If you haven’t heard of The Mini Band, then you’re welcome. They’re 5 lads, 8-11 years old, and they’re more talented than 90% of the bands out there today. The best part is they’re not annoying hipsters with attitudes who believe they invented the mustache. Sh*t, they can’t even grow mustaches. They’re just innocent little kids who have a talent to share and have a good time practicing and performing.
Their instructor and manager, Leo Westby, has really excelled their talent and exposure. He is the guitar teacher and director of Lets Play Rock! Ltd, which includes Newbury Rock School in Berkshire, England.
Things weren’t always rockin’ for Leo. His home-operated music school in Cold Ash Hill (Hampshire, England), was in danger of closure last March of 2011 due to disputes with neighbors regarding noise and parking. He said that when he first bought the property he used a bedroom, but that since his two-storey extension was completed in 2006, he now had a purpose built, sound-proofed space. Two village meetings were organized to show support for the school which ultimately kept his livelihood alive. He said in an interview to Newbury Today, “I’m absolutely blown away. It’s amazing the amount of people who turned up. I think it was a huge help.”
One of Leo’s supporters, Collette Thomson, whose daughter Zoe is a pupil at the school, said that the outcome was a huge relief. She said, “I can’t imagine any other teacher getting out of her what he does.”
The original video uploaded in October 2011 of The Mini Band performing Metallica’s Enter Sandman at the Bucklebury Beer Festival recently hit 3.6 million views. Metallica saw the video a month later and responded with a video that was eventually relayed to the kids before a show put on by BBC 1 TV (Tom Hepworth snatched the exclusive interview and performance).
Zoe plays lead guitar, which is almost as tall as she is standing up. Below is some hardened proof that she is learning some serious skills as she plays along to some Stratovarius – something I cannot even do.
They’re diving into original material as well with this song written by southpaw Mini Band guitarist, Harry Jackson.
The Mini Band will be performing live and auditioning for the 2012 Live And Unsigned competition on Saturday, February 25th at Highlight in Portsmouth, UK. Check the liveandunsigned.uk.com for details.
Massive props to the supportive parents and Leo Westby who continue to encourage and develop the talent of these young lads. We can only hope that The Mini Band will ultimately bring an end to Justin Bieber for the future of music all kid-kind.
UPDATE 12:26PM PST: Breaking message directly from Leo Westby: “Dream Theater have just invited them to Wembley Arena to meet them at the soundcheck next month (Friday, February 10th).” Dude, that’s awesome!