Deadheads have a reason to jam when the musical video game Rock Band hits stores this holiday season. The Grateful Dead will have 18 songs in the game, including Truckin', Uncle John's Band, Touch of Grey, Sugar Magnolia and Casey Jones. All of the songs will be original master recordings.
Cover versions of popular bands' songs are often performed by other musicians, a practiced used in games such as Guitar Hero to keep costs down.
"Grateful Dead's unique fusion of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, and jazz challenged traditional musical boundaries and pushed the limits of creativity to produce a signature sound that is undeniably their own," said MTV's Paul DeGooyer in a press release. "With an enormous legion of fans all over the world, "Rock Band" will give players a chance to interact with the music of these beloved rock pioneers and experience what Grateful Dead did best — jam from the depths of their souls."
MTV Games and Harmonix, which created Guitar Hero with publisher Red Octane, are developing Rock Band, which takes the music-based game category to new multiplayer levels by including two guitar controllers, a drum controller and microphone to recreate the dynamic of a real band. Electronic Arts is publishing Rock Band for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. No official release date or prices have been set. But pre-orders at online retailers such as Amazon.com start at $60 and go up to $200 with guitar, drums and microphone with availability for Nov. 20.
Bands and artists such as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Clash, Foo Fighters, The Ramones, Radiohead, The Strokes and Nine Inch Nails have already agreed to have master recordings in the game. Metallica has made a deal to have much of its catalog available and The Who's Who's Next album will be downloadable in its entirety.
In the release, Rhino's Mark Pincus says that the Dead, "with their 30 year career and their timeless music, are the perfect addition to Rock Band. … "It's going to be a blast playing along to songs ranging from the Dead's earliest hit Truckin' to their final hit Touch of Grey. I'm confident that Rock Band will be instrumental in introducing kids to the magical music of Grateful Dead."
No word yet on whether any of the songs will require drummers to perform extended space jams.