AEROSMITH's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry talked to USA Today's Mike Snider about the plans for their new Guitar Hero: Aerosmith game. A couple of excerpts from the chat follows:
Q: What do you think about AEROSMITH having its own video game?
Steven Tyler: There are some battles you can't fight. You would like to keep it traditional and make it just deep, deep tracks from albums or B-sides. But technology is going so fast right now rather than be left behind, you are going with the flow.
It's a different day and age. Twenty-five years ago we would never have let one of our songs ("Dream On") be one of those used in selling cars (in a 2004 Buick commercial). But now, like with "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing" (in 1998's blockbuster film "Armageddon"), it's placement.
When I heard about Activision and all this. I thought whatever I can do for this to make it as good as it can be — because my son plays it — I thought I should do it.
Q: How do musicians see the video game industry, particularly with games like Guitar Hero?
Tyler: I think there are so many kids playing video games now, it's kind of like a soundtrack to a movie. It takes a song and enhances it. That attached with a good moment in a song can mean everything, like a live appearance where Joe runs to the end of the ramp and takes his shirt off and smashes his guitar. I had my doubts, but it's really insane. I was able to do things you would never see live. And if you win, we did some special things like interviews and told some secrets like what was I thinking of when I wrote the songs.
In the old days we thought it was cheesy to attach a song to selling something, but this isn't like selling a product. You are playing the game and the room is full of your friends.
Q: Can you tell me how this video game came about?
Joe Perry: I walked through the den where we have the video games usually set up and I noticed the controller had an oddly familiar shape and I heard some rockin' music and I said, "What's going on? What is this?" (His youngest son) Roman explained it to me and I played it a little bit and said, 'This is fantastic. Do they have any AEROSMITH songs on it?' And the first game didn't. …I called my manager and said, "This is fantastic. How come we're not involved in this?" And ever since then, I've been pushing to be as involved in the game and the movement as well.
Q: The movement? What do you mean by that?
Perry: I think it is part of how people are going to get music. The record companies have eaten themselves, basically dissolved and are trying really hard to figure out how to resurrect a dying paradigm. And it's right in front of them. This is one of the ways (for people to put out new music). Everything from car commercials … to YouTube and an aborted Napster that should have been snapped up by the record companies a long time ago. It was obvious that the fans wanted it and they didn't mind paying for it but the record companies just turned a blind eye to it and basically destroyed an industry.
So what is left is a huge gap. On one side you have fans who want music and great ways to hear it, MP3 players and iPods and earphones and satellite radio, so they have all these ways to listen to music and you have a bunch of great artists and budding (and) and new artists releasing some really good music and somewhere in the middle is this gap in how are they going to get it. That the artists get paid what they should get paid and not ripped off and (consumers) not paying $20 for a CD they should only be paying $7 for.
Video games are a great vehicle for bands to put new music out. … It's happening and it's going to be one of the ways people are going to get their music. A game like Guitar Hero is really good because you get to play along with it. It's not just background music.
Read the entire interview at USA Today.