Jack White of The White Stripes is no fan of music videogames, describing their popularity as “a little sad,” a sentiment echoed by none other than legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
At a press conference for the rock-and-roll documentary It Might Get Loud, set for release in the U.S. later this year, White expressed disdain for music games, saying that while he doesn’t particularly care about “which format people should get their music in… if you have to be in a video game to get in front of them, that’s a little sad.”
“It’s depressing to have a label come and tell you that [Guitar Hero] is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music,” he added.
Jimmy Page, one of music’s most renowned guitarists, shared that sentiment, saying that he “can’t imagine” how people learn anything about music by playing videogames. “You think of the drum part that John Bonham did on Led Zeppelin’s first track on the first album, ‘Good Times Bad Times’,” he said. “How many drummers in the world can play that part, let alone on Christmas morning?”
White and Page aren’t the only musicians who are less-than-enthusiastic about games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Both Oasis lead guitarist Noel Gallagher and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger have recently made similar comments of their own, suggesting that videogames are somehow distracting kids from becoming real musicians.
And doesn’t it all seem just a wee bit silly? I don’t recall ever hearing Michael Schumacher exhorting gamers to strap themselves into real race cars or seeing a press release from Patrick Roy telling kids to put down the controllers and learn how to make a kick save. Yet many musicians behave as if they have to defend themselves and their craft from gamers who are treading on their turf.
I really don’t understand that kind of mentality. We know that playing videogames and playing actual musical instruments are completely different things. So what? Sometimes people just want to have a little fun with their friends. You remember “fun,” right? It’s what rock and roll used to be before everyone got so damned sanctimonious about it.