Before the Hives take the stage today at Coachella, the Swedish rockers donned tuxedoes and top hats to play a Saturday set at L.A. radio station KROQ's Coachella house. The group played three songs, including two new ones; they were only scheduled to play two tracks, but frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist couldn't contain himself. He is just psyched to be on stage again.
"It’s really fun to play the new stuff; it’s really fun to play the old stuff. It’s really fun to just be playing live again," Almqvist tells Rolling Stone.
While they are enjoying playing all material, they are very fired up for the new album, Lex Hives, due on June 1st. "It’s a special feeling having made the album all by ourselves and sort of produced it ourselves and done everything," he said. "It feels a little bit more like we own it than the last one. I mean, the last one was exactly the way we wanted it, too, but we had more help on that. So it feels pretty powerful to know that if you left us with some rocks and a ukulele, we could still be the Hives."
The band is playing four new songs today, including "Come On, "Wait a Minute" and "Go Right Ahead," the first single that premiered on RollingStone.com. If their secret shows in Sweden are any indication, the Coachella crowd should be into the new material right away. "I think that they’ll jump up and down and I can speculate that maybe by the second or third chorus, they’ll know it and be singing along. That’s what happened on the smaller shows at least," he says. "Even people that didn’t know them seemed to get off on the new songs right away."
The last time the Hives rocked Coachella was 2003, almost a decade ago. But Almqvist isn't worried about aging. "We feel slightly younger, if anything," he says. "We start aging in reverse when we started doing it a lot, 'cause rock & roll touring is the secret to eternal youth. It’s the fountain of youth – look at Mick Jagger or Iggy Pop."