OK, maybe HATE is a strong word. But it got your goddamned attention. I saw Slash on Conan O' Brian last night giving Guitar Hero a fanboy handjob (The guy who wrote Welcome to the Jungle was getting stiff over the idea of beating "Baracuda" on Hard Mode. Just...wow.), and this got me thinking about some recent interviews I did with musicians. I'm not sure a lot of them—the ones who don't have playable characters in the game—understand or have anything to do with Guitar Hero, though they're in the game. It's pretty much a loose relationship where they allow their songs to be used and collect the check. No big surprise there, the last two sentences being the most obvious statements ever typed. But if you've ever wondered why some tracks are the Master Tracks, and some songs are cover versions, rest assured that the artists' don't know either. More with Rob Zombie and Rivers Cuomo, after the jump...
Take my interview with Rob Zombie (the one where I nervously pretended I didn't hate the Halloween remake)
After I pissed him off immediately (When his PR lady put him on the phone, she said "Chris, You're on with Mr. Zombie," and I started laughing and said, "Well hello, MISTER Zombie." Then silence.
But whatever..."Mr. Zombie?" That's funny shit.), I tried breaking the ice with Guitar Hero
WARD: So, I’ve almost beaten White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine” on Guitar Hero III.
ZOMBIE: Oh good. [laughs]
WARD: What do you think of Guitar Hero? Did they approach you about using the master tracks?
ZOMBIE: Yeah, I mean they come in and ask to do it, and I think it’s great. I don’t play them, but I think it’s awesome.
WARD: What do you think of the guy trying to re-create your voice on the game?
ZOMBIE: I actually haven’t heard it, but I bet it’s pretty funny.
WARD: It’s not too good actually.
ZOMBIE: [laughs] They should just use the original tracks.
At this point in the interview, I was flabbergasted but knew I needed to move on with asking questions about El Superbeasto or something. But think about it: If Rob Zombie thinks they should use the master tracks to Rob Zombie zongs (I call them Zongs), then WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T THEY?!?! I'm going to look into this some more.
Guitar Hero query #2: Why do musicians consistently diss the very game they're in? I interviewed Rivers Cuomo and he had this to say:
WARD: On a scale of 1-10, how bad could I kick your ass at Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas” on Guitar Hero III?
[laughs] Probably a 10, because I don’t know how to play it! I’ve never played it. I don’t get those games at all. I mean, I haven’t tried them. But they must be fun because people love them. But, to me, it seems like if you’re going to put that much effort into playing something, you should just play a real instrument. [laughs]
Ok, so he doesn't need to play Guitar Hero... he's an artist. Not all of us can sit in a completely black room with a tin foil hat on until "Surf Wax America" just spills out of our fucking brain. Some of us have to fake it. And, at the end of the day, it's just a game. You never heard Offspring saying how cool it was that their song (you know the one) played on an endless, mind-numbing loop in Crazy Taxi, although people should just learn how to drive a real crazy taxi. Then again Crazy Taxi didn't take some of the shine off driving a taxi. For famous musicians, Guitar Hero takes the idea of a "rock god" down a peg or two, making it harder to get respected and, as a result, it's harder to get fellated backstage.
I don't have it transcribed, but he went on to say that he doesn't really pick the songs Weezer contributes to the game. He has a guy he trusts with the Weezer Ethic who decides where Weezer's image/songs get sold. IE: A Weezer Beer Commercial ain't makin' the cut, but Guitar Hero is fine...even though Rivers thinks you should just buy a real guitar. I'm confused. Still, thank god Weezer's PR guy is cool enough to lend Rock Band "El Scorcho" this year. I just wish The Police's guy would back the fuck off, because I'm sick of Sting hogging the downloadable content screen at XBox Marketplace. So anyways...discuss. I'm not sure what my point is here. Maybe it's that talking to Weezer and Rob Zombie was actually pretty cool, even if it was on the phone. Yeah...that's pretty much my point.