HMXHellion is Senior Writer/Producer at Harmonix. She is honored to have had a part in this project with so many incredible writers and humbled that you have all read so much of her nonsense. She wishes to thank Brett Milano, Fish McGill, and Christine Jandreau for making this series happen. Now that this project is ending, HMXHellion will spend her free time watching the Investigation Discovery channel and writing unsolicited jingles for Ellio's pizza.
When Brett Milano first suggested the idea of the "52 Weeks in the Life of a Rockstar" project, I guffawed.
"That's gonna be a boring series," I insisted. "Here's my impression: 'Today: woke up, tried to write song, got mad at bandmates, ate a microwaved vegetarian corn dog, cried while watching "Gilmore Girls", tried to write new song about "Gilmore Girls", saw a fuzzy squirrel, drank Drambuie 'til I passed out. Repeat.'"
Looking back on this series, it's pretty amazing how much can happen in a year. In the past 52 weeks, my band went on our first tour, lost (and then gained) a bass player, recorded a new album, and learned first-hand about why you need to be super careful about band name selection and trademarks (don't ask). And that's just the stuff that I can mention in this article without any of my bosses coming to my desk and asking me if I "have a minute to go over some policy regarding the use of the word 'chum-humper' on the Rock Band website."
The most important thing I have learned from working on this series in the past year (aside from the importance of bringing spare socks on tour because one member of your band has slept with his boots on for the past six nights and his feet are emanating an odor not unlike durian crossed with bong water) is that Rock Band is chockfull of lies.
Yes, friends, your beloved game is a bastion of deceitfulness. Rock Band lies more than a drummer caught living in your practice space. Let me demonstrate some of the myths spread by myself and my coworkers here at Harmonix:
Top 10 Lies in Rock Band
10) You can get super famous by playing cover songs exclusively
9) No one in your band will get arrested on tour
8) Unlike your practice space will in real life, your living room (probably) does not smell like body odor and rotting Jamaican beef patties
7) You look exactly the same after playing a show as you did when you got onstage, instead of looking like someone replaced your head with a piñata soaked in Jagermeister
6) You don't get detained by a helpful but halitosis-plagued immigration agent named "Moktar" when you try to play in Canada
5) While on tour, no one in your band tries to murder you with a pillowcase full of miniature shampoo bottles in an attempt to silence your sea lion-like snoring
4) No one in your band tries to smell your significant other's neck when you're not looking
3) You never get old and bloated until you look like someone held a lighter under your high school senior portrait and then pounded it with a meat mallet
2) You can make money as a musician
1) You can get super famous just by working hard
The truth is simply this: playing in a band is really hard and really time-consuming and you're probably not going to ever be famous. But that doesn't mean that it isn't a damn good time.
I can't say what will happen in the future (other than to assume that chicken-fried steak will be consumable in pill form and that having ever liked "crunkcore" will be considered as shameful as having been a holocaust denier). But based on my knowledge of rock and roll history, I can hazard a few guesses about what the future holds for myself and my band:
The Feel-good ending:
Despite the band's humble beginnings, VAGIANT (Boston) earns a moderate degree of critical and popular success with their third album, Hold My Hoops. The band tours extensively for years, becoming iconic mentors for restless teenagers worldwide. Eventually the band founds a charitable organization called "Hoop Dreams" dedicated to curbing violent behavior in young women through punk music.
The Tragic but Uplifting ending:
Despite the band's skyrocketing career, the history of VAGIANT (Boston) is cut tragically short when drummer LoWreck gets killed in a freak accident. Following a long night of debauchery and lukewarm Chelada, the scrappy young percussionist attempts to earn the world record for "most-impressive-split-jump-off-a-hotel-bed-into-a-bathtub-full-of-pudding" with tragic consequences. Unable to consider going on without the deranged, puppy-like energy of their drummer, the band immediately dissolves at the high-point in their career. The surviving members go on to lead quiet but inspirational lives, living off the royalties earned from their LoWreck tribute single, You Was Always One Wild Duck, feat. Kelis and Kenny Loggins.
The John Landis ending:
After the release of their uninspired fifth album, Slippery When Sexually Aroused, VAGIANT (Boston) simply fades into obscurity. The band quietly breaks up and each member goes on to pursue her own unique interests. Smokey begins a career as a roller-skating magician, famed for her ability to create balloon animals while performing an inverted spin. Julie Two-Times laughs off her days in the rag-tag outfit and becomes the bassist for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. LoWreck becomes a successful "pre-apocalyptic mercenary" having pioneered the field of disaster security preparedness. The Hellion succumbs to her Jersey roots and moves into a trailer park, living off disability fraud and watching "her stories" while eating French toast sticks dipped in mayonnaise.
So yeah, I don't know what will happen down the road, but in the meantime, I'm just going to keep struggling through all the bull-caca and trying to make music that makes people happy. I genuinely hope that you do the same. If I can leave you on a self-important pedagogical note (and clearly I can), let me say this: no matter what you encounter out there as aspiring musicians, don't let anybody ever tell you not to try. You're going to go through a lot and no matter how good you are, somebody will always be around to call you untalented, or annoying, or (worst of all) fat. Because I'm on the verge of having an actual emotion other than "hungry" or "sleepy," I'll end this series with quote from the Swedish Oi! band Perkele:
"I've got a heart full of pride.
And you can never take the pride away from me.
That feeling makes me full of strength.
It makes me want to live and fight for what I am.
I've got a vein in my heart that never dies.
I've got a heart full of pride."
Thanks, everybody, and good luck out there.