Imitation Fx

Punk-rockers let fans grab the mic, hope they still have a job by the end.

Mr. Gnome alt-rock Isis
Strangely enough, the inspiration for punk-rock vets MxPx's "Karaoke Nights" tour came from Finland, not Japan. When the trio stops by Cleveland tonight, a lucky fan selected through a MySpace competition will grab the mic to lend vocals to his/her favorite MxPx tune, all thanks to a couple of kids who jumped onstage in Helsinki last year and sang with the band. "We wanted to do something fun and bring something new to the table," says guitarist Tom Wisniewski. "So after that incident in Finland, we figured we'd make it official."The winner will pick one song to croon — any tune "that we remember how to play," Wisniewski says. After busting out SoCal-style skate rock for 16 years — longer than some fans have been alive — and recently releasing its eighth album, Secret Weapon, the band has collectively buried some tunes in cobwebs. If nothing else, band members are honest about their memories and abilities, which is why, if they find someone who sings better than they do, MxPx might take a back seat. "If we find a star, we're letting them sing about twenty songs," laughs Wisniewski. "We just want to have fun." The MxPx Karaoke Nights Tour, with the Promise Hero and the Sidekicks, pulls into the Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. Call 216-321-5588 or visit
Tue., April 29, 7 p.m., 2008
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