Screw the mainstream
if you really want to get your rocks off you have to go to the underground.
That's just what we plan to do with this series, take some of the best
emerging bands that are out blowing away hardcore fans on the underground
Detroit Rockers Invade the UK
By Rachael Rearden
Manchester University. The 4th February.
8:30pm and I’ve been told to wait up stairs for the tour manager of Electric
Six, a band known in the UK for their much-hyped single “Danger! High Voltage”.
Without press access and having missed
support punk-rock band Moko, I’m beginning to feel apprehensive about whether
this interview is going to take place. Slumped on the floor in a sorry
state at the prospect of not interviewing one of my favourite new rock
and roll bands, I heave myself up, ready to scamper off to the bar to console
Not disappointing the cliché lovers
among you, I was paralyzed to the spot when Surge, Disco and M walk up
the stairs in front of me. Opting not to use my rehearsed line of “Do you
know where the tour manager is?”, I instead spit out the cool and impressive
“You’re Electric Six”.
After stating the obvious and registering
I may have a chance here I say “Hi can I interview you guys for antimusic.com?”.
Blessing my ears and producing a cheeky
grin on my face, Disco replies “Yeah sure come in”.
A bit anxious of what to expect from Electric
Six, until now having heard only three songs, when the band come on stage
the audience feel an amazing presence. Complete with aviator shades, a
cigarette hanging from their lips and Dick Valentines slicked back hair,
Electric Six are the ultimate sleazy rock n roll band we’ve all been waiting
Previously known as “The Wildbunch”, the
band (excluding keyboardist Tait who joined recently) has been around since
1996. Opting to change their name, rather than pay to share “The Wildbunch”
with a band from Bristol, Electric Six have been to Manchester once before,
however this is their first time around Europe.
After such a great response from ‘Danger!
High Voltage’ I asked Surge and Disco whether they were pissed that after
working for over 6 years, its after just one song that they get so much
Surge: “No, not at all. I mean it’s good
that its done well, I’d prefer this to releasing 30 songs and achieving
nothing, you know”.
New Single “Danger! High Voltage” released
through Octane Grande is notoriously known for its moose and flashing “body
parts” - “Yeah Dick thought it up, the idea was about his ex-girlfriend,
um and she had this big moose. But we got the moose in the end.” Disco
So I venture on with another semi-controversial
question, “What about the Jack White rumours? 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!”
As a prime example of what will get you
hooked to Electric Six, welcome “Remote Control”, B-side to ‘Danger! High
Voltage’. This model song reveals the raw factors of what this band are
capable. Provoking us to groove along with this unmistakably bitchin’ song,
hopefully to be included in the forthcoming album, my mind forms images
of strutting confidently down the street, listening to ‘Remote Control’.
I presently rule the world. I feel like one of the Bee Gees in ‘Stayin’
Alive’ only better (is that possible?)
When the Hi-Hat breaks mid ‘Remote Control’,
guitarist Surge passes the time with a short anecdote. “You know, our drummer,
he comes from a family full of drummers, and when he was younger, if he
missed one beat his father would use his belt on him.” He says, the audience
laughing and clapping as we recall the controversial Michael Jackson documentary
shown on T.V. a couple of days back. As the song finishes with a powering
shriek from Valentine, the audience are on an incomparable high.
Having not finished their album, set to
be released on May 19th, the audience aren’t familiar with a lot of songs
Electric Six play tonight. Unlike this situation with other bands, it doesn’t
matter here as the band get inside your bloodstream as the first song begins.
Its not a case of picking up on the riffs and how to dance to the right
beats, as soon as you hear Electric Six, your body goes with the rhythm.
You can’t stop it happening and you don’t want to, because grooving along
to the sounds of this band feels like the most natural thing in the world.
After impulsively dancing to some brand
new songs, out comes the sublime “Gay Bar”, next single to be released
and a song many heard when Electric Six performed on channel 4’s Born Sloppy.
“It was great on Born Sloppy, its like this big house” says Disco “we saw
the 80’s matchbox b-line disaster, they were good and we saw Liam Gallagher”.
After “Gay Bar” its blatantly obvious to
me that its Dick Valentines robust, distinctive voice and smooth onstage
persona, that makes the bands sound stand out a mile off. Combine this
with Surge, Disco, M, The rock n roll Indian and Tait giving us the healthy
rock and roll fix we are all craving, plus hints of disco rhythm and hip
swing inducing saxophone, and you’ve got a recipe for a hell of a lot of
fans. This band has got IT ALL.
The only appropriate word to describe Electric
Six would be original. There’s no gimmick, there’s no bulls***, these guys
are genuine and they love their pure rock n roll.
What’s the music scene like where you come
from, in Detroit?
Disco: “Its very much healthy rock n roll
in Detroit, we have The White Stripes and stuff like that. Its very underground,
there are gigs all the time, and bands can be well known even if they’re
not commercial or signed to a record company. We listen to Esquire, he’s
a rapper over in Detroit, umm and Paybacks, you gotta see them when they
come to the UK, they’re great. Surge likes the Sugababes too”
Surge: “I love the Sugababes”
What sort of music did you grow up listening
Disco: “Soundgarden, Emporer”
Surge: “I listened to a lot of Movie Soundtracks.
It was sort ofâ€¦ as soon as we heard guitar rhythms
we were hooked.”
With regard to this new trend of “popular
rock” bands, like The Strokes and The Vines, what do you think of that?
Surge: “Its like, whether it’s popular
or not popular, you gotta try and have your own brain, its always been
Yeah, and what about people like Avril
Lavinge? People in the UK tend to either love her or hate her.
Surge: Well I mean, if you got offered
loads of money, I mean its not my type of music but, I guess you’d take
an opportunity like that if one came along.”
Dick Valentine keeps his promise to us
he made at the start of the gig “Don’t worry, we’ll do Tiny Little Men”.
Available to download at www.electricsix.com, Tiny Little Men, a mellower
track than ones we have heard before, remarks, “don’t ask, too many questions,
my son, you might not like what you find”. It feels as if ‘Tiny Little
Men’ lacks more in its sound than its lyrics compared to other songs, and
I get the feeling this is a song with some important meaning, political
or otherwise. A definite son song never the less, ‘Tiny Little Men’ sure
gets the crowd going, and shows that Electric Six are worthy of achieving
more than songs that fit in one genre of music.
Sensing a hint of political declaration
in their music (“Fire in the disco, fire in the taco bell” - The Taco Bell
being a major fast food franchise in the U.S.) I ask Disco and Surge who
writes the songs, and are Electric Six a political band?
Disco: “ Dick writes all the songs. He
works on it first, then he brings the idea to us and we work together on
it. Yeah we are a political band”
Like Rage Against The Machine?
Surge: “No, we believe that you’ve gotta
put your money where your mouth is”.
The start of ‘Danger! High Voltage’ is
enough to make any ogre tingle all over with the first bass line. It is
one of those songs, like Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” or Black Sabbath’s
“Paranoid”, that when you hear the intro, your face instantly lights up
with glee. With this song getting the greatest reaction, Dick Valentine
plays the crowd up, a Mexican wave, flowing through the sea of bodies gets
the audience hyped up.
The drumbeat kicks in, and the crowd is
at its liveliest. Blissfully jumping and singing along “when we touch...when
we kiss”, the crowd are loving this song, and who can blame them? It’s
the catchiest most original song to appear since the 80’s, (you don’t have
to search the 90’s to figure that out). OK, maybe that is a pretty bold
statement, but hey it’s a f***ing great song.
Eventually it is time for Electric Six
to leave us, but with the crowd going wild shouting for an encore, that’s
exactly what we get. Electric Six swagger onstage and resume their positions.
They’re not about to do an encore without a good reason, and as Dick
Valentine hypes up the crowd again, we stamp our feet, jump, clap, shout
- anything to hear more and feed the new addiction we’ve acquired in the
last 30 minutes.
Opening with Kraftwork, an electro band
from Germany, “She’s a Model” is our first encore song. Kraftwork, a band
a lot haven’t heard of, goes down well with Electric Six’s cover.
Leaving us with “Fame”, instead of being
reminded of Geri “I eat only one carrot a day” Halliwell, Electric Six
have got the crowd on such a high, we are bouncing off the f***ing walls.
This is the best atmosphere. This is no gig, this is just one big house
party with loads of friends having a rockin’ good time. I’ve never known
any band to create this feeling among the crowd. I guess it’s not about
puking and s***ting on stage, hitting each other and twatting your head
on sharp objects.
It’s about real, genuine, rock and f***ing
to know Electric Six by checking out their official website
to samples and Purchase this CD online
Rachael Rearden is antiMUSIC's UK Correspondent.