It's easy for struggling rockers to get their knickers in a twist over the success of the Electric Six. Most bands slave away for years at pointless Tuesday-night gigs, with fast-food earnings blown on unheard recordings. Then there are lucky ducks like this Detroit bunch. Starting back in 1998 as the Wild Bunch, they were for years the party band for that burgeoning scene, tacked on to add some wacky to garage bills. They rarely played out of town and barely cobbled together two demo tapes, one of which was recorded with Jack White. A tune from that tape was plucked by a British DJ during the height of the White Stripes craze, and that song's subsequent U.K. charting brought out the opportunists in the Wild Bunch. They changed their name, nabbed a quickie contract, tossed some electro-beats onto their sub-Queen swish rock, basically re-recorded that three-year-old demo, and have coasted on it since.
But as usual, time unbunches all knickers. For all the exasperated flak sent Electric Six's way from "true" hipsters, their "success" isn't worth resenting. They barely rate one-hit wonder status in the States; the original lineup has been shredded by the delusional singer (whose stale rock-god act is often misread as parody), hence old friends are now bitter enemies; and it doesn't take a Clive Davis to see that the Six's story will end like those of so many other trendy also-rans, with bad contracts and AA meetings. So catch them now, and when VH1 resorts to half-hour episodes for this decade's Behind the Music fodder, you can say you saw one of their onstage fights.