Sweat forms on my forehead as I take the stage. I glance out to the building mass of fans before me as they chant in unison, and the energy of a packed house boosts my adrenaline to indescribable heights.
Radiant house lights flood the top of my head as the rest of my band mates casually ready their equipment. As our fans continue to clap and chant “Monsters! Monsters! Monsters!” I pick up the mic and, with the swift click of drumsticks, we’re off into our own earth-shattering rendition of Jet’s cock-rock anthem, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”
An explosion of raucous cheers emanates from the male half of the crowd, while a sigh of sexual longing can be distinctly heard from our female fans as a number of them remove their bras and toss them on stage in a fit rivaling the anxious hands of a prepubescent male in a late-night backseat sexual encounter.
The band is truly on tonight, as I hit my high notes with an ear-piercing screech that makes Axl Rose look like Mr. Rogers on horse tranquilizers, and my guitarist, Jeff, who’s missed a number of shows due to a highly-publicized stint in rehab for an addiction to cough syrup, is spot on, licking his axe in a way Jimi Hendrix could only dream of.
Just as we reach the climax of the song and I make eye contact with a cougar with pink hair in the front row, something suddenly happens that causes all of my fantasies of whipped cream, chains, fishhooks and a midget wearing a Superman outfit for after the show to be laid to rest.
The smooth groove of my bassist Uchechuku’s guitar and the fierce banging of Rob’s drums suddenly stop as my whole world goes to black. No? I have not just passed out due to alcohol-induced exhaustion, and no, our light crew did not just perform one of the biggest blunders in the history of rock and roll. Rob just pulled out the plug of the Xbox by mistake. That son of a bitch.
What’s that you say? You thought that whole story was real? Oh, well I’m sorry? I should have told you. My bad. How silly of me. No? that was pretty much all made up. Well, technically it all happened. I mean, the crowd really was chanting our name, and we were racking up points on face-melting solos like it was nothing.
If you want to get real specific about it, “The Monsters” are an actual band, with Jeff “The Mummy” Juron on the lead guitar, Rob “Count Dracula” Dominiak on the drums, Dr. Uchechuku Ndubizu a.k.a. Mr. Hyde, on the bass and yours truly, Dan “The Wolf Man” Milbrand on lead vocals (I’m like a cross between Freddy Mercury and Morrissey minus the whole gay thing).
I guess what I failed to mention was that all of our feathery stage antics and the rowdiness of the crowd took place in the fantastical world of a video game.
Deep down inside, everyone wants to be a rock star. Everyone has dreams of ditching the drudgery of nine-to-five for a life on the road full of drugs you’ve never heard of and curious encounters with sexually indeterminate prostitutes (no comment), blasting through cities like Brett Michaels through an all-star lineup of Vegas strippers.
The problem with that is that most of us have never even picked up an instrument, let alone exhibited even the slightest sense of rhythm or musicianship. And those of us who say, “Oh, that’s fine. I can just be an exceptionally energetic lead singer like Jim Morrision!” didn’t realize that you have no sense of creativity whatsoever and couldn’t write the lyrics to a children’s song, let alone a nine-minute opus about what it means to be free. Not to mentionthe fact that you probably can’t sing to save your life, no matter how good your best friend said you were when you two sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” in harmony at karaoke night last Monday (although you totally kicked ass during the “Mama Mia” part, I will give you that). That’s what makes “Rock Band” the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I say that with a straight face.
All these years, I’ve been cultivating an intense desire to at least attempt to live the life of a rock star. While I may have succeeded in every realm aside from the actual performance of music, I’ve never actually done anything that warrants artistic approval, with the exception of sloppily freestyling at Delta Kappa Epsilon when I’m blasted and making impromptu beats in random places with my basketball teammates.
“Rock Band” gives me the chance to finally cultivate my musical prowess without embarrassing myself, and it is for that reason that I will be forever grateful to MTV for making this $170 addiction.
Although I guess in the time that I’ve spent playing “Rock Band” over the past month, which amounts to somewhere between five and 10 days, I could have wiped the dust off my own real guitar and taken some time to practice and become a real-life rock star. But who wants that when you can become a virtual rock star literally overnight?
(Milbrand’s article will continue in next week’s issue.)
Milbrand is a member of the class of 2008.