Per Gessle takes off with his new band PG Roxette. After Marie Fredriksson’s death in 2019, it was “a difficult decision”.
Per Gessle (63) is back with his new band PG Roxette. After the tragic death of singer Marie Fredriksson (1958-2019), the cult duo Roxette was also history, but Gessle is now reviving their legacy with his new project. The single “The Loneliest Girl In The World” will be released on June 3rd. It is the first harbinger of the upcoming September album “Pop-Up Dynamo!”. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, Per Gessle reveals how difficult it was for him to decide on the new band: “It was a difficult decision because it’s impossible to replace Marie,” says the 63-year-old. With PG Roxette he wants to “keep the legacy of Roxette alive”.
The first single is entitled “The Loneliest Girl In The World”. What is the song about?
Per Gessle: Well, that’s really up to you to decide. I never explain my lyrics. That’s the magic of songs, the lyrics mean something different to everyone. I don’t want to destroy that. Sometimes I hear a song that feels like it’s written about me and only me, a song that goes straight to my heart. I keep hearing the same thing from people listening to songs I’ve written. It is amazing. That’s the power of music. So you have to interpret all my songs yourself, including “The Loneliest Girl In The World”. Maybe it’s about you?
What role does Marie Fredriksson’s legacy play in PG Roxette?
Gessle: Well she was half of Roxette so she will always be there in spirit and in my heart. She was one of my best and oldest friends. After Marie died, I had two options for Roxette. One was to close the door and stop, the other was to keep going. I decided to keep going. I wrote almost every song Roxette ever recorded and it felt strange to turn my back on more than 30 years of my life. My goal for the future is to write more music and lyrics, make new recordings, play live and keep the Roxette legacy alive.
Are you still in touch with Marie Fredriksson’s family? Did she support your choice of PG Roxette?
Gessle: Yes, I know them very well and of course they support what I do. Why shouldn’t they?
What can fans expect from the new album?
Gessle: I wanted to make an uptempo album based on the sound that’s in my blood and DNA. That’s the sound of the late 80’s and early 90’s. But I wanted to give it a modern twist. I didn’t mean to sound too retro or nostalgic, but you can definitely hear the classic Roxette elements in it. I have a specific writing style that shines through. It’s always like that, no matter how hard I try to develop it.
Musically, I used the “classic” Roxette musicians: Jonas Isacsson on lead guitar, Clarence Öfwerman on keyboards, Magnus Börjeson on bass and Christoffer Lundquist on guitar. They still sound great. I love working with these guys. I’m sure you can hear that. We had so much fun making Pop-Up Dynamo! The production was in the hands of Clarence (who has produced all the Roxette albums since 1986!), Magnus and myself.
How difficult was it for you to decide to continue with PG Roxette after Marie Fredriksson’s death?
Gessle: It’s been a tough few years in the Roxette camp. Not only has Marie passed away, we’ve also lost our original drummer, Pelle Alsing. That came out of the blue. It was a difficult decision because it is impossible to replace Marie. And I never wanted to try that. But I still wanted to play my Roxette songs and keep the legacy alive. Of course, if Marie were here, she would have been a big part of all of this. But that is not the case. It’s really sad, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I have to carry the Roxette torch myself.
With PG Roxette you have the two singers Helena Josefsson and Dea Norberg on board. What do you appreciate about the two and how is the cooperation?
Gessle: PG Roxette is not based on the voices of Dea and Helena. I also have other female singers on the new PG Roxette album. And I do most of the singing myself. You’ll find out.
Helena and Dea are both fantastic. Both as people and as musicians. If you compare their voices, they sound very different. They have completely different styles. I like that. When mixed together, they almost sound like a “third” person. It was the same with Agnetha and Frida at ABBA. When you combined their voices, the result was very different than when they sounded individually.
Helena and Dea have toured a lot with Roxette, so we’ve all known each other for a long time. I have been working with Helena for more than twenty years now. Time flies like in flight. I’m glad to have her around.
Roxette’s last concert was in 2016. How are you feeling now ahead of the tour with PG Roxette?
Gessle: Excited. Curious. Happy. Blessed.
How happy are you to be back on stage with the Roxette songs, among other things?
Gessle: If it happens I’ll be a happy man. I look forward to meeting all the fans around the world. Roxette have some of the best fans out there. So many of them come to Sweden and follow and support my Swedish band and solo projects year after year. I can’t thank them enough.
The pandemic has paralyzed the music and events industry. How did you survive the long lockdowns in the corona pandemic?
Gessle: Of course it was a psychological nightmare. Everyone has suffered. Last summer, after a year of isolation, I finally started to think positively and decided to play some small acoustic shows at Hotel Tylösand on the Swedish west coast. The restrictions allowed us a maximum of 500 seated guests (with plenty of space in between) and I was supposed to do two one-hour evenings. Before I knew it, I had made ten! And those 60 minutes turned into a two-hour show. It was incredible to be back on stage.
So I expanded the whole thing into an acoustic hall tour in the theaters. Then new Covid restrictions came along and we had to postpone them. Finally we started again and in May of this year it was over after 31 shows.
And of course I’ve spent much of the last two years writing and recording the PG Roxette album. I think I wrote about twenty songs before I chose the eleven that are on the album. I’ve been lucky.