Music » Music Stories

Blonde Ambition

Electric Six vocalist Dick Valentine finds himself beloved by fratboys. Plus, two fearless writers review the Rod Stewart concert experience.

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Is mom-approved crooner Rod "The Bod" Stewart's live extravaganza worth checking out? Decide for yourself, at least judging by two dueling critical reviews of his April 17 show from our sister paper, the Houston Press.

Whatever the deed says, Rod Stewart owned the Toyota Center last night. Did he deserve to? Ah, that's another question. The aging rocker wowed his fans — many of whom also seemed just a few years away from official senior citizenship — but he did it with a decidedly diminished voice. Raspy and hoarse beyond his usual, well, raspy hoarseness, Stewart coasted on the fact that so many of his songs have become rock classics, depending on his backup singers and audience-sing-alongs to fill the musical gaps. But he still gave fans a great show. There was plenty of the requisite prancing, posing and shaking of his narrow hips, all of which elicited screams and yelps from the audience.

Stewart used a video send-up of The Godfather, titled The Rodfather, to open the two-and-a-half-hour show. "He had to choose between kicking goals and kicking ass," the announcer intoned dramatically before Stewart launched into the opener "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)." From there it was one Stewart rock hit after another, including "Fathers and Sons," "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (which included a dramatic drop to his knees), "Dirty Old Town," "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," "It's a Heartache" and "Forever Young," before an encore of "Maggie May" and "Stay with Me."

While his voice might be past its prime, Stewart's punked-up hair and rock star attitude are intact, and that seemed to be enough for his fans.
— Olivia Flores Alvarez

After a slightly odd film short, The Rodfather, preceded Rod Stewart's show, it wasn't long before the perfectly coiffed and perfectly charming 62-year-old Stewart was revealed center stage. Those expecting a first act full of selections from his three standards albums were surprised to find out that tonight's set would be all rock, which was just fine (hence the tour's name — Rockin' in the Round, duh!). Stewart ran around the circular stage, breezing through classics such as "Young Turks" and "Infatuation," much to the delight of the "young" women in the crowd. More than a few roses and undergarments made their way up to the stage, just like the old days.

Then, out of nowhere, a fan told me they heard Rod never sings "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" anymore. What?! I was going to miss seeing 5,000 60-year-old men gyrating to the song they sang in the mirror while getting ready tonight?! Then, just like that, he introduces the next ditty as "a silly little song," and the keyboards erupt in the familiar melody. YYYEEESSS!! I was treated to a veritable middle-aged dancing orgy.

After a fifteen-minute intermission, standard for Stewart shows, he came back for more. He gave tributes to his father, Robert Joseph Stewart, and to his first love by screening video of various football clubs from the U.K. The evening ended with the Faces classic "Stay With Me." No doubt the sentiment was echoed throughout the crowd. — Monica Fuentes

8 p.m. Tuesday, May 1. Scottrade Center, South 14th Street and Clark Avenue. Tickets are $29.50 to $125. 314-241-1888.

Electric Slide

When Electric Six released its first album, Fire, in 2003, the band hoped to indulge in-the-closet spastic dancers and record-store geeks with a blend of cock-rock guitars, Turbonegro humor and disco-synth beats. Much to lead singer Dick Valentine's surprise, though, the Detroit rockers have now found themselves worshipped as idols in the land of the Greeks. Despite spouting the refrain "I've got something to put in you/At the gay bar" (in the hit song "Gay Bar") and even naming E6's latest album, Switzerland, after the notoriously peaceful country, Valentine can't seem to shake fraternity boys from his coattails. He spoke to B-Sides about the band's ironic fanbase and how it really makes him feel.

B-Sides: The single "I Buy the Drugs" was filmed in a frat house. How do you feel about fraternities?

Dick Valentine: It's funny that more and more they are tending to make up our core audience. My loyal customer base now is a bunch of aggro-meathead dudes, and it's a weird psychology. I'm not really sure how people get like that. Obviously they are repressing something, and this is the way they channel it. I get put in bear hugs and headlocks a lot and get people shouting at me and punching me thinking that is what I want — that it will somehow bring us closer when really what that does is make me file restraining orders every night.

Have you ever actually had to?

I got close. Well in Columbia, Missouri, once I got put in a sleeper hold and I told the guy never to touch me again, and the guy told me I was breaking his heart. And I was like, "Well, you are breaking my spine." And then he told me to go fuck myself because I was breaking his heart. So I don't understand that; I have a hard time with that. Do you understand that?

Well, you stomped on his heart. That kind of sadness always turns to rage; it just takes different amounts of time for different people.

Well, it's funny, really anyone's musical stage persona is 180 degrees from who they actually are. I'm just a skinny white guy with sinus problems, and when I'm not on the road I play with dolls.

Do you collect them?

[Laughs] No, but I'm looking to get off the road.

I noticed on Switzerland that none of your songs refer to dancing anymore. Have you hung up your dancing shoes?

Well, yes and no. I don't know if I ever had them, which was the whole point. We want to make records at the time that we want to make. So we've already made a couple party records and we wanted to totally back off, at least for one record. We've already made our fourth record, and now that's right back in the party zone. Inasmuch as we party.

How much of your time is consumed by partying?

About .5 percent.

So you're focused on doling it out for everybody else?

I think so, yeah. Maybe what we are doing is a commentary on people who party. You have to understand that what you are seeing is six people onstage who were never invited to the party, and now it's payback time. — Andrea Noble

7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at the Creepy Crawl. 3524 Washington Boulevard. $12 to $14. 314-531-3888.

The Download

The Web's been good to DJ Z-Trip. With only 2,000 copies pressed, his genre-bending needlework (alongside DJ P) on Uneasy Listening earned him a massive fanbase thanks to file sharing. To keep his karma (and copyright lawyers) in check, he posts the majority of his hard-to-find recordings online for free consumption. Put your bandwidth to the test at his Web site (, which hosts an impressive archive of tripped-out turntablism, including "Mass Hysteria" from his upcoming collaboration with Lateef the Truthspeaker. You'll have to pay to hear the rest of Ahead of the Curve, but as with any good dealer, the first one's on the house. — Andy Vihstadt

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