"We're hoping we come back from the tour with half of a new album or something."
Hailed as one of Spin Magazine’s '50 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time', and his band The Hives as 'The Best Live Band In The World', Pelle Almqvist is an electric and charismatic performer.
Down the line from the US, he’s somewhat more subdued, but his enthusiasm for Australia’s biggest rock'n’roll export comes through loud and clear.
“Yeah, we're huge AC/DC fans, I mean who isn't? Anyone with half a brain is,” he laughs. “AC/DC was the first band that I listened to, it's the first band I remember, the first artist I remember liking when I was, maybe, 5 or 6 years old. It's a long time... it's like a 30-year love affair with AC/DC. I think I've been an AC/DC fan longer than I've done anything in my life, bar maybe going on the toilet! It's a pretty fucking big deal for me.”
Almqvist makes no bones about his excitement at the prospect of meeting Angus Young and the rest of the band.
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“I'm mostly happy, I think,” he says, “I've met my fair share of my heroes. Pretty much all of them besides AC/DC. I know, sort of, what it's like - you're meeting a person, you know... I'll be pretty starstruck, I think, but, I'm going to pretend I'm not!”
In the States taking care of Hives business - “mixing business with pleasure, like alcohol with soda pop, gin and tonic. I'm doing a bit of both. I like being here but I'm also getting work and shit done, so it's the best of both worlds, really,” he says, “I feel embarrassed every time I call it a job.” – Almqvist says the band will be working in between their Australian gigs.
“Because there's so many days off on the AC/DC tour, we're gonna spend most of the time working on new stuff. Rehearsing and things like that. We're hoping we come back from the tour with half of a new album or something.
“Yeah, a ton of days off," he adds. "I think the answer is surf and make music. You could have a worse life than that!”
Being hailed as one of the greatest frontmen of all time is quite an honour for the 37-year-old Almqvist, so I want to find out where he got his main inspiration for his magnetic stagecraft.
“I remember once, when I was kid,” he remembers, “I was watching TV on New Year's Eve and I think that day is probably the biggest influence on our stage show, even though I was maybe only 8 or 9 years old. They played one thing of James Brown, where he was performing with his band, I think it was I Feel Good or one of those songs. Then it was The Who at that TV show [The Smothers Brothers] where Keith Moon blows up his drum kit [after performing My Generation.] It had Pete Townshend wind-milling [his guitar] and Roger Daltrey throwing his microphone around... basically I've been making do with those two influences most of my life. Basically I stole half the James Brown moves and then I stole half the Roger Daltrey moves!”
Originally published in X-Press Magazine