Hoping to rescue fans from another seasonal onslaught of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells,” the Hives have teamed up with Cyndi Lauper on a new Christmas track entitled “A Christmas Duel.” “Growing up, it was only ‘O Holy Night,’ which I really like now but being a young punk, it was the enemy,” the Hives’ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist tells Rock Daily about his motives to reinvent the conventional Christmas song. “I think Christmas is just our excuse to go full-out Phil Spector and use two drum kits and the bells and whistles. We wanted to have this juxtaposition of really sweet music and nasty lyrics.” The song would fit nicely on Spector’s own A Christmas Gift To You with its Wall of Sound production and girl-group call-and-response verses, but it’s the lump-of-coal lyrics that set “A Christmas Duel” apart from everything you’ll be hearing between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. “I bought no gift this year and I slept with your sister, I know I should have thought twice before I kissed her,” Pelle sings on the track, with Lauper responding with lyrics like “I bought no tree this and I slept with your brother, I wrecked your daddy’s car and went down on your mother.”
As for how the collaboration took place, “We came up with the song and we figured it was a duet, and we’d always hoped to do a duet with Cyndi Lauper. We thought she had a really cool voice,” Alqvist said. “We listened to her first album a lot on the tour bus.” Asked whether the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer was a fan of the Swedish punks, Almqvist responds, “Isn’t everybody?”
The band will escape the Scandinavian winter this Christmas and take their families on vacation to Australia. “It’s gonna be weird not having a white Christmas.” After a year of heavy touring, the vacation will likely extend into 2009. “We’re eventually going to make a new album, but first we’re gonna take the rest of the year off,” he says. “I’d like to spend enough time in my house to be bored.” “A Christmas Duel” will be available as a free download at the Hives’ website starting this Friday, November 28th, but you can preview the whole thing in the video above.