Carry on Wayward Son: A Rock Band Tale
Music makes the world go round. It’s the one thing in the world that can bring people together. And when you hear your favorite song on the radio, you’re probably going to start singing if no ones in the car with you, right? Or if there is, they might start doing the same. If you’re home alone and that song comes on, you might even start singing and dancing. Admit it, you’ve done it before; music sets something off in you, takes control and makes the world around you clear as day. So how could would it be to have your own rock band to actually play your favorite tunes?
Rock Band is a way for me to listen to my favorite music, dance and sing, and even play my favorite song. Sure, the instruments at your disposal are plastic, and as far as the guitar goes, you’re pressing plastic buttons that’s nothing like playing a real guitar. The instrument still has the shape of a guitar, though, and those buttons resemble frets which gives you an illusion that you really are playing the guitar if you move with the music. Rocking out to “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, buttons or strings, one can really get into it, because if you mess up, the song ends up sounding like a high school rock band with a one-handed lead guitarist.
My love for rhythm games actually started in 2008, but not with Rock Band. When the first Guitar Hero came out but I didn’t understand it. Playing a song consisted of holding that plastic guitar, pressing buttons in conjunction with corresponding colored notes would result in a high score, but that was it. The song itself would be the game and the reward was pressing those frets successfully for a high score, what fun is there in that?
Eventually, I had to play it, so I had a run in with Guitar Hero III at a friend’s house for a sleepover one night. I was playing with my friend, we started on the easy difficulty since it was my first time. Notes came down the screen so slow and I hard the hardest time hitting them all. So we kept playing, songs like “Rock and Roll all Nite” by Kiss and “One” by Metallica were so much fun once I got a 100% score on easy. The difficulty ramped up to Medium after a couple of hours and I was getting better, I was hooked.
In 2008, Guitar Hero: World Tour came out. I knew that there was another rhythm game called Rock Band, but the set list never appealed to me as Guitar Hero’s did. I asked for World Tour for Christmas and I got it after begging. This version featured a full band for the first time in the Guitar Hero franchise, complete with drums, guitar, and a microphone for vocals. My wish came true and I was rocking out with the family on Christmas day, all the way up into the night until everybody went home.
I wasn’t great at guitar but I could safely play on Medium difficulty and do OK, but the drums caught my eye. Playing those drums was probably the closest to a real drum set you could get. There was a kick pedal and two cymbals along with three pads. I got myself up to Medium and was having a blast playing through songs like “Hotel California” by The Eagles, “American Woman” by The Guess Who, and “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. I eventually grew tired of the set list, unfortunately, to the point of only playing 10 or so songs whenever I booted the game up. My plan was to find a cheap copy of the original Rock Band. While I didn’t think I liked the set list there, I did like some songs so I figured it would just expand my rhythm library.
Buying Rock Band got me hooked on the series and I couldn’t bear to look at a Guitar Hero game anymore because of it. Everything about Rock Band was better to me, the style, the clean look, and the songs were a lot more fun to play. The best part of Rock Band came with the ever expanding DLC catalog. World Tour had DLC as well but the catalog was smaller and I honestly couldn’t give a rats ass about most of the hard rock/metal that was on there. Rock Band had more party songs, some rock, some pop, some alternative rock, and that was more up my alley.
I traded in Guitar Hero: World Tour for Rock Band 2, I spent about $45 on the game since GH: WT got me about $5 on a trade-in, but it was well worth it. Thanks to the compatibly of my Guitar Hero band set, I could use the same instruments with my new game so I didn’t need to buy new ones, just the game. Rock Band 2 featured 84 songs on the disc with another free 20 songs redeemable when you bought the game. The DLC library was over 1400 songs now and I could import all my RB1 songs into RB2! My music library expanded to 200 songs in no time and any spare cash ended up going into my Rock Band budget for DLC. I loved coming home after a bad day at school, loading up “Any Way You Want It” or “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and drumming my sorrows away, forgetting about the world around me.
Harmonix developed the Rock Band games so I started following them online. They seemed like some pretty cool guys, the ones you’d run into at a Foo Fighters concert. I was active on the RB2 forums, helping others with questions and learning new tricks for playing songs on harder difficulties. DLC was starting to be released on a weekly basis so I knew right way what songs were coming out so I could allot some cash t0 be spent on packs of interest. After regularly playing RB2, I brodened my music horizon with Green Day Rock Band, LEGO Rock Band, and The Beatles: Rock Band.
After playing those at least 3 times a week. Rock Band 3 was announced with a brand new set list, new pro-mode to actually learn how to play a real instrument, and a brand new instrument: the keyboard. The pro-mode was the most intriguing, buying a cymbal extension for my new RB drum kit allowed me to learn the way these songs are played compared to the cymbal-less notes in previous games. I asked for the new keyboard for Christmas in 2010 and I got it. The 25 key instrument could be played in pro-mode out of the box and most all the songs included with the game had a keys part.
My dream was to play Billy Joel tracks like “Piano Man” and “Goodbye to Hollywood” ultimately, as funny as it sounds. My dream came true in late 2011 with a 6-pack of Billy Joel released as DLC. More an more keyboard heavy songs kept coming every week. Content always stayed fresh with a game I loved to play, making it the go to game when I wasn’t sure what to play. I put on shows for crazed fans with play lists of my choosing, sometimes they’d even sing along. To say that this was an electrifying experience is a bit of an understatement because I always rocked the house. For that 1 hour jam session, whether it was one time a week or several, I felt like a rock star.
So that’s my Rock Band Journey (band reference!); Do you have one? Let us know in the comments below if you do, if not, let us know why you don’t! Thanks for reading!