The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 22, 2007

<img src=http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/onlineextra.jpg border=0 >  The Force is strong with them

By Joe Hadsall

jhadsall@joplinglobe.com

Darth Vader plays an evil bass guitar.

No, seriously.

He plays it as well as he can swing a light saber with one hand and choke a guy by pointing at him with the other. Dude’s got skills.

Jango Fett is a heck of a guitar player, too. He rips and shreds guitar strings like Jedis on Geonosis.

Fett’s musical skills must have carried over in the clones, because he plays with THX-1138, a drumming clone trooper who lays down a rhythm like a Republic beat-down.

But nothing tops the Emperor, with his lyrics and guitar. He leads the band because ... well, because he’s the Emperor, and he’ll do whatever he feels like doing.

This might sound like a “Saturday Night Live” skit gone horribly wrong, but it is a reality for four bandmates who are part of Dark Side of the Force, a new band playing shows around the region. The band pairs creative songwriting and character costumes involving the “Star Wars” saga.

“We all love Star Wars,” said bassist Devin Krtek, who dons the Vader costume for each show.

The band — which features Joplin and Pittsburg, Kan., area musicians — sings popular songs with altered lyrics reflecting the “Star Wars” universe. The band’s members all have experience playing together as members of One Track Mind, Ataxia or Philhorn Mellowhaze Band.

“These guys are great musicians,” said John Black, manager of Champ’s Pub and Grill. “We have only had them here twice ... they don’t have a bad following.”

Krtek, whose midi-chlorian count is actually quite low, said he and bandmate Brandon Nivens got the idea while they were at work a few months ago. Nivens, on a lunch break, was remembering a documentary on “Star Wars” hype that featured similar bands.

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