Scott Hannay grew up, like many kids in the 1980s, playing Nintendo classics like Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda.
Unlike most kids, though, Hannay wouldn’t stay in the room with the TV the entire time he played.
“I grew up playing Nintendo songs on the piano,” he said. “That’s kind of how I learned to play piano. When I was a kid I’d put the Nintendo on pause and run into the other room and try to figure out the melodies on the piano.”
Now, the keyboardist for the New York-based rock quartet Mister F, Hanney will play those melodies for a crowd. Hannay plays a free solo piano show at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Asheville Music Hall.
That happens after Mister F plays with Groove Fetish at 9 p.m. Friday at Salvage Station in Asheville.
Noodling Ninentdo riffs wasn’t all that Hannay did, as he took his love for the video game music genre a bit farther.
“It got way out of hand,” he said. “I began transcribing entire soundtracks to video games and putting them on the internet. I would transcribe every single song and save them in mini-files and put them on the internet long before mp3s.”
He transcribed classic games like MegaMan I, II and III, Contra, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers.
Then he added more to his repertoire when he discovered the band Umphrey’s McGee. He took their songs and turned them into piano pieces that sounded like video game songs. Hannay said he’s done 17 of their songs over the years and has given similar treatment to other bands' music.
Hannay said the last time he did a show like this he played songs from more than 20 games and talked some about the games, too, during the show.
“I told my girlfriend as I rehearsed for the first show I did last month, ‘I have 72 songs and I don’t think I have enough. They’re all so short,’” he recalled.
Hannay and his Mister F bandmates, Matt Pickering (drum, samples, vocals), Ben Pickering (bass, vocals) and Colin Shore (guitar, vocals), have toured together since 2013 and have a sound rooted in funk.
This year the group decided to start shows by covering a different TV show theme each night.
They’ve played the theme from a variety of shows, from “That 70s Show,” “Step By Step” and “Family Matters” to the “Andy Griffith Show” and the cartoon hit “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” When they played in Cleveland, they broke out the theme from “The Cleveland Show.”
When they played Asheville in February they opened with the “X-Men” theme.
“For us it’s an awesome challenge and a way to bring new material to the table,” Hannay said. “It’s been a lot of fun this year.”