Boulder rock band Rose Hill Drive this week scored a much-coveted musical coup: The trio landed a song on the latest installment of the insanely popular “Guitar Hero” video game series.
“Sneak Out,” from the band’s 2008 album Moon is the New Earth, is nestled among tracks by such rock ‘n’ roll heavyweights as Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, the White Stripes and Bob Dylan on Activision’s “Guitar Hero 5,” which hit stores Tuesday.
“We’re definitely really excited about this,” Nate Barnes, the band’s drummer, said Tuesday. “It’s on a much larger scale than most of the stuff we’ve done in the past.
“It’s a good way to get your music into the homes of a lot of different kids.”
As the music industry continues to move away from its traditional base of selling CDs and getting radio airplay for bands, licensing tracks to video games — particularly participatory games such as “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” — can be a major boon.
“Today, the opportunities for music exposure are both limited and great,” said Mark Bliesener, a Denver music-business consultant who used to manage Boulder Big Head Todd and the Monsters. “Video games are one way to get right into it. Although some people may consider it an alternative exposure stream, I would consider something like ‘Guitar Hero’ to be as mainstream as you get these days.
“That’s significant exposure for anybody.”
According to Barnes, Rose Hill Drive found its way onto the new installment of “Guitar Hero” after the band’s manager, Brian Schwartz, of Bleemusic Inc., successfully placed a song by resurrected indie-rock trio Dinosaur Jr. on last year’s “Guitar Hero World Tour.”
The game’s newest version allows a single player or a full band to compete, and it has an option for players to customize a combination of multiple guitarists, bassists, drummers and vocalists.
Players can jump in or drop out or switch difficulty level without interrupting the jam session.
Barnes he has played the game, and said the drum kit is very accurate and could even be used as a guide to learn the basics of a real drum set.
“I think it’s actually probably a great way for people to start learning the basic coordination of using your feet independently of your hands when drumming,” Barnes said.
Being featured on “Guitar Hero” could turn a lot of new fans on to Rose Hill Drive, Barnes said.
“Once you get into the game, you get to know the songs pretty intimately — you learn the whole tune,” Barnes said. “In that sense it’s a cool way to find new bands.”
Harris Gottfried, owner of Game Force Boulder, said “Guitar Hero” was not only a pioneering title in the video game industry, but also in the music industry.
“Bands are getting a lot of royalties from ‘Guitar Hero,'” Gottfried said. “In a time when the music industry isn’t doing so well due to digital downloads or illegal downloads, bands are getting good exposure for being in a video game.
“Hopefully that spells good news for (Rose Hill Drive).”