From the Jackson 5 to Black Tide to Smoosh, kids performing and recording pop and rock music is nothing new. But they seem to be getting younger all the time. And we’re not just saying that because we’re crusty old fogeys. Some of the kids in this latest wave of pre-teen rockers are so little, it looks like they can barely hold up their guitars, much less play them. And yet the best ones manage to rock out with more skill than your average happy hour cover band.
Case in point: The Mini Band, a pint-sized sextet from Berkshire, England who scored a YouTube hit late last year with a surprisingly credible rendition of “Enter Sandman.” Since then, they’ve started writing and recording original material, and they’ve even released their first music video, which you can see below. Both the song and the video ape mid-’90s alt-rock with uncanny accuracy, considering none of the band members were even born in the era of Soundgarden and Soul Asylum (the oldest of them, drummer Charlie, is 11; most of them are just 9). Either these kids are extraordinarily good for their ages, or mid-’90s-style alt-rock is so easy to churn out, even a bunch of 9-year-olds can do it. Probably a bit of both.
The Mini Band are hardly the only precocious-yet-retro rockers on the block. There’s also Haunted by Heroes (the self-proclaimed “World’s Youngest Rock Band,” a title they can no longer lay claim to since they’ve all turned 11), Crime Scene (who win the “most vaguely inappropriate name for a kids’ band” award), and this Japanese kids band that we really wish we knew the name of. We probably could have added any of them to The Weird List, but there’s something about The Mini Band, with the sharp contrast between their rosy-cheeked English adorableness and their fondness for Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers covers (they do a mean “Dani California“) that makes them stand out. Also, we kinda love the fact that they’re just called “The Mini Band.” Maybe “Ankle Biters” was already taken.
Anyway, here’s The Mini Band, standing in a pile of dead leaves trucked in from a Screaming Trees video, galloping through their original track, “Find the Time.” Somewhere, the father of a 3-year-old is watching this and saying to his wife, “See? I told you we shoulda started her on guitar lessons already.” (P.S. For the record, at least one Mini Band guitarist, Zoe Thomson, can seriously shred.)