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tartar control and more
 V.17 No.8 | February 21 - 27, 2008 


Bud Melvin

Game Boy with a twang

Where’s the Game Boy?
Where’s the Game Boy?

Bud Melvin is going to South by Southwest (SXSW) to play Game Boy—sort of.

With a little help from his favorite portable electronic device, Melvin has been officially selected to showcase his banjo con Game Boy chops at the Molotov Lounge in Austin during the quintessential American music festival.

Melvin, who can be seen all over town playing with The Grave of Nobody's Darling, Lowlights, Lionhead Bunny and cobra//group, has programmed his Game Boy to play along with him as he plucks away. Melvin spoke with the Alibi about the inspiration for his act, representing New Mexico at SXSW and his digital sidekick.

I use the original big gray one. They sound the best.

How were you selected for SXSW?

Basically, I took part in a big music festival in New York; my friends did a documentary about it and submitted that for the SXSW film festival. So, on a lark, several musicians who were featured in the movie were submitted as well. The movie made it in and the musicians are all getting a showcase.

What was your reaction when you found out?

I was pretty surprised, and as time goes on I'm getting more excited about it.

What type of Game Boy is it?

I use the original big gray one. They sound the best.

Where did you get the idea?

Several years ago when was still around and independent, I found some people doing interesting music with old computer and video game systems. I searched around online and found different software and just tried it out.

Do you think this could spark a trend of some kind?

Well, there is somewhat of a resurgence of this sort of thing due to the Internet. The information you need to get started with this stuff is more available, and there are a lot of tools now to make it easy for people to get started. But I’m not sure it has much potential for widespread popularity, though.

Have you thought about incorporating any other video game systems into your music?

I've used the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 for some songs, too. Basically anything I can get sound out of I will use. The Game Boy is nice because it's very portable for shows.

Would you be comfortable if someone labeled your performance a novelty act?

I don't consider it a novelty act and I'm not sure I'd like to be considered one, but I certainly understand why people would say that, so I'm not too uncomfortable with that.

Do you think you’ll be the only one at South by Southwest playing a Game Boy with a banjo?

Yeah, I think that's a pretty safe bet.

Know all that is Bud Melvin at

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    tartar control and more
    tartar control and more7.20.2016