The Hives are a Swedish rock band that first garnered attention in the early 2000s as a prominent group of the garage rock revival, playing garage punk. 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.
Beginnings of the Hives
The band claims it was formed in 1993 (Although formed in 1989 under a different name, different sound, and without Randy Fitzsimmons) under the guidance of Randy Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons suggested that they form a garage rock band. Fitzsimmons allegedly acts as a songwriter and Svengali for the band. In 1995 they were signed by Pelle Almqvist to Sidekick records, a subsidiary of the Swedish skate punk record label Burning Heart Records. 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.
Veni Vidi Vicious and Your New Favourite Band
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 track 'B is for Brutus" was also featured in the driving game for Playstation 2, Gran Turismo 4.
The Black and White Album
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 have also been 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 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), and Get Smart, and was also the official theme song for WWE Survivor Series 2007.
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.
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. However it was revealed in NME that Randy Fitzsimmons is a registered pseudonym belonging to Nicholaus Arson. This has led many to believe that Randy Fitzsimmons is in fact a myth, and that it is Arson who writes the songs. Arson and the rest of the band deny this and insist on the existence of Randy Fitzsimmons as the band's songwriter. In the same NME article, Arson was quoted as saying that having "Randy Fitzsimmons" as a registered pseudonym was so that he could pick up the checks addressed to Randy, and deliver them to him - a privacy measure using a legal loophole. This argument has yet to be either proven or disproven. When you look at the back of their album Tyrannosaurus Hives, you can see all of them from the waist down in perspective of their cover. There is one extra pair of legs that is supposedly Mr. Fitzsimmons'.
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 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 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.
The Hives are noted for wearing matching suits or outfits, always in nothing but black and white, synchronized to spell their name in one position. 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 schoolboy look, with black blazers bearing an "H" crest on the left breast (as pictured on the right), 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.
The Hives on Cartoon Network
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 final, featuring The Hives themselves performing.
Biography from Wikipedia