Updated: Monday, 6th July 2020 @ 6:52pm

Danger, danger, two pizzas! Electric Six want to take you to a gay bar (or Gorilla)

Danger, danger, two pizzas! Electric Six want to take you to a gay bar (or Gorilla)

| By Sian Broderick – MM exclusive

If the words ‘Electric Six’ conjure up images of frontman Dick Valentine pole dancing in a top hat, dickie bow and leather hot pants singing ‘I wanna to take you to a gay bar’, you’re not alone.

The disco-dance-punk rockers burst on to the scene with their debut album in 2003 and quite literally ‘set fire to the disco’ (and Taco Bell) with hit singles ‘Danger! High Voltage’ and ‘Gay Bar’.

The latter was accompanied by a wonderfully absurd music video which featured Dick – real name Tyler Spencer – dressed as ‘Gaybraham Lincoln’ and featured various phallic images throughout such as a bell, a train entering a tunnel, and err… a hamster running through a tube.

Despite the wacky video, the track reached number two on the UK singles chart and has since become a dancefloor anthem.

But speaking to MM, Dick insisted the song wasn’t intended to be a hit.

“I wrote that song in the late ‘90s and we’d never left North America at that point, we’d barely ever left Detroit.

“I’d never been to the UK before so I had no idea how to write a song that would be a hit there. We just had the right song at the right time.”

Ten years and eight studio albums later and the eclectic band are gearing up for a UK tour to perform the album that catapulted them into the mainstream in its entirety.

“We’re using all the major forms of transportation to get this one done," says Dick, “I don’t understand bands that roll up to venues that are smaller than their tour bus but you learn as you go.

“I’ve been doing this for 11 years now but it’s like my manager always says, there’s no gun to my head and I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t enjoying it. We have a good time.”

But if you think Dick and his fellow band mates are heading out on the road for a few weeks of cocaine-fuelled rockstar antics, you’d be wrong.

“A lot of bands who do the heroin and the cocaine – they don’t last too long.

“They used to because record labels would throw money at them to kind of help keep that behavior going but those days are long gone because there’s not as much money around now,” says Dick.

“I mean it’s always been fine for me because I can handle it but if you’re a juvenile dipshit who thinks the world owes you a living then you’re going to have problems.

“Some people who were in the group in the early days did go down that route and that’s why they’re no longer in the band. I think the way things are now it’s just not tolerated.”

Although best known for their gritty guitar riffs and punk rock sound, Dick insists he’s no rock n' roll star.

“Probably the most rock n’ roll thing I’ve ever done was going to Pizza Express when I was a kid and being like ‘You know what? I think I’m going to go for it and get a second pizza’.

“And, like, ordering two pizzas at the same time instead of just one.”

Dick is the only original member these days, but despite the numerous line-up changes to the band the boys have built a cult following that has been an integral part of Electric Six’s longevity.

“The fans are great. To this day we still have people coming to the show dressed up like that Gaybraham Lincoln,” he says.

“We have a lot of people who have been with us since the early days and they’re familiar with the whole catalog and those are the people we tailor the show to.

“It was always funny because on stage people always expected you to be a recreation of the video and sometimes we’d get mail from fans saying ‘You’re making a big mistake not recreating the video on stage!’

“But I’m just like, ‘Do you wanna pay the £50,000 a night it takes to do that?’ People have no idea how much it costs to lump that shit around.”

The band will play Manchester’s Gorilla on Wednesday 26 November and Dick explains he’s looking forward to returning to the city.

“This will probably be our 20th show in Manchester. It’s kind of been a tradition that I play the Blue Cat in Stockport every year at 7pm before the show and I do some acoustic versions of our songs. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody there,” he says.

“We love coming this time of year. Christmas in the UK always reminds me of George Michael. If we’re in the green room waiting to go on that’s what we listen to.”

The band will visit 11 cities in the UK before taking time off to enjoy the festive period at home in Detroit.

“Touring is something I never take for granted. Every place is a magical place to be,” he says.

“I’ve made so many friends from doing this, so many people who were fans at the beginning are now friends and we stay over at their houses. Doing what we do is a great way to build relationships, so it’s a really cool thing.”

Aside from writing, recording and touring, Dick is also raising a young family back home and spends time away from the stage with his baby daughters.

“We have a couple of two-year-old girls so when we’re not on the road I’m at home being a stay-at-home dad. We only go out three weeks at a time now so I can be home with my family.

“I still enjoy doing what I do and you know it’s not like I can go and apply for a job in an advertising company because all my CV says is that I’ve been in a band for the last ten years.

“If I wasn’t doing this I’d probably like to be a judge sentencing people to the gas chamber and stuff like that,” he jokes.

“The goal of this band now is to carry on as Electric Six until we retire. We’re just a rock band at the end of the day. We go up on stage and we play the songs we wanna play and I think we do a good job of it.  

“I don’t want another job, anyway. This is the job for me.”

Image courtesy of XL Recordings, with thanks.