On the eve of the Zero Boys' performance at Art vs. Art, I figured it was time to shed a little light on The Hives' recent cover of the Zero Boys' "Civilization's Dying." The song is part of a 3-song EP called Tarred and Feathered that also includes a nice cover of Flash in the Pan's "Early Morning Wake up Call" and a killer version of Joy Ryder and Avis Davis' "Nasty Secretary." The songs are pretty much true to the originals, and for whatever reason, it is such a thrill to hear The Hives take on "Civilization's Dying." I mean, here are international bona fide rock stars giving some love to our hometown heroes. You just gotta feel good about that.
I wanted to learn more, so I recently caught up with Hives guitarist Nick Arson and asked him about all this Zero Boys hoopla.
Napier: How did the concept of this EP come about?
Arson: It's just music we love, music we listen to ourselves that we wanted to play.
Napier: When did you first hear the Zero Boys? What is it about "Civilization's Dying" that drew you to it?
Arson: I dont know really, but I remember that it was Pelle who played em to me, and you know what they say about the hand and the glove and the fit and all... well, that was it. A perfect fit! (Hey I'm a poet and I know it!)
Napier: Did your last visit to Indianapolis inspire you guys to cover this song?
Arson: Maybe a little bit. It didn't hurt at least. You showed us a good time with race cars and the history lesson pointing out the house where The Zero Boys started and stuff like that. I remember the show in the evening was great too. So all good memories from there.
Napier: What is it about Sweden that makes The Hives rock so hard?
Arson: Long winters, little sun, lots of staying indoors and small confined spaces. Also, I think our viking heritage makes us wanna swing axes around, strings or no strings...
Napier: In interpreting these songs, did the process help you discover new things about your own music?
Arson: You always learn new stuff when learning other peoples songs. Like, "Oh, they only do one verse," or "Oh, they do just what we normaly do,' or 'Oh, there is no real chorus, but still the song is the greatest I've ever heard" and stuff like that.
Napier: How are your European fans reacting to these songs? Do they know who the Zero Boys and Flash and the Pan are?
Arson: Some would probably know them, but we have only played them at big festivals so far, so its hard to hear any personal reactions to songs over the big crowd's drunken hum...
Hear "Civilization's Dying" from Tarred and Feathered (via Spinner). It's also available for free download by signing up to "The Hives Broadcasting Service," aka The Hives' official site. Live version below.