Thursday, January 14, 2016

Midweek Music Box: Guitar Hero (Ziggy Stardust)

Did he play guitar?

You step before the audience, guitar in hand, ready to rock. You're Axel Steel, you're Judy Nails, or maybe to fit the glam rock mood you pick Izzy Sparks.  The drummer starts a familiar beat, your fingers are in position, and suddenly you are no longer merely playing glorified style of the classic memory game Simon--you are a rock god! Or rather, a "Guitar Hero....

cue the music...

Okay, so maybe it's sometimes a little hard to get into that sort of mood every time you play the original Guitar Hero for Playstation 2--but that doesn't mean you don't feel extra cool if you manage to pull off a song on expert. For me, one of the first songs I was able to accomplish on the most difficult settings was David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust."  This isn't really a brag as it was less about "how well I played" as it was about the song being something you just could lose yourself in.
 Speaking of songs, here is, "Ziggy Stardust":

Yeah, it's not the version from the game, but when talking about one of the most iconic songs from one as accomplished as the late, great David Bowie, nothing but the original will do.  It's funny, when picking songs for the Midweek Music Box, I tend to prefer songs and music that were composed as original soundtracks for the game itself; unless of course the music fits exceptionally well with the game.  So yeah, part of me picked this because of David Bowie's passing, but I think I would have picked this song on down the line without the music world's loss--no that's not right--with the world's loss of this legend.

There are plenty of fantastic tunes on Guitar Hero that you can experience and play-along-to from Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." I love playing along to those while trying to to get the timing just right in an attempt to achieve the best score possible.  It is a game after all.  But there's just something magical about getting to jam along to "Ziggy Stardust." And you are jamming along not just losing yourself in the gameplay, but losing yourself in the music. At least I tend to lose myself in it.  Something about that song in particular makes me feel that much closer to actually being able to play guitar. It becomes less about getting a high score than it does about doing the song justice. 

Yes, in the end I'm no more close to playing guitar than the game Simon is to beeping and booping out a classical tune or a chart-topping hit.  Something about a Bowie tune though, playing it, hearing it, being a part of it...I think that "Ziggy Stardust"provides the feel the team at Harmonix was looking for when they first developed the game.  That feeling of you not just goofing around with an odd controller, but really getting to be in the shoes of legendary bands--or an artist like Bowie.

I wish I had some really awesome way of wrapping up this Midweek Music Box. Some great analogy, or a good quote with some verisimilitude on the life of David Bowie. Truthfully though, I just can't think of the right thing to say, and it would likely come across as either cheap or forced. It's hard losing a legend like David Bowie. We always joke about "rock gods" or the "immortal artist" and the like...but man this just plain hurts. Surprisingly more than expected. You kinda figured David Bowie would just keep going and going. It's hard to believe he was just as mortal as the rest of us. I guess though he gains immortality through his music. Best to just close with a collection of my favorite Bowie songs and remember that Ziggy did indeed play guitar.

"Down in the Underground"


"Space Oddity"

"Under Pressure"


"The Man Who Sold the World"


May you rest in peace Mr. Bowie. Thanks for the music. Thanks for the artistry. Thanks most of all for giving so much of yourself into your craft right up to the end and leaving us as any good artist does...just wanting a little more.

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