Musicians Get Meta in Guitar Hero and Rock Band

There’s something satisfyingly self-referential about watching talented musicians try to play their own music in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Especially when they’re worse than you.

Here’s a list of every video I could find. Let me know if I missed any.

Anthrax’s Scott Ian, “Madhouse” at Best Buy

“You suck. You’re going to have to write easier songs… 20 years ago.”


Rush, “Tom Sawyer,” backstage at the Colbert Report

KISS’s Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, “Detroit Rock City”

(thx, Oscar)

Dragonforce’s Sam Totman and Herman Li, “Through the Fire and the Flames”

My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, “Dead”

Metalocalypse’s Brendon Small, Tommy Blacha, “Thunderhorse”

Jonathan Coulton, “Still Alive”

Backyard Babies, “Minus Celsius”

Evile, “Thrasher”

Bonus Clips

Seether covers Radiohead’s Creep in Rock Band.

Joe Perry from Aerosmith talks about the difficulty of learning Guitar Hero for guitarists. “I’ve talked to a lot of guitarists who’ve played this, and all the older guys get to the first basic level and then it splits off. Then your gameplaying skills come in, because you have to play the game like it’s one of those other kinds of games.”

South Park’s Guitar Queer-O. “Real guitars are for old people.”

11 thoughts on “Musicians Get Meta in Guitar Hero and Rock Band

  1. Aldous: I wish! When asked about Guitar Hero in this 2006 interview, Page said, “I think it’s really cool, and they gave me the game, which I will give to my nephew who plays video games like he breathes oxygen. I’ve never been a video game guy myself, but I tried to play it… I’m really bad at video games, but it’s cool as shit.”

  2. Says a lot about the video game, and those who believe they have real musical talent, when you see the people who composed the song fail at playing it with a plastic controller. I hope this serves as a catalyst to deminish the egos of some crazed guitar hero fans I know out there. Not that it’s a bad game, it just has bad followers.

  3. Brilliant post.

    It is SERIOUSLY impressive that Evile was able to complete their own song (last video in the post). “Thrasher” is one of the hardest songs in Rock Band, without a doubt.

  4. ninjacowboy: Why would this make Guitar Hero fans feel worse? If anything, it shows that they can do something real guitarists can’t.

    They’re just completely different skills, like being a Navy SEAL vs. mastering Counter-Strike.

  5. I didn’t know much of musicians are getting meta with their music. But if it will make their music more creative and more lively then I think they should go for it. I am surprised that some guitarists as good as Joe Perry have a hard time with Guitar Hero.

    /Kristen B.

    Magnavox MDR515H Reviewer

  6. I am a professional level guitarist. I haven’t played Guitar Hero since the early days, but I absolutely sucked at it, and have never picked it back up as a result. I am very coordinated, have relative perfect pitch and very strong rhythm skills, but I sucked at it. My theory is this: these games rely on sight, not sound. When I play based on music, I am always exactly off by the same amount, even when I know the guitar part hands down, and physically and sonically get it perfect. But when I play using only the visual cues, I can hit the notes, but I have to compensate for the sound delay. I think the problem may be latency between the actual sound that players hear, which is possibly late, and the more accurate visual cue, which is what the game is based on. Why else would good guitarists generally suck at this?

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