Six albums in, and no longer desiring company for trips to gay bars, Dick Valentine of Electric Six talks to Breffni O’Sullivan
Dismissed by many early advocates as a passing fad, Electric Six, headed by Dick Valentine, have by no means disappeared or remained stagnant. Those who have followed the band since their early exposure have been treated to six studio albums including their latest release, KILL, as well as last year’s rarities collection Sexy Trash, archiving forgotten gems and indeed misfires from their beginnings as ‘The Wildbunch’ in 1996.
The group’s lineup, only consistent since the release of third album Switzerland three years ago, has changed along with the scope of the music, with the only constant being Valentine, who has continued bellowing falsettos and oozing the words ‘fire’ and ‘disco’ at every opportunity.
Following the dip in the group’s popularity after the release of sophomore effort Senor Smoke – which saw a move to a new label – Valentine argues that “the perception of us was what it was at the time; we were just considered a novelty act.”
Since then, all four albums have been released quietly and backed up by a vast array of tour dates worldwide. However, the quietness now associated with one of the most brash, over-the-top rock acts of the past decade has by no means embittered Valentine.
On the contrary; the singer believes that the lull in exposure has allowed them “to be in a position where we make the records we want to make, and if the right people are into it and if the right people like it, then that’s all we care about. We’re not trying to be Radiohead or anything like that, we’re happy with where we’re at.”
The band don’t have a major record label forcing them to put a song like Radio GaGa if they don’t want to, a freedom that Valentine revels in. “We still get e-mails from people asking why don’t we make ‘Fire’ again, or why don’t we do ‘Gay Bar Part Three’ [part two appeared on last year’s Flashy] or whatever, but that has never been our ambition. We’re not disappointed to be known as ‘the band who does ‘Gay Bar’’ because that’s opened up a lot of doors for us, but it would be a bad move to try and recreate that over and over again.”
Citing album sleepers ‘Jimmy Carter’, ‘Pink Flamingos’, ‘Synthesizer’ and ‘Transatlantic Flight’ as his proudest achievements, Valentine also revealed to otwo that his side project, The Evil Cowards, are recording their second album at present, with another Electric Six album pencilled in for a late 2010 release.
Now married, the 37-year-old Valentine looks back on his 13-year career so far as “an incredible, unique journey”, noting that “we were and still are happy to keep going, putting out the albums we want and enjoying the rigamarole” that goes into the band’s live shows. Long may they continue.
Electric Six’s sixth studio album, KILL, is out now