The vocalist reminisces about the Moreton Bay bug, his love for Hard-Ons and why he wished he could never sing for AC / DC
Everyone’s life is affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. Howlin ‘Pelle Almqvist, the great frontman of Swedish rock heroes The Hives, of course no exception.
“It has affected my life as a rock star who travels the world for a living,” he told Double J’s Tim Shiel. “It has affected my life very badly.”
Check out Tim Shiel’s chat with Howlin ‘Pelle Almqvist above:
At least not because the singer himself actually caught the virus. It was in the early days of the pandemic, meaning he wasn’t quite sure what was going on. But he managed to recover without much difficulty.
“It was like being sick for 10 days,” he said. “It was so early that I didn’t really know anything about it, or nobody really knew about it. It was like March or something.
“So, it was like, ‘Oh, I think I have a new Chinese thing.’ Then there are a lot of strange symptoms that appear sequentially. Every day, I feel better, and every day it will become a new strange symptom that I have never had. experienced before.
“It’s boring, but for me, it’s not that bad. I mean, obviously it affects people differently. I guess I’m lucky.”
Lockdown has been a struggle for the tough tour frontman, who realizes how much is in the way that drives him.
“This is interesting, cos [lockdown] was a kind of precursor to retirement. It’s like testing retirement too early, “he said.
“It freaks me out a little. How much I love what I do has become clear. How much I miss him when I don’t have time to do it. So I guess I’ll have to find a hobby or something to retire.”
No gigs meant very little friendship with fellow Hives bandmates. Though thankfully this is something the band has been able to improve in recent weeks.
“We keep in touch, but we rarely see each other,” said Almqvist. “We all live in different places in this country, so, meetings for practice and so on, if that didn’t happen, we would rarely see each other.
“Now we meet because we’re on this tour. So we’ve actually met and practiced and stuff, which is really great.”
Yes, The Hives is on tour. Right now! In fact, depending on when you are reading this, you may still be able to catch their Australian show. (Expires at 10:15 p.m. Friday January 29).
Okay, so they won’t Becomes in Australia, but they play to Australia.
The band currently holds live streaming events related to the time people in their chosen country usually go to the show.
So, when they play at 9pm Australian time, it is much less rock’n’roll time at their Swedish base.
“I think we played at 11 am or so, which is not the right time to rock’n’roll,” said Almqvist. “It’s kind of nonsense, but not completely bullshit. More like half bullshit. Half bullshit.”
Having to adjust to different time zones around the world may seem like a difficult task, but it is no more difficult than the way they usually operate, the vocalist said.
“Sometimes we fly to Australia – like a 36 hour flight – then we sleep for five hours, and then we do a show: it’s a lot worse than this,” he said.
“The thing that makes it hard to get in the mood is the fact that there are no crowds in the room. It’s really weird. We have to deal with that more than we have to deal with the time difference.
“But we’ve recorded crowds of Australians playing speakers in the room where we play. So if we close our eyes it feels like you are there. I think that would be very helpful.”
The band now knows from experience that it is important to have a loud voice from the crowd channeled into the band.
“We did one of these without it and it hurts a lot,” Almqvist said.
“You play a song and you think you did your best and think it worked out well. Then it’s just a compact silence until you do something else. It’s not what it should be.”
Since their first visit in the early 2000s, The Hives have been frequent Australian guests. But they have been out for some time now, having not visited since 2015.
It stands to reason, then, that there are a few things this band misses about our country.
“Many things,” said Almqvist. “The people are nice. Usually the weather is pretty good when we get there. I love all of that.
“I love Melbourne. I love Sydney. I love to eat there. I love to be there. There are many things I miss.
“For certain foods, all kinds taste good there. Moreton Bay Bugs are the hardest to come by anywhere else. I guess I’ll choose them. I’ve never seen them on another continent. I don’t think they don’t exist.”
Proving his taste beyond culinary arts, Almqvist also has a long history of being obsessed with Australian bands.
“The first Australian band I really liked as a child was that Hard people, “he said.” I really like them. I discovered them when I was 13 or older and they were my favorite band for a while.
“The Saints has become another favorite Australian band. I don’t really know them, but I met Chris Bailey a few times.
“And Bad Seed is a really great band. I mean, they come from all over the place, but I’m going to call them Australian. “
But there is one band he missed. The group that brought The Hives to our shores the last time they were here was over half a decade ago. He forgot about AC / DC.
“I love everything they do,” he said of the band’s latest record. “It’s like it’s embedded in my DNA. I can’t help but like it.
“We toured with them in Australia a few years ago and it was a childhood dream come true. AC / DC was the first band I liked of my own accord. The first band I decided I liked when I was maybe six. year old.
“I think that’s when I dreamed the most about being who I am: an internationally famous rock star. I mean, I gave up on that dream when I was seven years old, and then it happened.
“But yes, they must be one of my favorite bands.”
They don’t think of Australian bands, as he considers them a band that transcends the venue.
“It may seem strange, but I don’t even think they’re Australian, because they seem like superheroes to me. Like, they’re from Universe. It is too much for me to think that they came from a specific geographic place on Earth. “
When frontman Brian Johnson left AC / DC, Almqvist did what the very confident and self-respecting rock’n’roll frontman did. She posted on Facebook that she wanted the damn job.
“I have years of experience rocking the world’s biggest stage and according to others, I am the biggest rock frontman,” he wrote in the post.
“Plus judging by the reaction in Australia your audience seems to like me very much.
“Plus, I’ve been singing those songs since I was 6 years old”
Years later, with Brian Johnson returning to his proper place in front of AC / DC, Almqvist has no regrets firing his shot.
“Well, Axl Rose did the same thing and he got the job,” he said.
He insists there has never been any discussion about him fulfilling this childhood fantasy.
“No, that’s my monologue,” he said. “I never heard back.
“It’s too much fun not to write it. I didn’t expect it would actually be called. But I thought my goal with him was to audition. It would be the most amazing thing to actually sing the song together. AC / DC.”
For what it is worth, he will choose ‘Rock’ N ‘Roll Damnation’ or ‘Riff Raff’ as his audition song. But, he hopes it never ends like that.
“Hope Brian stays there.”
Hives is on their World Wide Web World Tour right now. Get more details on their website.