The year was 1999, and some like-minded fellows from Detroit, Michigan banded together to form a 6-man ensemble that to this day is still going strong. Electric Six have refused to fade into the abyss that so many bands from that era have done and continue to play for their fans by any means necessary. Having been through the highs and lows of popularity for the past 17 years hasn't slowed them down at all, and, if anything, these trendy older rockers see themselves sticking around for some more antics to add to their highlight reel.
Where Did It All Begin?
Although the band formed prior to the millennium it was only in 2003 that the wheels really started turning. Their first single Danger! High Voltage proved a massive hit and landed at No. 2 on the UK Singles chart. The comical and fairly kooky music video also gave fans an insight into the tone of the band, which was lively and outgoing. There were also rumors that Jack White from The White Stripes added supporting vocals, which only helped boost interest in the song. Big Time Gaming also took inspiration from the song and developed an online slot of the same name.
The album that accompanied the single was named Fire, and produced another well-known track called Gay Bar which reached No. 5 on the UK Single chart. Electric Six ended 2003 with 3 of their songs having made it into the UK Top 40, while Fire peaked at No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold.
The Years Following Fire
Since the success of Fire Electric Six have, by various means, gone on to release 17 albums. However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the band. After Fire was released three band members parted ways with the group, while the band was also dropped by their record label. They were picked up by Warner Music, but although they had renewed backing their second studio album Señor Smoke failed to have anywhere near the impact of its predecessor. There was also some controversy surrounding the album as a cover of Queen’s Radio Ga Ga was included, while a music video of the song was released with lead singer Dick Valentine dressed as Freddy Mercury.
Following Señor Smoke the band continued to release albums, albeit without much mainstream success. Between 2006 – 2013 Electric Six released 6 studio albums under the record label Metropolis and used this time to establish themselves as a performance band they delivered fantastic shows all over the world.
From 2013 Electric Six have been making use of the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. While they continue to release albums through their record label they have made use of Kickstarter to crowdsource passion projects to give more to their loyal fanbase. Their first campaign was launched in February of 2013 in order to raise enough funds to release a DVD of the band live in concert.
The band has gone on to use Kickstarter on five more occasions, each time with resounding success. June 2014 saw them release a double disk album containing covers and B-tracks. The group returned to Kickstarter in 2016 to raise funds for a mockumentary titled Roulette Stars of Metro Detroit, while they again turned to Kickstarter later that year to release another 2-disk album. The following year Electric Six managed to raise enough funds for another double-album titled A Very Electric SiXmas and Chill Out!. The first album consisted of Christmas songs while the second album was a live recording.
In late 2018 the band released a video in which they announced they would be returning to Kickstarter one final time in an attempt to film a live concert in Liverpool, England to be released on DVD.
Where to From Here?
While many critics have panned the band over the years, Electric Six continues to draw in the crowds. They found particular fame in the UK where they play to live audiences on a regular basis and continue making to all 4 corners of the globe. The band members also have no plans to slow down and have managed to maintain their quirky sense of humour which they portray on stage and also through their Kickstarter campaigns.
Lead Singer Dick Valentine claims the success to the band’s longevity is a good work ethic, as well as their love for travel and performing. “I’ve seen a lot of bands go by the wayside because they need to be in tour buses or every member has to have his own hotel room kind of thing, whereas we’ll put four people in a hotel room and some nights you sleep on the floor," said Valentine.
Expect more albums to come and, as the band still makes it way around the world playing to smaller, intimate venues, you might just be in the right place at the right time to take in one of their fabled live shows.