From the “why not start the shameless self-promotion early” department:
Devout Feministe readers may remember a post from a while back where I talked about becoming obsessed with drumming in the game Rock Band, where you and up to three of your friends sing into, strum or pound on little plastic instruments that make your television play awesome rock hits. Well, I went a little overboard… when I heard that the Virgin Megastores were having a Valentine’s Day Rock Band tournament, I decided I needed to put a band together.
The last time I competed in a tournament like this, I took second place for playing Guitar Hero II; that time, a bunch of my opposition in the middle of the tournament were obnoxious drunken guys who kept trying to intimidate me (or maybe they were just being idiots) by yelling about how they weren’t going to get beaten by a girl, how I really wanted to sleep with them, etc. etc. the usual. I destroyed them. So this time I thought, maybe we should have an all-girl band, hmm? Thus was born… Glittürminætor!
We only managed to practice together for one night, although our guitarist is my roommate (and a calendar pinup to boot) so we’ve had some practice playing in sync. So this is the weird part… we won the tournament. And came away with a bunch of prizes: a $500 gift certificate, another copy of Rock Band (which we inadvertently gave away to a random teenager), and a bunch of other random gizmos.
Now, I have to say this competition involved way more luck than it ought to have. Because of a ludicrously bad scoring system that involved picking songs out of a hat (and some songs being worth far more on average than others), a couple of the most experienced and skilled bands were eliminated early on. We weren’t particularly lucky or unlucky, but in the end we won because the judges decided the final bands needed to all play the same song, a rather absurd cock-rock prog number called “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria. (Apologies to any fans.) Our vocalist had actually never heard that song before–or three of the other four songs we played, which included the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siva,” Hole’s “Celebrity Skin,” (what we’re playing in the picture above) Aerosmith’s version of “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “I Think I’m Paranoid” by Garbage. But she’s pretty talented at sightreading a tune from a score.
Although I was initially expecting more of the same kind of ugly competition that I ran into during my last rock-video-game tournament, I have to say the ten bands that showed up were mostly really cool. I made some new friends who appreciated my drumming skills enough to scream out how much I rocked, which is always nice. Plus, we weren’t the only all-female band there! A trio of younger girls played in the first round, and we were rooting for them to make it to the finals, especially since they were a stereotype-defying multiracial combo, including a drummer wearing hijab. Sadly, they were eliminated in the first round. Anyway, even though the scoring and elimination were pretty suspect and luck-driven, I’m still happy that Glittürminætor claimed Virgin (Megastore) booty in the name of girl gamers everywhere!! Whoo!
One slightly amusing confession I have to make. I ended my last post about Rock Band by saying:
As for me and actual drums, it seems unlikely at this point — I live in a small New York apartment, and my neighbors already complain about the noise! Of course there are ways, even in the city. I’ll have to see, once I finish “Hard” and “Expert” and trounce another few dozen adolescent gamer boys online, if I’m still hungry for more drumming challenges. If I am, well… maybe at some point I’ll hop over that fascinating, funny gap between entertainment and reality. At which point I will discover how much I truly suck, especially at getting my sticks crossed.
So about that… after encouragement from some musician friends and people telling me “that I just seem like someone who plays drums” (whatever that means) I actually started taking real drum lessons. It turns out that playing a lot of Rock Band actually does translate into a number of basic skills; since I could already play a basic rock beat and had developed decent chops with a regular pair of sticks, I managed to skip a bunch of introductory lessons! In fact, I think my video game investment kind of paid itself off! I don’t have a drum kit in my apartment (it’s unlikely) but I did manage to hack my Rock Band drums so they can be played like a regular electronic instrument when connected to my PC. In fact I’m practicing on them right now. Next up: two of my friends just got a cheap kit on Craigslist, and want me to play in their minimalist country-rock band, 77 & Granite. Hah. I think I’ll just keep doing this until I hit the limits of my abilities (or talents).
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