Hives Opens Can Of Bees

The Hives’ decision to appeal a Swedish court ruling that the band should repay The Cardigans 18.5 million kronor ($2.9 million) is likely to open up a whole can of bees for some of the country’s top international talent.

Two of Sweden’s best-known musical exports came to legal blows at Lund District Court April 16 because The Hives apparently owe The Cardigans the money as part of a loan arranged by Malmo-based Tambourine Studios, which also a has a finance and bookkeeping company that looks after the interests of both bands.

Tambourine, which specializes in tax planning, said it is standard practice for the company to transfer money from bands with high liquidity to those with less cash.

The Hives appeal will likely be based on the band’s claim that it wasn’t aware of the loan.

“There are no loan agreements, no signed documents, no agreements on interest rates,” the band said in a blog post before the Lund ruling. 

“We have never talked to Cardigans, Ark, or Tambourine on these ‘loans,’” it explained.

The Lund court took the view that, whether it was a loan or not, The Hives were in possession of money belonging to The Cardigans and the popular rockers should pay it back. It also ordered The Hives to pay The Cardigans’ costs.

The Hives’ reference to Swedish glam rock act Ark suggest there may be a swarm of inter-band writs in the pipeline.

Some Swedish papers say that Europe, the act behind ’80s rock anthem “The Final Countdown,” claimed that Tambourine forged signatures on some of its documents.

They also report Swedish authorities are investigating The Hives’ claim that their signatures on several documents were forged.

Last year, The Hives sued their own accountant for not informing them about Tambourine’s accounting practices. The verdict on that one is pending.

Petri Lunden from Hagenburg, a Gothenburg-based management company that represents The Cardigans and Europe but doesn’t run their finances, told Pollstar that he struggles to believe The Hives didn’t know about the loan.

“I understand the money owed is part of what was originally a larger loan than is being reported and The Hives have already paid back 23 million kronor ($3.5 million) of it,” he said.

Prior to the announcement that The Hives will appeal the Lund court decision, frontman Pelle Almqvist told national daily Aftonbladet that the verdict could mean “the death of the band.”

It wasn’t possible to get clarification from Tambourine at press time.