Plenty of worthy new bands have emerged in San Diego over the past two years, but none have made quite the splash that The Spice Pistols have. Appearing at The Merrow on October 27, the group features bassist “Sppike” Mike Muellenberg (aka Hairy Scary Spice), singer John Risdon ( Ginger Binger Spice ), guitarists Michael Fairchild ( Maybe Baby Spice ) and Jim Issac ( Slosh Posh Spice ) as well as drummer Jeremy Ries ( Shorty Sporty Spice ), all dedicated to combining the pop songs of the Spice Girls with the punk tunes of The Sex Pistols, while dressed in drag. The Spice Pistols put on a show that includes a special element: fun.
In addition to releasing an album, the band performed on ABC-TV’s “America’s Got Talent” program earlier this year and while they didn’t win, their brief appearance was one of the most memorable of the season. “Performing in front of 3000 people both during the sound check and the filmed portion was a highlight to be sure,” said Muellenberg. “As for the hosts? Well, my character in the band is Hair Scary Spice so seeing Mel B, The original Scary Spice stand and cheer our performance was my favorite. Howie Mandel genuinely dug our get down. Heidi was gorgeous as always and then there’s Simon. As for him? He’s Simon! Does anyone actually like that cat?”
Muellenberg points out that although the Spice Pistols play plenty of covers by their namesake groups, they are not just a tribute band. Risdon and guitarist Michael Fairchild have written an albums worth of originals, though the title track of their album, “Life’s A Drag,” is the sole release to date. “Besides the covers, it’s important to also play originals, Muellenberg said. “The art dictates that we write tunes from the perspective of the two original bands, The Spice Girls and the Sex Pistols. Sort of, what if those two bands sat and wrote songs together. This is the angle we try to come from. Basically there’s a message, as with many of the Spice Girls songs, but we deliver that message with the grit and grind of punk rock the same way the Sex Pistols did.”
In addition to more concert dates, the Spice Pistols will be launching a series of vinyl 7” singles in 2019, “The Celebrity Single Series,” featuring special guests. “This first release will be a picture disc with a new version of the song “Life’s A Drag,” and Rikk Agnew of Adolescents and Christian Death fame, laying down both rhythm and lead guitars.” The B-side will be a remaster of the Spice Girls hit, “Say You’ll Be There,” with both songs mastered and produced by Dave Klein of Agent Orange at his studio in LA.
While a Sex Pistols / Spice Girls cover band might seem like a one trick pony, Muellenberg promises that will never be the case with the Spice Pistols. “One of the most important missions of this band is to never become boring or predictable,” he said. “Every show will have an element of surprise. The only way you’ll ever know all that we’ve done is to attend all the shows,” Muellenberg enthused. “We’re entertainers first. I grew up in theater and am a huge fan of bands like The Tubes, Kiss and Alice Cooper. This band was created to battle ADHD. Every time you come to a Spice Pistols show you’re going to see something you’ve never seen before,“ he said.