Electric Six Interview - Danger! Danger! It's Dick Valentine!

Dick Valentine sounds like the kind of name you€™d see featured in the credits of a blue movie. However, Dick Valentine is not a pornstar as his name suggests, he is something altogether more thrilling and stupendous. He is the frontman of the whimsical rock and roll band from Detroit, Electric Six. Electric Six are back on the scene with a fresh new tour where they will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of their classic Fire album. Fire was the group€™s breakthrough album, reaching #7 in the UK charts and was a commercial and critical triumph, featuring comedy injected hits €˜Danger! High Voltage€™ and €˜Gaybar€™. Not only are these tracks undeniably catchy, but they are accompanied by entertaining music videos courtesy of the humorous cinematic vision of directors Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire. The album went gold in the September of 2003 and remains the most successful of their 7 subsequent studio albums. In what has to be one of the most bizarre but enjoyable conversations ever to be had over the phone, Whatculture caught up with the eccentric Dick Valentine (real name Tyler Spencer) who agreed to do a trans-Atlantic interview from his current location in the Big Apple. WC - Where are you talking from, describe your surroundings. DV - I€™m walking in front of the Richard Meier building in Brooklyn, it€™s a big glass building and it€™s rumoured that Beyonce has a unit there but nobody knows. I haven€™t seen her walking around but I€™m walking in front of that now. Go ahead and google earth me. WC - In 9 days you start your American tour in Cleveland. Are you excited? DV - Have you ever been to Cleveland? WC - No I can€™t say I have. DV - Okay well then you€™d understand why I€™m not excited. WC - It can€™t be that bad? DV - Well yeah, I could be working at a Wagamamas in Sheffield or something, at least it€™s better than that. WC €“ I actually know someone how works for a Wagamamas in Sheffield. DV - You gotta get him away from that lifestyle. Wagamamas is a gateway to Pizza Express, he€™ll be trapped in that industry for the rest of his life. You tell him that I said that he needs to evaluate his life.WC - How do you prepare for the tour? DV - I do 10 sit ups and 10 push ups and I drink a lot of water. WC - You have to get physically fit for the tour? DV - Yeah I drink a lot of a water, it€™s the miracle drug. I believe that we as a species are not drinking as much water as we should. Where do you get your water in Sheffield, you€™re right near the Pennines right? WC - Yeah I€™m near the Peak District. DV - Do you have a nice babbling brook that comes in off the mountains? WC - You could drink water fresh from the stream if you wanted to. Your first UK show is in York and that€™s on the 28th November. What are UK audiences like compared to American audiences? DV - They€™re a bit bouncier, I think you€™re nation as a whole is a bouncier than ours. You€™re much bouncier people. WC - Is there anything you€™ve really wanted to see written on a sign at a gig by a fan? DV - As a rule I generally ignore the crowd, I don€™t€™ really look at the crowd. But I love giant pentagrams, if we could get the whole crowd holding up a giant pentagram. How many people come to see us, two, three thousand people at the show? Yeah three thousand pentagrams. That€™s what I€™d like. But I know it€™s not gonna happen because of your conservative Tory government. WC - It€™s the 10th anniversary of the €˜Fire€™ album, are you gonna be playing that in its entirety? DV - That€™s right. You know it, that€™s how it€™s being billed. One thing about Electric Six is that we always like to honour the contract. WC - Will you be playing any new material? DV - We€™ll be playing new stuff, we€™ll be playing old stuff. Our show will be the longest show you€™ve ever seen from us, we used to play for an hour but now we€™re gonna play for an hour and ten minutes. WC - You€™re famous for humour in your lyrics, you have very funny songs. Do you have a favourite comedian or a favourite comedy show? DV - No I don€™t, I don€™t pay attention to those people. What I do is I put a slice of baloney in each of my shoes and then I feel funny. I spend the day feeling funny. That€™s one way to do it. You gotta remember that laughter is the key. WC - One last question. If you could teach an animal to play an instrument, what animal and what instrument? DV - That€™s a great call, I would go with a free range antelope and I would teach him how to play the harp. So there you have it, a brief, introspective glimpse into the glorious mind of Dick Valentine. What have we learned from this interview? For a person brought up in Detroit, Michigan, Dick has a very impressive geographical knowledge of the Yorkshire area and has a penchant for the life-giving gift of water. He has an understanding of the franchise restaurant industry in the UK and the perils of being trapped in a menial part-time job. If you wake up one morning feeling particularly unfunny, put slices of baloney (a kind of smoked sausage to us British folk) in your shoes and you€™ll be fine. Lastly and most importantly, when Electric Six make a contract, you can be damn sure they€™ll honour it. Electric Six kick off their UK tour in York on the 28th November. They will be playing sixteen dates in the UK finishing up at Shepherd€™s Bush Empire in London on the 15th December.

A student currently doing an English Language & Literature degree. I'm kind of a big deal. My apartment smells of rich mahogany and I have many leather-bound books. Anchorman is my favourite film.