We got the Hives, and we’re gonna share them

The Hives took a circuitous route to fame, recording a couple albums and EPs in the 1990s and getting the greatest hits packaged all together in one magic hit CD, Your New Favourite Band, a couple years ago. Last year the Swedish punks came back with the all-new Tyrannosaurus Hives, a clean, punchy set that clears the sinuses of music fans who’ve just about had it up to here with wussy stuff from the likes of Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crow. The band’s new concert DVD “Tussles in Brussels,” released in time for the Christmas shopping season, gets the Hives phenomenon down for the record: The hard licks, the black-and-white outfits the band wears, and of course, the singular sound of lead vocalist Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, with whom we sat down for the following chat:

Bullz-Eye: Describe a Hives concert for those in our reading audience who haven’t been.

Pelle Almqvist: If you’ve been to a rock concert–I’ll assume that much–if you take what you’ve seen there and multiply it by ten, that’s pretty much it. It’s like a rock concert except there’s more of everything else. Except color, because we’re dressed in black and white. It’s a bid louder, more intense, a bit more energetic. The only thing it isn’t a bit more of is…calmer.

BE: I’m sure you’ve been asked this about 5,000 times, but here’s 5,001: why do you dress that way, anyway?

PA: It looks good, but also, we’re convinced it makes us sound better. Like some hippie bands had some statues on their amps and stuff because it made them sound better? This makes us sound better. The treble’s a bit clearer.

BE: I’ve been listening to your stuff for a couple years now….but describe your music for those who haven’t heard it.

PA: Well, it’s rock music, that’s what it is, I’ll tell you that much. Very very very energetic rock music. If you like the classic values of rock – first it has to be entertaining and exciting, and after that you can do different things with it – it’s fast and loud and fun.

BE: Does the DVD cover one show or a series of shows?

PA: We just recorded one show and we had to just trust that we’d be good enough to put it out, otherwise we’d have to record another show. It’s one show straight through, not edited. It turned out really well. We spent a lot of time cutting between cameras and making sure the sound was as good as it could be.

BE: What do you remember about the gig?

PA: I was going into the crowd and this guy was pulling on my leg and I fell and did a jump and I landed with my shins on the barrier. I think you can maybe see where it happens. My leg was bleeding and swelling up halfway through the show, and I keep getting stiffer and stiffer. But the good thing is that I was wearing black pants, so you can’t see the blood.

To read the read of the interview, click here.


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