Roxette: Interview at Nyhetsmorgon (Morning News) - Nov. 28th, 2009


Rep: They have sold 75 million disks and have already done two big world tours, opening the doors to China in 1995. They represent Sweden’s biggest music export after ABBA. But everything turned another way for Roxette when Marie Fredriksson was diagnosed with brain tumour eight years ago. Like this she was talking about her eyes when I met her last spring.

Marie: So if I do like this, this is my good eye. If I look at you like this, wait, I have to turn around and follow my head, because I can’t see anything with this right eye. It’s totally dark. I use to hit things sometimes because I cannot see. But now I have got used to it...

Rep: Nobody thought that Marie Fredriksson would be able to be on stage again. But she is back, with Per Gessle. Roxette have planned 42 concerts in Belgium, Holland and Germany, in front of a very enthusiastic audience. Me and my colleague follow them in Rotterdam.

Rep: It starts to get dark in Rotterdam and we are on the way to a concert with Roxette, who have come back. Marie, after 8 years, why?

Marie: Why not? It is fantastic to play.

Rep: But you have done a lot, why do you come back to this crazy life?

Marie: It’s not a crazy life, absolutely not. It’s cool. I have done this all my life, so why not to continue?

Rep: But how do you feel?

Marie: I feel very well!

Rep: And you, Per, you have been out on tour with your album and now you are on the road again.

Per: Yes, but it’s fantastic to play in front of the audience and we have had a great career with many songs that all people recognize, so it feels wonderful. There is nothing negative with that.

Rep: Tell me what you are going to do on an evening like this, when it’s not planned a whole concert with Roxette.

Per: Well, we will play 5 songs and there is a huge symphonic orchestra who prepares for this evening. There is everything here tonight. We are just a part of “Night of the Proms”. So there is classical music, Spanish guitar play, Roxette, everything. It’s wonderful.

Rep: Incredible that you can sit here together.

Per: Yeah...

Marie: Yeah... (to Per) You have brought me here! (they laugh) Of course that there was a time when I was so sick. But before that, I had always believed in Roxette. I think Roxette is very powerful.

Rep: But you, Per, you didn’t believe quite much in Roxette.  

Per: No, I have never believed that. I couldn’t continue with Roxette by myself. I always said that it was up to Marie, when she feels ready to start again. I have never obliged her to come and record something or to stay on the stage. It is her who has decided that. It is fantastic that she came back and it’s fantastic that it works so well.

Rep: But you, Marie, have you thought that there would be more Roxette, that you would take back your place in Roxette, have you thought that even in the darkest time of your life, if I can say like that?

Marie: Yes, it has always been great to work with that and when I became sick, it was a huge shock. I missed Roxette all the time. I felt that I need Roxette. I felt the need to work together again. And all Roxette fans from all over the world have been so nice to us. So it’s fantastic.

Per: Yes, I have to say that Marie has always been a stage artist. She has always blossomed out on stage.  (to Marie) But you have been very good in the studio, too. (Marie laughs) But the stage is on the first place. You can notice that. During this tour, the response she has got from the fans was really great. It is great that she can recover in this way.

Marie: And it is wonderful to go on stage, I have always liked that: to be on stage and work with Per, with whom I have worked a lot so many years. When I got sick, he continued to work alone, but now it is great to work together again. So it is wonderful that we are here again, it’s fantastic.

Rep: What happens to your audience when you are back?

Per: Most of them cry. They don’t hear too much from what we play, they are so happy to see Marie! (laughs)

Per: Now it’s time for some gymnastics before the show. Will you join me?

Per: We can start with this. Come on!

Rep: You seem to have it fun.

Marie: Yes, we have that. It feels well.

Rep: When we met earlier, you told me that you had some problems with seeing.

Marie: Yes, but I have got used to it. It was much worse a few years ago. But I learned to manage. On this side it’s not good, so I have to turn to this side. It’s ok.

Rep: Doesn’t it influence you when you are on stage?  Is it ok?

Marie: It’s really great. I missed being on stage.   

Rep: It was 8 years ago when Roxette played here. Now they play together again in front of an enthusiastic audience, here in Rotterdam.

Rep: So, tell me: why are you wearing these T-shirts with Marie’s name?

Fans: Because we love her! / - Yes, I agree. / - We’ve been fans for a long time.

Rep: So what are you saying about their comeback right now?

Fans: Well, it’s great.

Rep: Why is it so great?

Fan: Because we’ve been waiting for it for so long.

Rep: You are young.

Fan: Yes, but I think that it’s a miracle that Marie stands there today. I almost started to cry when I saw her.

Rep: Describe your feelings!

Fan: I didn’t even realize that they are really really coming back. Today I was thinking: ok, maybe they are there or maybe they are not there. But it was so great to see this.

Rep: And it’s coming more.

Fans: Yes! It’s great. We are coming tomorrow, too.

Somebody from the audience: Fabulous. It was great to see the lady again. She was perfect.

Rep: Were you surprised that she has come back?

Somebody from the audience: Yes, because she has had a very tough time, I have also been sick, I have had cancer. So she had cancer in her head. I feel a big respect for the lady.

Rep: What was there that made you decide to play again?  

Per: I think that it was you, Marie, because you wanted to play again. And it was not very calm, there were quite many shows and it was good for Marie to come back to her rhythm step by step. There are not many songs we play this evening, there are only 5 songs. And in this way you don’t have to assume the whole responsibility for the whole concert by yourself. I think that it is ok to do like this. But 5 songs are quite ok, I think.

Rep: Five it adequately much, you think, Marie?

Marie: Yes, it is perfect. I manage them well.

Per: Five songs, out of which four for her.

Marie: Yes... (they laugh)

Rep: Is it a test show for the future? Can we say like that?

Per: Yes, a kind of test, it feels like that. We take it step by step. We will see what happens in one year or two. Perhaps a big tour, it depends on Marie.

Marie (laughs): Exactly.

Rep: To go on tour?

Marie: Fantastic!  

Rep: You didn’t have just these shows, you have also another plan. What will you do? 

Per: We were thinking to record a new album. We have quite many songs, 14 - 15 pieces. We have discussed about that. Often we are in the same place for seven days or two weeks. So it’s very good.

Rep: Is there a new Roxette sound, too?

Per: well, we try to keep the old sound. Sometimes we just update something, but we don’t try to modify the sound, we don’t want to get something new. The changes can be my voice or Marie’s voice.

Rep: Can you describe, Marie, how it feels with the new songs, compared to your old hits?

Marie: Well, I always start with listening to Per’s demos and I think that they are really great songs.

Per: Marie is like a fan, you know?  (all laugh)

Rep: You mean that he is still good as a song writer.

Marie: Well, he is incomparable.  He is so funny and it feels so damn cool to work with Per because it happens something all the time. And he is really good, the first class, perfect!

(Per is happy)

Rep: Yes, how comes that you still have such a huge energy, Per, after all the songs that you have written in so many years?

Per: There were 1000, I think.

Marie: Fantastic.

Per: I don’t know, I try to follow my feelings. It is very nice to work with music and the result is great, most of the times. I don’t know...motivation. I am very motivated, it is very exciting to work with Marie, so I am motivated. But I can’t really appreciate the quality of my own songs, if they are good or bad. Usually the quality is good if I like what I do.

Rep: Marie, if you have to describe the sound of Roxette in 2009 compared to the sound of the classical Roxette songs that you play now, on this tour, is there any difference?

Marie: I have a little lower voice, I think. (laughs)

Per: Yes, she sings a bit low. (all laugh) Well, in other ways, there is not so much difference. I have my own style of writing, with little changes. It is like a tree with different branches that go to different directions. All these branches belong to the same tree. So we don’t want to change our style, we just want that this style feels updated to nowadays. The best way of doing it is to follow your own taste and your own ideas. You have to be yourself.

Rep: Are there any dimensions, like for example when you had that number one in the USA, will you try to do something to become number one there again? Do you feel that, Marie?

Marie: It was great that we had four songs that reached number one in the USA. So I should thank to Per for that!

Per: Marie is my fan and that is cool!

Marie: Yes, but it’s wonderful! (they laugh)

Rep: Do you have any projects for the future? Because there is a question mark when it comes about Roxette’s future. What do you think? In reality.

Per: I think that there is a big chance for a new album to be released, because there is so much material and that material is quite good. I think it is very possible. Perhaps we can arrange a big Roxette concert, we will see. Everything is up to Marie.

Marie: We have so many good songs. We can just choose the best ones from them. I hope we can do that.

Marie (after the show): It was great. I think it was the greatest show so far.

Rep: Does it feel that it has been the best so far?

Marie: Yes, you feel that inside your soul. (Pelle is trying to annoy her) It just feels wonderful.

Rep: Per?

Per: What was the question?

Rep: The question was: how was the show, compared to other shows?

Per: It was good, I think. And Marie was damn good this evening, I think. She had self-confidence and sang.

Rep: What does it say about the future?

Per: Well, we have 25 more shows! (laughs) We really have fun with them. We are very thankful to the audience who loves us! It is wonderful.

Rep: It was nice to meet Roxette and it is very cool that Marie can be on stage again. They were very welcome back to Rotterdam.