“Danger! High Voltage” rockers Electric Six to play in Columbia Saturday
Whether you’ll throw a punch or buy them a beer, this band wants you there.
After 17 years of performing, you might think a band would be on its last leg or at least starting to consider calling it quits. But the genre-blurring, energetic band Electric Six is far from it.
“It’s a never-ending story — our story,” lead singer and songwriter Dick Valentine says. “We’re going to be a band for 50 to 60 years, and we’re right in the middle of that right now.”
Valentine is the only remaining member of the group that formed back in 1996, known then as The Wildbunch.
“We were a local band in Detroit, comprised of five people who didn’t necessarily like each other, but tolerated each other,” Valentine says. “A lot of people in that original lineup left the band, and then many of the people who replaced them are currently with us today. I’m not a geometrician, but if I were to define our arc, I would say it would have scoliosis.”
The band was also forced to change its name when it signed a record deal, but the members landed happily on Electric Six, which Valentine describes as the perfect name for the band.
Electric Six has since released eight studio albums and a live album. Right now, the band is working on its ninth studio album and will release a live DVD later this year.
Electric Six originally broke onto the mainstream scene in 2003 with its debut studio album Fire, which featured the wild hits “Danger! High Voltage,” “Gay Bar” and “Dance Commander.” They have since been known chiefly for their high-energy shows and often-bizarre lyrics.
“(Our songs) aren’t really about anything," Valentine says. "I’d say it’s a selection of topic du jour – whatever the topic of the day was when we wrote it … As for the music, if you look at our first album, it’s very guitar and bar chord-oriented music. Over the last 10 years, we’ve gotten a bit more experimental. We’re not a prog-rock band by any means, but we’re taking baby steps in that direction.”
Electric Six describes its latest release, the live album Absolute Pleasure, as a painstakingly accurate representation of an Electric Six show. Valentine promises the set at Mojo’s, the band’s third show of the tour, will follow a similar trajectory.
“We’re going to give you the quintessential Electric Six show,” Valentine says. “We’ve played Mojo’s many, many times. We know how to approach that stage and we know the dimensions inside and out. You’re going to be able to interact with us because there is no dressing room at Mojo’s, so we’re going to be out in plain sight – if you want to take a swing at us, you can take a swing at us, or if you want to buy us a beer, you can buy us a beer."