That was how The Concretes' heavily bearded driver greeted the band members when they first got on the bus for the their American tour last year. Little did he know how accurate he would turn out to be. Or that his catchphrase would end up as the title of the group's third album.
Back to the States, May 2006: In only a matter of days the band had all their instruments stolen outside The Bowery Ballrom in New York City. Then their leadsinger Victoria collapsed in Boston. The group cancelled the rest of the tour and flew back to Europe to perform a song on The Jonathan Ross Show. Their spirits hitting an all time low. To add insult to injury, while in London and with just hours to go before shooting, Victoria decided to quit the band. Maybe the story of The Concretes should have ended there, just quietly disintegrating behind the end credits of a late night talk show on the BBC.
The seven members of the band minus Victoria - got drunk that night. Really, really drunk. The didn't want to quit. They started talking about how Fleetwood Mac, one of The Concretes favourite bands, turned into something entirely new when they'd lost a key member. Someone mentioned The Byrds and New Order. The Supremes anyone? Or why not The New Yardbirds?
"So what if the view is old, our angle is new"
(Souvenirs, The Concretes, 2007)
Cut to a few months later. In a studio out on a field in the south of Sweden. The exact same spot where The Concretes recorded their debut album. With ace producer - and occasional honorary Concrete - Jari Haapalainen. Lisa Milberg, founding member and very blonde drummer, is singing one of the new songs. Maria, founding member and brunette guitarist, is on backing vocals. Jari looks pleased behind the mixing desk. The song is called Kids and not only is it the first single from The Concretes third record, it also says everything you need to know about pop music, about its emotional powers and how you should never ever forget what made you fall in love with it in the first place.
And Lisa and Maria fell under its spell together. Their story is all in Lisa's lyrics.
"Come rainy days and we would just stay in
and take your brother's records out for a spin
Music could really knock you over back then
So we would lie on the floor just to be safe
Can we play it from the start
Let's relive just the chorus
Can we rewind to the part
Me on drums and you guitar"
(Kids, The Concretes, 2007)
This is the reason The Concretes were formed almost ten years ago in downtown Stockholm. This is the reason they had to reinvent themselves for Hey Trouble. They really had no choice. Hey Trouble is as much a logical continuation of the already ever changing world of The Concretes who, through sickness and health, have just renewed their vows, as it is the trembling first steps of a completely new band.
The Concretes are: Lisa Milberg, Maria Eriksson, Martin Hansson, Per Nyström, Ulrik Janusson, Daniel Värjö and Ludvig Rylander.