Rock dinosaurs Bill Wyman and Nick Mason have waded into the debate over music games, saying that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero are a big reason why so many kids aren’t interested in learning how to play a real instrument.
“It encourages kids not to learn, that’s the trouble,” Wyman, the former bassist for the Rolling Stones, told the BBC. “It makes less and less people dedicated to really get down and learn an instrument. I think is a pity so I’m not really keen on that kind of stuff.”
Ironically, Wyman was speaking from Abbey Road Studios, best known for its association with the Beatles, where he was recording a Beatles cover for a charity album. His comments came on the eve of the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, which hit store shelves today.
His comments were echoed by Nick Mason, the drummer for Pink Floyd, who described music games as “interesting new developments” but made it clear they weren’t his cup of tea. “It irritates me having watched my kids do it – if they spent as much time practicing the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they’d be damn good by now,” he said.
Despite his irritation, however, Mason is pragmatic enough to recognize the value of videogames as a powerful new channel for music sales, saying that Pink Floyd would “consider” doing a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game in the future, as bands like Metallica, Aerosmith and The Beatles have already done. “I think everyone’s looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappeared,” he said.