For Those About to Rock, Stay in School

For some, “Guitar Hero” is not just a game, but a career. And, for sixteen year old Blake Peebles it is just that. He has dropped out of high school to pursue his career as a guitar hero with the full support of his parents. When Blake is not playing for his friends, family and locals of North Raleigh, he is winning gift certificates, gaming equipment and other prizes at “Guitar Hero” tournaments.

guitar hero

To date, Blake has won about $1,000 in prizes. It is hard to believe that parents would allow their teenager to drop out of school to concentrate on gaming. It is even harder to believe that anyone could actually earn a living playing video games. Of course, Blake’s parents have hired tutors does not fall behind. Even so, Blake aspires to be part of the few professional gamers in existence.

Although it seems so unbelievable that this could be a profitable career choice, Major League Gaming, a company that has over 125 gamers signed to management deal, holds tournaments all across the country. These gamers can earn over $80,000 per year, however the average income typically only ranges from $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Blake estimates that he is among the top 15 or 20 in the online world for his country, which has qualified him for the World Cyber Games in California this month. If Blake wins, he will then represent the US at the “Guitar Hero III” world tournament in Germany.

Another gamer, Terry Lindle has been in the competitive gaming profession for 8 years now and he estimates having earned only $25,000 in that entire period; a mere $3,125 per year. He also admits that to earn any real revenue, a gamer must win tournaments and rank among the top 1% to be noticed by sponsors. Also, “Guitar Hero” is not currently one of the big money games either.

With all this in mind, have Blake and his parents made the right choice? My guess is, probably not. Is this any different than quitting school and devoting your life to sports or is this just every kid’s dream come true? After all, Blake stays up well past a normal bedtime playing video games and alters his bedroom to accommodate his gaming career. My opinion is that Blake might have been better off picking up a real guitar and taking a stab at becoming a true guitar hero like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page or Tony Iommi.

This day in classic rock:
1967 – Columbia Records re-sign Bob Dylan, despite opposition from MGM, for whom he appeared to have already signed. MGM never countersigned the contract and subsequently went out of business.

Bob Dylan: Drawn Blank

June 14th, 2008 marked the opening of the world famous singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan’s first major art exhibit at the Halcyon Gallery in London. In addition, Dylan’s signed limited edition graphics’ are being premiered at select galleries across the UK.

This showing is only the second time that Bob Dylan has allowed his works to be displayed publicly. The first show lasted 3 months during the fall of 2007 at the Chemnitz Museum in Germany. This exhibit also featured the drawings from Dylan’s published 1994 book entitled: Drawn Blank.

“The Drawn Blank series features a collection of pencil, watercolor and gouache works that Dylan completed during his time on the road from 1989 to 1992″ – Rolling Stone Magazine

In a career spanning over the past five decades, Dylan has sold over 110 million albums, performed thousands of shows around the world, released 44 albums, and written over 500 songs. Some of Bob Dylan’s classics include: Blowin’ in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, The Times They Are A-Changin’ and many, many more.

Fans are sure to recognize the raw emotion of Dylan’s lyrics spilling onto the canvas. For further information, visit the official website at

This day in classic rock:
1981 – Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to charges of first-degree murder for the shooting of John Lennon six months earlier .

Let There Be Rock – AC/DC Talks About New Album and Tour

Once again rumours are circulating regarding the possibility of an upcoming tour for the Australian rock legend AC/DC. Eddie Trunk of XM’s Boneyard/VH1 Classic leaked a rumour on his “Friday Night Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM that AC/DC may be embarking on a “farewell” tour.

Reports of a new album being near complete in January were denied by label, Albert Records. Nevertheless, eight years after the release of the latest AC/DC album “Stiff Upper Lip” bassist Cliff Williams reported that the band would begin recording a new album March 1st.

Although, the prospect of a new album is exciting and a tour is even more so, Williams did not suggest any likelihood of a tour in the near future, however he did suggest that it should happen at some point in time. He explained, “If we go out again or when we go out again, you just never know. We’ve been around a long time, so we’re going to get together and get in the studio and I fully expect we will (tour). I don’t mean to be so negative about that.” – Article

I suppose all we can do is sit and wait.

This day in classic rock:
1966 – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass have four LP’s in US Top 10, a chart feat never equalled.

“Shine A Light” on April 4th

Friday April 4th marks the release of the long awaited Rolling Stones documentary “Shine A Light“, directed by Martin Scorsese. The film combines shots of the October 2006 concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre with archival footage and limited contemporary interviews.

Scorsese, an obvious fan, states: “The music has been very important to me over the years. It dealt with aspects of the life that I was growing up around, that I was associated with or saw or was experiencing and trying to make sense of” (Article). Scorsese has also shown his affection for the band by featuring the song “Gimme Shelter” in Casino, The Departed and Good Fellas.

Shine A Light” consists of 17 songs, which include many of the big hits such as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“, “Start Me Up” and “Brown Sugar“. The film also has guest appearances by blues legend Buddy Guy, White Stripes guitarist Jack White and singer Christina Aguilera.

Front man Mick Jagger preferred to feature a larger show, however Scorsese won the battle for a more intimate venue. Keith Richards is content with the choice as he is a big fan of the Beacon Theatre and alludes to the appropriateness as the Rolling Stones started off in these types of venues, not stadiums. The intimacy should be well displayed across the IMAX screens this Friday.

Factoid: The Rolling Stone song “Gimme Shelter” has been covered by the Goo Goo Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, and the Sisters of Mercy (who swapped the locations the words “kiss” and “shot” – “War, children, it’s just a kiss away” and “Love, sister, it’s just a shot away”). Patti Smith recorded it for her 2007 album “Twelve”.

This day in classic rock:
1974 – The Who sell out 80,000 seats in 60 hours for Madison Square Garden – a record.