer asked me what I did for a living. ‘Musician’ I answered. Then he wondered if he should know about me. ‘Well, I wrote that’ I said, and pointed to the radio which was playing ‘Listen to Your Heart’. That was fun.”
Judith Seuma, Marcus van Deursen and Txiqui contributed to this article.
Technical errors may occur.
October 7th, 2006
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