"The Chance Was Almost Zero"


They belong to the 90’s like Discman, Girlies and Inline Skates. After almost ten years break, Roxette announce their comeback. Per Gessle about the sickness of his band partner, Marie Fredriksson and the retro chic-potential of the duo.



Rep: Mr. Gessle, the big time of Roxette, this was the early 90’s. How often do people tell you memories that, in fact, they can associate with Roxette songs?

Per: Quite often. I’m joking, this has to do with the fact that I’m getting older. I think it’s cool to live this way, to belong to people, and this we can still do – especially after everything that happened to Marie.

Per Gessle, 52, wanted to become an architect at the beginning and he played the first acoustic guitar only when he was 17 years old. 1986, together with the singer Marie Fredriksson, 53, he succeeded to create Roxette, one of the most successful Swedish pop-exports.
Roxette could impose, among the other groups, with No 1 hits like „The Look“ (1989) or „Joyride“ (1991), they have sold 70 million albums all over the world. 2002 the doctors diagnosed Marie Fredriksson with a brain tumour. Now Roxette are still together on the stage, somewhere around 12.6. in Oberursel and on 16.6. in Köln. Their new album „Charm School“ will be released on Friday.

Rep: At Marie Fredriksson they diagnosed a brain tumour in 2002, which has been treated with success.How does she feel today? Interviews – she doesn’t give anyway. 

Per: This comes from the fact that she cannot talk so good English today. This means: She still talks English, but it is very difficult to express her spontaneously. This quality she has lost.  

Some of the songs from the new album are very melancholically, totally different from what we had known before. Shall we call their return on the stage “a  comeback” or is it more like a new beginning? 

It is a bit of each. It could be a new beginning because few years ago, it seemed that the chances were almost inexistent that Marie and me do something together again.

How comes that, during this tour of the new beginning, you want to play mostly your old hits? 

It is easy, because we are also fans. When I go to U2, Rolling Stones or AC/DC, I also want to hear the biggest songs. I still remember when I was at a Police and they have played only 3 hits and then only unknown songs, it was not so funny. I hated it and I left. When David Bowie goes on tour once again, I want to hear the songs that meant a lot to me. Not those one that HE wants to play. If I pay, then play for me!!

Roxette is already a name. In which way could it be changed? 

In this case, when Marie is back, it would be a stupidity to make one Roxette album with 20 instrumental songs. If we had done one such song, we should have used the most suitable element possible, and that is Marie’s voice.  

Little by little, the 90s get the charm of the 50s. Will Roxette become retro-cool now? 

Until few months ago I hadn’t thought at all about that – until people started to remember Roxette. People that I would have never thought that could remember us in a special way. Probably our time has also arrived.

What memories do YOU have from the 90s? 

The early 90s were of course the high time for Roxette. Three years in a row we were among the first three bands that were mostly played in the USA, for this you should create a lot. On the other hand my son was born; this changes your life forever. Mainly the 90s were a huge decade for me.

You like the music of the 60s and 70s. Is it true that your son was born while you were playing „Yellow Submarine“? 

Yes, it’s true, but it hadn’t been planned like that. Each couple has its song, for me and my wife it is „Here, there and everywhere“by The Beatles. This is on „Revolver” album. Gabriel came very quickly and I went to the hospital with my CD-player and said to the doctor: please tell me 3 minutes before he comes out into the world, so that he can come out while I play our song. When the doctor said: Now it happens!, I started to play „Here, there and every-where“. But the birth took 30 seconds longer and the next song on the album was „Yellow Submarine“. This is of course a big difference. When Gabriel gets 18, I will have to talk about that.

I will tell you one older story: when I was a child, I used to sing at the hair dryer, as I thought that nobody could hear me. But it was not like that: one day I came out from the bathroom and found my family on the floor, laughing. Because I had sung „Fading like a Flower“. 

Oh. Now you can’t hear that song any more, for sure.

True. And what memories does „Fading like a Flower“ bring to you now? 

„Fading like a Flower“, it was long ago. I still remember how we worked for that song. I knew that it would become a great song. How it happened, I don’t know. 1990, when we recorded the album, I was 31 years old. If I had been 21, I would have been somewhere else with my mind. But anyway, for one or another reason, we knew that: This is the perfect sound for this period.

Interview: Silke Offergeld