Harmonix — This Is Your Dream Job (Boston Phoenix 8.24.09)

Posted on September 10, 2009


I know this is kind of too cool to be true, but I’ve always thought it would be rad if a city could have a place that ended up as the de facto place for local musicians to work while working on their music on the side. Being a nine-to-fiver while being in a band is tough, not only because of the tough hours that conflict with late-night shows, recording sessions, and general musical night owlness, but it’s socially such a different world to have to deal with. The clothes are different, the artistic touchstones tend to fall in distinct camps (like, do you sound like Metallica, Aerosmith, or rap?”) — it can just be weird.

Until now, the basic local band dude go-to employer in Boston has been Newbury Comics, the CD store chain with dozens of stores in New England and a big warehouse in Allston where all kinds of rock dorks get sales clerk, shipping and receiving, and thrilling QA jobs to tide them over between various levels of music giggery. But since the advent of Guitar Hero there’s a new game in town — the immensely successful video game designer Harmonix, which is conveniently located across the street from the Middle East Club and is one the most blatant contenders ever for a struggling musician’s Best Day Job Ever.

Harmonix PR coordinator John Drake is spending a week in NYC on what seems like a never-ending press campaign for the new Beatles game. He’s just finished a three-hour session on the QVC channel when I get him on the phone. A two-year veteran of the company, Drake has seen the employee base increase by 300 percent since he started, and he’s maintained his spot in indie-pop band the Main Drag.

“The weird thing is going back and forth between band and work stuff,” he says of the way his work duties tend to outshine the real-life rock ones. “I play Rock Band in auditoriums with thousands and thousands of people. I’m on TV for it. When I get back to Boston, I’ll play a show with the Main Drag at the Middle East in front of like 30 people. Both are totally valid parts of the rock experience, I think. The former is just newer than the latter.”

Link to entire article at the Phoenix here.