Shoot Club

Shoot Club: All Our Pretty Songs, Part One, Just Outside Your Front Door

Tom Chick | 6 Dec 2007 21:00
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"How long will it take?" I ask, intending to use his answer as an excuse for not going.

"Look up the closest one and I'll be right over. Check Google maps for directions."

"I have to finish Crysis," I protest, but he's already hung up. I check the store locator and find a 24-hour Wal-Mart about twenty miles north. It's someplace I've never heard of. Redwood Hills? A quick look at the directions and I'm good to go. This interstate to that exit, right on this street for four miles, left on that avenue, and then a right on this street, followed by another four miles and you're there. It's way out in the sticks. But we'll pick up Rock Band and I'll be back on the aircraft carrier at the end of Crysis within the hour.

Wait, what if they're sold out?

"Wal-Mart. How may I help you?" Nearly midnight and they're still answering their phones. Crazy. I wonder whose job that is.

"Yeah, I'm calling to see if you have a videogame called Rock Band and if I can pick it up after midnight."

"Please hold and I'll connect you to electronics."

I nose around the aircraft carrier for a bit while I'm on hold. I have to admit: new songs will be cool. And drumming. Drumming could be cool. How would that work?


"Hi, do you have a game called Rock Band, and can I pick it up tonight?"

"Yeah, we got it."

"Is there, like, a crazy line or anything? Are you going to sell out?"

"Yeah, it's a crazy line, but you should be able to get it no problem."

"Okay, thanks."

I noodle around on the stupid aircraft carrier while waiting for Trevor to show up. It's official. Now I'm excited. Rock Band. Drumming, singing, guitaring, new songs, a new campaign mode, online stuff. Yeah, this should be pretty cool.

"How's Crysis?" Trevor asks when he picks me up.

"It sucks."

"I thought you liked it."

"But then I got to the end."

"Another one of those, huh?"

As we merge onto the empty highway, he puts in a tape.

"Check this out."

"You going through a Nirvana phase?" I ask as Kurt Cobain intones nonsense lyrics. It's the song about nature is a whore. He'll yell soon.

"This is in Rock Band." He fast forwards and the tape squeals ahead to some elaborate instrumental intro to a song. I totally know this. I can anticipate each note a few beats before it plays.

"I know this," I say. "What is it?"

"Just wait."

The music is boogieing up and down the scales. It's funky, with a driving bass beat and the drummer snapping at the cymbals. What is this? Then the song starts and it's that Boston song from a long time ago.

"Ah, yeah, this song. That's in Rock Band?"

"Yep. Check this out."

I couldn't tell you who's playing the next song on the tape, or what it is, but I'm pretty sure I've heard it before. I've never listened to it, but I've heard it. There's a distinction.


"Come on."


"You don't like this?"

"It's okay. Who is it?"

"That's the Foo Fighters, dude."

"Well, they can't all be winners."

"You suck. Okay, here." The tape squeals ahead and stops at a beat so familiar I am instantly transported. I don't even really like the song, but some music transcends whether or not you like it. It's almost painful. Rush. Tom Sawyer.

"This is in Rock Band?"


"No way."

"Yes way."

"That's pretty cool."

He fast forwards to a Who song. I don't really care for the Who. In fact, my association with The Who is David Caruso whipping off his sunglasses. The whole thing is kind of ruined for me.

"Go back to Rush. Let's hear that. Crank it."

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