The Twistin' Tarantulas' 20 years has not exactly flown by for singer, bassist and group founder "Pistol" Pete Midtgard.
"People always say it goes by so fast, but...nah," says the Detroit-born, Pontiac-raised Midtgard, who founded the punky, rockabilly-based trio in Detroit's Ghetto Heights section after tenures in bands such as the Flying Saucers, the Skraps, Heresy and the Almighty Lumberjacks of Death. "For me it's been every minute of every hour of every day and on and on and on. So, yes, it's definitely felt like 20 years."
But Midtgard is not at all surprised that the Tarantulas are still steadily crawling after worldwide touring, three albums and more than 15 members through its ranks.
"Well, I kinda planned on it lasting," says Midtgard, 53. "Once we formed and started going and doing well enough that I was able to quit my job, then I thought, 'Yeah, I'm going to do everything I can to make this last,' because playing music for a living is what I always wanted to do."
These days Midtgard resides in Canton, Ohio, where his wife has a job, and is a long-distance delivery driver in-between Tarantulas commitments. He feels the current incarnation of the group is "my best lineup since the original," and he hopes to have time to finish a new album during the coming year.
"I just think the material holds up, and the band's entertaining," Midtgard says. "Even though it's no secret I've had plenty of lineup changes, I can listen to live tapes from over the years and the band sounds the same. We've managed to keep some consistency in what the band sounds like.
"And the mixture of material helps. You know we're gonna play some rockabilly, but then Tom Waits comes out, and Bauhaus and Kiss, and you know it's not just this pigeonholed thing. That's what brings people back."
The Twistin' Tarantulas celebrate their 20th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 20, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. The Orbitsuns and the Seatbelts will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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