Tell us about your early life.
I grew up in Upplands Väsby [Stockholm], a small, cosmopolitan community with people from many other countries. Leif [Edling] from Candlemass lived there, and so did Yngwie Malmsteen.
_Did you do crappy day jobs? _
Yeah. I had a cleaning job at a printing company which paid my bills, and then one day they printed a music magazine – and I was in it! That was quite weird.
How did wealth affect you?
Often it’s the people around you that change. We won a band competition and got a deal to make our first album [self-titled, 1983]. When I realised that everyone wanted a piece of me, I found myself withdrawing. I’m sure that some thought I was an arrogant asshole.
Do you sympathise with the lottery winners who piss everything away?
A little, but becoming rich suddenly can be dangerous. Don’t give up your job and try to live off the interest. It’s important to keep one’s focus.
Can money buy happiness?
Not unless you retain your passion. Money was never a motivating force for me.
What’s been your biggest extravagance?
When I first made some money, I bought my first real car. It was an amazing feeling riding that car, but it was mostly parked in some garage. We were always on the road.
During the nineties, Europe spent some time as tax exiles in Turks And Caicos.
I guess it was a bit extravagant to buy two houses on an island in the Caribbean, but Sweden had extremely high taxes back then. It was a logical thing to do.
Do you buy The Big Issue?
Yes I do. Sometimes they have really good interviews with musicians.
**Most people have pension plans; you wrote The Final Countdown. **
[Laughs] That wasn’t my intention, but I’m very grateful for that little nest egg.