The Next Rock Band... Band

So, recently I was listening to the most recent installment of the Giant Bombcast when the discussion came up on the show on what other games the Rock Band: The Beatles formula would work with. Jeff, Ryan and Brad actually did a pretty good job of running down what the criteria. However, for those who didn't listen to the episode, I'm going to give the basics:

  1. It needs a good narrative: The band's story either needs to have some degree of drama to it, or the band's style needs to have some sort of metamorphosis and general change to it. For example, over the Beatles career they went through a variety of musical styles, from the poppy, to the psychedelic. As an example of what not to do - Guitar Hero: Van Halen is limiting their Van Halen content to the material from David Lee Roth's time in the band, and only depicting the band's current lineup.
  2. The music needs to be recognizable: We not only need to be able to recognize some of the band's songs, but we need to be able to recognize most of the songs on the game (with a handful of exceptions). After all, this is a Rock Band: $NAMEOFBAND game, so all of the music is going to be from that band, instead of some of the music being from that band, plus other bands that they toured with.
  3. The band's history needs to be visually interesting. This doesn't necessarily mean that we need the dreamscapes of The Beatles: Rock Band. However, variety is the spice of life, and having a variety of venues to progress through helps provide some visual variety to the gameplay experience, and would also allow the game to have a sense of progression to it.
  4. The band needs to fit with the Rock Band format, particularly in terms of the music. This one is a no-brainer.
So, after listening to their discussion... okay, while listening to their discussion, and their inabability to find any applicable bands that this would work with, I started musing over this dilemma myself, with the intent of starting a list of bands that would be eligible under this criteria. That said, for the purposes of this list, I'm going to be permitting bands which only meet 2 other criteria aside from #4:
  • Pink Floyd: The band's narrative works very well - the kind of narrative that books and movies are (and have been) made about - Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, Richard Wright formed the band and became successful through a mix of 60's pop ("Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play"), and psychedelic freak outs (Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine). At this point, the fame became more than Barrett could handle and he went spectacularly mad, with David Gilmour (who knew most of the other members of the band earlier) being hired to help finish the band's next album Saucerfull of Secrets after which Barrett left the band. The events leading to Barrett's departure ultimately ending up being one of the top 2 influences of everything the band would do after that (the rest of it being Roger Waters' childhood). Ultimately, the band nearly dissolves spectacularly after about 6 excellent albums (Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall), and two iffy ones (Ummagumma & The Final Cut), after Roger Waters nearly sets an example for Axl Rose and tries to fire everyone else in the band/dissolve it. After a bitter legal battle, Gilmour & Mason get the rights to the band and re-hire Wright (who had previously been fired by Waters), and do one good album (Momentary Lapse of Reason), and one mindblowing album (The Division Bell).

    This gives us our narrative, in terms of he band's history, but also a musical narrative as well. From the more psychedelic/60s stylings of  Syd's time with the band, to the "classic" Pink Floyd of the Early Waters & Gilmour era (Meddle, DSotM, WYWH), to the later, darker, more Waters heavy stuff (Animals, The Wall & The Final Cut), and finally, the more emotional guitar stuff after Waters departure/ouster. Additionally, the game will have a visual progression, from the smaller clubs to larger arenas of Barrett's time, to the larger arenas with full orchestra of Atom Heart Mother, to the Pompeii Ampitheater, to the more elaborate sets for the Animals Tour (complete with the now iconic giant pig) - to the now famous Wall Tour (there was no live performance for the Final Cut material), and possibly using the P*U*L*S*E concert for the "Momentary Lapse of Reason" and "Division Bell" material.

    However, using Pink Floyd will not be without it's difficulties. Nick Mason has spoken out against Rock Band, as he feels (wrongly), that the game lures kids away from learning music. Further, to be honest, the band's material is not conductive for a teen rating - particularly when you get into The Wall and its accompanying visuals, which are as much a part of the live show as the music. Between the goose-stepping hammers, the images of people getting curb stomped, the Freudian flowers, and the judge during "The Trial" who is deliberately meant to look like a naked man with a large butt bending over, with the anus meant to represent the man's mouth, and the genitals to represent the man's chin (they took some liberties with anatomy), I'd say it's reasonable to assume that if the game was as authentic to Pink Floyd as they were to The Beatles, they'd have difficulty dodging a Mature rating (at best).
  • Rush: The band, I must admit, doesn't have the personal narrative that The Beatles or Pink Floyd has. The biggest piece of drama in the band's history is the death of Neil Peart's wife and daughter in a car accident and he doesn't like to talk about it (and doesn't particularly do public appearances outside of the concerts in general), having basically covered everything in his second book and in the song "Ghost Rider" for the Vapor Trails album. However, the album would have a musical narrative, going from the band's earlier, more heavily Prog Rock days, to some of their later, reggae and ska influenced stuff from Signals and Grace Under Pressure, as well as the general increase and decrease of synth in the band's new materials (hitting it's peak in those previously mentioned albums), while having less and less synth from Counterparts on, with almost no synth at all on their latest album, Snakes & Arrows. However, the main problems is (aside from having to track the Synth), that Rush just doesn't have a lot of really distinctive visual concerts, except maybe Rush In Rio. They've got stuff like screen videos and everything but it's not quite the same.
 
Unfortunately, after those two bands, I don't have much. Maybe it's because of my limited musical vocabulary, in terms of bands I known enough about to be able to know if they fit or not (and to know if a band would work for this you have to know a lot about the band, even if you haven't listened to every album). That said, there are a few more bands that have popped into my head as possible candidates, but I don't know enough about them to go on at length:
  • Black Sabbath: The shift from the more political subject matter with Ozzy in the band to the more operatic stuff with Ronnie James Dio.
  • Emerson Lake and Palmer - To be specific, not only covering the band's original material, but when the band broke up, the members went on to form other notable bands, from King Crimson to Asia, so including some of their material might be a good idea.
  • Jefferson Airplane - Rather, Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to Starship
 
Finally, just as an aside, there's one other little project that I wouldn't mind seeing. You see, I'm a fan of a dark swords & sorcery series called The Chronicles of Elric of Melnibone. They're written by a British fantasy author named Michael Moorcock. They're very dark, and more than a little violent fantasy stories about the albino sorcerer-prince Elric, wielder of the soul-eating (and sentient) rune-sword Stormbringer, who finds himself as a pawn in the struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos (with neither side realizing at first that Elric's role is probably closer to a Bishop, Knight, or even the Queen). Yes, this may sound cliched, but that's because Moorcock created the cliches. What does this have to do with Rock Band. Well, Moorcock, who was (sort of) a contemporary of Tolkien (he was alive while Tolkien was alive - and he hated the guy), collaborated with Blue Oyster Cult and Hawkwind to write a series of songs about the character, covering most of the series. I wouldn't mind a Rock Band project - basically an elaborate track pack, with ultra elaborate visuals (ala the Beatles dreamscapes), with the tracks covering various portions of the Elric saga - possibly with Moorecock working with those two bands (or other bands which he likes) to cover the bases of any holes in the narrative). It could be called, I dunno, Rock Band Presents: The Chronicles of the Black Sword or something. Similar projects could be done in the future on similar themes - it could be the Metal Space Opera project Star One getting a similar treatment, or other concept albums being done in Rock Band, with the format being used to present visuals that complement the subject matter of the music.
 
That's just my two bits, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you think.
25 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by Count_Zero

So, recently I was listening to the most recent installment of the Giant Bombcast when the discussion came up on the show on what other games the Rock Band: The Beatles formula would work with. Jeff, Ryan and Brad actually did a pretty good job of running down what the criteria. However, for those who didn't listen to the episode, I'm going to give the basics:

  1. It needs a good narrative: The band's story either needs to have some degree of drama to it, or the band's style needs to have some sort of metamorphosis and general change to it. For example, over the Beatles career they went through a variety of musical styles, from the poppy, to the psychedelic. As an example of what not to do - Guitar Hero: Van Halen is limiting their Van Halen content to the material from David Lee Roth's time in the band, and only depicting the band's current lineup.
  2. The music needs to be recognizable: We not only need to be able to recognize some of the band's songs, but we need to be able to recognize most of the songs on the game (with a handful of exceptions). After all, this is a Rock Band: $NAMEOFBAND game, so all of the music is going to be from that band, instead of some of the music being from that band, plus other bands that they toured with.
  3. The band's history needs to be visually interesting. This doesn't necessarily mean that we need the dreamscapes of The Beatles: Rock Band. However, variety is the spice of life, and having a variety of venues to progress through helps provide some visual variety to the gameplay experience, and would also allow the game to have a sense of progression to it.
  4. The band needs to fit with the Rock Band format, particularly in terms of the music. This one is a no-brainer.
So, after listening to their discussion... okay, while listening to their discussion, and their inabability to find any applicable bands that this would work with, I started musing over this dilemma myself, with the intent of starting a list of bands that would be eligible under this criteria. That said, for the purposes of this list, I'm going to be permitting bands which only meet 2 other criteria aside from #4:
  • Pink Floyd: The band's narrative works very well - the kind of narrative that books and movies are (and have been) made about - Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, Richard Wright formed the band and became successful through a mix of 60's pop ("Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play"), and psychedelic freak outs (Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine). At this point, the fame became more than Barrett could handle and he went spectacularly mad, with David Gilmour (who knew most of the other members of the band earlier) being hired to help finish the band's next album Saucerfull of Secrets after which Barrett left the band. The events leading to Barrett's departure ultimately ending up being one of the top 2 influences of everything the band would do after that (the rest of it being Roger Waters' childhood). Ultimately, the band nearly dissolves spectacularly after about 6 excellent albums (Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall), and two iffy ones (Ummagumma & The Final Cut), after Roger Waters nearly sets an example for Axl Rose and tries to fire everyone else in the band/dissolve it. After a bitter legal battle, Gilmour & Mason get the rights to the band and re-hire Wright (who had previously been fired by Waters), and do one good album (Momentary Lapse of Reason), and one mindblowing album (The Division Bell).

    This gives us our narrative, in terms of he band's history, but also a musical narrative as well. From the more psychedelic/60s stylings of  Syd's time with the band, to the "classic" Pink Floyd of the Early Waters & Gilmour era (Meddle, DSotM, WYWH), to the later, darker, more Waters heavy stuff (Animals, The Wall & The Final Cut), and finally, the more emotional guitar stuff after Waters departure/ouster. Additionally, the game will have a visual progression, from the smaller clubs to larger arenas of Barrett's time, to the larger arenas with full orchestra of Atom Heart Mother, to the Pompeii Ampitheater, to the more elaborate sets for the Animals Tour (complete with the now iconic giant pig) - to the now famous Wall Tour (there was no live performance for the Final Cut material), and possibly using the P*U*L*S*E concert for the "Momentary Lapse of Reason" and "Division Bell" material.

    However, using Pink Floyd will not be without it's difficulties. Nick Mason has spoken out against Rock Band, as he feels (wrongly), that the game lures kids away from learning music. Further, to be honest, the band's material is not conductive for a teen rating - particularly when you get into The Wall and its accompanying visuals, which are as much a part of the live show as the music. Between the goose-stepping hammers, the images of people getting curb stomped, the Freudian flowers, and the judge during "The Trial" who is deliberately meant to look like a naked man with a large butt bending over, with the anus meant to represent the man's mouth, and the genitals to represent the man's chin (they took some liberties with anatomy), I'd say it's reasonable to assume that if the game was as authentic to Pink Floyd as they were to The Beatles, they'd have difficulty dodging a Mature rating (at best).
  • Rush: The band, I must admit, doesn't have the personal narrative that The Beatles or Pink Floyd has. The biggest piece of drama in the band's history is the death of Neil Peart's wife and daughter in a car accident and he doesn't like to talk about it (and doesn't particularly do public appearances outside of the concerts in general), having basically covered everything in his second book and in the song "Ghost Rider" for the Vapor Trails album. However, the album would have a musical narrative, going from the band's earlier, more heavily Prog Rock days, to some of their later, reggae and ska influenced stuff from Signals and Grace Under Pressure, as well as the general increase and decrease of synth in the band's new materials (hitting it's peak in those previously mentioned albums), while having less and less synth from Counterparts on, with almost no synth at all on their latest album, Snakes & Arrows. However, the main problems is (aside from having to track the Synth), that Rush just doesn't have a lot of really distinctive visual concerts, except maybe Rush In Rio. They've got stuff like screen videos and everything but it's not quite the same.
 
Unfortunately, after those two bands, I don't have much. Maybe it's because of my limited musical vocabulary, in terms of bands I known enough about to be able to know if they fit or not (and to know if a band would work for this you have to know a lot about the band, even if you haven't listened to every album). That said, there are a few more bands that have popped into my head as possible candidates, but I don't know enough about them to go on at length:
  • Black Sabbath: The shift from the more political subject matter with Ozzy in the band to the more operatic stuff with Ronnie James Dio.
  • Emerson Lake and Palmer - To be specific, not only covering the band's original material, but when the band broke up, the members went on to form other notable bands, from King Crimson to Asia, so including some of their material might be a good idea.
  • Jefferson Airplane - Rather, Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to Starship
 
Finally, just as an aside, there's one other little project that I wouldn't mind seeing. You see, I'm a fan of a dark swords & sorcery series called The Chronicles of Elric of Melnibone. They're written by a British fantasy author named Michael Moorcock. They're very dark, and more than a little violent fantasy stories about the albino sorcerer-prince Elric, wielder of the soul-eating (and sentient) rune-sword Stormbringer, who finds himself as a pawn in the struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos (with neither side realizing at first that Elric's role is probably closer to a Bishop, Knight, or even the Queen). Yes, this may sound cliched, but that's because Moorcock created the cliches. What does this have to do with Rock Band. Well, Moorcock, who was (sort of) a contemporary of Tolkien (he was alive while Tolkien was alive - and he hated the guy), collaborated with Blue Oyster Cult and Hawkwind to write a series of songs about the character, covering most of the series. I wouldn't mind a Rock Band project - basically an elaborate track pack, with ultra elaborate visuals (ala the Beatles dreamscapes), with the tracks covering various portions of the Elric saga - possibly with Moorecock working with those two bands (or other bands which he likes) to cover the bases of any holes in the narrative). It could be called, I dunno, Rock Band Presents: The Chronicles of the Black Sword or something. Similar projects could be done in the future on similar themes - it could be the Metal Space Opera project Star One getting a similar treatment, or other concept albums being done in Rock Band, with the format being used to present visuals that complement the subject matter of the music.
 
That's just my two bits, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you think.
Posted by SamFo

I also thought this was a pretty interesting part of the podcast.
 
Here are two that aren't often brought up:
The Who would be great, theyve changed substantialy over the years and delved into rock operas and such.
David Bowie is constantly changing his sound and look.
 
 
I thought a game that followed the grunge scene from the early 90s would be great as well. With alot of smaller bands but obviously Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden as big standouts. (even though theyve all got songs in rock band already)

Posted by Cheapoz

Springsteen. Duh. 
 
First off, four mics, five guitar controllers (one for bass!), organ controller, piano controller, drums and of course, THE SAXAPHONE PERIPHERAL!!  Oh, and a Harmonica. 
 
Secondly, every new Springsteen album goes straight to number #1 in the states, even if its his new stuff and it sucks. 
 
Thirdly, there's a story there:
- Struggle to break out in Jersey 
- Hitting the big time 
- Hitting the FREAKING big time (Born to Run) 
- Depression (Nebraska)  
- The American Hero in time of need (Born in the USA)  
- The Comeback (Dancin' in the Dark)  
- The American Hero in time of need part II (The Rising) 
- Crap new stuff 
 
It'd need some serious shoe-horning to make work in a classic four-piece-band setting, but I love Springsteen to DEATH and would LOVE LOVE LOVE a whole game on his stuff. Only on the condition that the game only ever uses live recordings from the 75-85 box set, not studio masters. Ever.

Posted by natetodamax

Queens Of The Stone Age
 
/thread

Posted by Cheapoz

No Rock Band game for any band that started after the 70s. 
 
EVER.

Posted by Fei

Id like to see some genre stuff like Rock Band: Progressive Rock or Rock Band: New Wave or what-have-you.

Posted by SamFo

Unfortunately the xbox will only recognise 4 controllers max, mics are different, hence why you have to have a controller plugged in to use mics.
 
Queens of the stone age although brilliant, could easily just be dlc for a game, there's no real need for them to have their own full blown band game. 

Posted by EvilTwin
@Cheapoz: I'd buy the hell out of that game.
Posted by ieatlions
@Cheapoz: Why would you say that?
Posted by skrutop

While they went all out for the Beatles and put together a great package, I hope that Harmonix doesn't do another band game.
 
That being said, another "band" game that I think would work is Eric Clapton, showing his progression from his time in The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes, etc. into his solo career.  Looking over the four criteria, he fits them all.

Edited by TooWalrus

Van Halen actually could have been good. If they showed the transition from David to Sammy. Some awesome cut scenes of them trashing hotel rooms, tricking stage crews with their brown m&ms contract rider, in-band fighting leading to a perfect breakup, and eventual 2007 reunion, where they go on to put on the biggest selling tour in history. It also could have been released to coincide with their tour next year... Ah well, All I want to do is sing Little Guitars, and I guess I'll get my chance this year...
 
I've read Roth's autiobiography, and it's pretty interesting how they first began covering songs popular at the time at college parties, moved on to performing in little bars before being picked up and making it big. That could be pretty cool... Ugh, I've got to quit thinking about what could have been. My real pick is a Zeppelin game. They're the only band who are... important enough.

Posted by Hughes

Led Zeppelin: Rock Band. But it won't happen.

Posted by Kohe321

Meshuggah...
 
Kidding.

Online
Posted by Creamypies

Now they've done Beatles, they should just stick to band/genre specific DLC.

Posted by Ivanetc

i dunno everyone's been suggesting radiohead due to their progression and it sort of does make sense: 

-pablo honey (boring old britpop stuff like most things at the time)
-the bends (starting to break out more interesting sounds and concepts)
-ok computer (the height of their fame while also making a landmark album)
-kid a (where they go into a bit of a different direction)
-amnesiac (where they go a bit more crazy and experimental though still maintaining fame and status)
-hail to the thief (a return to form with more rock-ier songs and still managing to stay fresh and original)
-in rainbows (an iconic digital release and an album full of intricate melodies and rhythms)
 
so in that sense it sort of does fit in for this kind of game, and i'm sure there are some story elements that can be brought in (obviously starting out small, moving onto bigger gigs, stadiums, tours to south america and more interesting places, more time in the studio and finally some webcast shows) 
and obvously radiohead can be a very accessible and simple band but can also be very technical and impressive
 
the actual branding and likelihood of them being in a game seems to be the only shortcoming of this idea, and personally i'm not dying for a radiohead: rock band, but if there was to be one soon i'd opt for this one for sure!

Posted by VilhelmNielsen

I thought Pink Floyd, but quickly realized, that no other band, but The Beatles, could work in that particular format.
 
But you have inspired my to put Pictures at an Exhibition on, thank you for that.

Posted by Ciffy

Elvis (though it doesn't really fit in with the four piece thing).  

Smashing Pumpkins pre-reunion would fit in with the arching story like the beatles did (rise to fame in Chicago to the world -  to the drug use and death involving Jimmy Chamberlin and his eventual removal and reinstatement to the band - to the dark phase (Adore / Machina) to the break up in 2000 and the music would fit well with the RB set. 
 
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also comes to mind; though I don't know that they've had the drama or a memorable story to make for an interesting game.  I'm sure there's TONs of trivia and things that would make for an interesting narrative and set of unlocks regardless.

Posted by MrMuise

Hannah Montana

Posted by angelfan91

Rock Band: Rush   It would sell 1 mellion copies alone in Canada and probably just as many here in the states.
Posted by marc

KISS

Posted by Novyx

Lynyrd Skynyrd. Just sayin.

Posted by addictedtopinescent
@MrMuise said:
" Hannah Montana "
I'd see GH doing that   
 
@Novyx said:
" Lynyrd Skynyrd. Just sayin. "

This, 
And btw   Led Zeppelin
Posted by CountRockula

I've got to agree with skrutop that Eric Clapton is almost a perfect fit for that format of game.  He's had a long career and shifted between all kinds of musical styles.  The only thing that might keep it from working is that I don't know how interesting or fun it would be to play drums or bass in a game like that.
 
Also, I'm undoubtedly in the minority with this one, but if Activision hadn't already cocked it up, I think an Aerosmith game could work pretty well.  Each of their albums tends to have a pretty distinct and different tone, and the story of them getting big, falling apart, and then coming back together to help Bruce Willis save the world from an asteroid could be interesting if handled well.

Posted by LeadNinja

I'd like a Neil Young one.  Or at least some stuff off Mirror Ball (his album with Pearl Jam as his backing band) on Rock Band: Pearl Jam.

Posted by ZombieHunterOG
@MrMuise said:
" Hannah Montana "
God just gave you cancer .....
Posted by Chokobo
@MrMuise said:
" Hannah Montana "
*Points you to the "Band Hero" page*