Activision Inc. and Vagrant Records are upping the ante for video game soundtracks with “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland.” Due this fall, the 14-track set compiles classic punk songs as performed exclusively for the game by some of the popular bands they influenced.
My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, Dropkick Murphys, Thrice, Alkaline Trio, Hot Snakes and others recorded well-known tracks by such seminal artists as Black Flag, the Stooges, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Boys, Buzzcocks, Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits and the Misfits.
“We knew where the game was going artistically and what the overall plot of the game was,” Activision worldwide executive of music Tim Riley says. “It has an ’80s Dogtown Los Angeles kind of feel to it, even though it’s set in modern times, so these and the soundtrack’s 50 additional songs skew to that.”
Tony Hawk is an executive producer and creative consultant for the project and worked with Activision and Vagrant to select the artists featured on the album.
“Putting this soundtrack together was like stepping into a time machine,” Vagrant Records CEO and co-owner Rich Egan says. “The songs will take listeners back to a great era in music and skating, and all the credit goes to the bands. Fans are going to be stoked on the music and how it complements the game.”
Riley said he, Egan and Hawk put together a wish list of bands they wanted to participate. Only two bands declined, he said, and that was for logistical reasons.
“It was so well received that I was shocked,” Riley said. “My Chemical Romance said this soundtrack was the talk of the Warped Tour.”
Video games are a popular way of getting audiences to hear new music, so the idea of a compilation soundtrack CD is not new. Most are by relative unknowns or packaged with the game.
For example, Viacom, Simon & Schuster Interactive and Sumthing Else Musicworks partnered on a selection of tracks from “Outlaw Volleyball” for a soundtrack CD executive produced by Nile Rodgers. Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL” franchise is renowned for its soundtracks; no separate CD version has been made available, but tracks can be purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
“I come from the record side of the music business, and doing a standalone soundtrack has been an intriguing idea for some time,” Riley said. “But many of them are not that successful. We were waiting for the right opportunity.”
Here is the track list for “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” (original artist in parentheses):
“Astro Zombies” (Misfits), My Chemical Romance
“Start Today” (Gorilla Biscuits), Fall Out Boy
“Suburban Home” / “I Like Food” (Descendents), Taking Back Sunday
“Seeing Red” / “Screaming at a Wall” (Minor Threat), Thrice
“Wash Away (Beneath the Shadows)” (T.S.O.L.), Alkaline Trio
“Fix Me” (Black Flag), Rise Against
“Ever Fallen in Love?” (Buzzcocks), Thursday
“Who Is Who” (Adolescents), Dropkick Murphys
“Sonic Reducer” (Dead Boys), Saves The Day
“Institutionalized” (Suicidal Tendencies), Senses Fail
“Let’s Have a War” (Fear), From Autumn To Ashes
“Search & Destroy” (Stooges), Emanuel
“House of Suffering” (Bad Brains), the Bled
“Time to Escape” (Government Issue), Hot Snakes