Monday, February 9, 2009

Local boy sets Guitar Hero high score, lands record contract

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2009/02/09/hernandez.tx.real.guitar.hero.kdaf

When Danny Johnson of Grapevine, Texas first picked up the plastic Gibson guitar custom made for the hit video game Guitar Hero, he was simply looking to have a good time. Little did he realize that his hours spent vegging in front of the tv would turn into fame, glory and a fat contract worth millions.

Danny was able to set the bar for the most amount of points ever scored on Guitar Hero by flawlessly executing every prescribed note on the game’s most difficult song, Through the Fire and Flames. At first, Danny was content just to brag to his friends about the score, but when the Guiness Book of World Records discovered Danny’s achievement, news of the boy’s talent spread like wildfire.

“I got a call from Seymour Steins, who I guess is like some Vice President or something of a music company,” says Danny. “He said he’d like to offer me a record contract because of my skills on Guitar Hero. I was like, ‘Okay dude, whatever, as long as I get to play video games.’”

Seymour Steins is the Vice President of Warner Music Group, and has a knack for recognizing non-musical talent and turning it into record sales. When he learned of Danny’s high score on the track from DragonForce—a band signed under one of WMG’s affiliate groups—he knew he had something special.

“Think about it—how many people do you know that DON’T like guitar hero? How many people do you know that have bemoaned the difficulty of Through the Fire and Flames? How many people do you know that AREN’T ridiculously impressed by someone who can pass ANY song on expert? This kid’s got talent. Granted, it isn’t any real musical talent, but it’s talent nonetheless. I’ve sold people on bands with much less than that.”

Other musicians are also impressed with Danny’s feats. Herman Li, guitarist and co-composer of the song Through the Fire and Flames, was floored when he saw the video of Danny breaking the record.

“This guy is wonderfur. I can hardrey pray dis song myserf, and I wrote dis song! He definitery has rear tarent. I wish I had tarent…”

Steins was able to negotiate a 5-year contract with Danny that includes $5 million in guaranteed payments, $10 million in bonuses, and a soul-ownership clause that will ensure that the teen will be unable to use the toilet without the consent of WGM.

“Yeah, it seems kinda strict,” Danny says, shrugging, “but I talked to legends like MC Hammer and Vince Neil, and they say this is just how the business works. So I was like, okay.”

Danny is slated to win a Grammy sometime next year.

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