NUVO Interview: Dick Valentine of Electric Six

 

Electric Six are many things: rock band first, but one that embraces spectacle and debauchery in equal measure. Add brass and other styles of popular music, and by most people’s definitions it’s a party.

Vocalist and gatekeeper Dick Valentine doesn’t think Electric Six sound as varied as the Detroit sextet is often pegged, though the artists who influenced him were.

“Two of my favorite bands were Talking Heads and the Pixies,” says Valentine, a_k_a Tyler Spencer. “I think we sound like a marriage of both those bands. That’s my interpretation of it. We have heard different things, so maybe I’m not realizing what I’m trying to do.”

Keeping such a loose game plan has afforded Electric Six a fresh outlook on their decade-plus career.

“I like that we don’t necessarily have one sound,” Valentine says. “It makes recording that much more pleasurable – you don’t restrain yourself and seek to make the perfect album.”

Celebrating the release of their fifth disc, Flashy, on Oct. 21, Electric Six almost didn’t make it this far. They disbanded for a time in the late ’90s before resurrecting the name in 2001. The list of former members now exceeds the current roster.

“The lineup changes were done to keep Electric Six going,” Valentine says, adding the newest player, bassist Smorgasbord!, joined last year. “It’s the first time I think all six people pretty much enjoy being around each other, and there’s no real odd man out that everybody’s talking about behind their back. I guess I could be that guy. At least I wasn’t in any lineup heretofore; I was always on the side that talked about people behind their back.”

Politics and life issues aside, according to Valentine, Electric Six ultimately exists for one purpose only — to please the band.

“If you the listener or you the ticket-buyer is having a good time, that’s good for you,” Valentine says. “But that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this for me. It’s pure hedonism. I’m shooting myself in the face with a fun arrow.”

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