Time never stops moving forward, and neither does Electric Six.
The venerable, everything-to-everyone party-rock band has been around a long time, maybe longer than you might think, and has continuously provided a hell of a lot of fun for audiences and fans worldwide. The bandmates also have a grandly silly time themselves.
Best known for their hit singles “Danger! High Voltage!” and “Gay Bar,” the comedy/garage/New Wave/punk group will be in South Florida Wednesday, October 10, at the Kelsey Theater. They’re touring their new record, their 17th, Bride of the Devil. Frontman Tyler Spencer (AKA Dick Valentine) spoke with New Times between bites of his burrito for a little insight into what keeps Electric Six crackling.
New Times: Since 2005, you’ve released one or two albums every year. Will you do this until you die?
Tyler Spencer: It’s something we can do. We have six people in the band who all write music. We set each person to write two songs a year. We do home recording. We work at our own pace. We’re not dictated by studio hours... We have people who want to make the record. Also, it’s our job. At this point, we don’t have day jobs. We keep making music to keep putting out product.
How do you sustain such a heavy pace of recording and touring?
I appreciate you saying that. I think the longer you play music, the better you get at it. That said, we are consciously looking to take a break — at least we’re talking about it. But what you find is once you start talking about taking a break, then you no longer want to take a break. [Laughs] So I don’t know what we’re going to do. We recognize that a break would be healthy, but it would also be very sad.
What are you worried might happen if you were to, let’s say, take a year off?
We all love touring. We all love being on the road. We have withdrawals. You don’t just wake up and say, "We’re going on tour" — these things have to be planned. You feel like you’d be starting anew. We don’t know, we don’t know. It’s entirely possible we put out a new album next year. This whole 15-year career has always been six months at a time; it’s just never stopped.
You described the recent How Dare You? as “an album that really takes you on a journey to nowhere.” Is it a silly brand of escapism?
Ha. Yeah, for sure. And also, we’ve never taken [ourselves seriously]. I recoil and cringe when anyone takes our band seriously. Every single human being wants to take themselves seriously, but this band, to me, I want it to have fun. When people start to overanalyze it and start ranking albums, it really turns me off. I just wanna get up onstage, be drunk, and sing some songs.
More seriously, when people discuss Electric Six years from now, how would you like to be remembered?
Just as a touring band. That’s me. I can’t speak for everyone else. We love getting on the road, hotels, stopping for lunch, just the routine of it. We’re in a position where, less than a month ago, we played to 9,000 people at a festival in Greece, and last night in Montreal we played to 100 people. It doesn’t matter to us. Both are fun.
Last question: You mentioned somewhere that you’ve had some shitty jobs. What was the worst one?
The two off the top of my head — this one I quit after two days — I was descaling fish, in a fish freezer, for like a fish distributor. Eight hours a day, no windows, it was like 30 degrees in there, you’re wearing a hazmat suit. It was just awful. And another one, I was a bill collector for a fitness chain. Basically, I’m calling up 17-year-old women who weren’t paying their fitness-center bills and I’m threatening to send guys over to break their knees. In retrospect, it was such a gross job. I only did it for a month because it was commission-based, and if you’re not naturally inclined to be a dick, then you’re gonna get weeded out pretty quick.
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