By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
"To make it real simple, after playing with those guys for a long time, we never left Detroit, never left and toured once," Valentine explains. "And then, all of a sudden, we're doing five shows a week all over the world. Like it or not, you're going to have all these different people involved in the band. It's not a small thing anymore. There are marketing people and merch people and management and all that. They didn't like that, and it's unfortunate, but that's just the way it works. You want everybody to get along. But if it's not in the cards, it's not in the cards."
So, adopting a show-must-go-on callousness, Valentine left his old pals by the side of the road and got top-notch guns-for-hire. It was a decision that didn't bode well within Detroit's tight musical sewing circles, and even today, if you find yourself parked on a bar stool next to former E6ers Disco (Steve Newara) and Surge Joebot (Joe Frezza), you're in for an earful about rock-and-roll martyrdom. But that probably won't happen to Valentine.
"Quite honestly, I don't go to the stomping grounds in Detroit anymore," he says. "I'm not avoiding people, but the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend more time in a bar. It may be kind of tired to say this, but you know who your true friends are when you get home."
If that's the case, he won't know who his friends are for a long time. The band is locked into touring until December 19, in which time they'll be spreading the "Gay Bar" gospel across the United States, Japan and Western Europe. After the holidays, the new band goes into the studio to pare down an alleged 60 or 70 songs into a follow-up to Fire.
"We're in good shape for the new record," Valentine says with an edge of excitement in his voice. "But it's not going to be taking place on the dance floor this time. It's going to have some pop that's real poppy and some rock that's real rocky. It's going to be filled with themes of the future and the devil. If you have an idea, you don't have to just write one stupid song about it; you can write 10. It's like the resurrection. Those dudes didn't put one story about it in the Bible; they wrote that same story a bunch of times."
You can tell by the sound of his voice that he is only partly joking. The question is: Can he get an amen?