By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 15, 2004 at 5:26 AM

{image1}If you're at Vnuk's in Cudahy this weekend and you think you've spotted Tesla, remain calm. More than likely, it's Michael "Tinker" Tierney and his pals, who pay tribute to that '80s hair metal band at the 11th annual Spoof Fest, which takes place Friday, April 16 and Saturday, April 17.

"The show is meant to be fun," says Tinker, who started the event with Brian Miller (who will salute Loverboy this time 'round). "But make no mistake, it's seriously taken fun.

"Spoof Fest is also a sort of reunion for those who play in the scene but not in the same bands. I have great friends who I don't play with in a project and it's really nice to get together for a weekend and share the fun."

Like most good things, Spoof Fest started small and with small expectations, but that's all changed now.

"We started doing it as a fun little deal over an April Fool's Day for something to do," Tinker says. "The first year was four bands, four songs each. Now it's a full-blown gig with lights, advertising, tickets, 10 bands over two days, full costumes, banners, full sets by bands for the headliners."

The show had taken place each year at The Globe East but moved to the Rock Shop last year and heads south for 2004.

"A lot of the performers know Dave (Vnuk) and I'm sure the vibe is going to be really hype ... with a lot of camaraderie," Tinker says.

Other artists being spoofed include The Eagles, Hole, Nine Inch Nails, Barenaked Ladies, Black Crowes, Devo and Green Day.

"Some bands spoof those bands who are their idols. Some because it's such a removal from what they really like and listen to. Either way, it's a challenge to make music and cause a scene within the scene."

Last year, Tinker and his cohorts in the Irish band Reilly feted Duran Duran, but this year, he's gotten back on the metal track, he says.

"We decided on Duran Duran because of the spoofability and recognizability and just so we could primp and prime without revocation of our rock license," says Tinker. "I'd been in metal bands the (previous) nine years (Metallica, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister) and (it was) time for something new.

"Every year the shows have been getting bigger and bigger. (There are) more props, the bands are really really polished and good, the costumes are killer! It's a ton of effort and a ton of fun, for sure.

"It is something that pushes you to do your best. I'm glad to be a part of it and to have a fun community that partakes in it."

Doors open at 7 p.m. and showtime is 9:20 p.m. each night. Vnuk's is at 5036 S. Packard Ave., in Cudahy. Call (414) 481-1655 for more information.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.