MC5, Stooges homecoming; TV eye on dollar signs

Jun 11, 2003 at 12:00 am

Seems the Electric Six are finally a mere one degree of separation away from Crispin Glover. See, the ever-more-improbable success of the Detroit sextet’s hit, “Danger! High Voltage,” continues apace with the song’s inclusion on the sound track to the upcoming Glover-featuring summer blockbuster Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle — sandwiched between Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer,” no less! Look for the disc to shift more than a million units. Combined mechanical and performance publishing royalties from both film and record sales equal a heady payday for “DHV” songwriters Frezza/Newara/Selph and Spencer. Ensuing E6 buzz from lips of suburban brats nationwide will be melodious. Also, the band’s current UK single, “Gay Bar,” repeated the success of “DHV,” and landed in the Top Ten in that country this week. And, in case you Web meme geeks hadn’t noticed, the E6 has also been immortalized (as have the White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, Destiny’s Child) in Flash video form on the Web site The site has created a video for the band’s aforementioned single featuring Viking cats rocking out. According to former E6 guitarist Surge Joebot (yes, former, more on that in a minute), the E6 tried to use the unlikely clip as its official video, but “it couldn’t get done.”

Now, of course, just as the original lineup of the band is about to release its full-length, word hit the streets that three members — Surge Joebot, Disco and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Indian — have parted ways with the E6. Figures. This roadblock makes perverse sense in the grand scheme of the E6/Wildbunch’s dada-esque career-suicide-as-performance-art-project. This is, after all, the band that decided to go into “cryogenic hybernation” upon the release of their debut local-hit collection Rock Empire. One question begs asking: Why would anybody jump from a train on Godspeed? Look at the decades’ worth of shit Charlie Watts had to put up with. … Anyway, the remaining E6ers are continuing with their summer tour and festival schedule (which includes stints at the UK fests Reading and Glastonbury and the Fuji Rock festival in Japan). Word is that Witches member and Alphabet main man John (Johnny Nashinal) Nash, and Getaway Cruiser’s Mark Dundon have filled the ax voids and guitar hero Zach “I need a change” Shipps — who just quit Brendan Benson’s Well Fed Boys — is in on bass (???) …

If you stare at TV with mouths agape as much as we do, you must’ve seen the omnipresent Saturn Ion commercial involving frolicking frat folk and other colorful collegiate clichés. The one choreographed to a synth/guitar phrase looped under a pop-perfect “Yeah-ah” vocal. Uh, yeah. That’s our own Brendan Benson’s track — co-written with pop geek fave Jason Falkner —”Tiny Spark.” As stated above, and it may be obvious, that means dough. It means one less slack-shouldered songwriter lurking in the Detroit workforce recesses.

Lest we forget, the ubiquitous “What I Like About You” currently is providing soundtrack fodder to national T.G.I. Friday’s TV spots. Speaking of the never-say-expire Romantics (whose praiseworthy new record — with Blondie drummer Clem Burke — should see light late summer), look for a forthcoming In The Red split single with none other than the Dirtbombs. That’s right, a Dirtbombs/Romantics split single. What’s more, they’ll be covering each other’s songs!

Speaking of sponsor lucre — and this whole thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder — the now-gold-in-the-U.S. White Stripes had to go on record ( to explain a promo gone awry. Seems the duo had agreed in principle to perform a Guinness Book-worthy show aboard a jetliner. Thing is, the corporate weasels that invariably attach themselves to up-to-the-moment bands wanted in on the action too. This is where it got weird.

The Stripes ended up — unbeknownst to them — as life-sized in-store cardboard cutouts pitching cell phones, and the fans got wind and cooed “sellout!” In a strangely cuss-friendly message on their site, Jack White explained that it was all a cool idea that spun off beam once the corporate suits got involved. Now the cynical among us may be tempted to scoff, but this explanation slaked the thirst for grassroots cred the kids sought with “hosannahs” and “see, I told you so”s on the aforementioned site. (Oddly, both Jack’s message and the fansite’s reaction have disappeared from the Web.)

Oh, and in other surreal Stripes news, Meg went yachting with Beck Down Under, and a rather speed-addled Ryan Adams went on yet another Stripes bashing (insert yawn) bender on his own Web site. To wit: “jack is a fucking nothing. people with little teeth are scary. good thing he dosent do drunks, there wouldnt be anthing left to dilute. the crocadile dundee of rock. have to say it....”

The long, long, long anticipated Iggy and the Stooges hometown reunion show (with ex-Minutemen/Firehose Mike Watt on bass) is confirmed at DTE on Aug. 14 with Sonic Youth supporting. Meanwhile, the MC5, er, MC3 (surviving members Mike Davis, Wayne Kramer, and Dennis Thompson) reunion show is tentatively set for August with (so far) no scheduled local screening of the band’s accolade-reaping documentary, MC5 A True Testimonial.

Lastly, as predicted in these pages weeks ago, the Rioteers have started fielding phone calls from record weasels. Tra la la …

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