I always use Bang Camaro as a prime example of a band that rose from relative obscurity to fame and (hopefully soon) fortune with the help of music games.
Having their songs included in Guitar Hero II, Rock Band and Rock Band 2 (it doesn’t hurt that Bennett is an employee of Harmonix), the Boston army of a dozen-plus knows that when it’s time to play “Pleasure (Pleasure)” at a live show, everyone in the crowd is going to sing along, thanks in great part to being featured in Rock Band.
Ned Jordan at The Gamers’ Temple scored a sweet interview with Bryn Bennett, Bang Camaro’s co-founder and lead guitarist, in which he speaks about “games, music, and music in games…”
I encourage you to read the full article, but here are some of the more juicy tidbits for you artists on the fence about publishing your music via Rock Band Network.
On having Guitar Hero II and Rock Band catapult Bang Camaro’s popularity:
Ned: Were you surprised that your appearance on the Guitar Hero 2 soundtrack was your springboard to fame?
Bryn: Ha. I guess it matters how you define fame. One time a guy in NYC gave me half-price on my hotel room because he recognized me. Does that count? But, no, we were all very excited to be part of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. Karaoke-like nights had already popped up in bars across the country, and younger people seemed to be getting more excited about guitar oriented rock again. We knew the games were going to be huge, and wanted to be part of them.
The first time we ever played in LA, we ended up packing the Troubador. The only reason people out there knew about us was because of the games. It was very eye opening and a dream come true for me.
On artists who don’t think that music games are a positive way to expose people to their music:
Ned: Some artists such as Jack White and Jimmy Page have spoken out against games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, believing games to be a poor way to learn about and experience music. How would you respond to this sort of criticism of music games?
Bryn: I would say Hey Jimmy. No one under the age of 15 would know who you are if not for these guitar based video games making your music important again. Then he would reply Who the hell are you?! and I would walk away sadly.
But seriously, from what I have seen, these games have made guitar playing cool again. Ive received TONS of e-mails from younger people who loved the games, and then decided to play real guitar. Interestingly enough, there is now a bit of a divide where younger real guitar players look down on their video game playing counterparts. I guess there will always be some form of caste system necessary in 8th grade. Ha. (Thats a rough age to live through!)
On using games as a launch platform for their music:
Ned: When you think about the future of music, do you see games as a legitimate launch platform for new songs and artists?
Bryn: Well, in a lot of ways, it worked for us! We are far from being a band the size of U2 or the White Stripes, but we have done pretty well. And we owe a lot of what we have to the video games that we have been a part of. Of course, well see what happens in the future with RBN. Its an exciting time.