3 Minute Hero: Art Hound Style


This Art Hound says: Go See
3 Minute Hero
July 30, 2015: About 7:15-7:30.
Music in Mears


When you make art, whether it is a sculpture, an album, or a book, interviewers fall back on the same question, “who are your influences?” More often than not, the interviewer receives an exasperated answer for two reasons:

  1. this is always what they are asked
  2. the answer they will give will prompt people to examine their work through the lens of their influences.


But for those of us who do not create art on a daily basis and find ourselves working the 40 hours hoping to get home and have enough energy to finish writing the end of a chapter, get in 40 minutes of practicing guitar before the kids get home or stay up until the early hours of the morning just trying to make the last adjustments to a piece of jewelry or scarf, we are never asked who or what influences us.

We all have influences, and I would argue that, we all have one album, which I call THE ALBUM, we listen to at a pivotal age that changes our lives and sometimes the trajectory of our life. For me, 3 Minute Hero, and their album Bingo, was my album. It was THE ALBUM.


In the summer of 1997, I was 17 and living in a community in South Western MN that boasted an 1800 people population. My brother, John, whom I worshiped, had returned from college, Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), and the big city, Fargo / Moorhead. In his lone year at MUSM, before he transferred the following fall, he went to multiple 3 Minute Hero shows, ushering him further into SKA music.

His return home brought stories of live music and THE ALBUM. At the time, I didn’t even have a CD player; John had to make me a tape. I listened to the tape with such fervor, I had to have him make it several times over for me. That Christmas, I asked for a CD player, specifically to own THE ALBUM. Fortunately, my maternal grandmother lives in Fargo, so the second I received my CD player while we were there, I could get a copy of Bingo to put in it. I ended up purchasing 3 copies of Bingo over the years because I kept wearing it out and soon I will pick up my 4th.

Before the expansion of the internet, kids growing up in communities this size, with a graduating class of 65, hundreds of miles from large cities, did not understand that there was a whole world out there where they could choose to be a loner and not be one by default.

Bingo and their later album Everyday Ninjas brought music, life and acceptance into my world. It taught me that if you just be yourself and keep working on the craft and art you love, amazing things will happen. I was able to see 3 Minute Hero live on my 19th birthday, and I had a poster advertisement on my wall to remind me of my best birthday up until that point for many, many years to come.


3 Minute Hero has remained entwined with me because it guided my taste in music due to
their seamless rhythm and genre changes,
to the incorporation of instruments outside the bass, guitar, drums, voice set up,
to the one and ONLY band I will dance to alone while being sober,
to the way in which the band brought me closer to my family hero and
to the way it made me meet one of the most amazing women and local artists Davina Sauer and worship her band: Davina and the Vagabonds. (They use the same awesome techniques)

When I graduated from college in 2002 and moved on to get my masters in Boston, 3 Minute Hero made the trip with me. Not long after that, the CDs scratched and my Minute Heroes turned into a distant memory. But here we are, in 2015, some 12 years later, and I still sing “Geeks on Bikes” every time I pass a single-file lane of bikers. Every time I have to deal with moving “Landlord” sneaks into my head. (Check out their music here)

Earlier this week I was asked to help my dear friend Tim figure out where to take a first date. Music in Mears was one of my first thoughts. I checked the schedule and there was the announcement for 3 Minute Hero. I screamed and threw my computer across the room. Since Thursday, I have been 17 and giddy as can be. I even called my brother, whom will not be attending on the 30th due to having prior “Dad” commitments. He sent me a lovely email and told me to follow / stalk 3 Minute Hero, and we’ll get a chance to have our first 3 Minute Hero Concert together, Billings style. The announcement of the Music in Mears Concert healed a rift between my brother and I that has been there since February.

So, there you go. This band that will make you laugh hysterically, dance frantically, make your spirit come back to life, revisit your youth, heal rifts with family members all while watching a 35 year old woman act 17, as you drink your Surly Beer and eat from food trucks.

You can’t miss this show. I promise they will become heroes and inspirations to you as well.

Help me cover the story:
Do you have a 3 Minute Hero memory?
What is your ALBUM?

More Info:
This story has more and will be told in super hero style, one of experimentation, inspired by the return of my heroes, on this blog on Tuesday. Check in again then, if you are still not convinced that you have to go to this show.

According to their old record label: 3 Minute Hero

…is an eight-piece high-energy band with blazing horn section and winner of 1999 Minnesota Music AwardsBest Ska Band. Crowds throughout the Midwest turn out in droves and dance themselves into a lather when Hero comes to town. Everyday Ninjas, the band’s second CD release, blasts off from the very first track with its aggressive, driving rhythm section, precision horns, and their very own twist on reality. Take the Blues Brothers, Elvis (Costello & Presley), Bim Skala Bim, Dick Dale, Tom Waits and James Brown, throw them in the blender and hit “purée”-and you have the manic magic that is 3 Minute Hero.

Catch up with them at their website or Facebook Page.

Share Button

6 thoughts on “3 Minute Hero: Art Hound Style

  1. Oh my goodness, this is fabulous. I will take complete credit for signing this amazing band to our local, fledgling record label and enjoying the ride while it lasted. Those days are long gone (as is the studio, the label, and the marriage), but 3MH was/is crazy amazing.

  2. I couldn’t point to a single album or artist that changed my life; there are dozens. Artists whose discovery took my younger self to a new level in life, albums that introduced me to a whole new style of music I had never heard before. Songs that when I hear them today, take me instantly back to a memory that helped define who I am today. I am glad you wrote about this, because now I am sitting here thinking of those wonderful moments. The time in college, on a road trip with a friend, when I heard Barenaked Ladies for the first time. When my friend Brian introduced me to Les Miserables and Tori Amos. The first time I heard Ani di Franco. So many memories. Thank you for bringing them back to me!

    1. Every time I talk to you I feel like we’re separated at birth. “If you call, I will answer.” That’s one of my fave Barenaked Ladies songs. Ani’s Knuckle Down really got me through the tough times this past unemployment. We are truly of the same personhood. I think you are awesome. thanks for adding!

  3. 3 Minute Hero said via Facebook
    Bwaha! This is awesome. And to be completely honest, none of us could be happier that it happened beneath a banner reading “bacon & ice cream.” I’m risking sounding sappy here, but stories like this make it all worth it. Thank you and see you on Thursday!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *