'Rock Band 2': The battle of the bureaus

After dozens of raucous jam sessions, weeks of agonizing wrist cramps and the nonstop parade of puzzled stares by colleagues who happened by the EW conference room while our bureau bands were "practicing," the time to battle had arrived. Both the Los Angeles and New York offices had about one week to tinker with Rock Band 2, the new, improved followup to the game we’d become absolutely addicted to, and we each picked a song with which to duel. The date was set, the fight was on and we were ready to rock!

Playing for LA: writers Whitney Pastorek (vocals), yours truly (guitar), Josh Rottenberg (drums) and Editor-at-Large Ben Svetkey (bass). On team New York: EW.com senior editor Adrienne Day (vocals), intern Jaya Saxena (guitar), music editor Rob Brunner (drums) and editorial assistant Simon Vozick-Levinson (bass). Our song: Blondie’s "One Way Or Another." Theirs: the Who’s "Pinball Wizard" (fine choice, if I may add). And in case of a draw, however unlikely, Bon Jovi’s "Livin’ On A Prayer" was designated a wild card.

The "battle of the bureaus" précis, and your favorite Rock Band battle stories, after the jump…

To be perfectly honest, the process of choosing a song nearly brokeup our bands. The stakes were high for the LA team, who by virtue ofits size and location, seemed to be the underdog. New York, onthe other hand, had a fancy conference room, hundreds of potential bandmembers (aka EW employees) and one hell of a sound system. So what ifLA had diligently mandated daily band rehearsal; New York, is, New Yawk, y’know? (Can you tell which team I’m on?)

(East coast editor’s note: (a) New York was way too busy actually workingto practice during the week, and (b) LA had been playing for severalmonths prior, because they apparently have the time to do so. So nyaaa!)

Naturally, there were a few rules.

1. The winning band would be decided by point score, but each membercould choose his or her own difficulty. (The higher the difficulty, the morenotes, hence a better score.)
2. With (1) in mind, no playing on "easy." (Apparently someone in New York didn’t get the memo.)
3."No Fail" mode had to be turned off. (If a band member screwed uproyally, it was up to the player’s bandmates to save him/her.)
4. The songs chosen had to be from the Rock Band 2 disc library.(This was due to internet connectivity issues which made downloadedcontent — and the XBox Live Battle of Bands feature — unavailable.)

Did the use of overdriveclinch it for the winning team, or did it all come down to difficultylevels? Would a Rock Band jam ever fly at your place of employment? What songs would you choose in a battle? And how much does Whitney Pastorek rock?!

Comments (9 total) Add your comment
  • Nee Nee

    How old are you guys that THOSE were the chosen songs? Just kidding…sort of. I WISH something like this would fly at my office. I’m completely addicted to the game, and I LOVE all the new improvements. My choices would probably be “Lazy Eye”, “Everlong”, and “Alive” with possible tie-breakers of “You Ougta Know” (because I like to sing it), and “Lump” (because it’s just a fun song). And I would want to have a turn at all instruments…except for bass because I hate it…it’s boring.

  • skye

    Whitney soo rocks!!
    I don’t have an office yet(lol I wanna work at EW, actually) but i hope it would!

  • Sarah C

    You know how in corporate boardrooms they hang photos of previous execs — rows upon rows of old balding white men looking at you disapprovingly?
    Yeah, no. EW New York has Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon glamour shots. That made my day. Can we get a virtual tour of your offices and desks?

  • Anonymous

    I hate my job, can I come work for y’all? Pretty please? I can multitask and make great coffee. Just let me know where to send my resume!

  • idigress

    Love that! Congrats LA – though I am so happy that I got to see my crush Simon Vozick-Levinson play bass for the NY team! BTW – Whitney rocks out loud!

  • Becca

    My brother just got the game, and already he has downloaded everything out there. The Megadeth album is the BEST THING to ever happen to rock band… well maybe not quite that good lol. But we are both completely addicted to all the rhythm games (I mean, we own guitar hero 2 and 3 and my bro’s roommate just got the fourth one, plus we own both rock bands… I’d say we are hopelessly addicted lol :P) I wish we could do a competition like that and get paid for it :D lol. Congrats to the LA team :). Better luck next time NY :)

  • Anonymous

    This was awesome! And Whitney definitely rocks. You guys need to do something again. Like maybe a “Guitar Hero” tourney or something.

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