It was the first non-cold, non-rainy day of the Coachella weekend–and that’s good, because the official Coachella “interview trailers” were full up, and I had to interview 2/5ths of the Hives out back of the Press Tent near the palm trees and the puke-strewn dirt. When you think of this interview, imagine the THROBBING bass notes of Santigold in the background, as 20,000 people sit in a field nearby and cheer while dropping tabs of ecstasy.
So you guys have been together for almost twenty years now. Have those years been grueling and exhausting and icky, or has it been wonderful and exciting and enriching?
CHRIS DANGEROUS (drums): It’s been going from wonderful and exciting straight upwards. We haven’t peaked yet, but it’s just schmoozing along. We wouldn’t be together for twenty years if we weren’t having a good time, you know what I mean?
Did you ever come close to breaking up?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Not really breaking up, you know. Whenever we make a record, we’re really close, and the moment the record is done we’re back to being best friends, and it’s like we never had a problem. Once you’re actually there, it can be pretty exhausting.
Is that why it’s been so long since your last record? The last thing I saw from you was the Cyndi Lauper Christmas thing you did.
CHRIS DANGEROUS: We did a cover thing called Tarred and Feathered after that, but the last three years, I think we’ve toured the entire time. And it takes us a few years to make a record. I mean, if you look at the time spent in between records it’s two or three years, and now it’s been five, but it’s pretty much the same thing, you know? We can’t really tour and make a record at the same time. It takes a while.
I noticed you guys have a different outfit than I’ve seen before. Is this the official Hives outfit?
MATT DESTRUCTION (bass): This is our offstage wear.
It’s so hot. Do you ever have a summer edition of your uniforms with shorts and short sleeves?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Yes! Not shorts, but half long shorts. Military style, you know? We’ve got uniforms for every occasion.
The beret is optional?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: The thing is, if it’s too comfortable you don’t look good. You’ve got to hurt a little bit and then you look good. It’s a tad warm, but it looks good, man.
I’m interviewing Housse de Racket from Paris after this. Their press release indirectly insinuates that Paris has a better culture with fashion and art than countries like Sweden. Do you think that’s true?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Yeah, it probably is. Paris is kind of famous for a couple things. One is fashion, the other is the Eiffel Tower.
What’s Sweden’s Eiffel Tower?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: The Hives.
Your previous EP had a Zero Boys cover. Do you think that might have encouraged them to reform and start playing?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: I don’t think so. It’s been great songs and a great band all along. I’m not going to take credit for them trying to play that stuff again. Hopefully not. They could do it without us.
MATT DESTRUCTION: They’re fucking great.
Who do you see yourselves covering in the future?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: We were here in Van Nuys and mixed our record. We recorded something at the same time at Josh Homme’s studio in Burbank, and what we recorded there, there were actually two covers. People will be able to pick those up when the singles come out. One of them was a song by Alex Carole and the Crush that I produce. He’s a Swedish guy. And the other song is a song called “Insane.” which is by Vigilante[Carlstroem, Hives’ guitarist]. He is in another band, big guitar guy, he’s in another band called Dragtones, and it’s a song of theirs that we really like! We’re keeping it in the family.
We love the Dragtones! What bands here are your friends or who are you looking forward to seeing?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Tonight I want to see Justice, talking about the Eiffel Tower and shit! And of course Dre and Snoop, and I really want to see At The Drive In. We saw them Friday—they’re one of those bands that are really good that we saw when they were around.
There have been a lot of garage bands playing Coachella this year, and you guys kind of fall into the oeuvre. But I have this theory that there is two kinds of garage bands: there are bands like The Black Keys that are more complex and have a lot going on and are maybe more accessible, and then there’s bands like the Black Lips that are sort of raw and less accessible, but maybe more true to the spirit of garage. Do you think that’s true, and if so, where do the Hives fall?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: I don’t know. I mean, you’re probably right in some ways, but I really wouldn’t want to put us somewhere. You know, we got popular at the same time as the Strokes and the White Stripes, when this garage thing got popular again. So call us garage, you are more than welcome to, but to us it’s just rock ‘n’ roll.
Are you guys playing L.A. soon?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: We’re doing Pomona tomorrow, at the Glass House, and then we’re doing Solana Beach the day after, and then San Fran, but no L.A. show this time.
The hardcore fans will go to Pomona, it’s not that far away.
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Yeah, and Glass House is a great venue, we’ve played there a bunch of times.
Is there something you would like our L.A. Record audience to know that I didn’t ask?
CHRIS DANGEROUS: Thanks for loving us, and we’ll come back! We won’t just get to Pomona. We’re coming to L.A.!
-D. M. Collins
THE HIVES PLAY MONDAY, APR. 13, WITH THE RAPTURE AND HOUSSE DE RACKET AT THE GLASS HOUSE, 248 WEST 2ND STREET, POMONA, CA 91766, (909) 865-3802 7 PM/$22.50. VISIT THE HIVES AT http://www.thehivesbroadcastingservice.com