Bill Brink | Wednesday, January 16, 2008
“We’re going to Best Buy sometime today,” my roommate Bobby told me.
“I’m getting Rock Band.”
Little did I know my life would change forever.
I’m the guy with no voice who still sings Nirvana in the shower, so Rock Band offered the perfect solution to my subconscious yearnings to be a superstar.
The idea of my voice amplified to 120 decibels – whether in Madison Square Garden or my tiny room in Fisher Hall – excited me beyond belief.
Once American Gladiators was over Monday night, we went to work. It took three of us 20 minutes to decipher the destinations of the myriad wires and plugs before we got going, but once we did, it was glorious.
Creating our characters offered me another escape from reality. My pale, skinny, 5-foot-11 frame has never exactly intimidated anyone. But my muscular 6-foot-8 alter-ego, with his purplish-yellow mohawk, ripped jeans and tight black T-shirt, scares the bejesus out of people.
When our band, Alliteration, got its first gig, palpable tension rippled through the room. On our first song, Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” that tension cracked; we failed miserably. The crowd threw things on stage in protest. But the loss of a few fans could not deter us.
We soon mastered our respective trades, and began to rock. We now play “Say It Ain’t So” better than Weezer ever could. And don’t even think about Radiohead’s “Creep;” thanks to a cameo by our RA, who busted out 98 percent of the notes correctly, you would swear Thom Yorke was in the room.
Whether I pound out a beat on the drums or anchor the tune with a steady bass groove or unleash a powerful rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” I feel like I’m a part of something. I’m a cog in a gear, a piece of a puzzle, a quarter of a string quartet. If that quartet could replicate Nine Inch Nails flawlessly.
What’s more, I’m surrounded by superior talent. My friends are all more fake-musically inclined than I am, so Alliteration has nowhere to go but up. We’ll be taking home Electromusic Grammys in no time.
We tore up the States – Chicago, Seattle, LA, NYC – so we took our act overseas. We hit Stockholm, Amsterdam and London and shredded them too. We won a van, played charity gigs (for the kids), stole groupies and earned a manager and bodyguards. We’re living the dream, playing Mark Wahlberg in our real-life version of Rock Star.
Rock Band brings out the best in people. You’re never so connected to someone as when you’re crammed elbow to elbow cranking out great tunes.
Want proof it can elevate people to another level? I just watched my inebriated bandmate stumble across his room and fall helplessly beneath his futon. But as I write this, he’s playing the drums like Charlie Watts in London.
All in a day’s work for a rock star.