I went to see Electric Six in Providence, Rhode Island this past week and had an unexpected opportunity to interview Da Ve, the humble and captivating guitarist for the band. Before Electric Six took the stage of the Fete Lounge, Da Ve and I had an engaging discussion about various Electric Six topics, his favorite bands to see live, touring, and more.
Alex Obert: So how did you join Electric Six?
Da Ve: I started filling in on some of the Canadian tours. Then time went by and I just started doing more and more tours, including the US tours. The Colonel, the previous guitar player, I think he wanted to focus more on his studio and his other job recording stuff. He was having a hard time getting out on the road as often, so I just ended up being a full-time touring guy and that was that.
Alex Obert: What were those first few shows like?
Da Ve: I knew all the Electric Six songs anyway cause they were one of my favorite bands anyway, these guys were all friends of mine. The first show was in London, Ontario. I had never played with them before, so I showed up, we had a two hour soundcheck and I played all the songs with them for the first time that night.
Alex Obert: What are some of your favorites to play?
Da Ve: Personally, Devil Nights. I love that one. We used to do Steal Your Bones a lot. I know that’s kind of a snoozer, a slower tune, but I love playing that one. Those are two pretty good ones.
Alex Obert: How are the future releases coming along with Human Zoo and Mimicry and Memories?
Da Ve: It’s great. We’ve got a way, it’s easy. These guys are all just great, great musicians. We can do this thing over the phone, we can all just show up in the same room and just go at it or we can do it all in pieces. We do it so it’s easiest for all of us, it’s pretty low stress. The tunes are great. The new album’s gonna be great.
Alex Obert: What’s your opinion on the track, Gun Rights?
Da Ve: I love Gun Rights. I play the accordion on Gun Rights, man. (laughs) There’s a couple weirdo tunes on this new album, but it’s gotta be that way. There’s some heavy, burnin’, rockin’ tunes. There’s some weirdo tracks. It’s fun.
Alex Obert: I heard The Afterlife is gonna be big.
Da Ve: That’s a good one.
Alex Obert: What have you taken out of being in the studio with them and playing with them, as opposed to other bands you’ve been a part of in the past?
Da Ve: There’s a certain amount of knowledge you just have to have on whatever instrument you’re playing an Electric Six. If you’re not good enough to just show up and do it, then you shouldn’t be in the band. So it’s important that I’m on top of shit, it’s just assumed that everyone’s gonna know what they’re doing.
Alex Obert: What originally drew you into the band when you first discovered them?
Da Ve: Gay Bar. When they were The Wildbunch, it was a big deal in Detroit. Before that song was even a hit, they were a big deal in Detroit. They were doing something weird, they were doing something different than all the other rock and roll bands and garage rock bands. They were bad motherfuckers. I never thought that I would be part of it, but I’m stoked that I am.
Alex Obert: Where do you feel you add input in regards to the writing and recording of the albums ever since you joined the band?
Da Ve: I’m more drawn to heavy guitars, so I’m trying to throw some more solos here or there. I don’t know that’s any different than before, but that’s where I’m coming from.
Alex Obert: What do you wish they added onto the set that you don’t usually get to play?
Da Ve: Well we were doing it a little bit in the UK, Graphic Designer. That was a fun one. We did that for about six shows in a row in the UK two years ago. Maybe someday we’ll bring that back.
Alex Obert: When you guys travel, what’s it like? Do you ever get to stop and see anything or is it moreso venue to venue?
Da Ve: We book ’em pretty tight, so yeah, there’s not a lot of dick around time. I’ve seen all of the bathrooms and none of the monuments. We get to a city, I hit the men’s room, we soundcheck, I go to the closest place to get food and that’s that. Not a lot of time to see a bunch of stuff.
Alex Obert: How are the occasional shows going this summer? I know you have the cruise show in Boston coming up.
Da Ve: Yeah, boat show’s gonna be a blast. We’ve got a little bit of downtime before October. The tours are just a couple weeks at a time and spread out a little bit. But I don’t mind taking a little downtime in the summer because it’s fucking sweltering! (laughs)
Alex Obert: One of the places I’ve seen the band perform often is Middle East in Cambridge, what do you think of that club?
Da Ve: That’s a classically awesome venue. Great staff and great sound. Nice, big stage. And it’s always well attended. I went through and played that place with a band I used to play in called The Paybacks. When I was in The Meatmen, we played there. I’ve been playin’ that place since the early 2000’s.
Alex Obert: Do you have any memories of Kitten from the 2011 show?
Da Ve: Yeah. Talented group of kids. Chloe was like sixteen or something and I don’t know why she was out on the road, but I’m glad she was. I think that she’s replaced the whole band since then. I haven’t kept in touch with them, I should send her an email though.
Alex Obert: With recent shows, what do you think of the setlist?
Da Ve: It’s good. We’re throwing some new stuff in, some stuff that I’ve never played with the band. And I’ve been playing with the band for almost four years. Just like three or four days ago, we put in a tune that I’d never played with them before. It’s nice that it’s always changing.
Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on the live DVD that Electric Six released?
Da Ve: I like it. We did a lot of songs that night, we did almost two hours.
Alex Obert: When I interviewed Dick last year, he said that he wanted to hold off a few years to film and release live DVD. Do you agree with that mentality?
Da Ve: Yeah, I totally agree. It’s important to have something to offer ten, twenty, thirty years down the road. You can’t just hand things out to people, just giving them what they want all the time. You gonna let ’em know what they want.
Alex Obert: What do you see for the future of Electric Six?
Da Ve: Another eight, ten albums maybe. There’s six of us, everybody’s got tunes to bring to the table. I don’t see any shortage of new material in the next couple years at all. There’s no reason we can’t release an album every year-ish, maybe every other year. We’re on a streak right now and it’s going fine. I don’t think we’re releasing duds, it’s good stuff.
Alex Obert: Is that why it’s important to blur genres for this band?
Da Ve: I think that just happens on its own. It’s not like the mission to not be genre specific, it’s just that everybody in this band likes so many different types of music. That’s just how the songs end up. Someone has a basic idea of something and then the band as a whole makes it into what it is. That’s why some songs are heavier and some songs sound like rap, it’s six different guys with different musical tastes.
Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on the side projects of your band members?
Da Ve: I’m a big fan of all of them. I go see Tait every time he plays in town. My wife just booked Johnny Headband in Detroit not too long ago. She booked them a couple weeks ago, but they’re playing in a couple months. I go over to Nash’s house and listen to his solo stuff. My wife and I own a club in Detroit and Mike’s bands play our club all the time. Speedball gets together once a year and plays a show. It’s great. Everybody supportive of each other and their side projects for sure.
I have a band with a nautical theme called Captains of the Head where I play the accordion and it’s basically just filthy sea music. My wife and I jam a little bit, nothing really official. I’ve been able to dial back because nobody wants me to be in their band anymore since I’ve gotta be on tour with Electric Six all the time. (laughs) I have a few projects that I play with every once in a while, but it’s nothing too serious. This is my main focus.
Alex Obert: Who do you like to see you live as a fan?
Da Ve: I never miss Supersuckers. Never miss Nashville Pussy. Never miss Turbonegro. Keith Morris and Off! came to Small’s this year, those guys are great. Their guitar player, Dimitri, is just a fuckin’ maniac. He writes most of the stuff with Keith. In a couple weeks, I’m gonna go up to Grand Rapids, Michigan in a few weeks and see Nashville Pussy. And Detroit bands too, Against the Grain, a band called Raw Dogs, there’s a bunch of really cool punk bands and heavier rock bands in town.
Alex Obert: Favorite Electric Six song to play live?
Da Ve: Currently Night Vision.
Alex Obert: Aside from Fire, which Electric Six album would you want to play in its entirety on a tour?
Da Ve: Mustang.
Alex Obert: Favorite piece of Electric Six merchandise?
Da Ve: It’s the out of print upside down cross Electric 666 shirt.
Alex Obert: Favorite Electric Six album cover?
Da Ve: Flashy.
Alex Obert: Favorite Electric Six song title?
Da Ve: Clusterfuck.
Alex Obert: Honest thoughts on Adam Levine?
Da Ve: He’s just some fuckin’ shithead selling a bunch of shit, whatever.
Alex Obert: Favorite Mimicry and Memories Kickstarter pledge prize?
Da Ve: The backrub’s up there, but I like the offer of a drum lesson from Percussion World. I want one! Also, I’ve done books two years in a row. Two years ago, I’ve documented all the penis drawings in all the green rooms on our tours. For this Kickstarter package, I’m doing a book where I photoshop you into all the stuff that we’re doing. Somebody bought it, I couldn’t believe it.
Alex Obert: The one Electric Six show you played that you wish you could relive?
Da Ve: Well it’d have to be either Toledo, Ohio 2012 or St. Petersburg last year or the year before.
Alex Obert: What you have to say to readers that are interested in checking out Electric Six?
Da Ve: We’re releasing a bunch of shit this year. Talking about doing a listening party at Small’s for the new album a couple of weeks before it comes out, so that’d maybe be early October. Check out the Electric Six Facebook for information on that.
Alex Obert: Well I’d love to thank you so much for your time and I look forward to the big successes going on for Electric Six this year.
Da Ve: Thank you!