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April 9th, 2008
Guitar Hero: it’s everywhere. The entire series has made more than 1 billion dollars. The game is so popular it has now spawned another hit: RockBand. And the usually-indie NOW Toronto has even made this cultural phenomenon this week’s cover story. Guitar Hero is proving to be the video game that just won’t die.
But it seems there is one man who wishes it would.
71-year old Charlie Daniels, of The Charlie Daniels Band, released a song in 1979 which reached #3 on the charts and won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance. It was his biggest hit. The song was called The Devil Went Down to Georgia and unfortunately Charlie lost the rights to the song a years ago in a settlement with a former partner. Now the song is featured as the “final battle” on Guitar Hero III. And this “final battle,” of course, is a faux-strumming clash with the Devil. The “Devil” being a hooved, large red animal-type guy. Who is animated. Playing a guitar. (Oddly, not unlike the devil character in the South Park movie).
Well Charlie Daniels is pissed. On his blog (yes – he has a blog) he airs his curmudgeon vexations in such glorious detail that I had to include some highlights. He writes:
I heard [Guitar Hero] had used one of my songs but I hadn’t seen it until recently and when I did I was in for some unpleasant surprises…
Actually the game really has a dark side complete with grotesque monsters on stage with the band, strange, eerie lighting effects and all manner of weird things popping up on the stage.
To tell you the truth the whole thing bothered me and struck me as something that is not the healthiest thing in the world for young, impressionable minds to be exposed to, but the thing that really got me was what they had done with my song.
The song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” which I wrote, is supposed to be a lighthearted novelty about a fiddling contest between a country boy and the devil and the devil always loses.
That is not the case with the Guitar Hero version which comes complete with a horned, guitar-playing devil who battles the player and very often wins.
I want any of you parents out there whose children have this game to know that I did not grant these people my permission to pervert my song and am disgusted with the result…
At this time I don’t know if I have any legal recourse, probably not, but I wanted you folks to know that I vehemently disagree with what has been done to a piece of my work. And would like to pass along a little advice to parents of young children…
Pray for our troops
What do you think?
God Bless America
Wow. Remember that woman from Wife Swap who was yelling at everyone, calling them “dark-sided”? Well, Charlie Daniels is that woman. Or maybe he’s more like the crazed mother from Carrie. I’m surprised his blog post doesn’t say,”I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.” Game consoles, Charlie. They’re called Game Consoles, and every young person has them.
But the cheap animated imagery should be the least of Charlie’s worries. As a musician, shouldn’t he be more offended by the fact that people all over the world are picking up mini plastic guitars and are learning to push 5 dinky little coloured buttons, instead of learning how to play a true authentic guitar? I mean, if I spent as much time picking up a real guitar as I do playing Guitar Hero, I wouldn’t be battling Slash – I’d be Slash.
But in all honesty I’m actually not that good at the game, so if Guitar Hero is as evil as Charlie Daniels says it is, he can rest assured knowing that I can’t get past “Medium.” I guess that makes this impressionable youth only medium-evil.Tweet