Vegas After Midnight: The Rock Opera?

red-jokerOver the years, one of the most reliable ways I’ve gleaned inspiration for Vegas After Midnight has been through listening to music. I’ve made it fairly clear in the past that a lot of VAM’s inspiration comes from themes and concepts I’ve drawn from my favorite TV, movies, and fiction, but music has always been in the mix, too – especially in the past year or so. As a result I’ve collected a pretty broad playlist with songs that have come to represent broad-stroke thematic inspirations for the setting – or in a few cases become ideas ripped right from the songs and pasted into VAM’s patchwork.

In fact, lately the only times I seem to have the opportunity to devote much mindspace to VAM is when I’m listening to my VAM playlist, which in the past year or so has almost always occurred during certain times in my weekly routine – either driving around running errands, cleaning up the house, or mowing the yard. These are basically the only times I have these days to explore inside my head without having to simultaneously pay attention to kids or clients or other grownup responsibilities.

So these days a lot of VAM-thinking occurs while I’m listening to this eclectic set of songs I’ve collected, and as a result music has become very intertwined within my VAM creative landscape. I mean, it really always has, as I mentioned above, but it has now become almost integral to my ability to invoke the setting and tinker with it.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to announce another major paradigm shift with VAM that would result in players having to listen to music in order to actually engage the game – although I’ll admit that the cool and elegant way that music is used in Ribbon Drive offers me some temptation in that regard. (Heh. We could call it Vegas After Midnight: the Rock Opera RPG.)  But no, I’m just sharing how music has become the major driving force in my recent creative process with the game. I figured maybe a few of you might like to peek into what I’ve come to think of as the Vegas After Midnight soundtrack.

Actually, the full playlist is now up to 80 songs and continues to grow as I add old music that I want in the soundtrack but only just had the chance to purchase, and also as I discover new songs that seem perfect for the tone of the Madness. And although the vast majority of the music is rock (hard, classic, modern, grunge, emo, punk, neo-punk, indie) the list also includes some pop standards and other odd tidbits to spice the concoction with a classic Vegas vibe.

But it occurs to me that sharing the whole playlist would not only be overkill, it would also possibly give a couple of things away that are a bit premature to release into the aether. So I’m going to paste in the first 25 songs of the playlist and just whet your appetite. Here is the beginning of the VAM soundtrack:

Title Artist Album
Lunatic Fringe Red Rider As Far As Siam
Neon Bible Arcade Fire Neon Bible
Make a Move Lostprophets Start Something
Welcome To The Black Parade My Chemical Romance The Black Parade
All Along the Watchtower** U2 Rattle and Hum
Ain’t That A Kick In The Head Dean Martin Dino: The Essential Dean Martin
A Little Less Conversation Elvis Presley Ocean’s Eleven
Feeling Good* My Brightest Diamond Dark Was the Night
Brave and Crazy Tom Cochrane Mad Mad World
Sound Of Madness Shinedown The Sound Of Madness
Funhouse P!nk Funhouse
Diamonds Are Forever Shirley Bassey Greatest Hits – Shirley Bassey
Peacemaker Green Day 21st Century Breakdown
Bullet With Butterfly Wings The Smashing Pumpkins Rotten Apples
The Show Must Go On Queen Innuendo
Ave Mary A P!nk Funhouse
Stand And Deliver Adam Ant Antics In The Forbidden Zone
Dirty Vegas INXS Rockstars
Luck Be A Lady Frank Sinatra & Chrissie Hynde Duets II
My Delirium Ladyhawke Ladyhawke
Burning Love Robert Johnson Close Personal Friend
Wild Boys Duran Duran Decade
Heroes David Bowie Heroes
Who Wants to Live Forever Queen Queen – Greatest Hits
Is This The End? Creed Creed

* – There are also great versions of this song by Muse, Sammy Davis, Jr., and of course the classic from Nina Simone sets the standard – but this new version from MBD has the sultry lounge singer feel that VAM needs. The idea is to imagine this song being sung in a smoky Vegas lounge by Lady Luck while a big change to the setting’s status quo takes place simultaneously.

** – Mad props to the Bob Dylan original and the Jimi Hendrix version, but I choose this one for Bono’s addition of the line “All I’ve got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth. All I’ve got is a red guitar, the rest is up to you.”

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  1. I’ve always wanted to do something like this with Savage Earth. I think VAM lends itself very well to this approach, however, with all of its pop culture and iconic references.

    What I would love to hear is more VAM audio. I’ve listened to Mickie Dillon’s guide enough times now to crave more.

  2. Rock on! I totally grok what you are saying. I do the same thing with Rush. Thanks for sharing your playlist and giving us another peek inside the Madness.
    Follow your bliss,

  3. I edited the playlist on 9/16/09, and there are several things shuffled around, dropped, and added. Just so ya know.

  4. I got this zip file all the songs from Mick and have been listening for a while now. I am now making a couple of changes to my version of the playlist, and I’ll report on the success of the new mix once I’ve given it a few listens.

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