Sleater-Kinney's guitarist tests out Rock Band.

Pop, jazz, and classical.
Nov. 27 2007 3:07 PM

Rock Band vs. Real Band

Sleater-Kinney's guitarist tests out the new video game Rock Band.

(Continued from Page 1)

Here, then, are the differences I have surmised between a Rock Band and a real band:

Setting up your gear

Advertisement

Rock Band: Easy. Pick up your feather-light instruments and plug them into your Xbox with a USB cable that you should know how to use even if you've never seen a computer.

Real band: Easier. Especially if a roadie does it for you. Or insanely more difficult if you are your own roadie and you have a fused vertebrae or slipped disc from schlepping your gear across the country.

The playing experience

Rock Band: Tetris meets Simon meets karaoke. You need to have hand-eye coordination and be moderately literate (if you are the singer). There are no monitor mixes to fuss with, and your sound is consistent. Actually, your sound never changes, which kind of gets old. However, if your band messes up, you are mercifully and magically removed from the gig and you get to start over.

Real band: It's hard to beat the visceral high of playing live and creating something spontaneous. But if your band is having an off night, you still have to stand there in front of a crowd and finish the set.

The band dynamic

Rock Band: Volatile. Skill levels can vary, and though each player can select his or her own level, it's frustrating to get stopped in the middle of a song due to someone else's screwup. You do get three chances to bring a player back from the dead, which, sadly, doesn't happen in real life.

Real band: Volatile but with far more payoff. And band fights about set list order and how the guitar is always too loud are more justifiable than fighting over someone accidentally hitting the "pause" button in the middle of a song.

The touring life

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.