Since forming in Detroit as The Wildbunch back in '96, the Electric 6 has been one of the more consistent bands from that city's actually-eclectic '90s garage scene. Not all of their dozen albums have scored like 2003's Fire, with the "Danger! High Voltage" and "Gay Bar" singles, but they haven't put out many bad full-lengthers. Hell, last year's Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres is, song for song, among their best. The band plays The Flycatcher on Monday, and the show is preceded by an acoustic set by singer Dick Valentine (real name: Tyler Spencer) at the Brew of A bar. We spoke to Spencer about the five albums that changed his life ...
Monday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m., The Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St., $12-$15. 21+. Before that, Spencer plays at 7 p.m., Brew of A Sports Grill, 1118 E. 6th St.
1. Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band—Trout Mask Replica: It showed me a different approach, not only to singing, but that you can make music, you could write songs, and have them add up to something outside of the boxes that you normally think of. And I love the boxes—I love verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, verse, chorus. Poppy songs and all that. But when you listen to Trout Mask ... if you're open-minded enough, you start to see that there are actual melodies and music going on. Once you accept that, then you're capable of doing anything.
2. REM—Document: That was the one that turned me onto REM when I was in high school. I spent a significant amount of time listening to them and going to their shows when I was in high school and going into college. As a frontman, I aped Michael Stipe early on and copied a lot of his moves. I don't really have the same opinion of them now that I used to, but I think that if you're looking at the trajectory of my life, I could not not include them.
3. Bob Dylan—Desire: Beautiful lyrics. The production, Emmylou Harris, the fiddle. The final song on the album, "Sarah," you can't not listen to those lyrics. It's amazing stuff. He showed me how you can write beautiful lyrics, you can go beyond "I love you as much as the ocean, the mountain is high," and that kind of shit. You can throw your weight behind it.
4. Camper Van Beethoven—Key Lime Pie: Really, really cynical lyrics, amazing lyric writing, and then the music that's going on is so dark and gloomy. Amazing to listen to.
5. Devo—Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo: That was a huge influence on me as well. That album is untouchable. When you hear "Mongoloid," the first thing you hear is the music and how catchy it is and poppy, and then you sit down and think, "Wait, what's he saying?" You realize it's the most bizarre thing within a really catchy song. I always like that, when you catch onto the music first, and the poppiness, and then you realize that the lyrics are anything but.