Electric Six

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"The Wildbunch" redirects here. For other uses, see Wild Bunch (disambiguation).
Electric Six
Electric Six.jpg
Electric Six in 2007
Background information
Also known as The Wildbunch
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Alternative rock, dance-punk, new wave, hard rock, funk rock
Years active 1996–present
Labels XL Recordings, WEA, Metropolis Records
Associated acts Evil Cowards, The Dirty Shame, Dick Valentine, Johnny Headband
Website electricsix.com
Members Dick Valentine
Da Ve
Johnny Na$hinal
Smorgasbord
Tait Nucleus?
Percussion World
Past members Joe House
Gary Cook
Rock and Roll Indian
Surge Joebot
Murdock Ramone
Disco
M.
Frank Lloyd Bonaventure
Dr. Blacklips Hoffman
Mojo Frezzato
Jeff Simmons
Macro Duplicato
Dr. Diet Mountain Dew
John R. Dequindre
Brian Blastoise
The Colonel

Electric Six is a six-piece band from Detroit, Michigan. Their style has been described as a brand of rock music infused with elements of "Garage, disco, punk rock, new wave, and metal."[1] The band met recognition in 2003 with the singles "Danger! High Voltage" and "Gay Bar", and subsequently recorded nine full-length albums: Fire, Señor Smoke, Switzerland, I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master, Flashy, KILL, Zodiac, Heartbeats and Brainwaves, and Mustang. They have also released a rarities album, Sexy Trash, and a live album entitled Absolute Pleasure. A live DVD, funded via Kickstarter, called Absolute Treasure was released for download in February 2014.[2] Dick Valentine also announced on the Mustang tour that a new album was in the works.

History[edit]

Formation and the Wildbunch years[edit]

The band formed in 1996 and was initially known as The Wildbunch, eventually dropping that name due to pressure from the Bristol trip hop collective of the same name.[3] Throughout the later half of the '90s, they played regularly at the Old Miami and the Gold Dollar in Detroit,[4] the center of a scene that produced breakout acts like the White Stripes.[5]

The band was originally composed of Dick Valentine (Tyler Spencer, vocals), Rock and Roll Indian (Anthony Selph, guitar), Surge Joebot (Joe Frezza, guitar), Disco (Steve Nawara, bass, former member of The Detroit Cobras), and M (Cory Martin, drums). Dick Valentine is and has always been the primary songwriter (both music and lyrics) of Electric Six.[6] During the band's temporary split at the end of the 1990s, Tyler Spencer formed his own band called The Dirty Shame[7] and released one CD titled Smog Cutter Love Story which featured, among other tracks, a first version of Fire track "Vengeance and Fashion." The band reformed by 2001 to record and release the first release of "Danger! High Voltage" and record the track "Dealin' in Death and Stealin' in the Name of the Lord" with Troy Gregory for his Sybil album.[8]

Mainstream success (2001–2003)[edit]

The 2003 release of "Danger! High Voltage"[9] (produced and mixed by Damien Mendis and Stuart Bradbury) proved a massive hit, particularly in the United Kingdom.[1] The single also garnered the band public attention after a rumor got out that a pre-fame Jack White from The White Stripes sang backup vocals on the single track "Danger! (High Voltage)" when it was recorded.[10] Although this was presented as fact in multiple sources,[10][11][12] then-guitarist Surge said in an interview:

'What about the Jack White rumors? Who sings with Dick Valentine in the song?' Surge responds, 'No, no it's a fan. We put a competition out, um and he won, he's a mechanic, it wasn't Jack White.' Disco adds, 'Yeah he was probably the only person that entered!'[13]

In another interview, former drummer M. said: "My attorney has advised us to neither confirm nor deny the presence of Jack White."[14]

Still, the rumor persisted that Jack White was featured on the song "Danger! High Voltage."[15] Initially both he and the Electric Six denied this, and the vocal work was credited officially to the unknown John S O'Leary.[16]

The band's 2003 debut Fire (also produced and mixed by Damien Mendis and Stuart Bradbury) earned the group significant critical success, landing the "Danger! High Voltage" single at number 2 on the UK singles chart. Their second single, "Gay Bar", released in 2003, reached No. 5 in the UK charts.

The album made it into several best-of-2003 lists,[17][18][19] as well as reaching the top 10 in the UK album chart, and another single "Dance Commander", which gave Electric Six its third Top 40 single in the UK.

Lineup changes and tour[edit]

After finishing the recording of Fire, three members left in June, leaving Dick Valentine, M, and Tait Nucleus? (Christopher Tait). Johnny Na$hinal (John Nash, guitar, member of The Volebeats, The Witches and solo effort The Alphabet), The Colonel (Zach Shipps, guitar, ex member of Brendan Benson, The Atomic Numbers and Mood Elevator), John R. Dequindre (Chris Peters, bass/guitar) and Frank Lloyd Bonaventure (Mark Dundon, bass) (both-ex members of Ann Arbor's whirlingRoad, Getaway Cruiser and Six Clips) subsequently joined the group, although The Colonel had to opt out of early performances due to prior touring commitments.[20] In time, Dequindre switched from guitar to bass and Bonaventure left to attain a law degree.

In early 2004, Electric Six played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[21]

Señor Smoke (2005)[edit]

The band's second album, Señor Smoke, was released in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2005. Since the band had been dropped from their previous American record label,[22] a North American release of the album was delayed until February 7, 2006, when it came out on Metropolis Records.

The first single from the album put the band at the center of controversy, especially with Queen fans following a cover of the Queen hit song "Radio Ga Ga."[23] The controversial music video shows lead singer Dick Valentine as the ghost of Queen's flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury and a backing band of poodles. Queen drummer Roger Taylor, who wrote the song, said that he was "unimpressed" with the video;[24] Queen guitarist Brian May reportedly liked it.[25]

According to Dick Valentine[23][26]

Though some have claimed this video portrays me dancing on Freddie Mercury's grave, but that wasn't the idea. Actually it's more like we are resurrecting Mr. Mercury for the duration of the song and his grave is the logical starting point. We just were trying to show him being resurrected from the grave for three and a half minutes. I guess a video like that can be taken the wrong way, but we hadn't looked at it like that. Anyhow, everyone knows we disliked the fact that we had to put this song on our record, so this ridiculous video took a little bit of the sting out of it for us and made it somewhat bearable. It was also very rewarding to work with dogs. In terms of the response we've had, some people think it's brilliant. To the others, we can only apologise. We never meant for it to be taken that way. But I definitely respect Freddie and his work.

Switzerland (2006)[edit]

In November 2004, drummer M. called it quits, leaving Dick Valentine as the sole original member of the former Wildbunch. Their new drummer, Percussion World (Mike Alonso), has been affiliated with the band and its members for some time, and has been named as a permanent member of the band.

Electric Six finished recording their third major album, titled Switzerland, in November 2005[7] and released it in North America on September 12, 2006. The band intends to record a video for every song on the album, "a lot of them...low budget."[7] At present, eight videos have been released.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master (2007)[edit]

In May 2007, "Swedish" bassist Smörgåsbord! (Keith Thompson, member of Johnny Headband) joined the band, replacing John R. Dequindre on the bass, who reportedly wished to spend more time on his other musical projects.

I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master, Electric Six's fourth studio album, was released October 9, 2007. It has sixteen tracks. In the UK the album was released on October 22.

16 of the 18 tracks recorded were used on the album. There were no singles in support of this album, however the band have had several music videos produced and spread over the internet for a number of tracks on the album.

Flashy and Sexy Trash (2008)[edit]

A fifth album, Flashy, was released on October 21, 2008.

The band promoted the album in the US, the UK and Spain on their 'Hitting the Walls and Working the Middle' tour. A 30 track album of demos and previously unreleased material titled Sexy Trash was released and made available at those shows.

In May 2009, Metropolis records released "Covered in Gas" by Evil Cowards, a project by Valentine and Fall On Your Sword's William Bates.

KILL (2009)[edit]

KILL was released on October 20, 2009 in the US with the UK release following on November 2, 2009.[35]

Dick Valentine told the audience at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia on April 30, 2009 that the new fall release would be titled "Jared Styles";[citation needed] however the final name for the album simply became KILL.

A music video for first track on the album, "Body Shot", has been released on the internet, and is featured on the upcoming soundtrack of Michael Benveniste's "Tedd Can Chronicles" pre-production 2014 (citation needed).

Zodiac (2010)[edit]

On February 14, 2010, Dick Valentine announced via the Electric Six website that the band is in the process of recording their 7th studio album. Valentine also mentioned that this album would contain a cover song that they have been contemplating for a long time.[36] This cover has since been confirmed as "The Rubberband Man" by The Spinners.[37]

On April 30, 2010, Dick Valentine confirmed at a concert at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana that the seventh album would be a twelve-track compilation titled Zodiac. It was released on September 28, 2010.

Heartbeats and Brainwaves (2011)[edit]

The band's eighth studio album is titled Heartbeats and Brainwaves, as announced through their official website on June 22, 2011. It was released on October 11. It was the first release of which Johnny Na$hinal served as producer. Previews of five tracks from the album were posted on the band's official Facebook page.[38]

Absolute Pleasure and Destroy the Children (2012)[edit]

On January 30, 2012, the band announced via their website and Facebook that they are going to release a live album, entitled Absolute Pleasure, set for release in the fall of 2012. The album was recorded at shows in Minneapolis and Chicago in May. Initially reported to be a double disc album, with the first disc containing the entirety of their first album, Fire, and the second containing their "favorite tracks from all the other albums",[39] it has since been announced that it will be a single disc only release."[40] A live DVD of Fire was also going to be filmed at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on December 15, however on the night it was decided the filming was not going to go ahead.[41]

Lead singer Dick Valentine released his first solo album Destroy The Children under the Dick Valentine moniker on May 14, 2012.[36][42]

Absolute Treasure and Mustang (2013–2014)[edit]

On February 16, 2013, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign for a live DVD called Absolute Treasure.[43] The project was intended to give Electric Six the funds to film and release a live DVD of a performance to be filmed on September 7, 2013. The funding was successful.[44] Absolute Treasure was released for download in February 2014.

On April 11, 2013, the band confirmed through their Facebook page that their next album, Mustang, would be released in October 2013.[45]

Human Zoo (2014)[edit]

Towards the end of their 2013 tour, Dick Valentine confirmed on stage that they were working on a new unnamed album that was due to be released in 2014. On January 22, 2014 the Electric Six Facebook page posted "Hey Crazies...work has commenced on studio album # 2,143...or 10, depending upon how you're keeping score. It'll be out in the fall. No confirmed title yet, so don't ask."[46]

The title was later confirmed as 'Human Zoo' on May 16, 2014.[47]

Sound, style, and influences[edit]

Electric Six incorporates a variety of styles, resulting in being termed a "genre-blurring" band.[48] The group's sound has been described as a synthesis of "disco, synth pop, glam, and arena rock,"[49] including the falsetto vocals of disco, laden with "rampant solos, be they guitar riffs, synth wails, or strutting drums" that enforce the band's "energetic sound."[50] However, the band members themselves have rejected such genre classifications as "disco-metal" and "disco-punk."[51][clarification needed]

Critics have termed their lyrics as "disaffected, angry, ironic and lustful,"[52] expressing "macho flippancy" and "tongue-in-cheek pomposity."[53] Dick Valentine has estimated that "90 percent of our songs, maybe even higher than 90 percent" are "about absolutely nothing."[34] Songs by Electric Six are often concerned with subjects such as human sexual behavior, masculinity, dancing, hypersexuality, fast food and fire (The band's official biography states that their debut album Fire was so named because they "noticed an abundance of the word fire on this record and...decided to go with it."[4]). Lead singer Dick Valentine had commented on the aforementioned lyrical tendencies in song content with regards to the band's third album:

[...] for the first time, none of the songs have the word "dance" or variation of "dance" in the title. But fear not. We have songs with "drugs" and "girls" and "tonight" and "night" and "louder" and "party" in the title, so we haven't given up on our philosophy just yet.

[54]

Valentine cited Freddie Mercury, Talking Heads, Falco, Devo,[55] and Captain Beefheart as his musical influences, as well as Black Sabbath, Queen and KISS for the rest of the group.

Discography[edit]

Year Album UK[56] US Dance Record Label Certification
2003 Fire 7 5 XL Recordings UK: Gold
2005 Señor Smoke WEA
2006 Switzerland Metropolis Records
2007 I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master 5 Metropolis Records
2008 Flashy 14 Metropolis Records
2008 Sexy Trash
2009 KILL 20 Metropolis Records
2010 Zodiac Metropolis Records
2011 Heartbeats and Brainwaves Metropolis Records
2013 Mustang Metropolis Records

Charting UK singles[edit]

Year Single UK[56]
2003 "Danger! High Voltage" 2
2003 "Gay Bar" 5
2003 "Dance Commander" 40
2004 "Radio Ga Ga" 21

Timeline[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Electric Six: Band overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  2. ^ ""Absolute Treasure" live concert film now available for download". Electric Six News. 
  3. ^ Phillips, Amy (2003-04-02). "Sax as a Weapon: You Didn't Know that Rock 'n' roll Burned". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Meet the Electric Six". ElectricSix.com. Archived from the original on 2006-07-01. Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  5. ^ Wheeler, Jeremy (2003). "The White Stripes: Candy Coloured Blues – Unauthorized". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  6. ^ Doster, Eve (2002-12-25). "Fanning the Fire: Boozing with the boys of Electric Six". Metrotimes. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  7. ^ a b c Kharakh, Ben (2006-09-06). "Dick Valentine, Musician, Electric Six". Gothamist. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  8. ^ "Troy Gregory: Sybil". Fall of Rome Records. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  9. ^ Strauss, Neil (2003-02-16). "MUSIC: SPINS; Burning Down the Garage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  10. ^ a b Mitchum, Rob. "Review: Danger! High Voltage EP". Pitchfork Record. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  11. ^ Shireen, Nadia (2003-01-02). "Detroit funk-rock to set the disco on fire". BBC. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  12. ^ "Fire". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  13. ^ Rearden, Rachel. "antiMUSIC article Electric Six – Detroit Rockers Invade the UK". antiMUSIC. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  14. ^ Laurence, Alexander (August 2003). "Electric Six interview". Free Williamsburg. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  15. ^ Laurence, Alexander (2003). "Electric Six Interview" Free Williamsburg Retrieved on May 17, 2006
  16. ^ Collective editor (2002). "Detroit funk-rock to set the disco on fire" BBC.co.uk Retrieved on May 17, 2006
  17. ^ "Best of 2003". Metacritic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  18. ^ "Best in Music 2003". FREEwilliamsburg: The Williamsburg Brooklyn Culture Guide. December 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Favorite Music of 2003". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  20. ^ Wagel, Ray (September). "Clocked In: Don't You Want to Know How They Keep Starting Fires?". Ann Arbor Paper. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  21. ^ "Coachella 2004". Virtual-Festivals.com. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  22. ^ Fury, Jeanne. "NY Rock Confidential". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  23. ^ a b "Electric Six Upset Queen Fans With Radio Ga Ga Video". ContactMusic.com. 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  24. ^ "Queen 'unimpressed' by Electric Six video". Kerrang!. 2004-12-03. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  25. ^ "Electric Six Go Radio Ga Ga". XFM Online. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  26. ^ "Electric Six official website – Music + Videos". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  27. ^ "I Buy the Drugs". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  28. ^ "Chocolate Pope". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  29. ^ "Mr. Woman". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  30. ^ "Pulling the Plug on the Party". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  31. ^ "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  32. ^ "Infected Girls". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  33. ^ "Rubber Rocket". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  34. ^ a b Fire cloud, Johnny (2007-02-20). "Electric Six". craveonline.com. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  35. ^ [1][dead link]
  36. ^ a b "Electric Six". Electric Six. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  37. ^ "Important Information Re: Electric Six and the new album "Zodiac"..."
  38. ^ "Electric Six Official Facebook". Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  39. ^ "Electric Six to release live album in 2012". Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  40. ^ "Electric Six single disc only live album". Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  41. ^ "Electric Six announces London date in December at Shepherd's Bush Empire". Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  42. ^ "The Politics Of Dancing: An Election Year Blog By Dick Valentine @ Antiquiet". Antiquiet.com. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  43. ^ "Electric Six - Live DVD "Absolute Treasure"". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  44. ^ "Thank you!". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  45. ^ "Hey Crazies - Electric Six Facebook". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  46. ^ "Hey Crazies album update". Facebook.com. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  47. ^ "Human Zoo Title". Facebook.com. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  48. ^ Hayman, Max (2006-06-06). "Electric Six Revitalized and Ready to Hit the Road". Chart. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  49. ^ Phares, Heather. "Review of Señor Smoke". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  50. ^ Hunter, Sandy (2003-07-03). "Electric Six". Epitonic.com. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  51. ^ Schild, Matt (2003-06-11). "Detroit's Burning". Aversion.com. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  52. ^ Lipton, Eric F (2006-03-23). "Rocking through the pain". The Daily Page. Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  53. ^ Phares, Heather. "Review of Fire". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  54. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions 2006". ElectricSix.com. 2006-01-19. Archived from the original on 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  55. ^ Miccio, Anthony. "Smoke Rings: Getting silly, rocking out, and dissing the president with Detroit's Electric Six". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  56. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 181. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]