January 01
software engr, young at heart. coding from early age. "digital brain" but with lots of feelings too. writing here mainly to publicize a few key issues, let off some steam, & for the feedback. plz write me comments, very much appreciated!! even on old posts!! helps me gauge reader interest/ reaction & steer direction of new posts. oh, and IMs often make my day & I usually reply. and long IM conversations are my favorite.

Vzn's Links

My Links
vzn on politics
vzn on cyber/geek stuff
vzn on big luv
vzn misc essays
JANUARY 20, 2010 8:59PM

guitar hero, rock band, and cant-miss music movies

Rate: 2 Flag

hi all. inside everyone of us is a rock star struggling to get out. dont you think? well maybe. a pop star? music stars are typically charismatic, glamorous, sexy, travel the world, make fortunes, have zillions of fans, and nowadays, not even talent is required that much any more. whats not to like about all that?

this modern revolution of style over substance seems to have started with Madonna, who music critics have always said had a thin voice. it may reached an apex with Britney, who got caught lip synching at her own concerts (something even madonna was never accused of).

I believe it was David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash who observed that pop stars were becoming increasingly musically talentless and blowdried, chosen only for looks, and he attributed it to Mtv which started broadcasting around the early 80s or so.

evidence that marketing flash/simulated talent may have reached an apex-- now we have a sort of Anti-Pop-Christ phenomenon with someone like Susan Boyle selling very many records. and american idol certainly does perpetuate some of the stereotypes, although I tend to feel that it really does select for talent over the long run, because the initial auditions are free of all the peripheral tricks.

when you think of music stars, you might think of a famous line by Thomas Hobbes writing about peasant life during the middle ages.. "nasty, brutish, and short". anyway, they have a short shelf life nowadays, highly compressed it seems. one of my favorite groups is PussyCat dolls and the lead singer Nichole Scherzinger seems to be reaching the end of her marketability at just over age 30.... she has a video where she sings next to rusted out cars in the desert and complained about what dire straights the music business is in these days....

* * *

so, here I am just a hair away from the Big Four Oh. ouch. and its started to dawn on me that Im never gonna be a rock star. ouch. but, heres the next best thing nowadays. the highly innovative games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. what a lot of fun these games are. I tried Guitar Hero at a friends house almost shortly after it came out, a few years ago. we used a 6axis controller.

it was highly addictive immediately. I was really into the game. I remember well, I was singing along to the song 38 special, "hold on loosely" and my male friends could only kinda laugh a little.

recently I got a ps3 and my first game is Rock Band. now, the two games are very close in function and it was very hard to make a decision at Best Buy last xmas between the two. Rock Band has santana and rolling stones, alone reasons to get it. it ultimately came down to the feel of the guitar for me, though. I liked the feel of the Rock Band guitar more.

it also sounded like it had more buyable songs online-- dozens. I dont actually know how they exactly stack up together on the online song catalog. I am thinking of getting Guitar Hero in a bit too. ("knocking on your back door" by the stones, one of my fave songs from childhood, again almost a reason alone to get it.)

very disappointing/annoying is that the guitars are not compatible between the two games! the guitar is about $70. what a scam. I have seen some guitars that work on both games, but I dont know why the game creators dont just support the alternative guitars. its about as much fun as the VHS vs Betamax insanity of our youth. (yeah you have to be over 30 to remember that one too.)

rock band and guitar hero have made hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few years, its an amazing phenomenon that has music industry executives scrambling.[9] mtv bought harmonix, the creator, in 2006 for about $175M on the strength of their games, and they really werent disappointed-- it seems to be turning out to be one of the best corporate investments of the 00s.[10] the bigwigs are starting to realize it may be the platform of the future that could even function as a place to release music, taking the place of radio stations of yesteryear.

however, there is dissension in the ranks. two top guitarists Jack White and Jimmy Page said at a news conference that they dont think its a good way to learn the guitar[11]. the stones guitarist Wyman has also complained[12]. but, I think these guys are really off the mark. yeah the guitars are just toylike right now, but Im hoping for even more realistic guitars for serious players, which are already on the way.[2,3]

I mostly disagree with these sentiments and think [ironically] there is a generation gap going on here. [ironic, because these older rock musicians are a big part of one of the greatest generation gaps that ever existed.] this stuff is a classic case of what is known in silicon valley as a Disruptive Technology.

the games are quite the opposite-- an excellent way to learn music. they are exposing far more kids to musical theory than ever. and just try playing on the Expert settings-- the split-second timing and dexterity in fingering is extemely difficult, and see how far you get and how long it takes you just to complete a song. I bet there are some real guitarists that ironically would have trouble playing their own songs!!

* * *

yeah, Ive discovered some new songs on rock band along with the old classics. what a great way to have a new "relationship" with music. its not so one-sided/passive any more. its like a super jukebox in your home, only better.

my favorites from rock band II that Ive played a LOT-- also my favorites when they first came out... I can just now get through a few of these on Hard level--

* you oughta know by alanis morrisette
* alive by pearl jam
* carry on my wayward son, kansas
* any way you want it by journey
* hungry like the wolf by duran duran
* aqualung by jethro tull

songs I like that I initially found in rock band

* new kid in school by the donnas
* thats what you get by paramour
* ashes to fire by the ghost hounds
* headphones on by miranda cosgrove

I hear that fender is moving in the direction of going more digital[1]. they designed the rock band guitar. sounds like a step in the right direction to me.

so, anyway, hook these up to a 55inch 1080p screen, along with a 325W sound system with 4' speakers.... and I also turn out the lights and turn on my neon collection.... now thats my idea of fun!!! any hot girls out there who'd like a date with a killer musician-guitarist at a private concert? =)

* * *

if you enjoy music, there are 3 movies that are absolute must see

* it might get loud [4],[5] - documentary by the same filmmaker/director who did Inconvenient Truth (would gore have won the nobel prize without this movie? I seriously doubt that). features Page and the Edge of U2, who they said were their first choice. and also Jack White. I must admit, I really havent gotten into Whites stuff at all, but Im a bit out of the loop on recent music. I did like his intro to the bond song, Just Another Way to Die along with alicia keyes, for the new bond movie quantum of solace [8].

I must say though, the scene with White bleeding on his guitar I thought was really approaching satire/parody... ugh man!! white says, "can a white guy legitimately play the blues?" hmmmmm.... isnt that a really old question? its like that old zen koan, what is the sound of one hand clapping....? I know that page once messed up his hand slamming it in a train door on a tour, but that was an *accident*.....

* almost famous [6] - written by cameron crowe. crowe led a kind of charmed life at a young age, managing to write rock reviews for the rolling stone magazine while still a teenager. he travelled with Led Zeppelin, and some of this movie really has the feel of a page/plant showdown.

* this is spinal tap [7] - a brilliant satire of rock movies/documentaries. has some really hilarious moments. theres the scene in the room with the guitarist and all of his guitars/amps, which is almost identical in it might get loud with the edge.... sometimes I wonder if the "it might get loud" director actually watched spinal tap!! it would seem like he didnt, because he didnt really avoid all the cliches altogether!! by the way, jack white says he *did* see spinal tap, and that it didnt make him laugh, it made him cry!!


Fender hopes to turn virtual guitarists into real rockers

You Rock guitar -- Controller is a real guitar

You Rock guitar

It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud/IMDB

Almost Famous

This is spinal tap

quantum of solace

'Guitar Hero,' 'Rock Band' strum up big sales

MTV Buys Harmonix for $175M

Jack White and Jimmy Page diss 'Guitar Hero' video game
The renowned guitarists say it's not an ideal way to be exposed to music

Rock stars cool over video games

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I LOVED it Might Get Loud! Jack White is an absolute original and Jimmy Page well... for him I have a new found respect. He's a fine English gentleman. Now, if I could just get one of his castles...
Just watched Almost Famous with my man last night. His first time, my 50th. The music in that movie was is my favorite character. :)
two ladies!! thanks!! I figured the rocker dudes would be into this!!
my sig.other and I were marvelling at how *asian* jimmy page looked, as he gets older. kind of like an esteemed zen guitar sage/guru.... also, it was interesting how much he seemed to be like a music librarian/conoisseur at times!! he seemed much at home in his vast music library....
Thanks for the recommendations. I saw Spinal Tap years ago. I will look to track down the other two.
I think you are right about the Jimmy Page-Wyman-White comment... they are a little off the mark. More people are going to buy the gaming system which is more versatile and entertaining (and cheaper) than musical instruments and lessons. Sure it is not the same thing but seems to be drawing more people to music than the traditional route.
Well I agree with you that David Crosby could never have been accused of relying on his looks...
Loved this. But dang, I still wanna be a rock star!