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