Music News

Electric Company

If you head over to the venerable All Music Guide online database and enter the name "Electric Six," you'll find the following "themes" attributed to each of the Detroit sextet's three albums: "Cool & Cocky," "Guys Night Out," "TGIF" and, of course, "Party Time" -- all fitting descriptions for a group that blends cock rock, disco and new wave with hilariously absurd lyrics.

"Wait, what was that third one again?" asks Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine, returning to his cell phone after helping whoever's driving the tour van find the right way to Hoboken, New Jersey, the site of the band's next gig.


"OhŠyeah," he says. "I can see that, because, you know, I live for Friday. But ŒGuys Night Out' -- yeah, that sums it up. Our crowd is skewing more and more to, like, aggro-meathead dude, and I love it when those guys wanna Œbro down' with us after the show, and then they realize that we're just these scrawny guys in our thirties with sinus problems who don't want anything to do with their lifestyle. They're always a bit taken aback. It's pretty funny that people roll up and think it's a 25/7 party with us. But I really enjoy it when people are let down."

Paying too much attention to the six men behind the curtain -- singer Valentine, guitarists Johnny Na$hinal and the Colonel, keyboardist Tait Nucleus?, bassist John R. Dequindre and drummer Percussion World -- might shatter the myths of mayhem and depravity. But such classics as "Gay Bar," "Vibrator" and "Danger! High Voltage" in E6's high-volume live show can always be depended upon to rock you to the depths of debaucheryŠand crack you the hell up, too. Valentine's tongue is planted so firmly in his cheek that it's a wonder he can sing at all -- though it probably explains the fieeee-yahhs, deh-yah-VILLs, and hayyy-ILLs that emanate from his maw. Still, these guys are no stooges or novelty act. Their great songs, solid musicianship and the ability to toe the line between parody and sincerity make them, in spirit, more like Kiss or the Supersuckers than Spinal Tap or Tenacious D.