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Mega 80’s prepares to rock Legends stage

Tae Andrews | Thursday, November 29, 2007

Carey Denha is the singer. Jason Gittinger is the drummer. Mick Madness is the guitar player. Takashi Iio is the bass player. Combined, they form Mega 80’s, perhaps the most awesome cover band this side of East Lansing, Mich. Mega 80’s takes Legends back a few decades tonight as it takes the stage with its 10 p.m. show. “The 80s decade of music was a wonderful and exciting time in the world of music,” Gittinger said in an e-mail Wednesday. He has been drumming for the Mega 80’s since 2002. “With the advent of MTV and synthesizer keyboards there were tons of artists doing creative and fun things both musically and visually. Also, with the Cold War raging and the threat of ‘global-thermo-nuclear-war’ (to quote Matthew Broderick from ‘War Games’) music became a fun place for people to escape and live. We love to bring a bit of this escape to our audience every night.” With its extensive musical supply of all things 80s, it would be fair to say Mega 80s brings more than just “a bit” to its show. The band features more than 200 songs in its repertoire, but given that it only has a limited amount of time to rock out onstage at each of its shows, Mega 80’s has taken to creating medleys that combine several songs. Its “Mega Metal Medley,” for example, boasts 24 songs. Denha formed Mega 80s in East Lansing, Mich. Since then, band members have come and gone, but one thing has remained the same: its commitment to musical excellence. The band members have also committed themselves and their music to their source material.”Although all of the members of the production are involved in tons of musical circles, we choose not to muddy the waters of this production with music that does not come from the 1980s,” Gittinger said. As such, Mega 80’s is strictly a cover band. “This project is all about having a fun time listening to music the audience knows and loves.”Mega 80’s has built a reputation as a fun, high-energy bunch and was named “Best Cover Band” in Real Detroit’s “Best of” issue twice, in 2003 and 2005. “80s has the most dance-able music in my opinion,” said bassist Iio, who joined the band three and a half years ago. Iio learned to play the bass as a member of his high school jazz band and cites Prince as his favorite act of the 80s, although he says “Paradise City” by Guns ‘N Roses is his favorite song because he can “jump up and down and act silly” while performing it. While he has opened for The Tubes, Culture Club, Cheap Trick, Loverboy, Men at Work, Romantics, The Go-Gos, and 38 Special, Gittinger said he doesn’t have any particular favorites.”All of these acts have become favorites in my book because the music they created has touched so many people,” he said. “It’s an honor when we get to bring a bit of the 80s to the same stage as them.”Mega 80’s has played at Detroit Pistons games and Detroit Fury Arena football games at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but band members say they don’t discriminate in terms of venue size when bringing their enthused approach to the stage.”One thing I like about The Mega 80’s is this: No matter how big or how small a venue or an audience is, we all always show up to rock,” Gittinger said. “It’s really amazing how much energy you can infuse into 12 people at a small private event or 60,000 people in front of Ford Field. I love that I’m a part of something so positive and bringing joy to so many people. I guess that makes every venue ‘the best venue I’ve ever played.'”When asked what Notre Dame students can expect at tonight’s show, Gittinger replied, “They can expect to rock.” Iio agreed, saying that concertgoers can expect a “high energy show” and “lots of fun.””It is amazing to see people’s faces light up when we start one of their favorite Devo songs, or the crowd’s arms in the air during ‘Living on a Prayer,’ or the ‘wall flower, I’m not going to dance’ guy in the back checking out all of the 80s video references on the video wall behind us and high-fiving his buddy,” Gittinger said. “To take so much time to re-create all of the minute details of a decade and put them on a stage for people to enjoy is definitely one of the joys of my life.”