I never how know to make "About yous" (you's?) sound cool but here goes. I've always been a gamer, it seems - I got an NES when I was four or five and never looked back. I was definitely a Sega kid, but mostly because my Mom told me I couldn't have an SNES too (and also because Sega was the shit, duh). I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a Microsoft fanboy, but I definitely prefer my 360 to the PS3. Even though playing games (and reading about games and writing about games) takes up a lot of time, I still manage to actually work a real job at a newspaper and love watching Archer and MMA. Right now I'm really looking forward to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Brink.
First of all, I just wanted to say thanks for so many awesome games over the years. I thoroughly enjoyed Guitar Hero while it was still yours and I currently enjoy shredding or crashing my drum pads in Rock Band. Iíve even been a fan as far back as FreQuency and Amplitude Ė fun games just to mess around with but take a certain dedication to master. Not to mention that your dedication to providing quality, weekly DLC for Rock Band is something to admire and itís unfortunate more developers donít provide the same kind of support for their games.
With that being said, and on the same note as DLC, I just wanted to ask Ė why do you hate 311, Harmonix? Sure, I canít prove you hate 311, but in the four years youíve been releasing DLC for Rock Band games (the first pack of which released in November of 2007), not one single 311 song has ever been added to the Rock Band library. Not one.
I felt that, as an opinionated gamer and because it is 311 Day (3/11/11), this matter needed to be addressed. 311 has been one of my personal favorite bands for a long time Ė Iíd even go so far as to say they were my first favorite band. Not just the music you get into because your parents listen to it but the first band you got into because you liked them Ė that is 311 for me. Sure, Iíve gotten pretty big into metal since then but Iíll never turn my back on my roots Ė my Grassroots, you could say.
Though 311ís first two albums, Music and Grassroots, didnít receive a ton of media exposure, their third studio album, the self-titled album 311 (or The Blue Album as itís also known) was a gigantic hit. Their biggest hit, ďDown,Ē reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts in 1995 and the album went triple-platinum in 1996. Since then, 311 has released many more albums Ė Live, Transistor, Soundsystem, From Chaos, Evolver, Donít Tread on Me and Uplifter. The band tours nearly every summer, has a huge following of die-hard, oldhead fans as well as making new fans all the time with their catchy grooves, funky rhymes and exceptional beats. They even have another studio album in the works to be released sometime before the summer of 2011. And just to prove their staying power, their most recent album, Uplifter, debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 in 2009.
Not only are they multi-talented, multi-platinum musicians, but 311 has literally risked life and limb to bring the rock to their fans. In their early days, to promote their album Music, the band financed their own tour and rode from gig to gig in a borrowed RV, towing their equipment in a VW Bus. On the road to a gig during the tour, the RV caught fire and the whole band barely escaped the blaze. They even finished the tour using borrowed instruments. If risking their lives and continuing a tour with no instruments doesnít prove their Rock Band worthiness, I donít know what does.
Iíve written Harmonix a few times now, suggesting they add 311 to their DLC schedule. Yet my pleas continuously fall on deaf ears. Granted, I havenít checked the Rock Band Network any time recently but whenever I have itís usually full of new, awful metal and equally awful indie rock so I wouldnít hold my breath to see 311 show up there. Not only that, RBN songs arenít developed by Harmonix and thus pretty much makes that point moot in these shenanigans.
311 would be perfect for Rock Band. Their music is relatively inoffensive, their songs are either usually about ladies or partying and on top of everything, their music is just really, really fun. Their earlier songs are very funky with their hip-hop influences strongly shining through while their later albums tend to use more layers of sound, synth and a much harder-rocking sound.
I also firmly believe that their music lends itself quite well to the Rock Band formula. Many songs make use of harmonies between Nick Hexum and S.A. Martinez, bassist P-Nutís lines are solid and flashy only when they need to be, Tim Mahoneyís guitar work is always awesome (Grassroots definitely showcases some of my favorite Mahoney work) and drummer Chad Sexton is always just simply amazing. Honestly, itís Sextonís drumming I want to play more than anything else Ė but that point is neither here nor there. A lot of their later songs could even utilize the keyboard.
Iíll even take the time to write up suggestions for DLC (or for those unaware of 311ís kick-assery. You have no idea how hard it was for me to only pick a few and not every song I love):
Music - Plain, Feels So Good, Unity
Grassroots - Lose, Applied Science, Grassroots
311 - Down, All Mixed Up, Donít Stay Home
Transistor Ė Prisoner, Jupiter, Strangers, Stealing Happy Hours
Soundsystem Ė Large in the Margin, Mind Spin, Flowing
From Chaos Ė Uncalm, From Chaos, I Told Myself
Evolver Ė Donít Dwell, Crack the Code, Still Dreaming
Donít Tread on Me Ė Frolic Room, Solar Flare, Waiting
Uplifter Ė Itís Alright, Jackpot, Two Drops in the Ocean
Man, this letter is a lot longer than I thought itíd be. But that only goes to show the dedication of just one 311 fan Ė someone desperate enough to play digital versions of some of his favorite songs to write a nearly 1000 word letter on a whim (and also because itís 311 Day Ė I think I mentioned that).
I think Iíve made it clear that I love Rock Band and Harmonix. None of the above was written out of anger at Harmonix Ė rather, a dedication to a band whose career has spanned two decades and continually entertains and impresses. And who, somehow, doesnít have a single song featured in Rock Band.