CORDOBA – Roxette arrived here in Argentina's second largest city a short time ago, set to perform tomorrow night before a capacity crowd of around 10,000 people at the Orfeo Superdome, an indoor multi-purpose arena.
Per was kind enough to allow us to ask a few questions:
The Daily Roxette: We know, from your own statements to the Swedish press and various other messages you've made over the last year that you've invested – personally – a lot of effort to get something happening in the U.S. What's going on on that front? Will the RoxJet land in North America?
Per Gessle: Yep. Looks like we finally have it all settled with Capitol Records. Charm School will be released in July together with a new Rox compilation. It feels good. And of course we would love to perform there. I hope it will happen.
TDR: Is there a part of you that's frustrated about how much effort was required?
PG: The U.S. market has always been complicated territory for us. The problems started really early. In 1992, when Charles Koppelman took over EMI, we could never connect with him and his staff. And I guess most of the EMI artists from that era had the same experience. So, yes, there is a certain amount of frustration that we never have matched our extremely successful radio presence with jaw-dropping album sales. Almost everyone in the U.S. knows our songs but they don't really know it's Roxette!!
TDR: When Roxette first started playing "How Do You Do!" live in 1992, it...well...wasn't very good. Now it's one of the strongest songs on the set list. What's the explanation for that?
PG: Hey, I don't agree! It sounded decent (at least once in while...) in ´92 but very different. It was pretty hard to sing in those days before the in-ear system happened. The verses are really low in key for me. And back then we worked a lot with clicktracks and pre-recorded sounds and effects. Today we're the old-fashioned real deal – 100% live and every song is quite different from show to show. We have "open endings" on four or five songs just to make it more interesting for the band. And for the crowd, "How Do You Do!" is one of those songs that really kicks ass on this tour. Everybody seems to love it! I do!!
TDR: You just added a new rock arrangement of "Stars" to the set list at the first Luna Park concert, and then left it out the next night. Are you happy with it?
PG: Oh yeah! I love that song and always did. It's one of my favorite choruses!! I like the new arrangement, it's gonna be a monster down the road when the band has learned how to play it!!
TDR: We´ve been reporting that Marie is moving about the stage in a way not previously seen (since her recovery). You said something about the tour being therapy for her? It seems to be working??
PG: For every show Marie's getting more and more relaxed. It's a miracle she's up there on that stage in the first place and her progress is mindblowing and worth some sort of award! We've done 11 shows so far... in a couple of months Marie's gonna kick ass just like in the past. Trust me.
TDR: What would you say is your personal favorite song to play live?
PG: "How Do You Do!" is great fun. And "Way Out". But I really enjoy the whole set. It's such a treat for any human being to get the kind of feedback that we´ve been getting lately. We're very lucky to have such a generous and beautiful fanbase all over the planet. We'll never forget that.