At the beginning of 2009, before Carroll’s spring semester started, I purchased Rock Band 2 for my Xbox 360. I thought it would be a fun way to relive my Guitar Hero glory days and bring together my roommates—it ended up sparking some of the most cherished memories of my college career. From January through May, my life was filled with rock ‘n’ roll, and it wasn’t uncommon to return from class to find my three roommates jamming out “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet, and for me to drop my book bag and join right in.
We each had our different tastes in music, and they all complemented each other splendidly. Ryan brought his love of classic rock, I had my power pop and emo tunes (someone had to), and Greg listened to basically everything else. We delighted in discovering new music through each other, and reveled in revisiting songs from days gone by (one day we bought “Last Resort” by Papa Roach, specifically so we could cringe at what it was like to be in sixth grade).
System of a Down – B.Y.O.B.
We all had our signature songs; some great, some not so, but none stranger than Greg’s odd infatuation with System of a Down’s “B.Y.O.B.” I have no idea how deep Greg’s affection for System of a Down runs, but he was all about this song; for a guy whose main musical idols include Cake, They Might Be Giants, and Daft Punk, he sure loved his nu-metal.
I really don’t have much to say about this song, other than “It sure is System of a Down.” I was the drummer of the group, and “B.Y.O.B.” is one of the strangest songs I’ve played on Rock Band: the song is approximately 85% chilled-out dance party and 15% mega thrash, and the switch-up can be pretty jarring if you’re not expecting it. The melody is nice, but apart from the novelty of how weird the tempo shifts are, it’s nothing that I would play in my off-time.
Perhaps the most amusing aspect of this song was Greg himself. He was the lead singer of our group, with a deep baritone voice and a surprisingly knack for crooning. All of his singing ability went out the window, though, during the yelling portions of the song, and the sound of my bespectacled, slightly barrel-chested roommate going “LALALALALALALA LALALA!!!” or “BREAK-ING IN-TO FORT KNOX STEAL-ING OUT INTENTIOOONNNNS!!!” never failed to crack me up.
Nowadays, I always think of Greg whenever I hear “B.Y.O.B.” It doesn’t matter if I’m hearing it in a bar, on the radio, wherever; I’ll always get a mental picture of Greg Captain Morgan-ing the couch, mic in hand, emphatically wondering why “they” always send the poor.