April 18th 2012 Warfield. It was a historic night for lovers of loud music. A triple threat of intensity featuring the in your face sounds of The Bronx, the uncontrollable swagger of The Hives, and the bat to skull sonic assault of The Refused.
As fate would have it I got some face time with rock god and lead vocalist of The Hives Mr. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist.
Here is how it went down in Black and White:
NN: So your fresh from Coachella, 80,000 kids on acid, stoned, and drunk, playing with an eclectic group of bands. When the Hives come on what is the reaction?
PA: A moment of clarity.
NN: Five years since the last record. Why a new Hives record now in 2012?
PA: People need to be reminded what a great band sounds like.
NN: when questioned in other interviews about the lengthy time between records you simply stated that a lot of SH*T went down. For your Bay Area fans can you elaborate, like maybe tell us the 3 biggest Sh*t things that happened?
PA: well there were changes in management, business type things. For me I fell of a stage and hurt my neck, tore a ligament in my foot, and had stomach surgery all within three months!!!! Just basically a lot of bad luck. We are hoping now that with the new record that luck will change.
NN: did some of that sh*t, bleed over into the lyrical and emotional content of the new record.
PA: yes, it always does. We tour a lot and love to play live, sometimes we do it so long that we forget how to make a record, so it takes time. We basically just need to start making new records earlier. Plus we want to make sure it is up to our standard of quality. Most bands should cut half the number of songs they try to write and just focus on writing good songs.
NN: or just write 2 minutes songs?
PA: no most of our songs are 3 minutes or more – we just play them fast. It’s the only way we really know how to play.
NN: so when you actually write a song its actually 12 minutes or so and then you just speed it up four times…..
PA: Exactly (laughs)
NN: I also notice that the HIVES always tour with excellent bands, a lot of bands will tour with lesser talented bands so they appear to be better than they actually are, but you guys consistently do the opposite.
PA: Its always good to feel like there is a challenge. Bands that tour with lesser talented bands are just being lazy. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, professionally or so they say for 12 years. I’ve seen a lot of bands play live. When we were first starting we always wanted to play with bands that were perhaps at the time better than us, so we could learn from them. Like The Refused, we kind of took the best that each of those bands had to offer and made it our own.
NN: There is no doubt in my mind that when the final book of rock and roll is written there will definitely be a chapter in it on the HIVES. What would you like to say to the future?
PA: I’d like to clear up the misconception that what we do is silly like a joke. Just because something is humorous doesn’t mean that it is serious or meaningful. Like rock and roll can contain humor and still have a message. I think the misconception comes from the fact that people have forgotten how to be entertained. What entertainment is and that’s what we do.
NN: the new record LEX HIVES due out in the US June 5th what’s the most important thing people need to know about it?
PA: well it’s the most Hives record we have made. As we wrote the songs, performed the songs, recorded the songs, and even produced it ourselves. So in that sense if people were wanting a new Hives record this is the most Hives record that has been made to date.