Hamilton robot band heading to Paris
Kiwi robot band The Trons have gone global, with German car manufacturing giant Mercedes-Benz flying the automated musicians and their creator Greg Locke to Europe for the launch of a new model.
The whirlwind trip to the Paris Auto Show comes in the same month YouTube footage of the Hamilton band rehearsing in Mr Locke's lounge topped the 1 million views mark.
The Hamilton electronic engineer created the robot band in his bedroom using donated and scavenged parts.
"This really has been quite mad but I'm just going with it all and seeing where the band can go," Mr Locke told the Times via email.
"Mercedes-Benz's PR company got in touch with me about a month ago after somehow seeing a song on YouTube, so it has been all go getting flight cases made, and generally just working out how to get a band of quite fragile robots over to the other side of the globe," he said.
The Trons had cleared their first customs hurdle, and were this morning in transit to the French capital. Mr Locke said there would be a "well-organised ... detailed programme of set-up and rehearsals" in Paris, in traditionally efficient German style.
Mr Locke said he'd had a steady stream of contact about The Trons since they became an internet sensation in June, but that had increased in recent weeks after they featured in online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
The band had also managed a successful three-date South Island tour.
"It was a lot of driving but went really well, with excellent crowds and just really great atmospheres. It's cool they don't get tired of playing stuff and I've only had to replace one motor after about 50,000 (guitar) strums," said Mr Locke.
"It's great to know they won't get stage fright in front of the Mercedes executives!"
* Check out the trons at http://www.myspace.com/thtrons.