If you graduated high school after the 80's you might have missed the HUGE impact ACDC had on the rebellious and angry youth of the late 70's and 80's. Unlike KISS who provided some glam anger, brothers Young and Bon Scott blew the lid off every hard rock "old school" band we knew and loved. [My bands were Aerosmith, The Who and Zepplin.] And in doing so they paved the way for bands like Judas Priest and G-n-R and even Nirvana.
The sheer repetitive headbanging beats, with mean and raw lyrics were more connective than the punks of the Sex Pistols or the Ramones. With ACDC you could sing along with songs like "Highway to Hell" after the 1st chorus. And it was almost impossible not to do the headbangers head bop while listening to the most-rockin songs. My next door neighbor, when he was giving me his Tama Rockstar drum kit to "store" in my garage/studio said he learned drums because of Back in Black. If you know the song you know the infectious, /Dun, dd dun, dd dun, deedoobeedoobedum, dd dun, dd dun/ that pulled my friend out of geekiness into the dark abyss of rock n roll.
And I have tweeted a lot about how RockBand 2, the version I got for my birthday in November, has changed my approach to the recording studio and my enthusiasm for making music again. And how many of my friends, similarly situated between their 30's and 40's, were also RockBanding alone and with friends all through the holidays this year. Nary a day went by when someone on my tweet list wasn't saying: how much time they spent; how much fun they had; what their party was like with ROCKBAND. So a couple of weeks ago I bought the ACDC FAN Pack for Rockband. Rather than just getting the PS2 game this one came with a concert shirt from "Black Ice" [their latest moderately successful new disc] and a DVD "directors cut" of some show they did in a Madrid bullfighting stadium, called "NO BULL." And of course the PS2 TrackPak.
[A moment of revelation: Why and I not listening to ACDC on iTunes right now as I write. Click, launch, select play. Okay, got that taken care of, going Bon Scott era with Powerage.]
So I would say I've spent probably 20 hours on Rockband 2 up until yesterday. And I've gotten through most of the songs in "medium," even the ones I don't like. But yesterday I put the ACDC Trackpak in and just about blew my hands off.
There are a couple of non-hits in the selections, but as each song is revealed along the path of performing, I was like, "She's Got the Jack!!!! Woohoo! Dirty Deeds! Yeah! and then finally "Back in Black. Oh yeah!" And when I got up this morning, after exchanging Valentines with my lovely wife and cuddly kids I was off to "finish the set." And I plowed through the last 6 songs on the 18 song set. By that time my son was aching for the TV.
"One more song, on medium this time," I told him. As I finished "Thunderstruck" with a big drum solo, I asked, "Can I do ONE MORE SONG?"
And I turned over the cable selector and turned off the stereo. But I was exhausted and exhilarated. I can't wait to call my neighbor over to show him Back in Black RockBand style. My guess is he will dig it too.
There are a few funny things about the ACDC Track Pack though.
I like the remakes better than the Brian Johnson versions of the Bon Scott-era songs. A lot better.
Angus is a stacked black female guitarist wielding a logo-ed an often highlighted Fender Strat. I don't think I ever saw Angus with anything but his Gibson SG. But of course Fender is the sponsor. And you know they could never do Angus's antics justice in animation. I DO really want one of the Fender Precision base replicas, but I have enough REAL guitars to no start collecting RockBand guitars and paraphernalia. [What are the origins of that word para-pher-a-lia? I wonder.]
I have never seen ACDC live in concert. [A moment of silence, for Bon Scott.] And since Bon Scott died in 1980 I never really had a chance, but watching the No Bull DVD I'm kinda glad. Bon Scott, from what I've seen in videos was a rockstar embodied. Brian Johnson, no so much. Angus is still great. The songs are still great, I just don't find myself having the same empathy for the "older rocker" that I do with say, Robert Plant or Pete Townshend. His antics on stage are bazaar and lame. IMHO.
But the ACDC Track Pack takes my already heightened fascination with RockBand to a new height. Even with the few clunker tracks, it rules! It takes me back to a time when I would take a few friends to Taco Bell at lunch and we would speed (really fast) down the new Loop 360 and our ears would be ringing from the Fosgate powered versions of Black In Black that blasted out of my VW Sirocco.
Note: I have requested a developers kid from both Harmonix and the other programers and game companies asscociated with RockBand because I would really like to put some of my songs, or some XTC or Beatles in RockBand format, but they have not responded at all. Nada. Nothing. Bummer. ;-(
Dedication: This post goes out to AC who rocks along with the best of us. Dude, rock on!