“Sppike” Mike Muellenberg has been a musician in Southern California for nearly his entire life. He has played in bands for most of that time period, and knows first-hand how difficult it is to draw a crowd.
“There’s so much music going on in Southern California that it’s really hard to develop a following unless you’re doing something different that’s unpredictable,” Muellenberg explained. “I was looking at my fat, hairy beer belly going, ‘How the hell can I make this thing an asset?’ I had been stewing on that idea for a couple of days and then had a conversation with a couple of female musician friends on Facebook. They were talking about wanting to put together an all-girl punk rock band. I mentioned ‘Well, why don’t you guys do Spice Girls songs, Sex Pistols-style and call yourself the Spice Pistols?’ One of the girls came back with a comment saying ‘I would never play those guys’ music. They suck.’ Then I went, ‘Screw you guys. I’m gonna do it in drag, then.’”
“The image was born in my head. I saw myself in leopard print and high-heels, playing Spice Girls songs Sex Pistols-style. It was an epiphany.”
It was at this moment that Hairy Scary Spice was born. She united with Ginger Binger Spice, Maybe Baby Spice, Slosh Posh Spice, and Shorty Sporty Spice to form the Spice Pistols — a Spice Girls/Sex Pistols mash-up that tackles songs by each band, along with some of their very own creations. Members have played in bands like Captain Viejo, Sex Stains, Konvix, the Accessories, and True Stories.
“One of the things we also do is we write from the perspective of if the Spice Girls and the Sex Pistols sat down and wrote together,” says Muellenberg (who has also played with League of Liars and Elements). “The title track from our record Life’s A Drag is really about gender-identity, and the difficulty people are having in our society at this time.”
So far, the Spice Pistols have performed around town at venues such as the Casbah and Brick By Brick. Muellenberg sent a video of the Pistols playing at the Whiskey in Los Angeles to producers of America’s Got Talent with the hope that the band could score some national air-time. The producers bit and told them to come up to L.A. in February to audition for the show.
Spice Pistols, "WannaBe"
They were armed with only acoustic instruments and a drum machine for this performance. The first song they played for the eight producers present was “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls.
“We were all dressed up, we killed it, and they loved it. They asked us if we had any other material prepared and we had two other songs. They said, ‘Please do those,’” Muellenberg said.
The acoustic audition paved the way for the official, competition appearance, which was taped on March 11. Muellenberg has to keep mum about the details until the show airs, so tune in on May 29 to see what Simon Cowell (who famously passed on the Spice Girls) and Mel B (an actual Spice Girl) think of Hairy Scary and his Spicy cohorts.