We were playing in Borlänge Thursday when Nicholaus Arson sends some smoke signals from his home in Fagersta saying he can not make the show due to POISONING! Possibly (maybe even probably) by a competing band at the Peace and Love Festival.
"Do the Hives cancel?" I ask.
You answer "No!" and you would be correct.
Instead, mark the date - on the eighth day of the seventh month in the year of our lord 2010: we got much appreciated and absolutely fantastic help from a man hailing from the deep forests of northern Sweden. He played a huge Gretsch, had a beard and dazzled everybody with his positively nuclear guitar abilities. His name, Wolverine Brandstroem and after a brief search we found him working in a print shop in the infamous Västberga Industriområde striping taxis from black to yellow (yes, taxis are actually black but they cover them in a yellow plastic film. The reason being that it is fuckin' hard to sell a car that is yellow and has gone 3 million miles in 2 years). Vigilante was tasked with convincing Wolverine that he did not need to have a vacation, instead he needed to get his ass to Borlänge, learn all the Hives back catalogue on the train over and be fighting fit to play in front of 50,000 people in less than two hours. Wolverine answered that he did not really want to, as it would mess with his fishing schedule (Wolverines dive in water and catch and eat fish with their mouths, don't you know), but Wolverine also knew that no one else could do it. And so he agreed. 4 hours later he is kickin' ass and takin' names with The Hives in front of aforementioned crowd, blasting out deadly riff after deadly lick on a borrowed guitar in a borrowed stage outfit. Nicholaus Arson sends his blessing from the iron lung life support system freighted to his house.
Borlänge is as close to a hometown show as the Hives will get this summer. We all grew up just an hours drive away (that's 15 minutes if you are Chris Dangerous or Michael Schumacher). This means thousands of relatives- real and imagined- and a huge party with at least three generations of Hiveness. Right after this party we climb on a disgusting Finnish tour bus (very possibly the worst one on earth) where we close our eyes for a few hours before arriving at the Arlanda airport from where we do most of our flying. The plan is to ignore IAP - International Animal Protocol - and bring The Wolverine on board to let him loose on an unsuspecting French crowd at the Eurockéennes festival. This would prove more difficult than anyone could have imagined. We are to fly through Munich - a fairly nice airport I must say. Miles better than Charles De Gaulle or Köln (Cologne for those of you who wear it). It is nice....for a while. Then a while turns into two whiles which turn into 13 hours of travelling due to flights being cancelled - possibly because of Central European incompetence or more likely, the World Cup.
We eventually land in Zurich to take a new bus to Belfort where the Eurockéennes (pronounced ÖRRRÖKÄNN) Festival is held. This bus is vastly better! It is only one month old and the only people to use it before us is rock group Kiss (One of these 70s bands that changes members and still call themselves the same thing. You know, the reason we have at least two Thin Lizzies etc.) It has TVs coming out of the floor and everything is remote controlled - including the walls, which open and shut. Our driver Fritz is a gloriously mustached man! Through his cunning bus driving and the kick ass gendarmerie french-colonial-guard-uniform wearing, motorbike-riding police escort manage to get us there just in time for the show with us switching into stage garb at 160 km/h in a 5 ton bus - hitting our heads on everything - rattling around like a pocketful of coins dropped in a roller coaster. The bus screeches to a halt and we storm onto the stage powered by only caffeine and lousy white bread which is all you can get at airports anyway.
Need I say that The Hives came through once more and played a wonderful show?
You say "No!" and I concur.
The rain came down and the French screamed and danced all night long. "Ve luvv yu, yu bestreds!" After this show we all shower in some sort of subwoofer shower. They had placed the shower cabin in front of the main stage speakers.
After riding all night in the Kissmobile we wake up once again at an unspecified airport (I truly don't remember where or what) to fly to our FIRST EVER gig in Poland. We are to perform at the Heineken Open'er festival. 120,000 Polish people will be in attendance, and we will receive one of the most royal treatments from a festival in our 17 plus years as a rock band. We do not know this yet however. We feel like wrung out rags after our night in France.
To our unending joy we arrive by fancy Mercedes to the lunch buffet at the Sopot Sheraton. Sopot is a classic resort in Poland where I am sure all the communist leaders must have spent their holidays. I think that this is one of the problems with communism - even if everybody has exactly as much as everybody else, there are always better and worse places to live. This looks like one of the better ones as 'Polish places to live' go. After a fantastic lunch we head on down to the beach. Polish beach dwelling males are intensely muscular and have very short hair. The females are wafer thin and very tanned. We then travel to the show in aforementioned Mercedes. The show is Wolverine's last and he does a fantastic job of pummeling the folks into the ground. I myself feel like a dog on too short a leash since my microphone cable is not really long enough to allow me to reach my new Polish friends in the crowd. We have the sun in our eyes and dust in our throats - but we have a great time. Possibly the best first show in a new country ever. It seems "Won't Be Long" is a hit here. It has been used to promote the festival on TV. Possibly the reason there are so many people here? I don't know.
After the show we meet up with The Dead Weather and have drinks and Cuban cigars under photos of the communist leaders who have stayed at the hotel. Castro, Putin etc. The Americans are very exited by the Cubans especially. We have a great time chit-chatting about Jack's new studio and the Swedish bands Komeda and Graveyard etc. Oh almost forgot. The backstage catering at the festival: YUM YUM! One Italian chef making pizzas and a Polish chef making Polish food and a Japanese chef making sushi.
The whole weekend felt weird and lonely without our Nicholaus Arson but he is finally better and we pulled through thanks in no small part to Mr. Wolverine Brandstroem! Applause for him!! All hail etc and so on...
Hey there fans, people of the world and all creatures living in our universe:
The last weekend was a special one if you happen to be Swedish, at least the Friday was. It was Midsummers Eve, second biggest holiday in Sweden after Christmas. As usual we had more important stuff to do than being at home partying our asses off with friends and family. Instead we played a kick-ass show in London, Hyde Park to more precise.
I´ve got to be honest with you though...we did have a party after the show with typical Midsummer food such as herring, new potatoes, Wästgöta kloster ost, and drinks such as snaps and, well, more snaps I guess...we brought everything with us from Sweden so, well done Hives, what a party!
Quiz: See if you can spot all of us in the party picture!
While we were in London we stopped by Lewis Leathers and got ourselves measured so we can look as good as The Ramones, The Clash and The Rolling Stones wearing their LL jackets. Outside the store a very beautiful 50´s BSA scrambler was parked, the bike got our pulse up a few notches just by standing there, so all in all a nice experience I would say.
The Saturday wasn't bad either, we played the Azkena festival in Spain, kick-ass show by yours truly again and great shows by two guys, i think one of them was called Chris Isaak and the other one Bob something, Bob Dylan i think? Both of them will go very far in the music business if you ask me. We also had a chat with Slim Jim Phantom, great guy if you ever happened to stumble across his path.