Music News

Minibosses Reach Level 10 and Celebrate a Decade of Rockin' Out to Nintendo

In 2004,'s Verne Becker asked guitarist Aaron Burke of The Minibosses, "How far can the Minibosses go?" Burke responded: "I have no idea. Our main focus is playing and having a good time doing it. When that stops, we stop."

Lucky for us, Burke and his buds, fellow guitarist Benjamin Baraldi, bassist Robin Vining, and drummer Matthew Wood, are still having a good time. The Valley's Nintendo-rock enthusiasts are celebrating their 10th anniversary Saturday night at the Yucca Tap Room. Burke was kind enough to count down his top five favorite shows of the band's career, one that's found them touring America, sound-tracking numerous video game expos, and being interviewed on NPR, all while exclusively rocking the themes to classic Nintendo games.

5. January 14, 2006: Magfest 4, Charlottesville, Virginia

"Magfest is an annual video-game convention that caters to hardcore gamers. Our set was filled with about 300 of the biggest video-game music fans on the planet — and I mean planet. People flew in from all over the world. I crowd-surfed during one of the songs and lost my keys and didn't realize that until we stepped off the plane back here in Phoenix. Couldn't get into my house or drive anywhere; had to call a 24-hour locksmith. Completely worth it."

4. November 27, 2004: Modified Arts

"We billed this as 'the ultimate show' on both the flier and the Internet. It's not that our set was even really all that good, but the other bands and crowd made this day fantastic."

3. April 12, 2008: Yucca Tap Room

"We've [played] three Shotfests total, to date. And, so far, the best one has to have been Shotfest 2. I think we played around 13 songs? So, we each had 13 shots, at least. I was so far gone that, after the show, I lost a lot of the money. But, thankfully, that was after paying all of the other bands."

2. August 4, 2007: Defcon, Las Vegas

"It's probably best to just ask one of us in person what the hell happened that night. The story will differ from member to member. Epic show. This would need at least two or three chapters in one of those tell-all books that come out after bands start losing popularity in an effort to help revitalize their careers."

1. April 2, 2004: The Middle East, Boston

"I don't think any of us will ever forget this show. The Eagles of Death Metal asked us to play four shows with them on one of their '04 tours. [It] was an honor in the first place, but we were also very excited about the prospect of playing on the East Coast again, which we hadn't done since moving from Massachusetts in '00. This was the first show of the tour, and to say that we were nervous would be one of the grossest understatements of all time. Since we're all from around that area, some of our families or extended families were there, including my mom and dad, and they had never even seen Minibosses before. We would have just settled for having fun up there, but ended up playing an energetic set, just completely feeding off the crowd — one of the best crowds ever. Very vocal, very happy, very loud. After the set, we found out it had been taped by the club, and we got a copy. Later, we put that same recording out as a live record. We can always listen to the set if we want to re-live the funnest show we've ever played."

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.