Electric Six has been described as possibly the least sincere band in current rock 'n' roll " fighting words in an industry not particularly known for earnestness.
The sextet's genre-bending blend of disco, post-punk and hair metal has framed a sonic canvas for lead singer-songwriter, Dick Valentine " real name Tyler Spencer " to serve up a wickedly funny array of lyrical concerns ranging from Taco Bell to lesbian witches.
The Detroit-based group erupted on the alt-rock scene in 2003 with "Fire," an album that yielded an unlikely hit with the infectious "Gay Bar," in which Valentine roars, "I wanna take you to a gay bar! Gay bar! Gay bar!" By then, however, most of the members had already quit, forcing Valentine to spend recent years to rifling through an ever-changing lineup of players. The current roster throws the switch 9 p.m. Tuesday, turning on Opolis audiences in Norman.
Electric Six's latest effort, "Flashy," is only the act's second album in a row to boast the same member lineup. More important, the release is a return to gloriously warped form. Highlights include "Gay Bar, Part 2" (which, by the way, has nothing to do with "Gay Bar") and a hip-shaking ode to cleaning spray Formula 409.
Q: What sort of difference did it make to finally have stability in the band lineup?
A: A big difference.
Q: What prompted the title "Gay Bar, Part 2," since it's obviously not a sequel?
A: When we were recording our second album, a lot of UK journalists would ask us what it was going to be called. For a joke, we would say "Gay Bar, Part 2." It was funny and also sad to see how excited they got by that. Since then, we always knew we had to do it for real.
Q: You've said before that at least 80 percent of your songs are "about nothing." Does that mean you don't want people to take your songs seriously?
A: I think Jackson Pollock's artwork is "about nothing." People seem to take him seriously.
Q: Why "Formula 409"?
A: I wrote the song as I walked home from the bar drunk. I don't know what any of it means other than that.
Q: Do you see yourself as a satirist or a rock musician who happens to have a sense of humor?
A: I see myself as a human being.
Q: Who is your core audience?
A: Mostly guys. Guys who think we like to party as much as them and then usually end up being extremely disappointed by us. Sometimes they even get angry and violent because they can't understand that we don't really party. I was once put in a sleeper hold by a guy because I tried to break free of him after he put me in a bear hug and jumped up and down over and over again, saying, "Dance Commander!"
Q: How are your European shows or different from those in the U.S.?
A: In Europe, they don't have to worry about health care, so they dive headfirst off the stage. In America, nobody can afford health insurance, so they throw beer at me instead. "Phil Bacharach