Gyllene Tider

GT25 Special – 25 questions to Per Gessle

HALMSTAD – Per Gessle

Age: 45.

Family: Wife Åsa; Gabriel, 6.

Lives: House in Sandhamn, apartment in Stockholm.

Car(s): Predilection for the Italian ones.

Hobbies: Art, racing.

What is the most important record in history?

In the big picture, probably “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley. But for me, I think it was “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” by The Beatles, which was the flip side of “Yesterday.” John Lennon’s voice changed my universe. And for God’s sake, don’t forget the guitar riff in the same song. Help me, that’s great!

First album you bought?

“The Kink Kontroversy” by The Kinks for five kronor (from my brother who needed money to buy cigarettes in secret…)

What record purchase are you most ashamed about?

Never regret a record purchase! I have both Peter Holm and Metallica in my collection.

What is your biggest concert experience?

Pugh & Rainrock at Folkets Park, in Halmstad 1974 I think. Pugh had just shaved off all his hair…. “Bolla och rulla” was the album. Then there are of course a lot of other goodies. Motörhead in London 1977, U2 with BB King in Melbourne 1989, Paul Simon here and there, Tom Petty is the best of all sometimes, Rolling Stones last year at Cirkus in Stockholm. I wept three times… And Hep Stars in Karsefors 1966. “Surfin’ Bird” was great.

Which is the best party album before going out?

Anything by Sweet. Glamrock is extraordinarily underrated!

What’s the best album to have in a car?

Right now I have The Beatles’ “White Album”, but I like mixing it with R.E.M.

Your worst memory from Återtåget?

My slipped disc that almost ruined it all for us. It was at its worst in Lysekil. Ugh!

What do you remember from the Gyllene Tider hysteria during the 80s?

Ugly Esso Motor Hotels! It was obviously very much fun, we never understood how it happened that we got so popular. But usually we stayed on our own, we were pretty insecure back then, we were very young.

What’s the best song on “Finn 5 fel!”?

There are several that I’m very fond of: “Nere på gatan,” “Jag borde förstås vetat bättre,” “Ordinärt mirakel,” and “Varje gång det regnar.” I like all the songs of course… otherwise they wouldn’t have been recorded! But the band really has really impressed me. They all have become “specialists” in their individual field lately. It sounds incredibly cool.

What’s your worst vacation memory?

I was very disappointed with Mauritius this winter. It didn’t suit us at all. Thankfully, I had a happy guitar with me so I wrote some songs to “Finn 5 fel!” there.

What’s the last book you read?

I’ve just bought Walter Yetnikoff’s autobiography. He was the manager of CBS in the 70s. Lots of gossip about people I’ve met.

Are you superstitious and how does that show?

No, although I do spit three times over my shoulder when I see Micke Syd dance.

Do you believe in God?


What pet would you like to have and why?

I’m a cat person. I’ve grown up with cats. But right now, we have a turtle named Göran Persson.

What fast food is your favorite?

None. I’ve really shaped-up the last few years. But sure… if there are French fries around, my fingers get very long.

What do you think about plastic surgery and would you consider it yourself?

I don’t know. Maybe. Guys get wrinkles easier than girls…

Do you ever miss the feeling to have to save money to buy something… or can you appreciate things just as much anyway?

I don’t know. Really hard question. I think one is both a little blasé and very spoiled. But I’ve worked for my money, so I’m not ashamed of the fact that my family and I are well off.

You’ve realized your boyhood dream about gorgeous and fast cars. But what do you do with them, and which is the favorite?

I don’t really like driving awfully fast so I prefer 1.) to accelerate from 70 km/h to 130 km/h nicely, sort of. And 2.) to look at them. I’m a design freak as you know. The coolest car in the market right now is the new Rolls Royce Phantom. I rode in a jet-black one in New York the other week, and I fell totally in love with both my wife and the car! It’s a bit dubious to drive it to the local supermarket to get milk and cinnamon rolls though. So I probably won’t get one.

Have you ever thought about moving abroad?

Yes, constantly – especially during the Roxette days, when we worked abroad almost all the time. But I find that I miss Sweden very easily. We’ll see what happens in the future. I still don’t know what I will be when I grow up.

Describe a totally normal day, when you don’t work or have any other obligations?

There aren’t almost any of those. If I’m completely free, I sit around fiddling with some lyric or melody, or take care of the office, my mail and e-mail. Of course I try to spend as much time as I can with my family. And the gym at least twice a week, of course.

What’s happening with life after the summer tour? Any new projects or albums planned?

I’ve promised my wife to take a year off! It’s tough times for a dreamer like me to make two albums and two tours in only two years! I went directly from the Mazarin tour to my writing den and started composing “Finn 5 fel!”.

How has Gabriel changed you?

Hard to answer. When you get to become a parent, it suddenly feels like you’ve ALWAYS been one. There has sort of never been a time without children… it’s very natural. I think I’ve become softer and more sensitive as a person. You also get reminded about your own childhood all the time, which can be very painful.

When were you at the County Museum in Halmstad last, and what memories do you have from it?

I hardly remember that. But I interned there when I went to high school. Archeology was my kick back then.

Tell us something people in general don’t know about you?

I’m terribly nearsighted. –8.5 in both eyes. And I’ve always wanted to be able to slalom and ride a horse. Preferably at the same time. By the way, I don’t have tinnitus. That’s an old tabloid hoax that keeps haunting me.

Translation by Thomas Evensson for TDR

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

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July 6th, 2004

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