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Anything but Ordinary : The Ordinaires mostly perform cover songs, but they select the good stuff and give it their own twist.

NIGHT LIFE

July 07, 1994|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The name Ordinaires is a pun derived from The King's back-up band, the Jordanaires. But the Ordinaires are just two guys, neither of whom is Elvis, nor are they ordinary.

Mike Fishell and Steve White, in fact, will be making extraordinary music every Thursday night this month at Jolly's in Oxnard. Affordable to kings and transients alike, there is no cover charge at Jolly's.

White and Fishell are probably best known as members of the Convertibles, but they've had plenty of other musical aliases as well, including the Bar Stool Pigeons, Blind Egg White & the Poachers, and some groups that didn't last long enough to get names.

"We've known each other since we were kids," said White. "He went to Hueneme High and I went to Oxnard High, but we had mutual friends. We used to argue a lot about music, still do. We play about three or four times a week, either out or at home, and at least once a week with the Ordinaires."

As a duo, it's easy to get gigs, easier to carry the gear around and easiest to split the loot at the end of the night. One might infer that a duo also produces a stripped down, low-budget sound. One would be wrong.

For two guys, they make a lot of money because they have friends, most of whom are machines: Suffice to say that the machines are electric and mysterious, but from the prerecorded tracks comes a drummer, a bass player, bird calls, all sorts of stuff.

"Well, ya just gotta hear it," said Fishell, getting to the gist of the matter.

The living, breathing portion of the show includes Fishell shredding on guitar and White on everything else, including keyboards, harmonica, sax, flute, guitar. Plus, White sings better than anyone.

"Hey, we're a bar band, we'll play almost anything," said Fishell. "So far, we've managed to resist 'Stairway to Heaven,' but we'll play 'Happy Birthday.' We don't have a set list. We know all the Convertibles' songs plus plenty of others. Steve gets the Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and all the soul stuff. He's the best. I get the Bob Dylan songs."

The Ordinaires do mostly cover songs, but they select the good stuff and then give it their own twist. The Ordinaires also do Elvis and B.B. King. The Temptations' classic "Just My Imagination," with the help of the machines, becomes a very cool reggae song featuring a flute solo by White.

In the daytime, Fishell keeps on picking. He's a guitar teacher with a lot of customers and some noted alumni.

"I've got somewhere between 20 and 30 students. It's a great way to learn all the Metallica songs," Fishell said. "Scott Morris from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was one of my students. He's so good that he teaches now. I taught Tim Anderson from J.D.'s Last Ride, and Bill Coffey of the Mudheads, but he was always more of a singer.

"I even used to teach Darren Cruz from the Ska Daddyz when he was just a little kid. I have this guy right now named Hans who is going to be great. He's only 18 and he's never even been in a band."

"Well, I've gotta keep my day job to pay for my daughter's lessons," added White.

"C'mon, I give you a deal," said Fishell.

The Ordinaires for free? Such a deal.

Details

* WHAT: The Ordinaires.

* WHERE: Jolly's Cocktail Lounge, 640 N. Ventura Road, Oxnard.

* WHEN: 9 tonight.

* HOW MUCH: Free.

* FYI: 983-0213.

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