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Geeks, video games and rock ’n’ roll: an interview with the Minibosses

June 30, 2010 - 3:45 pm

The only thing better than hearing your favorite childhood video game music is being able to headbang to it. If you played Nintendo back in the day, you’ll probably recognize the Minibosses prog-metal renditions of tunes from classic games like Castlevania, Mario Brothers and Megaman.

Ahead of their show at the Che Café on Friday, July 2, Citybeat spoke to guitarist Aaron Burke about his favorite video games to play, his favorite video game music and his non-video game influences.

So you’ve been around for 10 years. How does it feel?

It’s pretty weird but cool. We keep getting older and Nintendo keeps getting older – it’s kind of weird to have a bunch of old guys playing old game music. When it’s not fun anymore – that’s when I think we’ll stop doing it. We just had our 10th anniversary show in February, it was a lot of fun. We started out in Massachusetts in November or December of 1999 but we played our first show in January or February of 2000. In the summer of 2000 we moved out here to Phoenix, so it’s also our 10th anniversary living here.

Why Phoenix?

Ben, who was actually our bassist at the time – we were all in college together –got a good job offer out here. Matt and I wanted to keep playing and so we moved out here too.

How do you put your songs together?

It varies throughout the year. The way we do it now, we use Winamp or some music player and we use the NSS file from the actual game and separate the tracks. We each learn our own parts, and we come together and practice. Once everyone’s got their parts and we can play each level together then we think about how to bridge and segue them into a medley. Sometimes we add parts, and sometimes we take parts out.

What’s your favorite Nintendo theme song?

Play-wise I like Megaman 2 the best because it’s nice and long – almost 10 minutes – it’s just got a big variety of types of music in it. That or maybe something like Batman or Ninja Gaiden, those are very fun to play.

Would you ever consider music from Super Nintendo or other consoles?

Back when we first started, we weren’t all Nintendo. We used to play some originals. At one point we did play a song or two from Symphony of the Night [a Playstation game]. I don’t know. I doubt that Minibosses will ever play anything other than Nintendo, but Matt and I played in another band called the Jenova Project and we did a lot of Final Fantasy stuff. We’ve thrown around the idea of doing some Super Nintendo games that weren’t Final Fantasy.

Do you still play Nintendo games?

I still game a lot. I don’t really play too much Nintendo – sometimes I’ll play it on the emulator.

Which ones?

I love playing Zelda, I’ll usually play Megaman II, we all love playing Excitebike, Double Dribble, Blades of Steel, and Castlevania I, II, and III. I’m probably the only guy in the band that likes Zelda II. We all like the music but I’m the only one who likes the game.

What are your non-game music influences?

I grew up listening to lots of Led Zep, Metallica – those are the first two bands anyone got me into. There’s lots of stuff really, I’ve been listening to lots of Megadeth, Future of the Left. I’m looking at my iPod, I guess a lot of Portishead has been playing lately. I listen to that when I play a lot of games.

Any new stuff coming out?

We are demoing and doing stuff for the next album – no release date yet. Hopefully we’ll have it out in time for Christmas.

What are some of the new games you’re working on?

We’re kinda leaving it as a surprise.

The Minibosses play Friday, July 2 at Che Café.

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