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10 minutes with Roxette’s Per Gessle

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Following two big losses in the group, Marie Fredriksson in 2019 at age 61 and their drummer Per Alsing at 60 the following year, Per Gessle is keeping the name of Roxette alive by going on a world tour with  Lena Philipsson as the lead singer. GAVIN PRINS interviewed Per ahead of their SA tour.

Following the sad passing of Marie Fredriksson, why is it so important for you to keep the band’s legacy alive?

When she passed away in 2019, I didn’t know what to do. I just sat around and went touring in Sweden. Eventually, I realised I wanted to pay homage to the Roxette catalogue. I wrote all the songs, so I realised I wanted to build on it some more.

How did you find Lena to be part of the band?

I had worked with Lena Philipson before and then, one day, I realised there was something there. So, I called her up and said I needed a meeting. When I asked her if she wanted to play the Roxette songs with me, she nearly fell off her chair. It was in the studio when I heard Lena sing that it was clear that we sound great together. And I thought -this could work. Once she started singing Roxette’s songs, Lena just sounded so amazing.

You have been to SA. What do you remember about the country?

I remember great and supportive crowds and knowing all our songs (laughs). I have friends in Cape Town. So I have been there a couple of times. I love the food and the wine. The last time we performed as a band was with Marie, in Cape Town. I have been on safaris with my family, checking out the Big 5 and coming close to scary animals. Rust en Vrede is a very nice wine.

What can we expect from the SA tour?

It’s not about me. It’s about playing the old familiar Roxette songs and singing our classics. It is going to be a nice concert, a trip down memory lane for people who love Roxette songs.

It Must’ve Been Love was your biggest hit. What was the inspiration when you wrote it?

It’s a funny story. Our label in Germany asked me to write a Christmas song and I came up with the song but with different lyrics. It did not do well. So Marie and I changed it a little and It Must’ve Been Love became a hit. IB

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