About a month or so ago, my boss and I threw in together for a co-owned copy of Rock Band for our gaming group to play together, which has been a blast. There's nothing quite like the feeling of rocking out together, depending on one-another's skills and nailing that 5-star performance. The game is brilliantly balanced, as skilled players can help keep the band afloat, while giving the less experienced players the ability to play at their own level and (hopefully) learn without slowing down the rest of the band. It's been a great experience, and the constant flow of DLC is remarkable. I've found several songs worth picking out of the DLC to play, and true enough, we have two completely different sets of content depending on whose Xbox is being used.
Our band is known as Deadknobs 'n' Boomsticks. I don't know where the name came from, but the metaphor I use to describe the process is such: "It was just kinda one of those things where I kinda unscrewed the tap on my brain a little bit, tipped my head to the left, and saw what dripped out, and that's what it was." When we were deciding our band name, there were a couple of classic names up for grabs that stick around our group pretty regularly, e.g. High Treason and Slug Death, but apparently, Deadknobs 'n' Boomsticks was a pretty popular choice, and so we adopted it. Our band logo is a tzantza shrunken head with two flintlock pistols w/ bayonettes in front of a big, bloody, splattery X. It looks pretty awesome.
We're all pretty familiar with Guitar Hero and Karaoke Revolution, as I had introduced the former into the group about a half a year after the first one came out. I was so enamored with it when I saw it during my Christmas vacation that I had to get one of my own. I got Guitar Hero II, natch, and ended up giving it to one of my groupmates as a birthday present after having cleaned its clock, save two songs: Jordan by Buckethead (OW!) and Six by All That Remains (MORE OW!). I had to settle for 4 stars on Expert for both of those. One of the other guys in the group had Karaoke Revolution, and one day had dared me to sing the 'unsingable' That's Amore, which I proceeded to trash with a perfect performance. That's probably what got me cemented as the vocalist for our band...
And so, as it stands, while we tend to switch off our respective parts as the night wears on, our band lineup is as follows:
- Band leader and lead guitarist for most of our sessions is Jason, my boss, playing on Medium(and doing a respectible job of it) as Jason Chaos.
- On bass is Kevin, playing on Medium, which is a big step for him. He tends to go slow with games. He plays as Dagon Jones, which, for some reason, is deemed 'unsuitable' for Xbox Live.
- On drums, we have Josh, playing as the 80's throwback rocker Donnie Calvin, who is generally new to all forms of music game. I only really got him playing Guitar Hero II with any regularity, and since he's living with his girlfriend, to whom I donated GHII, he has time to brush up on guitar. Drums, though, are still a bit tricky with him, but he can finish most songs on medium with a respectable score.
- On vocals, we have yours truly, singing as Mike Treason, doing vocals on medium strictly for comfort purposes, but I can do some songs on Expert okay. The obstacle there is that if you don't know the pitch you need to hit, on expert, you'll be missing extremely important opportunities to fill the score disc, so until I know more tunes, Expert is not going to happen.
We have a lot of fun playing together and get the equipment together to do so pretty much every other Friday. It's a blast.
As for my own skills on the instruments, I've been refining my guitar work, natch, as I am rather skilled. I could be better, but it just takes time and practice. On the drums, the new, alien instrument made available, with no prior experience with a drumset before, I was able to tackle any song on Medium, and quickly realized that several songs on Hard are within my reach. I flirt with Expert to remind myself how far I have to go, but I have actually managed to finish one of the more physically strenuous and rhythmically tricky songs, Maps, on Expert, which surprised the hell out of me, as I was merely showing my group what it was like on Expert, fully expecting to fail. Maps happens to be one of Josh's most avoided songs, so it has a particular place in our hearts as a joke, despite everyone more or less actually liking it.
So, as it stands, my instrument skills are as follows, for those not keeping track:
- Guitar: Expert, baby. All songs but GG & HT.
- Bass: Expert on anything, and I'll doing it with a smile and an eye on your power meters. Team player ftw!
- Drums: High Medium-Low Hard so far. Picking it up quicker than I thought
- Vocals: All I need to do is here where the notes go, and Expert should be a breeze. Now, if the damn mic would pick the pitch up right... GRRR!
Anyway, if anyone on my friends list here on GS has a gold Live account for Xbox 360 and Rock Band, feel free to give me a holler. I have the equipment most of the time.