Aaron Burke of Minibosses: Nintendo, Guitar Hero and Groupies

The clatter as Pac-Man chomps away. The background of Sonic’s ring collecting. The noise Mario makes as he goes after Princess Peach. These are the sounds of our favorite video games, sounds synonymous with good times we never want to forget, and while not all of the above would be on a Minibosses Nintendo set list, you get the point. The Minibosses are a band who took their love of NES and took it from a hobby and transformed it into their art. They take those Mario and Co. songs and redo them in their progressive rock way to create shows that fanboys and girls everywhere can enjoy. They’re not the only band out there who does this, but it’s safe to say they’re one of the best and well loved.

So to celebrate their awesomeness, let’s take a step deeper into the mindset of one of their own; Aaron Burke. Read on to explore hecklers, rockstars & groupies and if they ever fear they won’t have material to play.

This interview took place in July, and goes to show that you should NEVER trust your work with someone else…Thanks other site for not posting this, so let’s get it going here!

Kendra Beltran: On one hand you guys would be considered geeks for being hardcore about gaming, but on the other hand some might consider you the total opposite just because you’re in a band. How do you personally view yourselves? Is there a fine line between “geek” and “rockstar?”

Aaron Burke: We are rockstars, no question about it.  Hahaha, kidding, I don’t think we could be more of the opposite?  Although I think sometimes we are given certain perks and advantages that definitely might make some view us towards the rockstars end of the spectrum, but we definitely don’t view ourselves that way, that’s for sure; maybe someday. Not quite sure what constitutes that word “rockstars” these days, but it definitely has always had a negative connotation to us hahaha.

Kendra: In an interview you did back in 04 with Wired the way your fans were described, it was obvious you were more than a band, you were these guys and gals idols. Is that weird to think that someone looks up to you in that way?

Aaron: It is, but if it has to happen, the least you can do is try to do your very best at every show and in everything you do to help make that person happy.  That’s the responsibility of every person that is looked up to in any way.  For me, I look up to a lot of people personally and those people mean a lot to me.  They provide happiness in my life; happiness and inspiration.

Kendra: Did you have any musical heroes growing up that might’ve set you on this path?

Aaron: Yeah I’ve had my fair share of musical heroes.  When I was younger I listened to a lot of classical and pop but once I started getting into “rock” I began picking up instruments.  Growing up my favorite bands were Led Zeppelin, Faith No More, and Metallica (even though the last has strayed from the true path hahaha).  Later my favorite bands were Failure, Blinker the Star, Fugazi, Girls Against Boys etc. Today if I had to pick a favorite current band still making music it’d be Future of the Left.

Kendra: Would you consider yourselves typical “fanboys?”

Aaron: I wouldn’t anymore, I don’t think…When I was younger, I definitely was a Nintendo fanboy.  But the Wii has soured me on them somewhat. Their desire to appeal to the masses has watered down their product, and I wish they would cater to real video game players again.  Like a lot of other gamers, I’ve turned to Microsoft and Sony for console joys. But I wouldn’t term myself a fanboy for either one.

Kendra: There’s been a lot of video game themed tattoos popping up lately, have any yourselves?

Aaron: I have a Minibosses related tattoo on my left leg. Fred (former guitarist for Minibosses) has one in the same place as well, although they are different pieces.

Kendra: Have you seen fans with Minibosses ink over the years?

Aaron: I have – our friend Matt Smith does all the art for our records and website, and some folks have tattoos of his pieces, both Minibosses and otherwise.

Kendra: In the rock world groupies are easy to spot, what about in your realm?

Aaron: They are harder to spot.  They do exist, I’ve been told.

Kendra: Back to that Wired interview, you said crowds at normal clubs didn’t get you guys and it could be discouraging.  Do you still encounter those awkward moments?

Aaron: Not as much.  Recently we’ve been playing a lot of shows on our own as opposed to supporting some more popular act so people generally know what’s going on.  But yeah, it does happen still, occasionally.  The internet, being the god and devil that it is, lets people find out about us before they see us play and they are thus somewhat prepared.  The internet, what would we do without it? I can name at least a thousand things.

Kendra: Like on the your string of NorCal dates from this year, all good there?

Aaron: Excellent shows.  We had a promoter Eric Fanali who took care of every show and so there weren’t any surprises, he did a great job.  There will be an even crazier string of NorCal dates before the end of this year, something that we’re REALLY looking forward to.

Kendra: Will you be touring again in 2012?

Aaron: Yeah, we’ve got some good shows coming up. There’s also a show in San Diego and one in North Carolina somewhere before the end of the year.  And of course another NorCal sprint.

Kendra: Now do you limit yourselves to only NES music?

Aaron: Yes, it has been like that since the end of 2000.  When we were doing our own original stuff it was too confusing for audiences, and it was too confusing for us as well, if anyone happened to ask us what we played.  It’s much easier now hahaha.  We all have other projects that allow us to get our non-Nintendo out.

Kendra: Is there ever a fear you might run out of material to use?

Aaron: Not really, we have somewhat of a list going of stuff we’d like to tackle, in a really not-so-set order.  I like to think that we’ll be about 40, 45 when we reach the end of this list and then it’ll be time to pack it in, anyway.  Most will say well past the time.  We will say that.

Kendra: I think the South Park episode was the best at describing my feelings towards Guitar Hero, but what about you, is it making future musicians or just another game?

Aaron: I think overall it’s very positive for music,  for making new fans of music and  for expanding the audiences of music that might have a pigeonholed crowd.  There are definitely some things I’d change about the whole Guitar Hero/Rockband etc. world, but overall I’m glad it’s out there.  It’s fun to play too. Any musician that would sneer at it doesn’t get it.  It’s not meant to replace an actual guitar.  I don’t know, some folks I know are very high and mighty about it, but for the most part musicians I know are into it.

Kendra: Now since this is Golden Mixtape, you get to add to our tradition. For your mixtape I want you to take your favorite video game character and make a mixtape of five songs that character would have on their iPod, go!

Aaron: Hmmm, well, my favorite video game character is Sephiroth, so that should be fairly easy:
Broken Wings” by Mister Mister
Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away” by Warrant
Champagne Supernova” by Oasis
Mother” by Pink Floyd
I Think I’m A Clone Now” by Weird Al Yankovic


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