l right, here’s my problem with Rock Band:
Rather than playing a fake instrument, learn to play a real one.
I know a ton of people who love this game and that’s fine, I guess. But they all talk about wanting to be rock stars (and can we please, please for the love of whatever God you dig, lose ‘He’s a rock star,’ as any kind of cultural conversational touchstone? It’s as bad as ‘thrown under the bus.’) but none of them want to actually learn to play.
Pick up a damned instrument. You wanna be a rock star? Learn some chords. Learn some funkadelic bass lines. Buy some drums and toss on a Dave Matthews or Rush CD, play along to those. Or Billy Cobham or Manu Katche.
Holy hell, just do something!
Instead, this being the land of the lazy, we’d rather play a game and pretend to be a musician than put in some actual time and become a…you know…musician.
When I worked at DJ’s Music Box in Denver, an odd combination of sheet music, instruments, and music boxes, there was a guitar instructor there. His belief was that music was too easy, too accessible. He believed that music had lost some of its elegance and mystery and romance because anyone could be a musician. It was too easy, he used to tell me, to become a musician.
That was crap then and it’s crap now. I believe there was more music in centuries gone by because people didn’t have radios and TVs and daily newspapers and the Internet. Other than dueling or weaving your own clothes or castrating the livestock, there wasn’t squat to do! So there were entire families who were musical. Go back and read diaries and daily accounts of family life 100, 200, 300 years ago. When there was free time, which was very damned often because of that whole castration situation, they yanked out the instruments.
With absolutely no evidence to support it, I’d lay even money that there was a musician in damn near every family. Everybody played something – piano, guitar, harmonica, violin, fucking brown jug.
So Americans, many of whom have gotten so lazy that the American dream has gone from ‘work hard and better yourself’ to ‘buy a winning lottery ticket,’ or ‘slip on the ice and sue everyone,’ have decided that learning to play an instrument just takes too much damned time. It’s much easier to pretend at making music.
‘Trey, Trey, take a breath, it’s just a game.’
True enough, and I realize the game isn’t really about playing at being a musician, it’s about playing at being a celebrity, ‘cuz that’s what we all want now. The entire country, at least those younger than me (and it’s always those young whippersnappers fouling things up, ain’t it?), worships now at the altar of celebrity. But even better than celebrity is instant celebrity, doubly so if built around…well…nothing.
Oh, for the days when you had to do something to get famous. Neil Armstrong had to…you know…land on the moon. And Paris Hilton’s contribution? Well, she was born with the right genes. And then there was that ‘accidental’ flash of her vajay-jay.
Wonder which of the two is more famous…hmmmm….something to ponder.
The upside, I guess, is that now, rather than people posting video of themselves on YouTube doing nothing in an obvious and desperate attempt at celebrity, they can post of themselves playing Rock Band and being a Rock Star…in an obvious and desperate attempt at celebrity. That’s progress, I guess.