Dick Valentine: Lead vocals,
star of Danger! High Voltage video
Surge Joebot: Lead guitar

March 20, 2003
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco

Watch the Gay Bar video now!

Director: Kuntz & Mcguire
Quicktime: 13MB TRT: 3:30

Album: Fire
© 2003 XL Recordings Beggars Group

Comedy cock-rock driven by the disco bump is not worth censoring.

It's just downright insulting to think that "I want to start a nuclear war... in the gay bar" is a dangerous or seditious line. But there it is - the state of the world: an annoying bit of censorship that distracts from the larger censorship - also known as the evening news brought to you by corporations who broadcast with all their worry in the bottom line. Oh, now I'm distracted.

Electric Six is more concerned with a different kind of bottom. So who are they, really? Does Jack White of the White Stripes really sing the raspy, shrill part of Danger! High Voltage? According to the band and their manager, it's another singer - but they'll let the rumour persist because the rumour makes good buzz. Hmmm, maybe they are interested in the bottom line... but they don't come across that way, they seem sincerely happy to be getting so much attention for this crazy song and video.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben & MIra

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Electric Six is a bunch of guys who weren't making the outside-of-Detroit music scene as the Wildbunch, even though by their own assessment, being a band in Detroit is easy: rents are cheap and career expectations are low because there's no jobs anyhow. So a music identity is in reach, because at least it's something interesting to do. Some corny songs came from the Wildbunch catalog ("The Ballad of MC Sucka DJ"), but seemingly it took their reinvention as a gaggle of madmen, each with an individualized and detailed psychopathology published as their band bio, for these artists to get the attention they craved. And so the jocular became more profitable for these struggling extroverts when they were reborn as Electric Six, added disco to the garage and got on a record label based in the UK.

The riveting and surreal video for Danger! High Voltage elevated the infectious lyrics of :
Fire in the disco ! Fire in the Taco Bell!
Dontcha wanna know how we keep starting fires?
It's my desire!

to an anthemic frenzy in the dance clubs and as a must-see-to-believe "this is the best video I've seen all year" moment.

These are guys who are in it for the jokes (and (yawn) the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll) but the musicianship actually does carry the punch and grooves for this cock-rock-disco while the lyrics are old jokes by the second listen. So as long as audiences are in on the joke with the band, then no harm done in being a comedic band with a good ear and musical talent. I don't "get" Gay Bar but it's catchy as heck. Besides, Dick Valentine's superb smirking and singing means they have their front man in place if they decide to go back to being just another garage band from Detroit.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben & MIra

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Electric Six (E6): (Dick - D ) I'm Dick Valentine and I sing. (Surge Joebot - S ) I'm Surge Joebot... guitar player.

Video Vision (V V):Your music video for Danger! High Voltage has blown everybody away in San Francisco. I want to know everything about it...we all want to know about the actors, the paintings, the directors - everything.

  E6: (D) That would be about a half million people that we've blown away. The concept was sort of something that we did... we setup cameras and rolled in my house ...just kidding. It's a directing team of Kuntz & Mcguire. It was a one day shoot in August 2002 in Toronto. And it was their concept.

V V:: It was their concept..? They did the sets....

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003
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E6: (D) There was some collaboration on the sets but for the most part, they just sent us the thing and we showed up and did it.

V V : Who were the actors and how were they chosen?

E6: (D) We'll I'm the guy (clears hair from his face and brow)...the woman was a local actress from Toronto named Tina.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben & MIra

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V V: Did they or you cast her?

E6: (D) They cast her. It was actually kinda funny..because I knew about the video for two months ahead of time...and we shot it on a Friday... they casted her on a Tuesday... so as we were doing the wardrobe and everything.., she's getting into this bondage gear and I'm like... "On Monday you woke up and you had no idea that your Friday was going to be like this..."

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 :: Mira

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V V: When she took the job, did she know that she was going to be wearing such risque apparel and be shown all over the world?

E6: (D) Yeah,... I don't know what she knew or what her concept was of anything that we were doing... I don't know if any of us knew. It was just kinda something that we did. In terms of how it was received in Europe, because it was on TV for quite a bit there, I don't think any of us predicted that that would happen.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben

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V V: Do you think anybody's been offended by it all because it sits right on that line between....?

E6: (D) I don't mom was offended by it. She had a long talk with me... you know just stuff about going to hell and if this is the type of direction I want to take with my life. She might have a point there.

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 ::  Helena

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V V: Were you able to convince her that there is some humor in it?

E6: (D) That's the sort of line that she wants to take. That's her right as an American.

V V: Do you have experience acting before? Did you like it?

E6: (D) Not really, that was it. That was the very first time I had ever acted. It was fun. The catering was really something.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben & MIra

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V V: Do you know who the amazing paintings (in the video) were by?

E6: (D) I don't know that we ever got a name... it was done by an 18 year old kid... they had him working around the clock. We've been trying to get a hold of some of them but so far to no avail.

V V: I understand that you're going to do a second video....

E6: (D) We're going to do it in a couple weeks in New York for our song Gay Bar. I don't know if it's going to be played as much in the US as Europe. I'm not sure what the plans are yet for that.

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 ::  MIra

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V V: Why would there be a different distribution for it?

E6: (D) I think we're coming out with a different US single.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  MIra

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V V: Making two videos very quickly shows a commitment to music videos...what do you think? It's fun, useful, rediculous?

E6: (S) Video is sort-of important to us prior to this point... we had done some stuff just on our own because we're sort of compulsive in that area. It's great to be able to make any video or movie or that kind of stuff.

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 ::  Helena

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V V: Is the band committed to pursuing music video as part of your identity?

E6: (S) Yeah and then movies. Yes! definitely. We've been working on that for a long time. We wanted to do an exercise video... that might still happen. The Detroit rock scene is really out of shape. We wanted to turn the tide. (D) We also had an idea of a movie where the band breaks down in a van outside a spooky mansion... hilarity and hijinks ensue...

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben

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V V: You have an EP out right now and then a full length... what was the logic behind that?

E6: (D) It's mainly because our label is in Europe which is a singles market. We had the single ready to go and it did very well so it was out and that was probably the impetus. We're relatively unknown in the US so it's just good to have something out there now and tour to support it. I think we'll be in better shape on May 20th when the record comes out.

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 ::  Ruben & Mira

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V V: What do you think of playing in front of European audiences vs American audiences? Are there any real differences?

E6: (S) On the European tours, it varies from city to city just like it does here. Certain towns are more demonstrative than others. I don't think there's a strict US vs European difference. Every night's different - that's what keeps you driving to the next city.

Ladytron interview, March 2003 ::  Ruben & Mira

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V V: So who was the most demonstrative of all the audiences?

E6: (S) Scotland. Actually there was a show in London that was pretty rough.. .there were 2,500 drunk sixteen year olds with no security... it was like Thunderdome... the audience was like tiers of balconies going up and the floor... so it was us and our guitar tech vs these kids. There was a lot of stage invasion going on and we retaliated physically and still managed to play the songs. We were proud of ourselves. Our keyboard player took up a lot of slack on the security front. (D) There were times when I thought I was going to die but what kept me going was I was telling myself that I gotta get to San Francisco to do this interview.

Ladytron Live @ Bimbo's, March 2003 ::  Ruben & Helena

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V V: San Francisco audiences don't move a muscle even if they're really into it...

E6: (S) We'll meet each town with its own terms... we'll take whatever you've got. (D) I've been to some of the discotheques here in SF and I've seen people move so I'm not too worried about it.

Interviewer: Catherine Lee

Camera & Photos: Rodwin Pabello

Transcription & Editing: Catherine Lee

Special Thanks: Beggars Group - Shelby Bacchus
Bottom of the Hill

© 2003 Evans Media Group, Inc.

Related Links:

XL Recordings (USA)

Beggars Group - distro US arm for XL Recordings UK