Nardwuar: Who are you?
Howlin' Pelle Almqvist: My name is Howlin' Pelle Almqvist from a band called The Hives. We're from Sweden and I sing in the band.
Nardwuar: And who are you?
Dr. Matt Destruction: I'm Dr. Matt Destruction and I play the bass guitar in the Hives.
How do you spell "The Hives"?
And how do you spell "genius"?
HPA: T-H-E H-I-V-E-S.
Now you guys are from Sweden. Prove to me that you're from Sweden.
MD: Tjena, jag kan svära på att jag är från den sta'n.
(Translation: "Howdy, I can swear I'm from that town.")
Who is Randy Fitzsimmons?
HPA: It's a character we know from way back in the day in Sweden, he got us together as thirteen or fourteen year old boys, to play music pretty much. It's his idea that we should play in a band together, and seems like it was kind of a good idea, doesn't it?
Sounds kind of scary, an old man hanging out with thirteen or fourteen year old boys there, Pelle.
HPA: No, did I say he was old?
N: No you didn't, Oh he could be like a child prodigy then. So Randy Fitzsimmons writes all the songs.
N: But he's not here right now.
HPA: No he isn't.
N: He's not on tour with you.
HPA: No he isn't.
So when did you guys start as a band, like I heard you started and you were kind of like NOFX-ian and then Randy got a hold of you and steered you in the right direction.
HPA: No, that's not quite right. He was into the NOFX-ian thing as well. I don't know if I would call it NOFX-ian, it's just that people sound a certain way when their like voice is changing and they're trying to sing in a punk rock band. You just sound a certain way. But then we got older and the music sort of grew a beard.
So are you excited about this brand new tour that you guys are on?
DMD: Yeah, it's fun, it's...
HPA: Brand new? Brand new, I dunno. It's the end of the tour. And we've been touring for like, one and a half years straight, so it's not really that new to us, but it's still exciting.
Like, you guys are on the road, right now with International Noise Conspiracy, ok, well this is like the last date. What are some of your impressions of America? Country Music?
DMD: Yeah sure, country music.
HPA: Country music could never be understood by anyone outside the North American continent, I'm pretty sure, like the country music they play on the radio nowadays. The lyrics are so, everything in the lyrics has to be so obvious, they explain exactly everything, which is kind of an interesting thing.
So does that make you excited about America, to be in a land of country and all that, like what has excited you about America, what are some of the impressions that have been thrown against you Pelle?
HPA: I got excited 'cause I saw my first desert. I never saw a desert before in my life. And the thing about America is that, I could probably find places to live in America, but to go somewhere, to another kind of nature, you have to go so far. Like in Sweden you have like a mountains, and then you have like a beach, and then you have like a forest, and everything is really close, you can go for one hour in the car and you can find everything. But in America, you have to go like fifty two hours in a car to find a mountain if you're at the beach and all that. So I like Sweden a bit more because it's more compact. I had a lot of fun in America, though.
How 'bout you, Matt? What sticks out in your mind from this tour?
DMD: I don't know really. It's been great shows for us, a really great response from everyone. I like American food. (laughs) That's about it.
Yeah, Pelle, I was gonna ask you about that. I heard that the Hives are kind of angry that everything is cheese based in the United States of America. Explain about that, because isn't there a lot of cheese in Sweden?
HPA: Not the same. Not in the same way. Like Swedish food, you might have potato-based food, a lot of potato and a little bit of cheese. But in America, the base ingredient of everything is cheese. Which, we like cheese though, the problem isn't the cheese, the problem is the only thing you can get is cheese almost.
But come on, when I think of Europe I think of like beer halls and lots of cheese and stuff.
DMD: Well, no, that's not true really. Not in Sweden.
HPA: Sweden has healthy food, seriously.
No cheese? Come on, there's lots of cheese in Europe.
HPA: There is cheese. You can get cheese in Sweden, but there's not that much of it. (laughs)
On this particular tour, you've been touring I guess in a little van, haven't you?
Normally in Europe you tour in a giant bus, don't you? You guys are HOT in Europe, aren't you?
HPA: Yes we are.
Now tell me about the bus there, Pelle.
HPA: The bus in Europe?
Yeah, what's on the bus, it's a hot bus, isn't it, Pelle of the Hives?
HPA: Yeah, we have DVD players and we have surround sound and we have everything. No, it's different, 'cause we rent the buses, we don't own like a big bus, we rent them, so it's a different bus every time.
But you were quite successful in Europe so you were actually able to have a bus.
DMD: Yeah, sure.
But here in America you're stuck in a little van, rented in Canada though, Thank You!
HPA: Yeah, yeah, no problem, you're welcome. Uh, we don't have a problem with touring in a van though, we toured in a van for like six or seven years before we ever toured in a bus.
Now you've been touring with the International Noise Conspiracy. What have those little socialists taught you? Have you learned any good slogans, or have they recommended any good books, Pelle of the Hives?
HPA: They recommended a lot of books. We've known them for a long time though, so we're kind of used to it. (laughs) We know each other fairly well.
How about you Matt, what has the Internation Noise Conspiracy taught you?
DMD: I don't know, as Pelle said, we've been round with them so long time, so. This tour maybe, what they've said gone in here and out there sometimes.
Oh come on Pelle, can you shoot back some rhetoric for me? You've just done an entire tour with International Noise Conspiracy. What have the Hives learned? You must have learned something new.
HPA: We already know everything, what can we learn?
I heard on this particular tour that you guys are just blowing the audiences away and that you guys are kind of like Hendrix, opening for the Monkees, i.e. the International Noise Conspriacy.
HPA: Eh, I don't know about that. We've been doing really really well, that's about what I can tell you, I can't tell you...
Like you sold about 250 T-shirts in like Pomona, or something, that's ridiculous!
HPA: It's good ridiculous though, there's bad and good ridiculous. No, I'm really happy, it's been going much better than anyone thought. But you can't fool the kids, the kids love the Hives, but record company people and booking agents and all that, they didn't really think that we were going to do all that well I think, and neither did we, but you can't fool the kids.
And the kids in Britain sure know about you, 'cause I understand you cancelled some dates in Canada, to play on the Jools Holland TV show in Britain!
HPA: (coughs) Sorry about that. Yeah, that happened.
Come on, don't just downplay that, you got to be on the Jools Holland TV show with Hall and Oates. The Hives and Hall and Oates!
HPA: And the Hall and Oates liked us too.
Explain that experience please, Pelle of the Hives.
HPA: It was really really weird. It was the Hives, Macy Gray, Garbage, the Beta Band, Jools Holland playing piano I think, and Hall and Oates. And apparantly we were the first band to ever go in front of the monitors on that TV show, and everybody got kind of scared of us.
Was that set up through Poptones? That's your label in the UK, isn't it.
HPA: Yeah, it's a label that released like a greatest hits compilation.
And things are going well, like aren't you going to be on the cover of the NME, I heard?
DMD: I don't know.
HPA: Maybe. Because they've been doing interviews and stuff with us, I don't know if it goes on the cover or where they put it in the magazine.
People from Sweden shouldn't be too surprised to hear of your success, 'cause you guys were nominated for like, a Swedish Grammy and what I find amazing is there were some death metal bands also nominated for that Grammy.
HPA: And they won.
And isn't that cool? Like, in Sweden a death metal band wins!
HPA: Yeah, yeah, but it was like the hard rock Grammy though. So it's like the Grammy for hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, all that kind of music. And we were nominated and this band, this trash-metal band called the Haunted won it.
Have you ever indulged in any death metal at all there Pelle, are you into death metal? Were you guys ever death metal fans?
HPA: I think he might have been.
DMD: Yeah, I have listened to Entombed, and Dismembered. A lot of Swedish stuff.
What do the death metal people think of the Hives?
HPA: Now though, its the same people who were into death metal who are into the Hellacopters in Sweden, so they like us, it seems. It's a lot of the same people pretty much. But death metal people, I don't know. You have to ask the death metal people. I'm not that in touch with death metal people.
Pelle of the Hives, what about Yngwie Malmsteen? Tell me about Yngwie Malmsteen, have you ever met him?
HPA: I've never met Yngwie Malmsteem, but he's just, you know, he's Yngwie Malmsteem, what can you say, he's genious.
Now, are you ashamed of Ace of Base? Is every Swede ashamed of Ace of Base?
HPA: Why would I? They're just people from my country. I'm not ashamed that they're from Sweden, 'cause they're just people. Are you ashamed of Celine Dion?
I love her!
HPA: Yeah, there you go.
Hey, you helped me answer my own question, but, Pelle of the Hives, tell me, do you have any cool ABBA or Roxette stories. Have you ever met those guys?
HPA: (laughs) Nobody in Sweden has ever met ABBA.
HPA: They're like ghosts, you know. People hear about people meeting them, but nobody ever meets them. They're just too secluded and famous and rich. They're like eccentric people...I don't know if they're eccentric, but they seem eccentric if you're from a small town in Sweden. And Roxette, I don't know. The singer from Roxette, the guy singer, Per Gessle, is going to be on a Ramones tribute that we're going be on. He's doing "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."
You'd freak out if he came to your gig though, wouldn't you? Like if an ABBA guy showed up at your gig.
HPA: I'd get confused, but I don't know how I'd react.
So we're here with Dr. Matt...
HPA: Pelle Almqvist.
I'm curious. You're success in Sweden, it's amazing, I heard you were even in the tabloids there, Pelle.
HPA: Ah... In the tabloids?
Like you were linked to a girl in the band Sahara Hot Nights!
HPA: Eh... I don't know if it was in the tabloids though, but I have been linked to a girl from the band Sahara Hot Nights.
Now what's it like being in the tabloids, or being in the papers all the time, having such a great degree of success?
HPA: I've been successful for so long though that I can't really remember how it was before my success. I lost my head a long time ago. So I get, I don't know, it's kind of weird, but then again it's kind of, you know, journalists right? It's just weird.