The Hives are a Swedish garage rock band that first garnered attention in the early 2000s as a prominent group of the garage rock revival. Their mainstream success came with the release of the "greatest hits" album "Your New Favourite Band", featuring their most well-known song "Hate to Say I Told You So". The Hives are known for performing in ever-changing black and white suits.
The band claims it was formed in 1993 (although formed in 1989 under a different name & sound) under the guidance of Randy Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons suggested that they form a garage rock band. He gave each band member a letter asking them to start the band. Fitzsimmons allegedly acts as a songwriter and Svengali for the band. The band recorded a demo titled Sounds Like Sushi in 1994. The following year they were signed to Bleeding Heart, a Swedish skate punk record label. The following year they released their debut EP "Oh Lord! When? How?" Almqvist decided to promote the band to Burning Heart.
1997 saw the release of The Hives debut album "Barely Legal" (an early stage name of guitarist Vigilante Carlstroem), and they began touring. The following year they released their second EP "A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T".
They released their second studio album "Veni Vidi Vicious" in April 2000 through Warner Music Group. The band themselves described the album as being like "a velvet glove with brass knuckles, both brutal and sophisticated at the same time". The album yielded the singles "Hate to Say I Told You So", "Main Offender", "Die, All Right!", and "Supply & Demand".
After seeing the video for "Hate to Say I Told You So" on German TV, Alan McGee (Oasis, Creation Records) decided to sign the band to his newly formed Poptones label. Poptones released the 'best of' compilation "Your New Favourite Band" in 2001, which proved to be their breakthrough record, reaching #7 in the UK album charts. Following the success of the album, the band re-released singles "Hate to Say I Told You So" and "Main Offender" which reach numbers #23 and #24 respectively in the UK Singles chart. The band also re-released Veni Vidi Vicious in the US.
It was during the promotion of "Veni Vidi Vicious" and "Your New Favourite Band" that The Hives signed a record deal with Universal Music, reportedly worth $50 million. This led to a dispute between The Hives and Burning Heart, who claimed that The Hives were still contracted to them for one more album.
After extensive touring, the band retreated to Fagersta to record their third album. The result was 2004's "Tyrannosaurus Hives", their first new material in four years. The album includes the hit singles "Walk Idiot Walk" (which debuted at #13 on the UK singles charts) "Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones" (another top 50 hit), and "A Little More for Little You". The tracks 'B is for Brutus" and "No Pun Intended" were also featured in the games Gran Turismo 4 and SSX On Tour, respectively. In 2006, their song "Diabolic Scheme" was used in the vampire film Frostbiten, marking the first time a The Hives song was used in a major motion picture.
The Hives' official website was overhauled in the second week of August 2007, with a grungier, "emergency broadcast" layout. The new site revealed the album's cover and the title of the first single, "Tick Tick Boom", with a release date of August 14 in the United States and October 8 in the United Kingdom. The release dates for the new record, "The Black and White" Album, were October 15 in the UK on Polydor and November 13 in the US on A&M/Octone in 2007. It was mostly recorded in Oxford, Mississippi, Miami, and in their native Sweden.
The Hives were featured in a Finish Line commercial performing "Tick Tick Boom", as well as a Nike commercial featuring the song "Return The Favour". "Tick Tick Boom" was also used in many different advertisements including: the 2007 season of the NFL Network, commercials for the CBS series Jericho, and the USA series Burn Notice, as well as the films Jumper (2008), MacGruber, and Get Smart, and was also the official theme song for WWE Survivor Series 2007. The Hives song "Try It Again" was featured in the trailer for the US film Get Him to the Greek.
On October 2, 2008, Nicholaus Arson added a diary entry on the band's official website writing "Right now we are at home resting our tired limbs and starting to gear up for the work ahead making a new record." This entry came after the band had finished their world tour supporting The Black and White Album.
On July 2, 2010, the band released an EP titled Tarred and Feathered, which covered "Civilization's Dying" by Zero Boys, "Nasty Secretary" by Joy Rider & Avis Davis and "Early Morning Wake Up Call" by Flash and the Pan. "Nasty Secretary" is also a song on the US release of the Gran Turismo 5 soundtrack. On January 9, 2011, Nicholaus Arson wrote another short diary entry on the band's website saying that they had recorded some new songs before Christmas, and were planning to continue recording throughout January.
The Hives completed recording vocals and guitar in late November 2006 for a song called "Throw It On Me", a collaboration with hip-hop producer Timbaland. The song was included on his album, "Timbaland Presents Shock Value", released April 3, 2007. They also performed in a music video for the track. The Hives also have recently spoken of a collaboration with Jack White's The Raconteurs on a song for their new album, originally entitled "Footsteps", however it was later revealed that Howlin' Pelle had literally recorded footsteps. Howlin' Pelle also did a collaboration with Swedish rock artist Moneybrother, a cover of an Operation Ivy song "Freeze Up". They used Swedish lyrics and called it "Jag skriver inte på nått", which translates as "I Won't Sign Anything". In October 2008 it was revealed the band had recorded a Christmas duet entitled "A Christmas Duel" with Cyndi Lauper, which was available as a free download from their website on November 28, 2008. On November 27, 2008, The Hives official website had begun to play the Cyndi Lauper\The Hives duet automatically whenever it is visited.
In a November interview with leading Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter", Swedish rapper Petter announced that The Hives were working on a new version of his track "Repa skivan" for his upcoming album.
All songwriting except covers on the band's albums are credited to "Randy Fitzsimmons." The band claims Fitzsimmons is an honorary "sixth Hive", who along with writing their music, discovered and manages the band.
The Hives live show has been highly rated - Spin magazine rating them 8th best in rock music. In concert, vocalist Pelle Almqvist and his guitarist brother Nicholaus Arson handle showmanship while the other members attend to musical business. Pelle is known for his "colourful idiocy" - stage diving, scissor kicks, climbing amps, and eschewing false modesty with pronouncements such as "I've been busy being fantastic."
Pelle: "I'm out of control! Tell me to take it easy!"
Crowd: "Take it easy!"
Pelle: "No, I wooon't!"
Pelle: "Bad music is the devil and I will be your exorcising priest, helpin' you out!"
and unlikely explanations for the need for the crowd to make more noise:
"I don't know if you know this but there are monsters in [name of the city they are performing in]. If the club goes silent then the monsters come and kill everybody!"
Pelle: "This is a stick-up! Put your hands up! Now, last song I told you to put your hands in the air...But I never said you could take them down. Now! OBEY ME! Put your hands in the air and make some noise!"
At the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, The Hives performed "Main Offender" in a "Battle of the Bands" type of set up, with The Vines playing their hit "Get Free" right after The Hives. Before The Vines began playing, Pelle Almqvist said to the crowd, "I know you want us to play more, but that's all the time we have so you can turn off [your TV] now!"
The Hives played at Rock Werchter Festival 2008 in Belgium and played for an extra 15 minutes, refusing to leave the stage: "They're telling us we have to go now... Do I look like I give a fuck?"
The Hives performed at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia, singing "Tick Tick Boom" during the players' presentation.
On the 25th of June 2010 they performed at Hard Rock Calling in London's Hyde Park before Ben Harper and Relentless Seven and the headline act, Pearl Jam. On stage, Almqvist declared "I am here to save your evening."
They have toured with other groups such as Maroon 5, The Hellacopters, The Donnas and Eagles of Death Metal.
The Hives are noted for wearing matching suits or outfits, always in nothing but black and white. However, their clothing has changed with each album. They wore suits with ascots for "Veni Vidi Vicious", suits with colonel-styled laces and white spats for "Tyrannosaurus Hives" and bandanas and suspenders for their 2007 hurricane tours. For their newest album "The Black and White Album", they have gone with something of a school uniform look, with black blazers bearing an "H" crest on the left breast, and striped black and white ties. As of late September 2008 and near the end of their "Black and White Tour", The Hives have changed their wardrobe to white suits with a striped black tie. In the summer of 2009 The Hives walked out on stage in Hultsfred wearing new clothes that can be described as white workwear with a black shirt and same tie and crest as the last tour. In 2010 they wore new clothes again when the summer tour began in Hässleholm, Sweden. Now they are dressed as what can be described as a mix between old French soldiers' uniforms and boy scouts' uniforms.
The Hives have been featured playing "Fall Is Just Something Grownups Invented" on Cartoon Network since fall 2007. There are several versions of the song shown: one, a shortened version, that is simply played between shows and features children dancing, another, full version, with lyrics and the same children dancing, and a finale, featuring The Hives themselves performing.
• Howlin' Pelle Almqvist (Pelle Almqvist) – lead vocals
• Nicholaus Arson (Niklas Almqvist) – guitar, keyboard
• Vigilante Carlstroem (Mikael Karlsson) – guitar
• Dr. Matt Destruction (Mattias Bernvall) – bass guitar
• Chris Dangerous (Christian Grahn) – drums, percussion
• Wolverine Brändström (Johan Brändström) - guitar (Temporarly replaced N. Almqvist on guitar in 2010.)
Official Website: http://thehivesbroadcastingservice.com/
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/thehives