Formed in the mid-‘90s while schoolboys in Sweden, The Hives received an invitation to create a band from Randy Fitzsimmons – a figure whose identity is shrouded in mystery. According to guitarist Nicholaus Arson, Fitzsimmons is a pseudonym registered under Arson’s name, but make no mistake – Arson is not Fitzsimmons.

In a post on their official Web site, Arson explains, “I simply just collect the money that they bring in in the name of The Hives and Randy Fitzsimmons.”

Now that that’s cleared up, on to more of The Hives history. They released their first mini-album, Oh Lord! When? How?, in 1996 and the kids in Sweden went nuts. Barely Legal followed in 1997 and included a European and Stateside tour.

After their 1998 EP, a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T, The Hives are said to have lost contact with Fitzsimmons. Whatever the truth may be, The Hives laid low for a few years only to resurface in 2000 with Veni Vidi Vicious.

Obvious comparisons to The Strokes abound. Both are punk revivalists in their own way, preying on the sounds of Velvet Underground and The Stooges. But critics have branded The Hives as being more “raw” and have even gone so far to say that “The Hives make The Strokes sound like The Eagles,” according to one report. With members possessing names like Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, Vigilante Carlstrom, Chris Dangerous, Dr. Matt Destruction and Arson, they seem to fit the bill.

The Hives begin their U.K. tour May 2 in Liverpool. A few weeks later, they land on the West Coast to begin their U.S. outing. Thirteen shows in North America are on the books before The Hives travel back to the U.K., Ireland, and Japan.