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Electric Six

Background information
Also known as The Wildbunch
Origin Detroit, Michigan, USA
Genres Alternative rock, Dance-punk, New Wave, various subgenres
Years active 1996–present
Labels XL Recordings, WEA, Metropolis Records
Dick Valentine (vocals)
The Colonel (guitar)
Johnny Na$hinal (guitar)
Smorgasbord! (bass)
Tait Nucleus? (keyboards)
Percussion World (drums)
Former members
Rock and Roll Indian (guitar)
Surge Joebot (guitar)
Disco (bass)
M. (drums)
Frank Lloyd Bonaventure (bass)
Dr. Blacklips Hoffman
Mojo Frezzato
Jeff Simmons
Macro Duplicato
Dr. Diet Mountain Dew
John R. Dequindre (bass)

Electric Six is a six-piece metro Detroit-based band that plays what has been described as a brand of rock music infused with elements of "garage, disco, punk, new wave, and metal."[1] The band met recognition in 2003 with the single "Danger! High Voltage", and subsequently recorded six full-length albums: Fire, Señor Smoke, Switzerland, I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master, Flashy and KILL. They have also released a rarities album, Sexy Trash.



Formation and the Wildbunch years

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.[2] Throughout the later half of the '90s, they played regularly at the Old Miami and the Gold Dollar in Detroit,[3] the center of a scene that produced breakout acts like the White Stripes.[4]

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.[5] During the band's temporary split at the end of the 1990s, Tyler Spencer formed his own band called The Dirty Shame[6] and released one CD entitled 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.[7]

Mainstream success (2001-2003)

The 2003 release of "Danger! High Voltage" (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 single track "Danger! (High Voltage)" when it was recorded.[8] Although this was presented as fact in multiple sources,[8][9][10] 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!'[11]

In another interview, former drummer M. said: "My attorney has advised us to neither confirm nor deny the presence of Jack White."[12]

Still, the rumor persisted that Jack White was featured on the song "Danger! High Voltage."[13] Initially both he and the Electric Six denied this, and the vocal work was credited officially to the unknown John S O'Leary.[14] Later it was learned that "John S O'Leary" is merely the pseudonym used by White when checking into hotels. In a recent radio interview with Tim Shaw on Kerrang! 105.2 in the UK Dick Valentine spoke openly about White's vocals on this song as well as speculating as to the amount of money he was paid ($60,000).[citation needed]

The band's 2003 breakout album 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, became a big hit as well in the UK, reaching #5 in the charts.

The album made it into several best-of-2003 lists,[15][16][17] 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

After finishing the recording of Fire, three members left in June, leaving Dick Valentine, M, and Tait Nucleus? (Christopher Tait). 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, though they had been associated with the group for some time.[18] In time, Johnny Na$hinal (John Nash) joined the group on guitar, Dequindre switched to bass, replacing Bonaventure.

In the spring of 2004, Electric Six played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[19]

Señor Smoke (2005)

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,[20] 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."[21] 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;[22] however, Queen guitarist Brian May reportedly liked it.[23]

According to Dick Valentine[21][24]

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)

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[6] 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."[6] At present, eight videos have been released.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

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

In May 2007, "Swedish" bassist Smorgasbord! (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 pushed back to the 22nd of October.

16 out of 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, Sexy Trash (2008)

A fifth album, Flashy, was released on October 21st 2008. The track titles were announced via the official site and a synth demo of the track "Your Heat Is Rising" (codenamed 'Fuschia'), a mashing together of all the album tracks and the track 'Transatlantic Flight' appeared on the band's MySpace page..[citation needed] Later the songs Formula 409, Your Heat Is Rising, We Were Witchy Witchy White Women, and Lovers Beware showed up, along with a video for Formula 409.

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 entitled Sexy Trash was released and made available at those shows.

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

KILL (2009)

KILL was released on October 20th 2009 in the US with the UK release following on November 2nd 2009.[33]

Dick Valentine told the audience at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia on April 30th 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.

Album Seven (2010)

On Valentines day 2010 (Feb 14th), 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.[34]

Sound, style, and influences

Electric Six incorporates a variety of styles, resulting in being termed a "genre-blurring" band.[35] The group's sound has been described as a synthesis of "disco, synth pop, glam, and arena rock,"[36] 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."[37] However, the band members themselves have rejected such genre classifications as "disco-metal" and "disco-punk."[38]

Critics have termed their lyrics as "disaffected, angry, ironic and lustful,"[39] expressing "macho flippancy" and "tongue-in-cheek pomposity."[40] Dick Valentine has estimated that "90 percent of our songs, maybe even higher than 90 percent" are "about absolutely nothing."[32] Songs by Electric Six are often concerned with subjects 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."[3]). Lead singer Dick Valentine had commented on these 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.

Valentine cites Freddie Mercury, Talking Heads, Devo,[42] and Captain Beefheart as his musical influences, as well as Black Sabbath, Queen and KISS for the rest of the group.



  1. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Electric Six: Band overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  2. ^ Phillips, Amy (2003-04-02). "Sax as a Weapon: You Didn't Know that Rock 'n' roll Burned". The Village Voice.,phillips,43005,22.html. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Meet the Electric Six". Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  4. ^ Wheeler, Jeremy (2003). "The White Stripes: Candy Coloured Blues - Unauthorized". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  5. ^ Doster, Eve (2002-12-25). "Fanning the Fire: Boozing with the boys of Electric Six". Metrotimes. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  6. ^ a b c Kharakh, Ben (2006-09-06). "Dick Valentine, Musician, Electric Six". Gothamist. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  7. ^ "Troy Gregory: Sybil". Fall of Rome Records. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  8. ^ a b Mitchum, Rob. "Review: Danger! High Voltage EP". Pitchfork Record. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  9. ^ Shireen, Nadia (2003-01-02). "Detroit funk-rock to set the disco on fire". BBC. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  10. ^ "Fire". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  11. ^ Rearden, Rachel. "antiMUSIC article Electric Six - Detroit Rockers Invade the UK". antiMUSIC. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  12. ^ Laurence, Alexander (August 2003). "Electric Six interview". Free Williamsburg. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  13. ^ Laurence, Alexander (2003). "Electric Six Interview" Free Williamsburg Retrieved on May 17, 2006
  14. ^ Collective editor (2002). "Detroit funk-rock to set the disco on fire" Retrieved on May 17, 2006
  15. ^ "Best of 2003". Metacritic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  16. ^ "Best in Music 2003". FREEwilliamsburg: The Williamsburg Brooklyn Culture Guide. December 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  17. ^ "Favorite Music of 2003". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  18. ^ Wagel, Ray (September). "Clocked In: Don't You Want to Know How They Keep Starting Fires?". Ann Arbor Paper. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Coachella 2004". Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  20. ^ Fury, Jeanne. "NY Rock Confidential". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  21. ^ a b "Electric Six Upset Queen Fans With Radio Ga Ga Video". 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  22. ^ "Queen 'unimpressed' by Electric Six video". Kerrang!. 2004-12-03. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  23. ^ "Electric Six Go Radio Ga Ga". XFM Online. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  24. ^ "Electric Six official website - Music + Videos". Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  25. ^ "I Buy the Drugs". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  26. ^ "Chocolate Pope". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  27. ^ "Mr. Woman". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  28. ^ "Pulling the Plug on the Party". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  29. ^ "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  30. ^ "Infected Girls". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  31. ^ "Rubber Rocket". YouTube. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  32. ^ a b Fire cloud, Johnny (2007-02-20). "Electric Six". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Hayman, Max (2006-06-06). "Electric Six Revitalized and Ready to Hit the Road". Chart. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  36. ^ Phares, Heather. "Review of Señor Smoke". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  37. ^ Hunter, Sandy (2003-07-03). "Electric Six". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  38. ^ Schild, Matt (2003-06-11). "Detroit's Burning". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  39. ^ Lipton, Eric F (2006-03-23). "Rocking through the pain". The Daily Page. Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  40. ^ Phares, Heather. "Review of Fire". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  41. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions 2006". 2006-01-19. Retrieved 2006-07-14. 
  42. ^ Miccio, Anthony. "Smoke Rings: Getting silly, rocking out, and dissing the president with Detroit's Electric Six". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 

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