"I get hypnotized to get rid of my fear"
The new Agnetha Fältskog gets hypnotized and creates (music) better when she doesn't feel well. And lets her Hasse deal with Vecko-Revyn's Kjell Dabrowski when he gets too close...
By Kjell Dabrowski
What do you think about the fact that Björn Ulvaeus has moved to London?
-I don't understand it. He probably has good reasons for it, but I don't think that anything can be so important that you're prepared to leave your children. Of course Björn comes to Sweden quite often and the children go there (to London) as well, but it's a strenuous way to see each other.
How have they reacted?
-In a way they probably think it has calmed down now. They have never really enjoyed going back and forth between Björn and I. It's difficult for children to have two homes. Now they have their secure base with me.
Now that the album has been recorded, you say that you will stay at home with your children, but isn't that what you've done the past few years?
-Yes, I'm very often at home with my children. It's important to me. They need me, especially now that their dad has moved to London.
Do you think that you often are portrayed as a dumb blonde by the media?
-Maybe not as much as a dumb blonde, rather as a frail being who can't speak up for herself and who's wandering around in life. It's true that I live in my own little world, but I'm very observant of what's happening around me. I'm a good judge of character and I have a good intuition. -The tabloids probably want me in that frail category, but I'm a strong woman. -Just because I'm afraid of flying they think that I'm afraid of everything. If I take the elevator, people wonder if I really dare to ride the elevator. -It's difficult as a celebrity to have an opinion about everything. I don't always want to say what I think. They probably want me to put my foot in my mouth or you're supposed to say such wise things. -I don't have an answer for everything, and no one else does either.
Do you think that Lennart Bodström is a good foreign minister?
Last time you and I met was at last year's Rockbjörns-gala (Swedish music award handed out by Aftonbladet. Claes' note). You and I danced together quite a lot, but right in the middle of a song we were slow-dancing to, your bodyguard comes up to you and says it's time to go home. Do you always have to have a babysitter with you whenever you go out?
-No, I can look after myself, but my bodyguard Hasse knows me so well and he also knows how I'll feel if I stay out at night too late. -It's rare that I go out and sometimes I get really wound up. Then I can carry on for a long, long time, but that means that afterwards I won't feel too good for a couple of days and that's not fun at all. -I don't want it to get that way and that's why it's better that Hasse tells me that it's time to go home. -I live a very healthy life and if I've partied a bit too much, then my body says: "I don't want this".
You are probably the only one in the rock business who has never used drugs.
-No, I think quite a lot of people probably haven't. It has occurred around us at concerts and when I stood there very nervous right before a concert and noticed the smell of pot, it happened sometimes that Frida and I joked about it and said "Let's take a few deep breaths before we go on stage". -I am an active opponent of any kind of drugs and I both hope and think that drugs aren't as common anymore.
Why do you dislike being called "ABBA-Agnetha"?
-It's like I've been marked for life. There were so many people who were called something with ABBA. At first there were the four of us, then it was "ABBA-Stikkan", "ABBA-Stikkan's wife Gudrun" and even one of my ex-boyfriends, Dick Håkansson, was called "ABBA-Dick" for a while. -I mean, it sounds crazy. I have my name and my own identity.
Your life is as far away from a "Svenssonliv" (the life of an average person. Claes' note) as you possibly can get, but mentally you're still a typical "Svensson" (an average person. Claes' note). I think it's strange that you haven't been affected more than you have.
-It's quite strange, but I'm probably not suitable to be a star. All the praise just embarrasses me.
And no diva behavior and no complaints?
-I'm tough and quite a fighter. I don't want to lose control. If I'm allowed to be in charge, I'm very easy to work with. -It's because of that it's so difficult for me to fly, because I want total control.
But you have to try to overcome your fear of flying if you're going to continue in this business.
-I'm trying. I go and get hypnotized and we'll see if it helps. I don't only get afraid when I have to fly, it gets even worse when my children have to.
Your daughter Linda is twelve years old and soon she will probably soon come home and introduce you to her boyfriend. Do you dread that?
-I'm trying to prepare myself for that, but I don't think about it very much right now. It's all about horses for her, but this thing about guys has begun a bit and she's quite popular in school.
Have the guys already started to pay her attention?
-Yeah, a bit, but Linda is a tough girl who knows what she wants.
Do you create (music) better when you're not feeling good?
-Yeah, there are better songs coming from the piano when I don't feel well compared to when I'm in a really great mood.
But you're not as interested in writing your own songs anymore.
-I don't have the same need for it. I have too much going on around me and it's almost never quiet at home. It has to be in order for me to compose something. It's boring to write songs, but it's fun if it turns out to be something good, but it doesn't happen very often.
People who have worked with you think that you are "a gentle woman" who doesn't have as big of an ego as others in the business.
-Oh really, those are kind words. I don't know if there are that many people with big egos in this business, but it's not my style to be placed on a pedestal.
All of the musicians apparently fell in love with you when you worked on the album.
-No, I don't believe that, maybe someone did. Most of them probably think that it's pleasant to work with me, at least that's what they say. I'm probably a humble person, but I know what I want and they can't walk all over me.
The album will apparently not be released in the US.
-Not the way it looks like now. We'll see what happens, but it will be released in Canada. It isn't really that important if I don't make it in the US.
If the album becomes a flop, will you quit?
-It won't be and what is a flop?
Your last LP sold 1,2 million copies, and let's say that this one sells 200 000 - 300 000 copies, then it's a flop, right?
-I think it will be difficult to reach the same level as the last record, because it sold very well. I don't know how I will react. If I'm satisfied with an album, of course I'll think it's a shame if people aren't buying it. But to be satisfied with the record is still the most important.
Last fall you started your own company: Agnetha Fältskog Production AB. What will the company deal with?
-We don't know yet, but there won't be any real estate deals.
Is it really so that ABBA has disbanded? No one has dared to make a statement.
-It's been such a long time since we did something together, so I guess you could say that ABBA has disbanded. To me ABBA is a thing of the past.
You went to see the concert version of "Chess" last fall together with your children. The photographers were all excited.
-I know they get that way, especially if I bring the children with me. This time their dad had been working on "Chess" for many years and then for Christ's sake they should be able to go and see what he's been busy with. -Of course it's unfortunate to feel chased, but I understand the photographers. It's very rare that I go out and especially with my children.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
-I look out the window to see what the weather's like.
Do you sleep in the nude?
-My God, what a question! I won't answer it.
The name of your first love was Christian, is it because of this that Christian got his name?
-No, Björn's full name is Björn Christian Ulvaeus.
The debate about parents spanking their children is in the news now and when you were eight years old, your dad beat you with a carpet-beater. Have you ever spanked your children?
-No, I have never had any reason to spank them, even if they sometimes manage to drive me up the wall. On the whole I have never hit a human being.
Never boxed somebody's ears?
-No, I really don't think so. It's quite remarkable since I have quite a temper.
You haven't been on a subway train since 1971.
-No, it's not because I'm afraid of it, but I'd rather take my car. I never ride the bus either.
If you were to get married again, will there be a big wedding like the one with Björn in 1971?
-I don't think so. It's not that important to get married.
You will soon turn 35, how will you celebrate your birthday?
-I will probably be traveling at that time. There won't be a big party. It'll have to wait until I turn 40.
Name: Agnetha Fältskog
Age: 5/4 1950
Lives: In a house on Lidingö
Income: 22 000 kronor/month (fortune: 30-40 million kronor)
Smoke: Quit two years ago.
Drink: White and red Italian wines
Last movie I saw: "Frances" with Jessica Lange
Last book I read: "The Thornbirds"
What I enjoy the most: A walk with my children in the spring sun and the success with my latest album.