by Frank Lewis
Detroit band Electric Six takes some shots at its red (and gray) Ohio neighbors in “Escape From Ohio,” track four of the group’s new album, Kill. The song name-checks Joe the Plumber, then rhymes, “Lord be merciful and let me die / 15 miles south of Lodi / Round on both ends and the middle’s high / And what’s so great about a buckeye?” Moments later, frontman-songwriter Dick Valentine qualifies the statement by shouting out to some of his favorite bands: “Except for GBV and Devo / Nothing seems to redeem Ohio.”
Scene figured we understood where he’s coming from, but called to give him a chance to explain himself. Valentine says Northeast Ohio shouldn’t take it personally.
“I’ve always enjoyed my time in Cleveland, playing there,” says Valentine. “And I’m growing an affinity for Cinincinnati. It’s Columbus that rubs me the wrong way. Something about having Ohio State there brings out the worst in people.”
“What I do get depressed about,” continued Valentine, “is being in Columbus and seeing how many people, it’s their life, and how seriously they take it — how everybody’s wearing a Buckeye jersey. If you’re driving around there with Michigan plates, you’ll have some dipshit come up to you. When I went to school in Ann Arbor, it just didn’t matter as much. People could be walking around our campus with Ohio State jerseys on. I just find it sad.”
The dance-rock band normally plays the Grog Shop, but the club isn’t on this leg of the tour. The group played Pittsburgh last week, but won’t gig any nearer than Detroit until next year. Valentine claims Electric Six isn’t ducking the Buckeye State. The singer adds that, in addition to clubs and music, he’s also a fan of some blue Ohio politicians.
“Me and [guitarist John] Nash were actually talking about [Senator] Sherrod Brown,” says Valentine. “We’re both big fans. It’s like having Bill Murray as a senator.” — D.X. Ferris