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Musical Mastermind Andrei Mihailovic Returns with Guitar Andrei Andrei Andrei

Photo: Michael Rouse

Don’t know Andrei Mihailovic? Sure you do. From 2016 to 2018 you caught him as a guitarist in Secret Guest and Dumb Doctors, bassist in Psychic Pets and Vanity Plates, and on keys with Dear Blanca. You caught the witty banter and high-energy stage presence. After about a one year hiatus from music, Andrei has resurrected. On stage this Friday, August 2nd at the Royal American, he’ll be high-kicking ceiling lights, with Sam Sfirri on keys, Ram (Austin Ramirez) on bass and Dakota Bristow on drums with the brand new project Guitar Andrei Andrei Andrei.

How did this dream-team project all begin? After being part of five bands at once, Andrei says he felt burnt out. Quitting all the bands, he tried to steer his creative energy in other directions. He tried writing sketch comedy and working on some visual art, but he found he could not put his guitar down.

While working on a commercial project with Dorian Warneck (former member of Secret Guest), Sam loaned Andrei his MIDI controller and showed him how to simulate a jazz quartet, which subsequently reminded Andrei of how much he missed writing. Sam then reintroduced Andrei to GarageBand and showed him how to make drum loops, spiraling him into the wormhole of building his own complete tracks. In the core of his gut, Andrei always wanted to complete another album by the time he turned thirty. At that time, he was six months from thirty, and with the tools in hand, it was time.

In October of 2018, Andrei filled in with Vanity Plates for a show at the Charleston Graveface Records (which has since closed) and dropped a rough CD to a few people to see what the response would be. Dakota, himself being a self-producing musician, approached Andrei after listening to the album and offered to help him with this project moving forward. Andrei was excited, referring to Dakota’s project Dakota O as “some of the best psych-rock in Charleston”.

Soon after that, Andrei, Dakota, and Ram were all hanging out, messing around with encaustics, and discussed playing music together. That’s where the magic happened. Andrei, knowing the band needed keys, went back to the source, his inspiring “scholar of music, all you can ask for in a keys man”, Sam Sfirri.

With the members all in line, the band just needed a name. Andrei had compiled a list of over 39,000 different band names over time, and now it was just a matter of narrowing it down. To do this, they decided to leave it up to the Super Smash Bros AI. One night after practice, each member picked their favorite band name from Andrei’s list, and submitted it as a computer character on Super Smash Bros. Then the battle ensued.

“The Super Smash character Dakota chose was Link, and his name was Guitar Andrei Andrei Andrei, so he won,” Andrei explains. “Mine was Jigglypuff with the name Manhole Man. Ram’s was Ultra Fishbunjin 3000 with the name Unitard, and Sam’s was Masked Ruby with the name My Papers!”

“If you like sports, you will enjoy watching this” – says the group as they described what Andrei has composed for each of their parts. Sam fills us in, “if you isolate my piano parts it sounds like Mozart”, and Dakota mentions, “Andrei’s guitar writing is simply some of the best.” “This one is for the nerds”, says Ram.

Guitar Andrei Andrei Andrei will make their debut on Friday night at The Royal American, alongside two of Andrei’s former bands Psychic Pets and Vanity Plates. As a bonus, the great Charleston music scene virtuoso Brett Nash (who plays in about 10 different bands) will celebrate his birthday at midnight that night. What a party!