It was a Wii X-Mas in these parts, and I decided to go above and beyond and get the kids (yes, it was for the kids) Rock Band 1&2.
(No really. The kids wanted it. Honest.)
Of course, one of the selling points for me was the inclusion of the Replacements’ Alex Chilton. But the Rock Band series also seemed less Heavy Metal loaded, and includes everything from Dinosaur Jr to Elvis Costello to The Talking Heads. So, like most guitar players out there, I really wanted to play drums. Without the whole divorce-trap, space-taking, loud-as-hell deal that a real drum kit would present.
So we started our family band, with me on drums, and my daughters on vox and guitar. They picked out the name Pickles (I wanted something with more majesty. Oh well.) and we started our tour. Pickles is doing well so far, we have branched to clubs outside of Boston now, and we stick to mainly playing on medium just to reduce the failure rate.
So I have spent a lot of free time practicing. (Please don’t tell my real band. They think I’m learning our new songs, I’ll just have to fake it in a Paul Stanley sorta way next gig.) I managed to get pretty good at most of the songs on medium. Including Alex Chilton.
So I thought, ‘I know this song inside and out, no reason I can’t master it.’ and tried it on Hard. The best I can say is that I didn’t fail. But the incessant hi-hat and bass drum about killed me. It was much harder than I could imagine. At least much harder than the ‘boom, click’ Westerberg described as he chuckled in his interview for Rock Band.
Then I saw this video on YouTube of some kid nailing 100% on Expert.
After my jealousy died down a bit, I thought about how cool that is. And the dozens of other videos showing kids trying to master that song. I know it’s just a silly video game, and pushing buttons doesn’t equate making music, but the idea of childrens by the millions beating out Alex Chilton in their living rooms makes me smile. I feel that’s the saving grace of a game like this. Exposing people to music they might otherwise never hear. I can’t tell you how tickled I am when my ten year-old daughter starts singing Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up to herself while doing homework.
If it’s on daddy’s iPod, it’s old and smelly. But if it’s in Rock Band, it’s cool. I’ll take it any way I can.