IF THE STILETTO FITS, SLAY IT…PEACE, LOVE AND FISHNETS WITH THE SPICE PISTOLS By Sandra Castillo
IF THE STILETTO FITS, SLAY IT…PEACE, LOVE AND FISHNETS WITH THE SPICE PISTOLS
By Sandra Castillo
I could feel every fiber of my being screaming out for the “jolt of electricity,” AKA caffeine, as I schlepped out the door of my abode to head over to my local coffee shop. Even though this trek through my neighborhood was the same as the previous day to go get my extra hot mocha, for some peculiar reason, on this beautiful morning, it was very necessary to kick start the new dawn with a serious bang which I would soon find swirling around in the liquid confines of my coffee cup.
As I entered the café, I was perplexed to find only one patron in the place. Perhaps this day, being a Saturday, it was a golden opportunity for many to stay in bed for a few, extra hours and catch up on much needed sleep. That said, by the looks of it, the other soul present there appeared to have the same need as mine…to acquire coffee as quickly as possible to accelerate this weekend into overdrive.
When I passed by the wall adorned in various flyers for upcoming shows and events-around-town, I immediately noticed, through my fog-induced haze, a small, colorful bulletin for the music venue Brick By Brick, which featured five men in wigs, stockings and women’s apparel, save for the one fella donning wristbands and an electric-blue hairpiece clipped in place with a black-and-white ribbon. Upon further inspection, I could see that their earnest, deliberate cue from the grand glam gesture and high camp shenanigans of the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Marc Bolan from T-Rex and any number of ‘70s bands/acts that dared to toe the line with flair and feminine persuasion, without losing touch with their masculinity, The Spice Pistols are giving music a shot in the derriere. Touche!
Straight outta North San Diego County, The Spice Pistols are garnering a rapidly-growing fan base throughout Southern California and beyond. The five-piece, electrifying band have graced the stages at the Casbah, The Bancroft and the world-famous Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood. They are set to make the long haul north, where they will play at DiPiazza’s in Long Beach, California, opening for the legendary Mike Watt and the Secondmen.
RG Magazine recently spoke with Sppike Mike Muellenberg, founder/creator of The Spice Pistols recently, to find out more about the band creating an extreme buzz in the local music scene and what it feels like to rock a pair of women’s high heels.
When and where, exactly, did the Spice Pistols come to fruition?
The Spice Pistols formed in November of 2016 in North San Diego County in the town of Vista.
There is so much which comes to mind, when seeing the Spice Pistols “live” for the very first time. Who is the mastermind behind this visually, over-the-top band?
The concept was created by me-Sppike Mike Muellenberg, AKA Hairy Scary Spice.
How did the idea to create a band, paying homage to the music of such polar, musical opposites as the Spice Girls and the Sex Pistols, come into existence?
This probably isn’t the response many would expect, but here goes. SPICE PISTOLS WAS CREATED SO THAT MY BIG, SEXY, HAIRY BELLY WOULD BE APPRECIATED! No, really, one of the things that’s always been the case, in the music industry, is that you hit a cut-off date, age-wise. Historically, if you weren’t young, in your teens or twenties and skinny, you were not considered a “sellable” act. So, I figured I needed to come up with the kind of act where my hairy belly would actually contribute in a positive way. One evening, I was chatting with a couple of my female friends, who are musicians, and we were throwing around ideas for them to form a band. Not sure exactly how, but my brain thought…What about Spice Girls songs Sex Pistols style? When I posed the question to the girls, one of them replied with ‘Ugh! I hate the Spice Girls! I would never play their music!’ So, mostly trying to be funny, I said, ‘Well, screw you, guys. I’ll do it in drag!’ And the vision was born. I immediately saw me standing on a stage with a leopard leotard, calling myself Hairy Scary Spice. And it developed from there.
Introduce the members of the Spice Pistols to the readers
John Risdon-AKA Ginger Binger Spice (vocals/front man)
Michael Fairchild-AKA Maybe Baby Spice (vocals/rhythm guitar)
James Hughes-AKA Slosh Posh Spice (lead guitar)
Mike Viejo-AKA Shorty Sporty Spice (drums)
Sppike Mike Muellenberg-AKA Hairy Scary Spice (bass)
How would you, personally, describe the music of the Spice Pistols?
Fun. There really isn’t anything like the energy that traditional Punk Rock brings to a venue, and what we do is bring that same energy to Spice Girls tunes. As a result, we have tremendous fun. And that vibe bleeds off the stage into the audience. None of us take ourselves or the music too seriously. This act is all about fun and freedom.
Give us a glimpse of what goes on at a typical Spice Pistols show.
Our shows start with Shorty taking the stage first, to start the beat of our first song, Myself, Slosh and Baby then join Shorty on stage, and we go into the first song as Binger is escorted to the stage by a member of Team Spice Pistols. Once Binger is on stage, she/he will then begin the lyrics to the song, and we all go into it. What you have next is visual and audio entertainment like you’ve not seen before. We have several skits and use plenty of props, as well as references to the songs throughout the show, which draws the audience in. There’s plenty of interaction between Baby, Binger and myself. Some of the feedback we get is how impressed people are with how tight we are as a band. We honor the songs by giving them our best energy. We give you our interpretations of both the Sex Pistols and Spice Girls tunes. It’s not like we’re trying to play them like the original artists. The Spice Girls tunes are our own arrangements of their most popular songs. As for the Sex Pistols songs, we haven’t really changed the arrangements because we want our audience to hear the tunes they are familiar with. But, we do add our own flavor. We will confess to throwing in our own originals from time to time because…WE CAN! Another comment from a fan was “each member of the band brings so much to each character that it’s almost hard to keep up with what’s happening!” My favorite thing about performing with the Spice Pistols is to see the look on people’s faces when we take the stage and began to play. Some look at us with disbelief but pretty much all of them are smiling. And nearly everyone in the audience is videotaping the show.
The Spice Pistols have played the famed Whiskey A Go Go. What was that like for the band, to have graced the stage in a venue that has hosted some of Rock and Roll’s most legendary performers?
Playing the Whiskey was nothing short of a thrill. We all know the history of that building, and you definitely can feel the spirit there. What was even better was being called back to play a second show, three weeks later, opening for the venerable Agent Orange! We look forward to a long relationship with the Whiskey A Go Go.
Who have the Spice Pistols headlined with?
Well, first, I must qualify the length of this list with the fact that, to date, we’ve only played six gigs total. Of those six gigs, one was opening for Agent Orange. We have an upcoming gig at DiPiazza’s in Long Beach, opening for Mike Watt and the Secondmen (our eighth gig ever). Our first gig, ever, was headlining the Whatever68radio.com Five Year Anniversary Festival at The Bancroft on April 1, 2017. Next, we played The Casbah in San Diego with Omega 3 and Dream Burglar. Then, we played The Bancroft again with Monkeysoop, Sculpins and Steeltoe. We have played with 13A, Shot Out Hoods and Mezzoa at Brick By Brick. In November, we’re playing a mini festival at The Bancroft with San Diego Music Awards multiple awards recipients Schizophonics, Pony Death Ride with Pink Eye and The Captain Viejo Band.
Are there any albums currently in the works to support the Spice Pistols career?
Yes. The debut Spice Pistols record is being produced and engineered by Kevin J. Ring of Manual Scan, The Shambles and Spitfire Torpedo-fame at One Ring Circus Studios. It’ll be released under the Blind Spot Records label.
What songs do you shower the fans with at the Spice Pistols shows?
The band not only covers Spice Girls and Sex Pistols songs but also any songs either band may have covered, as well as any songs that the individual members of each band may have covered. We currently have been focused on four Spice Girls tunes, two of which are “Wannabe” and “Say You’ll Be There.” Of the four Sex Pistols songs, we currently have worked out, two are “Anarchy in the UK” and “God Save The Queens,” the latter’s misspelling intended. We also have two originals currently in our set list-one, of which is the title track for our debut record, Life’s A Drag.
Are the band members bona fide fans of the Spice Girls and the Sex Pistols?
Sex Pistols…we always have been. Spice Girls? Not ‘til about November of 2016.
It all seems so “tongue-in-cheek” to be a part of a band, where the guys get to don themselves in sexy, lacy intimates, fishnets and heels, while cranking out some serious Rock whiplash on guitars, drums and whatever else is tackled musically. For this writer, I say, “If the stiletto fits, slay it!” How do you personally feel when you are on stage, thrashing that bass, while trying to balance on three-inch heels?
This act is more fun than anything I’ve done in a very long time. I’ve been blessed with the kind of imagination that came up with this, and I absolutely have to say that without John Risdon, Michael Fairchild, James Hughes and Mike Viejo, this wouldn’t come off the way it does. I chose each of these gents, because I could see them in the role and knew in my heart of hearts that they were right for it. Each one of them are stellar musicians, in their own right.
Is there anything you would like to say before we wrap this interview up?
“Peace, Love and Fishnets, Babies!”