30 Nov 1997

Helena Josefsson is a bandstarter too (II): Jive with Clive? No, Plastic Soul, man

"Plastic soul" is a phrase coined by an unknown black musician in the 1960s, describing Mick Jagger as a white musician trying to sing soul music. Paul McCartney heard the comment and later said that the name of the Beatle album Rubber Soul was inspired by the phrase "plastic soul". In studio conversation recorded on 14 June 1965 after take 1 of "I'm Down", McCartney says "Plastic soul, man". David Bowie also described his spate of funky, soulful songs released in the early-to-mid 1970s as "plastic soul".

But Plastic Soul is also a new band from Lund that has been formed this year, with four boys and girl from this city of Sweden. They are:
  • Helena Josefsson - singer
  • Johan Duncanson - guitar
  • Fredrick Whitling - lead-guitar and keyboards
  • Olof Martinsson - bass
  • Per Blomgren - drums
Yes: Plastic Soul is the new name of the band Jive with Clive that played last automn 1996 in some clubs of Lund.

After some rehearsals, yesterday (1997-11-29) Plastic Soul got their first important gig at Klubb Indigo, the Friday club in Blekingska Nationen (Province of Blekinge student community in Lund). The performance in front of 250 guests has been called Demogala #1 and included four Swedish indie bands: First Floor Power (from Malmö), Shallow Soundwave (from Göteborg), The Pang (from Lund) and Plastic Soul (also from Lund). The Demogala #1 was also the Blekingska release party of the indie demo compilation "First Harvest - Greatest Unsigned 1997". The compilation includes songs from the four bands.

15 Nov 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (VIII): a band with diapers

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Last August 5th Gabriel Titus (GT), the first son of Per Gessle and Asa, was born. Congratulations!

The third single outtaken from the album The World According to Gessle has been also released in August. Stupid? Wish you the best? No: I want you to know.

Without any promo efforts, the single has been a real flop in the Swedish sales charts where it has stayed for only two weeks, peaking at no. 48, . Made in The Netherlands for sales all across Europe but even the CDM has been deleted after its release due to a lack of success.

From Le Journal des Mouches, I have no hope to see the Stupid single, although I disagree with the mistaken election of the TWATG single.

It seems Per Gessle stopped thinking about a new solo band from the summer and changed it for Roxette and diapers. This is what he said on 11th August:

"I have written lots of fantastic, hilarious, award-winning mega songs for the new Rox album (to be recorded in Spain and Los Angeles). But you don't get any titles from me at this stage for copyright reasons. Clarence Öfwerman and Michael Ilbert will be co-producing together with Marie Fredriksson and myself. New demos sound great. Future's so bright I gotta wear shades. After all, I'm probably the musician/artist in the world who doesn't wear shades very often. I'm too polite... I only wear them when I have a blistering hangover. I learned this from Marie. I talk to Marie Fredriksson at least once a week, since we've a lot to talk about; diapers, the USA recordcompanies, new music, new album, re-releases, birthdays."
After August, there have not been many news from Gessle's last project, The world according to Gessle.

Gessle just has two performances at Swedish Television.

- 1997/09/07 TV Huset, Stockholm, Sweden
Per Gessle performed the song I want you to know playback and did an interview at the TV-show 'Söndagsöppet'. Broadcasted live by the Swedish television station SVT1.
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- 1997/10/24 TV Huset, Stockholm, Sweden
Per Gessle performed the song I want you to know playback, did an interview, and answered telephone calls from money-donating viewers at the benefit gala '[En kväll för] Världens barn'. Hosted by Kattis Ahlström and Hans Rosenfeldt. Organized by Radiohjälpen and the Swedish television station SVT. Broadcasted live by the Swedish television station SVT2.
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It seems there are no more plans about TWATG and that the promising collaboration between the Roxette members (Gessle and Öfwerman) and the Brainpool members (Lundquist and Jansson) is paused.

Elena Martin (EMI Hispavox), said last October 26th: "It seems Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle will start recording their next album in Spain from January, 1998. I don't know where yet, last time Per was here we gave him some information about a very nice studio in Málaga, by the sea, close to the mountains, where they could spend some time with their families as well, but I don't know anything yet."

On 27 October 1997 a remastered edition of Roxette's debut album Pearls of Passion was re-released most everywhere on both CD and MC, enriched with eight bonus tracks. According to Niklas Fjäder, last November 2nd, the football club Halmstad BK from Roxette's hometown celebrated their championship in the Swedish soccer league at Stora torg, Halmstad, Sweden. Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle joined the party together with a lot of other citizens.

Today we want to remember one of the best Swedish bands of the nineties (together with Eggstone and Brainpool.

In 1991, Magnus Börjeson, Calle Håkansson, Anders Mildner, Benjamin Peetre, Jakob Peetre and Daniel Sandström, from Lund, Sweden, formed the indie pop band BEAGLE.

1985 "pre-Beagle" -  Benjamin Peetre, Daniel Sandström and Magnus Börjeson in Lund
1985, Lund - Photo by A. Mildner

They signed a record contract with Polar in Stockholm and released 2 albums in all Europe and Japan.
  • Beagle's SOUND ON SOUND (1992) - Singles: A different Sunday (1991), The things that we say (1992), Turn your head around (1992), This time (1992)
  • Beagle's WITHIN (1993) - Singles: Nine out of ten (1993), When I speak your name (1993), One layer down (1993).

1991Beagle -  Calle Håkansson and Magnus Börjeson
1991 - Calle Håkansson and Magnus Börjeson -
Demo recording at Daniel Sandströms appartment, Lund. Photo by A. Mildner

In 1992, Beagle was nominated for best new popband in Swedish Grammies and The things that we say became a hit in Sweden. They have many gigs in 1992 and 1993.

1992 - Beagle at Mejeriet, Lund
1992 - Beagle performs at Mejeriet, Lund in 1992.
From left to right: Calle Håkansson, Jakob Peetre, Benjamin Peetre,
Magnus Börjeson, Anders Mildner and Daniel Sandström.

Pic. by Gunnar Svensson

In 1994, Beagle transformed into Favorita and starts recording. The leader, Magnus Börjeson (bass and vocals) and Benjamin Peetre (keyboards) decided in 1994 to transform Beagle into a new band, Favorita, with 4 members: they plus Fredrik Blank (guitar) and Conny Stade (drums).

Favorita signed a contract in 1994 and played support for the famous band
PULP in their gigs in Sweden during 1996. They also released their first single, Seven Comforts.

Many people were waiting for the new album from Favorita, that was recorded in 1994. According to Magnus Börjeson, it seems the album is permanently put on ice after longlasting trouble with the record company. Magnus has begun to work in other projects (he has worked in a musical, Leonard Pläd, this year).
It is a pity that this interesting band from Lund did not release a new album.

16 Aug 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (VII): Christoffer Lundquist, Jens Jansson and David Birde, this is Brainpool now

What are they looking for? A new lead-singer? Are the "bandstarters" thinking about an end?

Photo: D. Birde, J. Kask, C. Lundquist and J. Jansson
Micke Rehnstrom, from The Scandinavian Indie Digest (Vol. 4 # 32, August 17th, 1997), tells the news:
Janne Kask has left Brainpool. He confirmed this in the TV-program "Z-TV pa vag" a couple of days ago. The others, in the band, have discussed continuing without him but the future, both for them and for him, is uncertain at the moment. According to Kask it was a mutual agreement, no internal wars in the band. He just didn't think it was fun any longer.
Janne Kask has been the lead vocalist of Brainpool a pop music group from Lund, Sweden. He is from Genarp, a small village of Lund. Brainpool have been known mostly in Sweden, and do not really make it abroad. The band was discovered by Per Gessle, who signed them to his music publishing company Jimmy Fun Music.

The members of the band are (or were?): Janne Kask (vocalist), Christoffer Lundquist (bass), Jens Jansson (drums) and David Birde (guitar).

Brainpool - Bandstarter

They have released three albums together:

- Soda (1994)
Singles: At School / Pop Star (1993), Every Day (1994),
Girl lost (1994), In the countryside (1994), That's my charm (1994)

- Painkiller (1995)
Singles: Bandstarter (1995), We aim to please (1995), Tomorrow (1995)

- Stay Free (1996)
Singles: Sister C'mon (1996), In a box (1996)

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Brainpool - Girl lost (Live Göteborg, September 1996)

They were known thanks to having been the supporting band during the Roxette Crash! Boom! Bang! European Tour in 1994.
Janne Kask said in an interview in 1996: "We played with Roxette and it hurt our underground statement but if we hadn't played with them you wouldn't have heard of us."

So Janne Kask has left the band to pursue a solo career and has formed The Jan Kask Sound System. Why? Maybe it wasn't fun any longer. But other sources say that Kask, previous student of "praktisk filosofi" in the University of Lund, wanted to do more social and political lyrics.

The remaining members could stay together because there is a contract to record a new Brainpool album. Christoffer Lundquist (bass) and Jens Jansson (drum) has also played this year in the new Gessle's project, The world according to Gessle. Read Per Gessle's words about the band below.


Brainpool - old images

I have always thought that Brainpool is the best Swedish Pop Group of the 90's. Their records seemed to capture the mood of the day, while recapturing a lost innocence -which made them sound both timeless and contemporary. “Soda” was an irresistible debut, a pop album that sounds just as fresh today as it did in 1994. A year later the confident follow-up “Painkiller” rightfully took them to the upper region of the charts. “Invisible to her” is still out of this world (who’ll be the first to cover it?). And who can forget “Bandstarter”? such a great song.

They were equally convincing on stage. I saw them live at the tiny Tre Backar in the beginning of time, and they gave us a brillant cocktail of The Who meets The Jam - all served with nice splashes of bubblegum, power pop and just the right measures of surf. We all love that!

Every band/artist stand or fall with their songs. Janne and David were - and still are - exceptionally good songwriters. But that’s just half the story. Brainpool was also a band of inspired musicians, all playing with the combination of energy and creativity that makes you want to press the “repeat” button.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Christoffer and Jens on my solo album, I realise what a complete unit they were. Brainpool truly was a band without any weak link - even Christoffer’s peculiar glasses seemed to make sense.

Brainpool was the first band that arrived in the safe harbour of my music publishing company, Jimmy Fun. I was over the moon after hearing their cheeky demos, and one sunny day Ben Mariene, who was in charge at the time, signed them up. I then managed to make two humble achievements apart from shouting encouraging “yeah yeah yeahs”:
  • 1. Tip them about producer Michael Ilbert.
  • 2. Decide the running order on the “Soda” album, since the band had four different suggestions and couldn’t agree...
The opening track on “Soda”, “That’s my charm”, rocked my little world for a while.
Per Gessle

I had my own band when I was in high school, we played prog-rock, loooong 20-minute songs which I wrote and forced everyone else to play.

David Birde was a friend of mine from high school, he had Brainpool going, the bass player was to go and do this army service, so I just joined as a replacement for him. But it turned out that the four of us got along very well and we liked each other, so when his army was over, he was no longer welcome I am afraid, it’s a bit harsh, but it’s the way it was. That was I think 91. It took a few years until we got a record deal and released our first album.

Per Gesle had just started this side of Jimmy Fun Music which was going to release other music, besides Per’s own. We were one of the first bands to send him some demos, just by chance, that’s just the kind of music Per likes. Besides that, our singer, Janne, he sounds a little bit like Per, a little bit of this childish voice if you like, a bit high pitched, so he just fell for it. Back then Per used to listen to all the demos which had to do with Jimmy Fun, later he got a bit tired of it, and didn’t care so much, but in the beginning he was really into it. It was actually Per’s decision to publish our music. His and Ben Marlene’s, the guy he had hired to run Jimmy Fun Music. We were the first band he signed.

You normally collect the best songs from many years and put them on the first album, so that’s the way it worked with us in Brainpool’s debut, Soda (1994). The second album, Painkiller (1995), was a bit more difficult because we had to write the same amount of good quality songs in a shorter period of time. Janne and David wrote most of the songs, I helped with a couple of them, and then I was mostly into the arrangement and producing. The style throughout the albums changed quite a lot because we got easily bored. Once we had done something, we wanted to try something else, different.

It is mainly, the three of us who are still in the band, we drifted apart from Janne, so to say. It’s not that we weren’t friends, but we didn’t have that much in common, didn’t spend that much time together. The three of us are like brothers, so I guess that was the reason, he felt it wasn’t fun anymore. I don’t think he coped very well with the fame and success thing, he just didn’t like it so after a couple of years he felt like he didn’t want to do this anymore. But we continue, it’s still fun.

22 Jun 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (VI): TWATG European Promo Tour

Yesterday night ended the first International promo Tour of The world according to Gessle.

Gessle and his band have played in seven countries:

- 1997/05/09 TV-huset, Stockholm, Sweden
Per Gessle performed the songs Stupid and Do you Wanna be my Baby playback at the TV-show 'Pick Up'. Broadcasted live by the Swedish television station SVT2.
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- 1997/05/16 Casino Cursaal, Oostende, Belgium
Per Gessle performed the song Do you Wanna be my Baby? playback at the competition gala 'Miss Belgium' with various artists. Broadcasted live by the Belgian television station BRT2.

- 1997/05/17 San Remo Rock Festival, San Remo, Italy
Per Gessle performed the song Do you Wanna be my Baby? singback at the festival 'San Remo Rock'. Broadcasted live by the Italian television station RAIUNO.
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San Remo

- 1997/05/24 Presswerk, Cologne, Germany

Per Gessle performed the songs Stupid, Wish You the Best, Church of your heart, The Look and Den öde stranden acoustic at the 'Official Roxette Fanclub Convention 1997'. The musicians were Per Gessle (vocals and acoustic guitars) and Micke Nord Andersson (acoustic guitars and backing vocals)

- 1997/05/27 Lico, Barcelona, Spain
Per Gessle performed the songs Stupid, Stupid, Wish You the Best, Church of your heart and The Look acoustic at a pressconference. The musicians were Per Gessle (vocals and acoustic guitars) and Micke Nord Andersson (acoustic guitars and backing vocals).

- 1997/05/29 TV Studio, Prague, Czech Republic

Per Gessle performed the song Do you Wanna be my Baby? playback at the TV-show 'Nova Na Vlastni Nebezpecí'. Broadcasted live by the Czech television station NOVA.
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- 1997/06/08 Braglia di Modena Stadio, Modena, Italy
Per Gessle performed the songs Stupid and Do you Wanna be my Baby? playback at the 50th anniversary party of the Italian car manufacturer Ferrari.

- 1997/06/21 Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway
Per Gessle performed the song I want you to know live in front of the King and Queen of Norway at 'Konungagalan 1997', a gala in honour of the 1,000th anniversary of the Norwegian city Trondheim. Broadcasted live by the Norwegian television station NRK1.
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Stupid and Wish you the best, recorded by Clarence Öfwerman, Chris Lunquist, Jens Jansson and Gessle, have been two of the most played songs.

Chris Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman have been in almost all the performances.

Stupid was supposed to be the first UK single outtaken from the album The World According to Gessle. However, due to unknown reasons these plans have been cancelled and the only single outtaken from the album in the UK is Kix instead.

Kix single will be released tomorrow.

30 May 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (V): Öfwerman, the man who was always there

Clarence Öfwerman has been there, into Per Gessle's projects, since 1986. Born 22 November, 1957, he features as producer, keyboards and backing vocals. But what about him? He has a "pre-Gessle story" as musician and played in groups Uvertyr, Raj Montana Band and Passagerarna. He also mixed the single "We take care" (1993), from The Breeze, his brother Staffan's band.

Today EMI has released the compilation: PY BÄCKMAN, DAN HYLANDER & RAJ MONTANA BAND: Hits!

Raj Montana Band played together between 1978 and 1985. The style mixed pop, rock and punk. Py Bäckman and Dan Hylander were the composers and vocals. But there were other important band members during those years.

# Keyboards: Clarence Öfwerman - Hasse Olsson
# Guitar: David Carlson
# Drummer: Pelle Alsing - Peter Milefors
# Bass: Sam Bengtsson - Mats "Mackan" Englund - Ola Johansson
# Backing vocals: Tove Naess - Anne-Lie Rydé

Clarence Öfwerman worked in Py Bäckman's solo albums in late eighties and is Roxette's producer since 1986. Pelle Alsing has been the drummer in Roxette too. Anne-Lie Rydé also worked with Gessle.

The 19 Hits are:

1. Ett brinnande hjärta (ge aldrig upp); 2. Pandoras ask;
3. Skuggor i skymningen; 4. Jag lever;
Svart kaffe; 6. Flyg iväg; 7. Farväl till Katalonien;
8. Kristall; 9. Solregn; 10. Jag behöver dig;
Segla på ett moln (Composed by P.Gessle);
12. Hon har en man; 13. Änglarna ropar i mörkret; 14. 21/3 ;
Till en vän; 16. Höst; 17. Con-Cordelia;
Vykort vykort; 19. Sista föreställningen

We had this band, The Passengers (Passagerarna), with Pelle Alsing and Tommy Cassemar. Mats Persson did the vocals. We did three albums in Swedish and one in English, but that’s long time ago. The last album was out in 91 if I remember correctly. Some tracks are good, but some aren’t. But I don’t do any other productions. I kind of became member of Per Gessle’s band, so people don’t call anymore because I’m busy with other things, and now there are new producers around. Nah, it’s a long time since I produced something else. We always have something going on with Per.

I started to play with different people in Sweden, as a session musician in the studio, later I started to produce some albums.

I met Per Gessle in 86, and from then on it’s been Roxette all the way. I met Per once a couple of years earlier, when I played with Ulf Lundell on his tour. We were in Halmstad and Ulf gave a birthday party after the show, the Gyllene Tider guys joined us, and then we were introduced. Anders and Göran and I became friends. The idea to produce Per’s third solo came actually from Kjell Andersson at EMI. He told Per “Why not try Clarence”, because I did some productions before for EMI, like 2 or 3 albums, so I was the new guy around. I actually didn’t like his previous solo albums, I hadn’t listened to them very much. I liked the early Gyllene Tider, and Marie Fredriksson. Marie was involved in the first song, “Neverending Love”, so we did that one just to try and see what happens. It was actually Pelle Alsing (the drummer) who told me to go for it and take this production job, because I wasn’t much into this Per Gessle type of music. I brought Jonas Isacsson and Tommy Cassemar along. I had known them for a long time, so I always wanted to have them as a band in the album. So I told Per, I wanted Pelle, Jonas and Tommy. Per himself wanted Tommy as well, but he preferred other guys on drums and guitar. So we reached a compromise, and we kept Tommy to record “Neverending love”, which was a success. Then for the album Jonas and Pelle joined, as well as Alar Suurna as engineer. We joint Rock Runt Riket Turné in 87, with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Each of us, Jonas, Pelle and myself played with two bands each. I played with Roxette and Ratata. Pelle with Roxette and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas with Ratata and Eva Dahlgren. Jonas couldn’t play with three bands, and since Roxette was the newest band for him, he went for the other two bands. Each artist played a bit longer than one hour. We also had a support act, Orup, who became successful after that. Then Eva Dahlgren, Ratata and Roxette played. It was about ten minutes break between the acts, so after Ratata I had to go and change my clothes and make me ready for Roxette. It was kind of strange.

Clarence Öfwerman produced the first album of Roxette, Pearls of Passion (1986), and it certainly was a somewhat strange combination; Clarence with his Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush preferences, Marie with her Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega-fantasies and me with my candy-coated Blondie collection.
Per Gessle

29 Apr 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (IV): TWATG release party

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Per Gessle, Clarence Öfwerman (Roxette's producer and keyboards), Christoffer Lundquist (Brainpool's bass) and Jens Jansson (Brainpool's drummer) have recorded three songs for the new album The World According to Gessle: Stupid, B-Any01-U-Wanna-B and Wish you the best.

Here we have the credits of these songs:

  • Produced by Per Gessle, Michael Ilbert and Clarence Öfwerman.
  • Recorded by Michael Ilbert
at Atlantis Studio, Stockholm, Sweden,
at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
and at EMI Studios, Skärmarbrink, Stockholm, Sweden
between September 1996 and January 1997.
  • Assistant engineers: Jim Brumby and Lennart Haglund.
  • Mixed by Michael Ilbert
at Mono Music, Stockholm, Sweden
in December 1996 and January 1997.
  • Vocals: Per Gessle.
  • Backing vocals: Christoffer Lundquist.
  • Programming: Clarence Öfwerman.
  • Drums and percussion: Jens Jansson.
  • Bass guitar: Christoffer Lundquist.
  • Accoustic and electric guitars: Per Gessle and MP Persson

Stupid could be the first single in the United Kingdom, ... and the first single for this new team.

Tonight Per Gessle and his band perform live at the release party for the album "The World According to Gessle" in Stockholm (Värdshuset Tantogården).

Per Gessle performed the songs Stupid, Do you Wanna be my Baby, Wish you the Best and Saturday.

The musicians were: Per Gessle (vocals and electric guitars), Micke Nord Andersson (electric guitars and harmonica), Christoffer Lundquist (bass and backing vocals), Mats Myrdal Persson (drums) and Clarence Öfwerman (keyboards).

It seems Chris Lundquist joins the Gessle's band.

Notice the band played two of the three songs that were recorded by Chris Lundquist, Jens Jansson, Clarence Öfwerman and Per Gessle.

We can also read the review of the full album written by Per Gessle in the album's booklet.

PER: (yawning): Tell us more about the songs on the album.
Gessle: Well, it kicks off with "Stupid", which is the kind of song I write after a bucketful of red wine on a Friday night. I really love Friday nights. I also love red wine. And I do love those three chords. We went for a "home studio atmosphere" on this one and then Christoffer Lundquist and Jens Jansson from Brainpool came on and helped me nail it. Isn't it a gorgeous opener?

Well, it's good but I don't know if gorgeous is the right wo...
Gessle:... and then there's the first single, "Do You Wanna Be My Baby?". I like the drum sound. Stolen from Jeff Lynne, probably. I like that. And I like the intro with only drums and vocals. And I really like the "double choruses". Right after the chorus something else hits you. Learned that from Desmond Child when we wrote "You Don't Understand Me". An American trick. You always reach a point in your life where nothing but an American trick can help you out.
PER: Somebody at your record company said you were playing a lot of guitars on this album. But this can't possibly be you, can it?
Gessle: What do you mean? Of course it can. But it's Mats Persson getting low-down and funky.
PER: Funky?

Gessle: Sort of. "Saturday" is written around a drum loop I found in our demo studio in Halmstad. And it's my guitars you hear gently weeping all over the track.
PER: Touching. Have you ever bent a note?
Gessle: I don't believe in note-bending. I don't believe in bending whatsoever. I do believe in "Bend It", though.
PER: That's Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.
Gessle: What a great memory you've got. Almost too good. If you can remember the 60's you weren't there.

PER: Let's move on. "Kix" is...
Gessle: ...bringing some groove to the record. Every pop album needs a touch of Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
PER: Would you describe the song as dance-oriented?
Gessle: I don't know, I gave up dancing in 1982. I'd be happy if people tap their fingers on the steering wheel.

PER: Someone said your mother liked "I Want You To Know".
Gessle: Yeah, I said that. She does. We allowed ourselves to drift into a non-chemical haze with flutes and distored drums. The band, that is - not my mother and I. "Tomorrow Never Knows" meets "Itchycoo Park", if you know what I mean.
PER: Au naturellement. You've got to have one red hot motherf***er of a record collection.
Gessle: It's not everyone's cup of tea, though. You're more likely to find Doris Day than Luther Vandross there.
PER: Are you crazy? You don't like soul? You don't like the political commentary in rap? You don't like tormented singers wailing their blues away? You like Doris Day? I bet you don't buy magazines with the Gallagher brothers on the cover either.
Gessle: You've been reading my mail. I like Oasis though. Not every band gets sued by The Rutles, you know.
PER: Wait 'til you hear what the Gallagher brothers have to say about your solo album.
Gessle: If they have any idea of what Doris Day was all about, they'll love it.
PER: How come Roxette never got acceptance from the more correct side of the British music press?
Gessle: I don't know. Being Swedish didn't help in the beginning. When we broke through there hadn't been anything coming out of Sweden since ABBA, really. Today it's almost the reverse situation. And besides, our music was always regarded as being too commercial to be credible. I never understood that. Benny in ABBA once said that he was happy that the whole world had the same musical taste as he had. It's like that. You do your thing and hope for the best. And if you have a commercial element in your music, I see no sense in hiding it. Au contraire, as the French say. But we all love England here. Their football, their draught ale, their Dickens, their driving on the wrong side of the road, their MP's with their kinky sex, their music and their art. I think we love all, come to think of it.
PER: As in "love all, serve all".
Gessle: Something like that.

PER: Back to the record. Did you write the song "Reporter" in order to get a psychological advantage with the media?
Gessle:..."she's such a good reporter, working for a magazine"...yeah, maybe. Did you notice the line coming after her getting access to British Royalty..."she wants the management to tell her where she can interview Marie and Per"?
PER: Yeah, I heard that. Why didn't you put that backwards? It's more fun that way. Hidden messages, you know.
Gessle: I did first, but then I realised you can't play CD's backwards.

PER: "B-Any-1-U-Wanna-B". It's got waves, it's got the "Good Vibrations"-organ sound, it's presented as a homage to Brian Wilson. Why?
Gessle: It was a fluffy pop song that I had on acoustic demo. I asked Brainpool to arrange it and Christoffer Lundquist had a field day with all the toys he could possibly find. A zither and a mini-moog, for example.

PER: Let's go on. "Wish You The Best" puts an end to the record's inital hammering of guitars and distorted vocals. I think I like this one the best.
Gessle: I'm so glad you do. I do too. It could easily have been a fat power-ballad, but Brainpool have never listened to that kind of music, so it turned out to be more naked and passionate instead. I'm very proud of this one.

PER: OK. The next song is an old number by Wizzard...
Gessle: No, it's close but...
PER: "No Cigar"? Haven't heard that one. Whose song is it then?
Gessle: Mine, of course. I've changed all the facts to avoid any similarity with anything. I bought a book about Elvis after the song was written and it was actually a very gloomy day when Elvis came to Germany. It rained and stormed and there was no orchestra. My version is the way it should have been, though. I first liked the lyrics better than the music, but then the saxes came along and got the balance right.

PER: Astonishing. Is it true that Marie likes "T-T-T-Take It" and that Roxette almost recorded it for the "Don't Bore Us - Get To The Chorus"-collection, but that you chose "June Afternoon" instead?
Gessle: It's true.
PER: So that's about it, then?
Gessle: No, there's three more songs.

I thought we were talking about a pop record, not a double album.
Gessle: I don't believe in killing ones darlings. I'm a pacifist.
PER: Pacifiction won't get you anywhere, boy. Anyway, Marie is making a guest appearance on "I'll Be Alright". Why?
Gessle: I've already told you that she's the best. And who in his right mind would leave "There Is My Baby" to rot in the drawer? And could you possibly ask for a sweeter goodbye than "Lay Down Your Arms"? Or should I kill a song with a title like that?

PER: Easy now...don't get excited...it just seemed a bit long, that's all.
Gessle: It's less than an hour. 52 minutes if you count it. I've spent my whole life listening to pop music. You mean you can't spend 52 minutes listening to it? You're that busy? You sleep with a mobile phone under the pillow? I've suffered for my art - now it's your turn. Too long, my ass!
PER: Don't get me wrong, I love the record. It's clearly a step forward for you as a writer and performer. It reveals your personal roots as well as being firmly rooted in today's music scene. And it's got a lot of balls and...electric guitars.
Gessle: You really mean that?
PER: I honestly do. But what about Roxette?
Gessle: In October we'll go into the studio to start work on a new album.
PER: Well, see you then.
Gessle: Don't count on it. Too long, huh? Jävla grönsakshandlare. (damm vegetables salesman-- n.t)
Per Gessle

19 Apr 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (III): The world according to Gessle

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The world according to Gessle (TWATG), the third full-length studio album by Per Gessle, his solo debut in English, has been released today, April 19th. Last April 4th the first single, Do you wanna be my baby, was published in Sweden, France, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Italy and South Africa. It has been made in the Netherlands and will be released in Europe in April and May. It includes two old demos (Always breaking my heart and I wanna be with you).

The new album by Per does not mean the final of Roxette. In February 1997, Per and Marie signed a new contract with EMI for another 10 years. By the way, Marie sings in a song of TWATG, I'll be alright, so she is also there.

In my opinion, The world according to Gessle is more than a solo project. It could mean two important facts:

- In some songs, the band Gyllene Tider (and its lost English version, Modern Times) is back, with Per Gessle, Micke Andersson, Mats MP Persson and Anders Herrlin (this time, without Göran Fritzon)

- Gessle, Clarence Öfwerman (Roxette's producer and keyboards), Christoffer Lundquist (Brainpool's bass) and Jens Jansson (Brainpool's drummer) play together in three songs of the new album: Stupid, B-Any01-U-Wanna-B and Wish you the best.

- What's more, the producer, mixer and engineer of all the disc is Michael Ilbert, former producer of the last albums of Brainpool (Soda, 1994; Painkiller, 1995) and Gyllene Tider's last new songs with The Lonely Boys and Halmstads Parlor (1996). Ilbert has also worked with Ulf Lundell and The Wannadies. With him as producer, it seems that Gessle has found the "retro-sound + pop" that he was looking for.

TWATG is in some ways the opportunity of listening Gyllene Tider in English again; very good songs after "She doesn't live here anymore", one of our favourites, but nothing new indeed.

On the other hand, we have three pop songs with Brainpool's air due to the alliance between Gessle and Öfwerman with Lundquist and Jansson. We'll keep waiting for more.

PER: Why do it in English?
Gessle: Stupid question coming from you. I wanna go world-wide of course. Wouldn't you?
PER: If Roxette had released an album 1997, would it have sounded like "The World According To Gessle"?
Gessle: "The World According To Roxette"? I don't know. This is how I want a pop record to sound today, anyway. Marie may have another vision. It takes more than one to tango, you know.
PER: Does it - we're tangoing alone right now?
Gessle: Everything's possible in pop interviewing. But Marie likes the record. She sings on one of the songs too.
PER: Why?
Gessle: Because she's the best.

PER: Your music isn't always pure pop. Looking back it seems you've been all over the place. And there are tendencies to that on your solo album as well, even if it's a more...coherent noise. Why's that?
Gessle: I listen to a lot. I like a lot. And so I do a lot. That may blur the overall identity, but f**k that. I'd rather have fun and skip the format-thinking. The unifying thing is probably that I generally write potential singles with distinct verses and choruses. I've never liked "album tracks". Leave them to Pink Floyd.
PER: Yes, please. Did you hear that Monty Python will reform next year?
Gessle: Great. And in Las Vegas too. Brilliant. Must go there. But it probably collides with some Formula 1-race.
Per Gessle

14 Feb 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (II): a pop addict

How to begin this story? Roxette (Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson + the producer Clarence Öfwerman) went on their big World Tour between 1994 and 1995. It was an exhausting tour all over the world (Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Asia, Russia, South America, ...). In 1995 they decided to take a break and Per Gessle thought about releasing his own songs; he had also got some new songs composed during the Crash! Boom! Bang! World Tour so he began writing some more thinking about this new project. Roxette was formed in 1986 and since then, Marie had released some Swedish solo records, while Per had been more focused on Roxette, that had got many succesful albums (Look Sharp!, 1988; Joyride, 1991; Tourism, 1992; Crash! Boom! Bang!, 1993), hits (The Look, Listen to your heart, It must have been love, Joyride, Fading like a flower, How do you do, Sleeping in my car, ...) and tours.

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Finally, Roxette (or their company?) decided to publish a Greatest Hits album in 1995, titled Don't bore us! Get to the chorus! (DBUGTTC) Roxette needed some new songs and Gessle used some of the songs that would have been in his own solo album. Two of the songs, June afternoon and She doesn't live here anymore, were recorded in Stockholm with the members of Gyllene Tider (the first band of Per) in July and August 1995. Per said: "We used to knock out power pop songs like this in our sleep back in 1980-81. This summer we re-united shortly, just for the fun of it, and I was amazed by the energy level we had both live and in the Studio."

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DBUGTTC was released in October 1995 and there were no live performance after the London Abbey Road Sessions in November. Gessle could start thinking again about his own projects. because there were no inmediate plans for Roxette. I think this last experience in the Beatles house influenced Per very much. In 1995, he had also recorded some songs with some members of Wilmer X (Nisse Hellberg and Thomas Holst) and Gyllene Tider (MP Persson and Micke Syd Andersson) in the very rare album The Lonely Boys, recovering the 60s air.

In the summer 1996, Per Gessle went on a reunion tour throughout Sweden with his 1980s pre-Roxette band Gyllene Tider in Sweden. Atertaget 96 ['Return Train '96!'] was the fifth tour by Gyllene Tider, following their first reunion and the release of the album 'Halmstads pärlor / Samtliga hits! 1979-1995, with some new songs recorded in April and May 1996. Atertaget was the nearly best visited tour in the entire Scandinavian music history, breaking all previous tour records with over 300,000 spectators in a country of only 9 million inhabitants.

Gessle had some extra English material. Gyllene Tider, after the flop of their first (and last) English album (Heartland, 1984), was defined as a band in Swedish. So Per began thinking about his first English solo album and called their partners from Roxette (Clarence Öfwerman), Gyllene Tider (MP Persson, Micke Andersson and Anders Herrlin) and the Swedish band Brainpool (Christoffer Lundquist and Jens Jansson).

Brainpool was the supporting band in Europe during the Roxette Crash! Boom! Bang! World Tour 1994/95 and is also one of the Gessle's favourite bands. Brainpool is a pop group from Lund, Sweden, cited as "Sweden's Oasis" or "Swedish NSYNC". It has been popular, mostly in Sweden, and never really has made it abroad. The band was discovered by Per Gessle, who signed them to his music publishing company Jimmy Fun Music. The members of the band are Jan Kask (vocals), David Birde (guitar), Christoffer Lundquist (bass guitar) and Jens Jansson (drums).

Per and all the team have been working in the new album between September 1996 and January 1997. Gyllene Tider's members played an old cover song with Brainpool and Eggstone last New Year's Eve at Swedish TV.

PER: What's up?
Gessle: A lot. I've just finished the record. Been mixing and mastering and retouching the album pictures. It's been a lot of work.
PER: Retouching your pictures?
Gessle: Yeah....no...I mean, the songwriting, recording and mixing took some time too.
PER: But you're not the cable kind of guy are you?
Gessle: No, I'm a lost case when it comes to technology. I've done some of the mixing together with the invaluable Michael Ilbert and Clarence Öfwerman, who helped me produce the thing. As P.J. O'Rourke says; to them goes the credit - I'll take the money. We've been recording in Benny Andersson's superb studio in Stockholm.
PER: The Benny Andersson? Of Abba fame?
Gessle: Yep. But the mastering was done by Michael Ilbert and George Marino in New York. I asked if I could contribute something and they said they'd phone me.

PER: Why a solo album now?
Gessle: I needed the money.
PER: Surely you must be joking.
Gessle: I'm deadly serious and don't call me Shirley. Or was it to make a detour from the Roxette path? Yeah, that's it. After the "Crash!" album and tour I started writing new material in this direction. You know, "Sleeping In My Car", that was the last song recorded for "Crash!" and it became the first single. It was written in desperation more or less. I felt that we had perfected ourselves a bit too much, that the energy level was dropping with every month we spent in the studio polishing details in the sound picture. I'm a pop addict and I wasn't getting enough.
PER: So that's when you started thinking about making a pop album?
Gessle: Yeah, candy-coated, loud and un-bluesy.

PER: How does success change a person? Do you change friends? Is there a club for millionaries? How can you keep up when you don't have to?
Gessle: I'm surprised to hear such an intelligent question from you. Of course you change. Everything changes. The way you see things, the way other people see you. But pop music isn't my job; it's my life. You probably have to be that obsessed to survive in this business. Success and money is a kick, but the greatest reward is the boost your confidence gets. Success makes it easier to know what you want and to get things done the way you want it.
Per Gessle

We came from nowhere and in a couple of months we Brainpool were suddenly playing to 15000 people in Barcelona during Roxette C!B!B! Tour, so we were just “aaaahhh!”. It was an amazing adventure. We soon realized it was amazing and fun and learnt a lot. But at the same time nobody really wanted to hear us, of course, I mean, that’s the way it is with support acts. We also realized that after a while, some of the hard-core Roxette fans sort of started to like us, so that was nice. We got a better reaction in some countries. But I remember a gig in Prague, where they had particularly big tickets, and “Roxette” was written on them with large printing, after we had played a couple of songs, people started to raise their “Roxette tickets” .. but well, it didn’t matter, we just played even faster and louder. It was fun, to find small groups of people at the shows who actually listened and sing along. I remember the gig in Barcelona, we didn’t get much reaction from the audience in general, but Spain is different, you know, so I remember I was playing, I just took a couple of steps to the left and then everybody stood up, I was like “WHAT?”, that had never happened before. Haha! There was even a fanclub, started by a Swedish girl called Annika. There was also a girl called Nadja, yes, I think that was the name, from Germany.. or maybe Austria? It was really crazy in Sweden for a year or two, a lot of young girls, like 14-year old girls who fell in love with Janne. It was a bit like Gyllene Tider but on a smaller scale.

3 Jan 1997

Helena Josefsson is a bandstarter too (I): Jive with Clive

On 1st December 1996 people from Lund, Sweden, could listen in Radio P3 a new indie band from the city.

Jive with Clive are
  • Helena Josefsson - singer
  • Johan Duncanson - guitar
  • Fredrick Whitling - lead-guitar and keyboards
  • Olof Martinsson - bass
  • Per Blomgren - drums
The members have been working together since they were at seventh grade at School. Firstly, in 1995, Johan Duncanson and his friend Elin Almered began the forgotten project The Radio Dept. Last year, Johan talked to other partners to form a band. They needed a female voice and this time Helena joined instead of Elin as singer.

They have some gigs with this name, Jive with Clive. You could have listened to their most famous song at Sveriges Radio P3 Pop: The poster (in their list on 23rd September 1996) and Take a dive (on 28th October 1996).

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The most important performance of Jive with Clive was on 31st October 1996, in Mejeriet, Lund. The Scandinavian Indie Digest reported it last November:

Jive with Clive was recorded at Mejeriet in Lund the last Thursday of October. Elin Olson (Elin_Olson@skola.agora.se) was there and has not much to say more than: Don't miss Radio P3 Live on 1st December 1996 (the Mejeriet show was recorded and it would be in the radio). Erik Soderstrom (chief@lysator.liu.se) was also there and says that Jive with Clive were great but they should rename their band. Erik can't compare them to any other bands, but he is sure they're not alone in this genre ("I guess it's some sort of pop)". According to Erik, Jive with Clive have a fantastic female singer and the average age in the band is 18. They have appeared on Musikjournalen Pop twice.
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Jive with Clive also played at Klubb Indigo, the Friday club in Blekingska Nationen (Province of Blekinge student community in Lund). The performance was on 8th November. Now they are working in more stuff for future gigs.

1 Jan 1997

Are Per, Clarence and Christoffer gonna start a new band? (I): New Year's Eve

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I think i'm gonna start a band.
The great depression is at hand.
People will mourn across the lands.
Yeah, i'm gonna start a band.
Bandstarter, Brainpool

The lyrics from Brainpool's song could be a premonition. Yesterday, New Year's Eve (December 31st, 1996), the Swedish indie pop band Brainpool played My sweet lord and She's so fine in TV4, Sweden. And they did not play alone.

"My Sweet Lord" is a song by former Beatle George Harrison from his triple album All Things Must Pass. The song is primarily about god, but about any religion god. The single was released in 1970. Following the song's release, musical similarities between "My Sweet Lord" and The Chiffons hit "He's so fine" led to a lengthy legal battle over the rights to the composition. The Chiffons would later record "My Sweet Lord" to capitalize on the publicity generated by the lawsuit. Shortly thereafter, Harrison bought the rights to "He's So Fine".

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you lord
That it wont take long, my lord (hallelujah)
My sweet lord

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Yesterday, the surprise came in the backing vocals: Eggstone and Gyllene Tider!!!! (the 80's Swedish band of Per Gessle) sang with Brainpool.

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I think it is the first time Per Gessle plays together with Brainpool, although Brainpool was the support band in the Roxette Crash! Boom! Bang! European Tour (1994-1995).

A nice performance indeed.

In fansites, it is said that Per Gessle has been recording his new English solo album with Clarence Öfwerman (Roxette producer), some members of Gyllene Tider (MP Persson, Micke Andersson and Anders Herrlin) and other members of Brainpool (Christoffer Lundquist and Jens Jansson). They began the recordings last September 1996 and the album will be ready very soon.

Sooner or later
I hope it's not later
We gotta get together
The sooner the better
I just can't wait, I just can't wait
He's so fine

P, C & C: Per Gessle, Clarence Öfwerman and Christoffer Lundquist working together. Could it be the beginning of a new band? Oh yea.

PER: So how did you approach the whole thing?
Gessle: I wrote some songs and then got in the best pop band in Sweden - Brainpool - to help me kick some butt. Mine, that is. But I also used my former band Gyllene Tider. We were teenage heroes in Scandinavia shortly after the heydays of punk, but re-formed for Scandinavia's biggest tour ever in the summer of 1996. And I figured it was a good idea to tap that well of energy and creativity right after the tour finished in August. So I've been lucky to record with two of my favourite bands.

PER: What did Marie Fredriksson (Roxette) say when you told her you were going solo?
Gessle: I guess she knew it was coming after the "Crash!" tour. We'd been working together almost non-stop since 1988 and had tremendous success. Sooner or later you have to do something else to get new inspiration, to avoid getting stuck in the rut. Marie never gave up her Swedish solo career, but I've always focused everything on Roxette. So I figured it was time to take some time off and just see what I could do on my own.

PER: But it's not the first time, is it?
Gessle: Well, I've done two Swedish solo albums before, in 1983 and 1985, and Marie has done five. So I figured it was about time to catch up.

PER: Speaking about pop. Do you listen to new stuff as much as you used to?
Gessle: As you might remember I started collecting pop records early. I had 100 LP's when I as 10. A manic collector and chart-follower from day one, which must be when "I Feel Fine" was released. And so it went on until Roxette broke through. But five-six years ago, during the "Joyride"-days, so much time was spent on writing, touring, recording and promoting that I hardly had the time to listen to anything new at all. At the end of 1995 I started buying new records and today I'm reasonably hip again. But time passes, one gets older and gets new hobbies. I've built a beach house, got me a canary bird, discovered vintage port and bought a Ferrari. Spoiled brat, you know.
Per Gessle

By chance in 1991 a friend of mine (David Birde) who played in a band called Brainpool that none had ever heard about asked me if I could be the stand-in for their bass player. He was going to do military service for a year. So I joined them and when the time came for the original bassist to come back I'd gotten so involved in the music the rest of the band felt I should stay permanently. I did and two years later we released our first album.

Brainpool signed a contract with Per’s new publishing company in 1994. He started it to invest some money in music that he liked; I think he wanted to be a part of the music industry in a positive and creative way by starting this publishing company that would deal with good music, real music. Not music as a business. Brainpool was the first band he signed to his company and he was sort of a fan of Brainpool. So he asked us to be the support act for Roxette's 1994 Crash!Boom!Bang! tour and then we started to get to know each other. I got to know and be very good friends with Clarence Öfwerman on that tour.
Chris Lundquist (Junk Musik)
Christoffer Lundquist

Welcome to Le Journal des Mouches!

My name is Alberto Fuente, I am from Spain and this is the first post of a new blog about Helena Josefsson, Sandy Mouche and Per Gessle's Solo Band.

It is made ...
  • Because I wanted to put in order the information we can get about Helena, SM and SOAP in the net. It is not easy to look for information about them in so many pages. With this "Journal" you can keep yourself udated.
  • In order not to saturate the HJ's Official Fan Forum with too much information and pictures. The idea really began there.

I began posting here in 2007, but I thought it was easier to put the dates of the events as a Journal: Le Journal des Mouches (that means, the Flies Journal, but it actually refers to Sandy Mouche and Helena Josefsson).

I have been working in this project from Madrid (Spain), Paris (France) and London (UK). I should improve my language skills anyway! I am no journalist, but just a "teacher man in Antarctica".


PS1. Journal des Mouches is only a blog made by a fan. It is not official, but it takes Official and Unofficial sources. It does not want to substitute these great websites. Visit them:
PS2. If you find any photo or information that you think it shouldn't be here, please tell me and I will change it for sure. I do not earn anything for being the editor of this blog and I just put this information because it could be interesting for other fans. Thank you

PS3. If you want to publish an article in this simple Journal, just send me an e-mail lantartida(at)yahoo(dot)es

Alberto Fuente (Editor) -LJdM