This week we bring you four tracks from pioneer punk band X: "The Hungry Wolf," "Blue Spark," "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts," and "Los Angeles." Below, our office manager Kurt Davis tells us why X is an important piece of punk culture, and why getting their songs in Rock Band is a cause for celebration.
We're also bringing you three songs from British garage rockers Little Fish: "Am I Crazy," "Bang Bang," and "Darling Dear." Little Fish is produced by the iconic Linda Perry and recently played the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. They're embarking on their first headlining tour in the UK after having opened for bands like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Alice In Chains.
Of course, the rock doesn't stop there...
Also available next week are singles from Ace Frehley, Carrie Underwood, and OneRepublic. Ace Frehley, best known as KISS' guitarist and a successful solo act, brings us "Outer Space," a single from his latest solo album. "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood makes her Rock Band debut with a rockin' country tune called "All-American Girl." OneRepublic's track "Stop and Stare" hit the Billboard top ten pop tracks, and is a mellow rocker.
I saw X, in Indianapolis, in the heady days when the first wave of American punk bands started touring the dives and clubs strewn across the country. It was 1981 and X’s second Slash album, Wild Gift, had just come out. At the time, punk rock had not become codified and “genre-fied,” and as a result, a lot of the bands were very different from one another. The Germs sounding nothing like the Dead Kennedys who sounded nothing like The Ramones who sounded nothing like Blondie who sounded nothing like The Screamers who sounded nothing like The Weirdos, etc.
But, X was something entirely out of left field. X had an aesthetic that went beyond their music; they were a lifestyle. You could see it in their album artwork, that they assembled and photographed themselves, you could see it in the hand scrawled lyric sheets, that were illustrated with almost archaic looking pictures of weird lockets and chains, ghosts, poison bottles and tombstones. Here was mythos, here was voodoo, here was love and mystery and here was religion, sparkle, dust and fire.
Of course, it was all in the music, too. You could hear the echoes of Rockabilly and Chuck Berry flowing through the fiery guitars of Billy Zoom, who stood (and still stands) stock-still, feet planted far apart, smiling non-stop at the lip of the stage. You could hear the art and poetry of The Beats flowing through the lyrics in the back and forth dual delivery of the X signature vocal style of John Doe and Exene. Indeed, X was one of the first, if not THE first, of the American Punk bands to embrace Americana rather than attempt to escape it.
Their music was anchored by the unfalteringly great drummer D.J. Bonebrake. Needless to say, they also had great punk rock names! More than anything, X showed a commitment to their craft in everything they did. You would think that such a strange band would be doomed to flounder in obscurity for all their days, but X actually garnered so much positive attention, from critics and fans alike, that they carried on after they were signed to a major label, and, while they never broke through the mainstream, they plowed along and put out a lot of great music for many years. They split for awhile, but, after having come together for a series of reunions, they now seem to be getting together as a going concern.
The music that they put out is so unique that, even to this day, it doesn’t sound dated like many of the others bands that haven’t fared as well with the passing years. Having the chance to play these songs in Rock Band is cause for celebration because it will certainly bring some attention to, and, hopefully, better appreciation for, the completely unique music X offered up at a time when a band wasn’t working for fame and fortune but were simply creating something very personal and important to them that reflected their life and experiences.
These tracks will be available for purchase as “X Pack 01,” as well as individual tracks on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system, and as individual tracks only on Wii. “Am I Crazy” will be available only on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system and will be a free track. The pack will be $6.99 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and individual tracks are $1.99 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and $2.00 on Wii.
To discuss this DLC, visit the official discussion thread in the Rock Band Forums.