Say what you will, but when the world's greatest live rock-n-roll band comes roaring into The Vogue on Monday and you don't go, then you can't call yourself a lover of rock music. Those in attendance will enjoy a blistering demonstration of the fine art of rockmanship by Swedish sensations The Hives. This performance will be an especially historic one, as opening the show is Indy Punk Legends The Zero Boys whose "Civilization's Dying" was covered by The Hives in 2010. Will we see a joining of the bands? Will Howlin' Pelle and Paul Z trade verses? Maybe. Will our asses get owned? Definitely.
Drummer Chris Dangerous, bassist Dr. Matt Destruction and guitarist Vigilante Carlstroem make up the core of the best live band in the world, keeping things real while brothers Nicholas Arson and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist put on a display of over the top showmanship that takes cues from all the great masters from Freddy Mercury to Iggy to Sir Mick to Angus Young to Johnny Thunders. While opening a show for Ben Harper and Pearl Jam, Howling Pelle once told the audience "I'm here to save your evening." How can you not love that?
After making their most ambitious album, 2007's The Black and White Album, The Hives newest album, Lex Hives finds things scaled it back a little, making for a classic Hives record featuring the band doing what come natural to them. And it starts out with "Come On!" a brilliant blinding flash of rockitude that ranks with the best show openers ever. "Go Right Ahead" is like the best ELO song ever. Seriously. They even give Jeff Lynne co-writer credit.
At the heart of the album is one of the hardest rocking songs the band's ever written, "I Want More" is gonna be a monster live, with the machine gun drums and Pelle's spoken word vocals. This leads into "Wait a Minute Now" which may just be the catchiest song of the decade. "Patrolling Days," "These Spectacles Reveal The Nostalgics" (which looks like a Flaming Lips song but sounds like a long lost punk classic) and "High School Shuffle" promise to be concert heavyweights. This the great thing about being the world's greatest live Rock-n-Roll outfit, songs that sound great on record will completely obliterate you live.
I recently had a brief chat with Nicholas Arson about the new album, playing with the Zero Boys and Mexico.
NUVO: You recently toured Mexico. How was that trip for you guys? I know you must have enjoyed the food!
Nicolaus Arson: Yup we loved the food, but more so, we love the fans! They love true style rock and roll down there and they really know how to show it. Everybody should go and experience Mexican rock and roll.
NUVO: The new record is being called a return to form by some critics. I never knew you lost your form. Did you have a preconceived notion of what Lex Hives was going to be before you started recording?
Arson: Not really, but we looked at The Black and White Album as the most hi-fi record we would ever make and hence, Lex Hives was for us a step back to a more garage-y sound. As far as the songs I think they evolved in the same manner as they always have, with us sticking in all our influences and making rock music based on that.
NUVO: How does a Hives song normally come to life?
Arson: A Hives song can come to life in any way really, a quote, a beat, a bass-line, a riff either instigated by us or Randy Fitzsimmonds. Then we bring it all together in the Hives dungeon.
NUVO: Is it difficult to keep up your standing as the world's greatest live rock band of all time? What is it about this group that make your performances so great?
Arson: It can be a little tough sometimes, but we are driven by our love for the game and the panic of the slight possibility that we could become a band that sucks.
NUVO: You are finally going to get to play with the Zero Boys here in Indy! Any chance we might see you join them for a song or two? Pelle, at least, has to join them on "Civilization's Dying!"
Arson: Ha ha! I would love to see that, so I'm in!
NUVO: How do you describe the Hives to someone who has never seen or heard you before?
Arson: If the sun could play rock and roll, its band would be The Hives!
NUVO: How do feel about the upcoming Pink tour? You like these funky off-beat pairings don't you? Does it make you work harder to win over fans of a different artist?
Arson: Yes and that is the reason why we like doing them. It's great to play to a crowd that loves you, but sometimes it is equally great to play to a crowd that never heard of you, that you get to win over.
NUVO: How are your lives in Sweden when you're not touring? Are you like, national heroes? Or is the concept of stardom different there then here in America?
Arson: Yeah the concept of stardom is very different. You are supposed to stay humble and not pretend like you are better than anyone else. Very un-Hives-ish thinking if you ask me. But we have regular lives that sort of roll like that too. Washing clothes and going fishing. Only difference for us is that we wash clothes and go fishing thinking we are the greatest rock band in the world!
NUVO: What bands come closest to being as good as the Hives? Is there any band you wish you could have been in?
Arson: Yeah there are tons of great bands, I think, but sometimes they don't try as hard live as we do. I love The Refused live and I love the music of Fidlar, Fleshlights, The Reigning Sound, Black Lips ... I could go on and on. I would have wanted to be a fly on the wall in most bands, but playing guitar for Little Richard's touring band would have been the bomb.
NUVO: The Hives seem to be one of the few bands to still take the art of music video seriously. Why is this?
Arson: Because we really like making videos and we have always thought that we were important enough to have the best ones.