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Local Limelight: The Minibosses

 by Ben Horowitz
 published on Thursday, January 19, 2006

<em>Photo courtesy of The Minibosses</em><br>
The Minibosses might cover Nintendo songs, but you don't have to be a video game nerd, (umm... we mean fan), to appreciate the music. Catch their CD release show this Saturday at the Modified Arts. /issues/arts/695315
Photo courtesy of The Minibosses
The Minibosses might cover Nintendo songs, but you don't have to be a video game nerd, (umm... we mean fan), to appreciate the music. Catch their CD release show this Saturday at the Modified Arts.


If you walk into a club with a tribute band on the bill, what do you expect to hear? "Sweet Home Alabama" or "Crazy Train," perhaps? What if instead of classic rock your ears were treated to tunes from your childhood -- songs that played while your mother nagged you to turn off the TV and go outside? The Valley's own Minibosses offer an answer with their covers of the themes from some of Nintendo's most timeless games.

Minibosses' drummer Matt Wood and guitarist Aaron Burke used to play together in a band that did occasional Nintendo covers. After the band broke up, they decided it would be fun to play only Nintendo covers. With guitarist John Lipsert and bassist Ben Baraldi, they had their line-up assembled by 2000. Since then, the band has toured the country playing video game conventions and regular shows, and has also been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered." Burke talked with SPM while on his way to the airport to play a convention in Charlottesville.

SPM: What's the typical reaction when people see four dudes playing songs from their favorite Nintendo games?

Burke: We play a lot of video game conventions. We get pretty positive reactions. A lot of people know who we are or have heard of us. If they haven't seen us and don't know who we are, it depends. A lot of people might think it's a weird sort of prog- rock or something.

SPM: If each member of the band were a character from a Nintendo game, who would they be and why?

Burke: I would probably be ["Super Mario Brothers'"] Luigi, because I'm tall and lanky, and clumsy. And I like to eat a lot of pizza. And I like to outshine my brother. I love to outshine my brother. He's definitely shorter and fatter than I am. Ben would be most like Abobo from "Double Dragon." His head is almost as big as his body. Ben likes to play without his shirt sometimes, too. And he has a crazy-big ego. John might be most like Link [from "The Legend of Zelda"]. John's kind of quiet and reserved except, just like Link when he gets drunk, he gets crazy. He probably plays the ocarina at home, but he doesn't let us see that aspect of his life: the ocarina, or the green tights. Matt would be Little Mac from "Mike Tyson's Punch Out." He's kind of a short, scrawny little fighter. He's not afraid to face bigger people, get a few slaps. He's good at patterns.

SPM: Have you gotten in any legal trouble from Nintendo for playing their stuff?

Burke: We've actually played a couple of Nintendo sponsored shows. They brought us out to Mexico City to play a show down there. We've never heard from a Nintendo lawyer.

SPM: Ever thought of expanding into covering games from other gaming systems?

Burke: It'd be cool to do that. I think with Nintendo there are so many good things to do, it'd take us a while to do everything.

SPM: How seriously does the band take itself?

Burke: It's definitely a tribute band, but it's something we approach seriously. We approach it seriously because we get the most fun out of it, and we want everyone else to get the most fun out of it. So there's time for serious work, and then at shows we kind of let loose a little.

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