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Simply Hellacopter In – We’ll Provide the Rest…Hellacopters Arrive Stateside Luggage-and-Gear-less

The Hellacopters

Packing light is a rock and roll approach to traveling. Not making hotel arrangements, flying stand-by and spending vacation time couch-surfing is the standard protocol. This isn’t quite what Sweden’s The Hellacopters had in mind when they arrived Stateside March 5th without gear or luggage. In fact, it’s been quite a pain in the ass. “We’ve had some problems on tour,” reports guitarist Robert Dahlqvist, with more than a hint of sarcasm in his understatement. “We got here really slow; we haven’t got our luggage yet. No luggage; no gear – so we’re just borrowing things.”

With a dedicated fan-base deeply steeped in rock itself, help hasn’t been terribly hard to come by, according to Dahlqvist; but some hurdles are a bit harder than others for the band who hit the ground running with regard to its U.S. tour schedule. “People have been helping us out, but you know Nicke (Royale, lead vocals, guitar) is a left-handed guitar player; so it’s kind of hard to get guitars for him. I think he’s bought three guitars in three days and they all suck.”

All problems aside, the ‘Copters are glad to be back in the U.S. after a long stint everywhere on Earth but here. “It was 2002 last time,” recalls Dahlqvist, citing mounting events that led to the long States estrangement. “You know, we had some problems with the record company, getting the album out in the states and we had a year off. That’s why we didn’t tour here.”

The focus of this tour—at least from a booking agent’s perspective—was Austin’s South by Southwest music festival and conference, which attracts a swell of record execs and talent scouts. Having mentioned the label problems, it seems like a perfect opportunity for the ‘Copters to find a happier contract here.

When asked whether or not they’re ready to jump ship from their Universal Music imprint, Dahqvist again pours on the sarcasm—but this time it’s not quite as thick. “If they give a lot of money, we would think about it. We’re getting old. We just want to record albums and tour once in a while.”

From the band’s perspective, the festival is actually not as big a deal. They looked forward to Austin – after all they are the “best American rock band from Sweden,” in Dalqvist’s words. What better place to put that on display? But they do enjoy playing the smaller clubs around the states.

During their recent stints around Europe and much of the extended world, the Hellacopters have shared arena stages with acts like the Rolling Stones and AC/DC. Dahlqvist says the smaller venues are appreciable for their intimacy.

“We play bigger venues in Europe, so I love playing small venues in the states. We do a lot of clubs in Sweden – smaller capacity venues. I love playing clubs.”

The boys also look forward to spending some time with counterparts more on their level in the rock world during their 18-date (in 20 days) tour. “We’re playing with Nebula—they’re great. We’re also going to do a couple of shows with The Datsuns; and there’s this guy Mattias Alkberg from Sweden; and we’re really excited to play with him.”

The Hellacopters played SXSW this March at Emo’s and Denver’s Bluebird Theater on Monday, March 20, continuing on with several Western dates. Their 2006 release, Rock & Roll Is Dead, is available on Liquor and Poker Music.


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