On The Modern Lovers self-titled debut, Jonathan Richman sang "I want to keep my place in the old world" before later, and on a different track, singing "I'm in love with the modern world now." At, the end of "Old World," Richman takes a moment to acknowledge the new world and accept the change ahead. If Jonathan Richman can accept his place in both worlds and be willing to move forward, why can't legends accept Guitar Hero and Rock Band as a new medium for introducing younger fans and newer ears to music.
Jimmy Page shunned the game. Now Pink Floyd's Nick Mason and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman have spoken out against these games essentially deeming them a waste of time. Here's what the two artists had to say on these games.
"It irritates me having watched my kids do it - if they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they'd be damn good by now."
"It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument. I think is a pity so I'm not really keen on that kind of stuff."
As a lover of music and fan of these games, I'm a bit bummed to hear that members of such great bands have complaints about these games. I'm slighly more confused about a member of Pink Floyd having a problem with something that combines visual elements, precision and music in one package. Ten years ago, the industry and musicians looked at Napster as the downfall of music instead of just saying we're putting out less than stellar albums and giving Mariah Carey millions to star and create a soundtrack to Glitter. Had Napster never occurred, we wouldn't have a lot of the on-demand music services that we have now.
Napster was a bridge to connect how we received music to how we should receive music, digitally and within seconds depending on your network connection whether its downloaded or streamed. The industry and musicians, most of them, grew to accept this and now take advantage of this medium. Ten years later, the new medium is in the form of two video games which use their on-disc and downloadable content to introduce people, young and old, to bands they would never hear depending on their musicial interests or due to a lack of airplay. Also, unlike Napster, it's completely interactive. That connects the person to the music in a way never before imagined.
As for the idea of it reducing the wish to learn an instrument, if it does, that's ok. Through Guitar Hero II, I ended learning more about guitar than I had in trying to watch videos and tampering with one throughout the 10 years or so that I owned one. I, now, play guitar as well as various other instruments thanks to one game. Now, if you choose not to venture further, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that and that's the thing the older musicians need to realize. They're playing your music with a modern form of air guitar just as the musicians you directly influenced did before them.
Embrace the the new technology to your advantage and you'll find that you'll have more fans and sales because of it. Fighting the future only acknowledges that the punk rock of the 70's was right, you are all fossils and relics of a time long gone. This is why I now love Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Oliva Harrison and Yoko Ono. They could've easily said no but wanted the music to reach younger and newer audiences as give something to their fans.
On a related note, Alice Cooper feels that Vampire Weekend has no balls. I'll agree to this and you read about that here.