Living Better Electrically
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Living Better Electrically

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Communicating Better Musically: An Interview with Living Better Electrically’s Joshua Clark"

by Patrick Waites, Staff Writer

From the first glance of Joshua Clark, it is quite obvious that he is in a band. His face is spackled with a few remnants of facial hair; his curly quaff is tucked haphazardly behind his ears as he smokes his cigarette, and I cannot help but notice the cigarette burns on both his arms, as they are exposed by his pink sleeveless western shirt. At the age of 25, Clark is just launching his dream career of making music. Clark is the lead singer of Living Better Electrically (LBE), a local Jackson band that recently signed a record deal with the Mississippi label Sweet Tea Records. When I asked Clark to describe his music, he replied with “I am at a total loss; I really don’t know.” Maybe this was because our interview session kept getting interrupted by many friends of his. It appears that Clark is somewhat of a celebrity in the Jackson community, especially with the hip-indie people in the area. After saying hello to the passers-by, he continued by rationalizing a mix of early ‘70s rock with “something like Nancy Boy, that glam type stuff with a little new wave. But you know, it’s just rock ‘n’ roll.” I asked him if he considered LBE’s sound “lo-fi,” the category most critics and music websites put them in. He reacted rather quickly, stating, “We are not lo-fi at all. We borrow sounds from artists like David Bowie and the Beatles, artists who used the studio to obtain a polished, wellrounded sound.” Clark told me that as a child he was influenced by Sesame Street because they would spoof the Beatles’ songs. Currently his inspiration comes from Andy Warhol and Frank Lloyd Wright. “Architecture really helps us create songs. We build songs around the idea of building houses,” Clark added as he flicked his cigarette. “We structure our sound so it is more innovating. I don’t like much music that has been released in the past 25 years.” As a child, Clark was quickly drawn to music. His father showed him his first album at the age of five. A few years later, he asked for an electric guitar, but did not receive one until he was 14. Clark played the trumpet in his high school band and also took piano and violin lessons. By learning these instruments, he gained a plethora of musical knowledge, which helps him today as he writes songs for LBE. When asked how the band got their name, Clark responded with a large grin. “We nicked it. GE’s slogan in the ‘60s was ‘Live Better Electrically.’ They were promoting ways to modernize rural areas with electricity, and since I am from a small Mississippi town, I understand this concept. It is my goal to bring music, like electricity, to all of those who need it.” By punning off the old slogan and updating it, the band came up with the name Living Better Electrically. As he lit another cigarette, the way a rock star would, I asked him what was currently in his CD player. He laughed as he answered with delight. “Les Paul & Mary Ford, Mott the Hoople all the time, Bad Finger, the new Loretta Lynn album and an assortment of Tom Waits material.” It shocked me that he said he was listening to Loretta Lynn’s music because there is not a definite country influence in his music. He clarified things by saying, “There are two types of music I listen to: rock ‘n’ roll and old country music.” Since we were on the subject of other music, besides that of LBE, he told me what he thought about the current Jackson music scene. “I love it,” he remarked. “No one sounds like anyone else. There is so much talent here in Jackson, and it is the world’s loss if they cannot experience it.” As Clark sipped his drink, he began to tell me a little more about the band. They started out just jamming together without any real intentions of stardom. “It was me, my brother Jakob, Chris and Adam. We had three guitars, one bass and a Casio keyboard.” He smiled in a clever manner when he said “Casio keyboard.” After a while, the band would audition several drummers until they met Jody Suarez, who rounded out the group of five. Eventually, Clark realized that the band could turn into something good. With this idea in mind, they became more dedicated to their work. The band is currently working on their first “real” concept album. It is set for release in March of 2005. Entitled Worst Year of My Life, the album is based on the idea of 20-yearolds living in Jackson today. He described, “Life in Jackson [is] very scandalous. There is not much to do, so basically people do each other.” He believes that Jackson has the potential to be a large city but that it is more violent than major cities in the nation. “Kids are extremely creative here. They are musically endowed, yet virtually ignored,” he added. “I would like anyone from cities like New York and Chicago to come spend a week down here. I love it, and I am never going to leave.” Despite what one might think, Clark believes he will always live in Jackson, no matter how famous or popular his band may get. “I will always live off music - Millsaps College

"Best Live Band 2005"

Best Live Band: Living Better Electrically
Let's be honest with ourselves for a minute: LBE throw such hellfire on stage nowadays that they could sleep with your girlfriend and you wouldn't even mind because 10 years from now you'll be trying to get on their VH1 rockumentary so you can brag about it. They just keep getting better.
- Jackson Free Press

"LBE in the World Series"

LBE in the World Series, by Jessica Kinnison

On the corner of 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, on July 22, Jackson's own Living Better Electrically will play for the title of top independent act in the Southeast. They will be compete in a showcase against five other finalists in the Independent Music World Series. TAXI, a leading record company in the indie industry, narrowed the field down from 1,000 submissions to 100 semifinalists, and the editors of Billboard magazine chose the final six. Music industry executives and media will judge the final.

Disc Makers will make a compilation CD for the Southeast region, made up of music from the finalists, which will be given to industry professionals, radio stations and record stores. Chris Michaels, who plays keys and guitars and provides vocals for LBE, said that the band had entered the contest after he had seen it in a newsletter. “I had forgotten that I had even done it; someone directed me to a link that said we were a semifinalist, and then finalists. It was kind of a fluke.”

LBE will also compete for a $35,000 prize package filled with everything from promotional posters from Disc Makers to a complete CD manufacturing package. The IMWS showcases are open to all genres not currently signed to a major record label. It is designed to increase the fan base of independent artists because these artists "keep the industry energized and thriving," says Tony van Veen, Disc Makers vice president, in a press statement.

“We find it a little funny (and) don’t take it too seriously,” Michaels said about the contest. “We are going to have a good time hanging out in Nashville and perform our best.”

The Southeastern Independent Music World Series takes place once and year and bands can enter throughout the year and get more info at : - Jackson Free Press

"LBE Debut in Memphis"

The coolest thing out of Jackson, MS these days that's not rapper david Banner is psychedelic pop-art-rock act Living Better Electrically, which can go from Syd Barrett to ELO to the Beatles in the same song without breaking a creative sweat. The next big thing? Decide for yourself when it plays the Hi-Tone, 1913 Poplar, 10 p.m. Wednesday. $5 cover; call 278-8663.
- Bill Ellis - The Commercial Appeal

"LBE's Debut EP Short, But Sweet"

Well folks, after much deliberation, Living Better Electrically’s self-titled debut EP has finally been foisted upon the hoi polloi.

Where does one begin to talk about Living Better Electrically, perhaps Jackson’s most enigmatic and multifaceted band? Well, I know what I’m not going to talk about, and that, for starters, is how they look. Their well-dressed, metrosexual mien has been expounded upon elsewhere, and to better effect than a fashion victim like I could. But their CD almost begs comment on their aesthetics, as they opt to categorize their members in relation to the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast’s foci rather than what instruments they play. (Vocalist/guitarist Joshua Clark handles fashion, vocalist/bassist Jakob Clark does their interior design, keyboardist/vocalist Chris Michaels supervises grooming, drummer Jody Suarez chooses food and wine, and guitarist/keyboardist Adam Sears is the expert on culture, just in case you were wondering.) And I’m also not going to talk about their choice of bright pink for the color scheme of their CD artwork, either. And I’m definitely not going to use the word “glam” unless I absolutely have to.

Sly faux-gay tomfoolery aside, what Living Better Electrically is really about is their music, and this CD presents LBE in pristine studio form. The subtle nuances and whisper-to-a-scream dynamics of their music – things that have had trouble coming across in their live performances, especially at rabble-infested clubs like Martin’s – are at the forefront here. Listening to this CD, the essence of LBE comes clearer – their songs aren’t so much songs as they are miniature suites in an ever-expanding opus.

So now let’s do the track-by-track: the opening tune, “Don’t Say Anything,” features Joshua on lead vocals, and has some damn tasty, crunchy guitar lines that recalls the work of early Radiohead - y’know, when they still used guitars a lot. The cool riffs are underscored by Michaels’ expert keyboard work – good to hear because that’s another thing often lost in the din of a live setting.

The second tune, “Princess, Blue,” wins hands-down as my favorite track on the EP. The mellow tunefulness and swirling guitars of the song led by Jakob’s deep, Nick Cave-ish baritone remind me of good Britpop, like it’s a lost track from Pulp’s This Is Hardcore. And that’s a good thing.

Next we have “Sun Go Down,” a more somber, laid-back ditty, with Joshua on vocals again. The tune has a dreamlike, almost lullaby-ish quality to it, and offers a welcome respite from the bombast of the first two tunes.

Joshua once again handles vocal duties on “Sweet Baby,” which plays out like some kind of bent art-rock torch song. It’s followed by the CD’s shortest tune, “Leather Affair,” (with Joshua once again handling vocal duties) a bouncy, vaudevillian tune that recalls the quirky chamber pop of Of Montreal.

The CD closes out with Jakob on the mic for “The World is a Joke,” a vampy, dramatic pop song that conjures – OK, I know you’ve been waiting for this – Hunky Dory-era David Bowie. OK, well if not exactly Bowie himself, then at least Jobriath.

So there you have it. All in all it’s an excellent CD. With only six songs, it’s over before you know it, but damned if its melodies aren’t stuck in your head after even a single listen.

Copies of the EP are available at area BeBops. Hopefully it won’t be filed under “glam.” You can also get copies from the band, of course, and you also might be able to get one from their Web site,, if they ever get it up and running.

by Carey Miller
Planet Weekly Managing Editor - Planet Weekly


Montipaloosa 2001 Compilation, Black Dog Records
Living Better Electrically EP, Self Released with Distribution through Parasol, 2004
Songs from the EP have received/are receiving airplay on several radio stations including: WTUL in New Orleans; 94.1 The Buzz (WMBZ) and WEVL in Memphis, TN; KOOP and KVRX in Austin, TX; Y101.7 (WYOY) in Jackson, MS; WUMS in Oxford, MS; WUSM in Hattiesburg, MS


Feeling a bit camera shy


Living Better Electrically began playing together in the winter of 2000, and since that time have metamorphosed into the hidden jewel of the southeast music scene, poking their heads out of the studio only to perform at regional clubs and events. After much deliberation, the band finally released their first E.P. in the spring of 2004. Living Better Electrically has performed at the SXSW Music festival 2004, 2005,and 2006, and CMJ 2005. Recently the band was voted "Best Live Band" by the readers of the Jackson Free Press for the 3rd year in a row. LBE caught the ear of MS based producer Dennis Herring who signed the group to his label, Sweet Tea. They recently finished work on their first LP with producer Paul Ebersold in Memphis.