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Ringo Starr on Rock Band
Ringo Starr
  Ringo Starr | AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Ringo Starr has never played Rock Band. That's the big news. Ringo Starr, a drummer, has never played the video game, a bastardized version of a drum set, called Rock Band. The better question is, "Why should Ringo Starr play Rock Band?" This question seems far more pointed, and possibly rage or anger enducing, towards those who play the game, and enjoy it, on a regular basis.

"Those who cannot do, teach." While that quote might be a useful jab at your music teacher or another educator I feel we can use this same thought and say, "Those who cannot play, Rock Band." Be sure that you understand that I am taking the time to use Rock Band as a verb. There have been several musicians that have been quoted saying they have never played the game or that they believed it to be a good thing so long as it inspires those who play it to pick up the real thing. Maybe the problem now is that there is no intense drive to learn a guitar, bass, or the drums. Why should you take the time? You can buy everything you need to "play" the drums and be at home "drumming" within a few hours (usually a lot less).

If you can do, if you have taken the time to learn something, if you possess skill, there is no need for pseudo music. Matisse (he was an artist) probably didn't use coloring books, at the very least you don't see them hanging in a gallery or sitting on the auction block. Some may say that those who race cars for a living might have fun playing a video game about racing. While it may be true the reality and the virtual are completely different. One is an unrealistic interpretation of the other. The bonus of video games is an unlimited number of lives and the reset button.

My anger (or inability to care about any of these games) probably lies with the fact that I also feel music has taken a gigantic spiral downward. I should rephrase that, popular music has gone downhill. "How" you ask. "Surely you jest" you might say. I say this, it is far easier to copy than to create something unique; it is much easier to over simplify something for everyone to do it than expect everyone to do 'it' well. Why not lower the bar instead of expecting those to reach it?

I believe there will be people who yearn for a drum set and be temporarily satisfied with the plastic Rock Band set but when comparing it to the racecar, again, one is an unrealistic interpretation of the other and perfecting performance on one will not help the other.

Learn patience, learn music. Learn to play and create. Don't learn to press four or five colored buttons, that on their own produce a click, requiring a television to produce the audio track. It takes talent to produce music from something that has the potential to be visually chaotic as do the drums, don't go for the shortcut by going to the mall. While Ringo may not be a stellar representation of all things drum and percussion his being in the right place at the right time with allowed him to contribute a shred of talent to the Beatles. Your contribution will be zero unless you pick you real drum sticks and a starter drum set or a guitar with strings.


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