12 Jan 1999

Nice days for P, C & C new team (II): Gessle's 40th birthday

To celebrate that Per Gessle turns 40 next Tuesday, 12 january 1999, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has started a special article series about his life called 'From 1 in maths to 1 in the USA', written by Tore Börjesson.

As it is said in the article, Per Gessle was the youngest of three brothers and sisters. He loved reading, painting - and not least - listening to music. His first record was The Kinks' 'Kontroversy', which he bought from his brother for SEK 5,-. That album can nowadays still be found in his record collection. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion: music.

According to Tore Börjesson, it was important for him to peak out, not to be one of the mass. So he painted his hair in weird colors, he dressed so it was noticed who he was. He was a little lonely child, more interested in his lists of hits than in hanging around with other kids. and he knew already then what he would become: a rockstar. He spent hour after hour learning to play guitar. But when he started grammar school, social sciences direction at Kattegattskolan in Halmstad, he didn't choose music, but painting and got the highest note, a five. He also got that for a scription that he made about David Bowie, his biggest hero. English was also one of his better items, but for the rest it was just average, threes for the most except for maths, where got a 1 in. Nobody then thought the he would 'get a 1' in the USA.

It was inevitable that Per in the end would start his own band. From the beginning they called themselves Grape Rock, but soon Gyllene Tider was the name that ruled. all started on a Friday night, 12 May 1978 at cinema Reflex, Getinge, Sweden. The first concert with his band Gyllene Tider attracted only 20 spectators to pay the entrance fee of SEK 10,-. Then EMI Sweden AB got its eyes on the pop band from Halland. At about the same moment Per met Marie Fredriksson for the first time because her band Strul shared a rehearsal room with Gyllene Tider.

Two years later, Per Gessle had become Sweden's hottest pop star and public hysterie around him had begun. Gyllene Tider's first album in 1980 became an enormous success. The year after were Micke Syd Andersson, Mats MP Persson, Per Gessle, Anders Herrlin and Göran Fritzson already megastars. The whole Gyllene Tider hysterie reached its top sin on Valpurgisnight 1981 when three people where trampledto death at a concert. In 1983 Gyllene Tider splitted up. Per tried out a solo career, but his more Lundell-inspired records sold not very well. When his career was going down Per met Åsa Nordin. and though he said it time after time that he was no family type, his son Gabriel Titus changed his life in 1997.

Neverending Love was the song that got him up out of the career depth. This duet with Marie Fredriksson became an enormous hit in Sweden in 1986. With the album Look Sharp! (1988) came the international breakthrough and soon Per had little further one of his dreams, to become one in the USA. 'The Look' showed off on no. 1 in April 1989. 'Listen To Your Heart' did it as a prestation. That list was continued with the massive hit 'It Must Have Been Love' in 1990. The 1991 album Joyride turned to be a worldwide success and got Roxette both a fourth no. 1 in the USA and a mass of Rockbjörnen awards. In 1993 Per married with Åsa Nordin in Västra Strö's church. In Sweden he and Marie were printed on stamps.

Per Gessle also anwered some questions to Aftonbladet. You can read Per Gessle's words below.

The first single of the new album, Have a nice day, will be Wish I could fly and it is now in the radios of almost all Europe, although it will be released on 1st February. This is the first Roxette's single since 1995.

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When I was a child I was quite lonely. I sat at home and wrote down the topscores in the TV puck and the handballhall Sweden. Then I started writing poems. I lived in my own world, but although that I was life-afraid, I decided to paint my hair and wear the highest platform shoes. I have never been a band human. Picasso is the biggest artist of the 20th century, He put everything else out of the game and made a strong impression on my interest in arts.

Gyllene Tider? We were five pimpy ugly idiots from Halmstads outsides who wanted to become Sweden's Kinks. But we couldn't play instruments. We laughed about Noise and Magnum Bonum and those that couldn't play. I got a paternitypurpose on my neck, completely idiot charges. But I never lived a Keith Moon-life. I also don't look like Keith Richards in my face. Probably he has had more fun than I. Drugs? I have never spit into the glass. But I'm a little too afraid to prove something else. I'm the type who wants to controll. Can be usefull in this business.

1984 85 was an extremely difficult year. I had to withdraw my creditcard and sell my guitars to pay the rent. Not a single idea what would have happened if Marie Fredriksson hadn't showed up and Roxette would not have been formed. Life exists of coincidences. But some way I would had got myself forward, I think.

Suddenly I realised i had missed something in my life. The important thing is that life has a meaning. On that day that you are tired and fulfilled, everything is lost. I'm on my way to that side and tired of the musicbusiness. I feel myself like Pete Sampras, exhausted and unmotivated. I have worked and toured with Roxette almost uninterrupted for seven years, from Look Sharp 1988 until 'Greatest Hits' 1995 and that was a hard pressure on me. Never a break, never time for reflection. I never could afford the luxury to sit down and enjoy what I did. I needed a change, had to get some new energy kick. Everything went over its limits... it was just about forgetting the rockstyle and nightlife. Suddenly I understood that I had missed something in my life. Since Gabriel is born I'm a completely different person. I have got my reward: a family. 'Changing diapers is an overestimated. But the Nobelprice for the one that invented the T-shaped diaper!
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Roxette are heading for a new success period with their forthcoming album. This one is fabulous. Marie (Fredriksson) sings better than ever. We've signed a 10-year contract with EMI. We've got much left to offer. The songs on the new album are typical' Per Gessle-songs. Though more fresh. We have a modernised sound with a new adding in the production. It's filled with trash, strikes and other stuff. But since I'm still a pop beast, it will recognise even if our bagpipes would be seen.

We have written 40 songs, recorded 19 and 14 appear on the album. Five of them are strong single candidates. Which one you then choose to release first is always a try. My voice is a disaster. Though I must say I sing really well on the new album. I wouldn't mind to have the voice of John Lennon or Otis Redding.

Biggest Happenings in 40 years? That was when Kjell Anderson of EMI Sweden AB called to offer us a recording contract with Gyllene Tider in January 1979, exactly twenty years ago. Then has Roxette been one long-term project on its own. The best memory is when we played in front of 60,000 people at the football stadium in Saõ Paulo in 1992. And of course the day on which Gabriel was born. An extremely nice day.
Per Gessle