Nostalgia-inducing ‘90s tribute band The Mixtapes has quickly become one of the most well-known cover bands in the Springfield area since forming nearly three years ago. Playing a mix of ‘90s alternative and pop music, the band is now expanding into the Joplin area, having just played a show at Joplin’s Memorial Hall Nov. 14 with the ‘80s tribute band Members Only.
“It’s a high energy, very widely ranged show,” said Johnny Shelton, guitarist and singer with The Mixtapes. “We do everything from The Cranberries to Brittney Spears to Rage Against the Machine to Coolio.”
The Mixtapes formed nearly three years ago when drummer Phil Burmood first got the idea to create a ‘90s cover band after seeing how successful ‘80s tribute bands like Members Only were in the area.
“I overheard him talking about trying to get a cover band started and I thought that sounded like fun.” I showed up at the first practice and we kind of got a sense of what everybody did and started putting things together.”
Since forming, The Mixtapes has regularly faced challenges with its lineup, going through several changes due to the time commitment the band’s success has demanded. Despite this obstacle, Shelton feels the band’s current lineup is its strongest.
“The way that we’re built, with everyone playing multiple instruments and switching out who sings, it’s not as simple as finding a new bass player or finding a new guitarist,” said Shelton. “You have to find someone who can do multiple things well.”
Currently the band consists of Burmood, Shelton, Shelton’s wife Katie, Chris Slater and his wife Lauren. With five band members who all sing, the band has managed to cover a wide range of material from the 90s. When the band first started playing shows, though, they admittedly gravitated more toward ‘90s alternative rock. That changed when a bartender celebrating his birthday at one of the early shows made a request to hear The Mixtapes play Aqua’s song “Barbie Girl.”
“It actually felt really good and it was fun,” said Shelton. “The way the audience reacted, we instantly knew the pop songs were going to become an important fact of what we do.”
According to Shelton, The Mixtapes’ first gig came in July of 2013 and within a year of performing live, the band was already filling venues in Springfield.
“What we typically see at shows is that people show up and they stay all night. It seems to us that everybody’s having a great time and if or when that ends, that’s probably when this ends,” said Shelton. “As long as people are into it, we’re having a good time.”