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Photo by John GilhooleyMore than anything else, Mister Mister Miyagi is just a damn good idea: a cover band that plays '80s pop hits while you sing live onstage. It's karaoke with an extra rush—a total simulation of the bar band experience. To paraphrase a description from their MySpace profile: You're Adam, they're the Ants.
At a Mister Mister Miyagi gig, all kinds of people step up to screech, warble, drone and sometimes even sing their way through any one of about 100 songs the veteran Long Beach musicians mimic with frightening precision: we recently saw guitarist Mr. Mr. Furley get serious props from a drunken stranger outside another band's show for nailing the solo in Spandau Ballet's "True."
They've been learning about five songs a month, mostly by ear, guitarist Jesse Wilder (a.k.a. Spaz) says: "In the beginning, we were a lot more strict because I didn't want to sound stupid. But now, we still want to be true to the song, but it's mostly by ear and maybe some guitar tabs here and there."
Singers throw a few back and get up, primed to make their salty onstage fantasy sorta-kinda come true for three minutes, and what happens? Almost everyone fucks up the timing because there's no prompter. No worries, though. Miyagi adapts to most sonically inept comers.
"When the singer is bad, it doesn't make much difference," proclaims Wilder. "We just rough it out. I mean, it is karaoke. Every once in a while you get someone who has no concept of time. Our number one rule is to follow the singer, but sometimes that gets thrown out the window when the vocals are exceptionally off. [Then] we try and help them out with the rest of it. And end it as soon as possible."
MISTER MISTER MIYAGI PLAY ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LOMG BEACH, (562) 434-8292. SAT., 9 P.M. FREE.