During their recent Switzerland tour, Electric Six’s frontman Dick Valentine sat down with QRO for a brief conversation for a look into life on the road, the impact of Myspace, and playing human Frogger in Moscow. Valentine also discussed their recent video projects and how it’s been great for the band and their fans alike. Halfway through the tour, Valentine proclaimed their Boston gig as the best one to that point, which QRO just so happened to review (here). The band wrapped up their tour successfully, and are currently on a break before some gigs in late December, including Dick’s first American Troubador show in NYC. Click “Read More” for the interview…
QRO: So where are you guys now?
Dick Valentine: Gainesville, FL
QRO: How has the ride been through our long state?
DV: Oh well, I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping, and as I sleep, I have dreams of shopping for a great deal of food.
QRO: How is the food on the road?
DV: Well now, it’s pretty good depending where you’re at. If you’re in the north of America you have a better quality food with better nutrition value, if you’re in the South everything will make you fatter
QRO: I can’t imagine you could be getting fat having played what, eleven shows in twelve days?
DV: You do get fat, especially when you are on the road because you have access to so much food and beer. Probably everyone in the band has about twelve to thirteen beers a night in addition to food and it takes it toll.
QRO: That sounds great.
DV: Yeah it’s pretty great, you go on seven week tours and you go home and your parents laugh at you.
QRO: I was going to ask how you don’t have a coronary with all of the movement on stage. So the beer helps?
DV: Yeah, it does. The beer soothes us. It helps take the edge off. All your great writers were drunks.
QRO: So what have you been doing on the road, what was your favorite gig of this tour?
DV: The favorite gig for us well it depends we played the Southpark 10th anniversary party and that was special because we got to fly out to Hollywood to do that and fly back as for the club gigs. I’d have to go with Boston probably because it is so far north and its very liberal and that’s who we are, we’re northeast Massachusetts liberals.
QRO: We did a review of you for that show.
DV: It was an amazing show. Everyone was jumping up and down and they were jumping up and down.
QRO: Speaking of jumping, you are said to do a fair share of it yourself. Are there any plans to sell aerobic programs as merch?
DV: We’ve thought about it. We’ve thought about doing lots of things in terms of merch. We’ve thought about selling food. Items like maybe hummus or black bean hummus or roasted in olives hummus but we’ve found that it doesn’t keep so well. We would make a big batch of hummus for a 50-day tour in New York City and by the time we get to Philadelphia it would be ruined so we are afraid to try new things based on that.
QRO: So you guys must like to cook then?
DV: Yeah, we all enjoy making hummus.
QRO: What is the strangest thing that’s happened on this tour?
DV: The strangest thing that happened to us, our merch guy farted. Our merch guy in the van farted. Other than that it’s pretty routine.
QRO: Okay, so that takes care of my next question which would have been what was the most fragrant thing on the tour so far.
DV: Well, we drove through Georgia today and it’s a very fragrant state. There are many many flowers starting up especially this time in the fall.
QRO: Nice, what about outside of the States? Any plans this tour?
DV: Well, we’re looking to go back to Australia early next year, and hopefully we’ll get to go to Europe and eventually Switzerland, which is the whole idea of naming a record Switzerland. We’ve never been there.
QRO: What’s Electric Six’s favorite place to tour outside of the US?
DV: I think I’d have to say that would be Russia, we’ve had some magical times in Russia. We’ve seen some things met some people that we’ll never forget. Moscow is a very isolated city, and because of that isolation they can get away with more things.
QRO: Care to go into detail?
DV: Well for first, it’s like, um, well what’s the main drive in of Miami? Like Biscayne Blvd, I’ve never been to Miami.
QRO: Yeah, Biscayne’s pretty big.
DV: Ok, so imagine Biscayne going through the center of town and for two miles, three miles everyone on Biscayne is going 160 miles an hour and there’s no way to get off of it, no exits, it’s like a dragway in the middle of town.
QRO: Sounds like the end of many a drunk.
DV: Yeah, they drink beer and champagne on the streets like their soft drinks. You know people just walk around chugging magnums of champagne.
QRO: What about the actual gigs themselves? What is the reception of the foreign audience?
DV: Well you know, I could say anytime you’re in a different country that’s not your own people appreciate the fact that you made the effort. I mean everybody likes meeting people from different countries – that’s what we enjoy. We have a Danish band that’s touring with us called The Blue Van and they do really well after the show meeting people because of their accents. It’s the same thing with us when we go to Russia or Canada, people take to us because we are the other.
QRO: Speaking of Canada, didn’t you film some of your videos there?
DV: Three of them.
QRO: What was your favorite video so far?
DV: Oh, I don’t know if I could rate them as favorites, I really enjoyed making the “Radio Gaga” one in terms of how it was to make that was probably the most fun but in terms of finished product it’s hard to say one’s better then the other.
QRO: Well I guess we could go with the most fun to make considering all of the videos are masterworks of art in themselves.
DV: Oh yeah, well, I mean “Gay Bar” was awful to make, it was like 24 hours of straight shooting and especially with holding in between scenes I had to change my outfit 9 times. It was a long day, and with “Radio Gaga” we worked like dogs and it was just a fun video to make in terms of shots we were doing.
QRO: You guys recent had a fan video contest with your latest video, what was the idea behind that?
DV: We wanted to include everybody. We want to look at our loyal fan base and get them involved. People are making internet videos or home videos for our songs or any other bands songs anyways. That’s what it took. In the advent of Youtube and everything so we wanted to officially sanction it and make that everybody wins. That we benefit from it that they benefit from it. The more videos you have of yourself on the internet the more people on the internet are going to know about you.
QRO: Well, we noticed you put this out on your Myspace profile as opposed to the official site. What was the reason behind this?
DV: Oh, I kinda look at it as Myspace is the outlet that’s more dialed into youth culture. It’s speaking to maybe the ten- to twenty-year-olds, and we you can the tell the way we write it, we use words like rap. The website is more for the adults. I’m trying to make an analogy:
QRO: Since using Myspace how do you feel your fan range has grown? Do you see a lot of a younger audience or do you feel that it’s helped you to feel that people feel closer to you through the connecting you do with people on these sites?
DV: That is a good question, you know there are times when we feel we are seeing younger and younger, like we’ll go to shows and see more and more teenagers there. Shows like last night at The Earl, I don’t if it’s because it’s twenty-one and over but it seems we were playing more to people in their thirties and stuff and so we actually have a broad appeal where we have a sense of humor and we aren’t afraid to poke fun at ourselves. Everybody likes to see a band throwing a pie in their own face and so whether you are twelve years old or fifty-two we have a lot to offer.