We recently posted a story about a group of 8 and 10 year olds, Mini Band, covering Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' and Guns N' Roses at the Bucklebury Beer festival in Bucklebury, England. The Metallica clip quickly went viral and has garnered over 2.5 million views to date. That got us thinking about how many unsung underage heroes might be lurking around YouTube just waiting to be discovered. So, we started poring over clip after clip, searching for hidden gems. After reviewing dozens of videos, we came up with the following list of 10 Kid Bands That Rock Hard:
Rockin Da HouseAC/DC, 'Thunderstruck'
Rockin Da House feature mostly 9 year olds, including a young Jon Lord on keyboards and a drummer who seems to prefer the tumbling fills of the Who's Keith Moon to the minimilism of Phil Rudd. The highlight of this clip is the singer, who oozes with the 'tude of a young Brian Johnson. It's just too bad the guitarist isn't in a schoolboy uniform.
MusicFamily Nirvana, 'Heart Shaped Box'
Even though an adult (their dad?) is playing the guitar parts, you gotta love the 5-year-old vocalist with dark shades. His wails of "Hey wait, I got a new complaint" dribble with irony and his snarls of "Your advice!" are spot on. Throw in his 8-year-old drummer sister dressed in pink with braids in her hair, and you've got the perfect combination of adorable and angst.
RecessGuns N’ Roses, 'Sweet Child O’ Mine'
For some reason, there are lots of versions of kids playing this song, but this recording, performed at the Massilon, Ohio, car show displays a blend combination of grit and chops, especially from the lead guitarist, who might be over 10, but who's counting. And how can you deny that vocalist in the Massilon Tigers shirt, who props his leg up on the monitor at the right time and summons the whisky-worn rasp of Axl Rose so effectively his parents might want to check for what he's hiding under his bed.
Derr Brothers Metallica, 'Enter Sandman'
Seemingly mom and dad have big plans for their sons in the Derr Brothers. The drummer plays behind a sound-muting glass wall and the galaxy backdrop offers extra performance value. They all wear Metallica shirts for added effect, and the guitar lead on a cherry red Les Paul perfectly mimics Kirk Hammett.
Guilty Party Jimi Hendrix, 'Fire'
Three 11-year-olds and a 10-year-old burn up a pool party with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'Fire.' The rhythm guitarist's tie dye purple shirt is pretty psychedelic and the lil' guy on the drums bobs up and down, but what really makes this clip shine is the flawless playing. The frontman seems to understand the lyrics and vibe of Hendrix and solos like a champ, the rhythm guitarist's background vocals are perfect, and while he's not always in perfect time, the drummer plays some sweet backbeats that would make Mitch Mitchell smile from above.
MlhoustoniiBlack Sabbath – 'Iron Man'
This video entertains simply because of the exuberance of the singer. The introduction from the band's teacher and the green trees in the background of the school talent show are precious, and even though the bassist and guitarist are seated and the mix isn't quite there, the singer more than makes up for it with his animated performance. He points to the crowd like Steven Tyler, throws up his fist like Rob Halford and dances like Michael Jackson -- sometimes at all the wrong moments. Classic.
Kids’N'RockDeep Purple, 'Smoke on the Water'
Clearly, there was some budget that went into the production of Kids'N'Rock's video for 'Smoke on the Water,' which was submitted to Britain's Got Talent -- though we have no idea whether they were accepted. These British youngsters have style, playing in full Kiss makeup in front of a backdrop that includes posters of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth and Pink Floyd.
Fown Hope TwinsAC/DC, 'Whole Lotta Rosie'
Just the idea of four pre-teens singing one of the dirtiest songs in AC/DC's catalog (and that's saying a lot!) provides plenty of humor value, but even if these Aussie kids don't know what the tune is about they make it gritty, funny and, yes, sleazy. A mom wiggles in and out of the frame several times adding a surreal quality. But the highlights are the vocalist's exuberant voice and the bent-kneed delivery and rock star body wriggling. Watch these guys in 10 years.
The Students of Aaron O'Keefe Pantera, 'Cowboys From Hell'
The teachers at Aaron O'Keefe school don't mess around. Their students are given top-notch equipment, play in headphones and their vocalists and drummers record in separate booths of a big budget studio. The sound on 'Cowboys From Hell' is so good it seems like they're playing over the Pantera recording -- but they're not. The singer might look like Justin Bieber and his Who t-shirt is deceiving; the guy can belt out the metal, hitting every note with maybe a little too much elegance. But those hammering drums and perfect guitar solo - holy crap! GIT and Berkeley should start sending out scouts now!
The Gauchos Iron Maiden, 'The Trooper'
In stark contrast with the above Pantera cover, Argentina's the Gauchos have few resources at their disposal. They're cramped in the corner of a crowded room, but they're just glad to be there cranking out the metal. These guys -- and the little girl vocalist -- totally lose themselves in their performance. They might not understand the words, but it doesn't matter. Even if the guitar tones weren't perfect, this vid would epitomize the transcendent power of metal. The band posted this video, along with covers of Sepultura, Judas Priest, Slipknot, Metallica and others between 2006 and 2007 and they quickly became the most viral kid band performances on the Web, making them the stars they clearly dream of being.