January 19, 2012
By Nick Larsen
The Nerd Rock Feature (Two of Four Collected)
“In the year 200X Dr. Light created a super fighting robot named Megaman.” No, this is not merely the intro to one of the greatest game series in history Megaman but the first words from the album “Get Equipped” by the Los Angeles based rock band, The Megas.
This four man team of musicians had come together under the mission to spread the word of justice that is Megaman. Originally this group combined their musical powers under the name Agent 51, which went on to become a popular punk band signed by Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline Records. Enjoying some tour success together they ultimately disbanded only to regroup in the year 2004 in the pursuit of spreading the message of Dr. Light. After going through a series of names such as “The Rockmen” and “The Message (of Dr. Light)”, they ultimately settled on the name “The Megas” which, as noted by their official site – Themegas.com – coincidentally stands for the names of the band’s members, Mike Eric Greg And joSh (note the caps).
Slowly they would begin to spread the videogame message of their fight for justice across their hometown, then the state of California, then to a cross country tour across the Northeastern United States. They played in front of countless fans in all settings, concerts and conventions, everything from Nerdapalooza and Video Games Live to MAGfest and the mother of all conventions the San Diego Comic Con. With aspirations to continue touring across the country as well as the world, The Megas plan on one day performing at the birthplace of the Megaman series, Japan. After four long years, The Megas would release their first album into the Nerd Rock community, “Get Equipped”, which would soon take the nerd world by storm.
A blend of rock and videogame theme songs along the lines of brentalfloss, The Megas took the songs of what is considered by many to be the best game in the Megaman series, Megaman 2, and added not only rock edge to each theme but lyrics that created a story to match each character they would represent. This new style in the lyrics gave the game a deeper feeling, allowing the listeners as well as long time fans of the game to have a deeper, if not a completely new understanding of what the game is about as well as who each character is. The first album is a collection of 13 songs, each a rock rendition from the video game in which it was inspired, opening with the theme of the villain, Dr Wily, and his castle, preparing the listener for the fight ahead as Megaman enters his lair in the fight for mankind. The next three tracks mark the voice of Megaman himself as well as his creator/father Dr. Light through the music of the enemy select screen; Megaman yells up to the castle in a cry for justice that he will be the one to take Wily down, destroy his evil robot masters and free humanity from enslavement as Dr. Light tells his son, that he made him in his image, he gave him hands, a child’s face, and robotic hair but the burden he feels in his heart he did not put there, that that is the true sign of his humanity, that he has a heart of justice.
From here on out until the second to last track, The Megas use the music from each robot master’s level to create unique songs about each individual final boss that gives the listener a greater idea of what goes through the bosses’ minds as well as their intentions. The first time I listened through this album the ideas presented about each individual boss were astounding and many argue the stories take away from or give the game more definition, well my friends, I say these stories are a welcome addition to the Megaman universe and it would be amazing to see these songs put as a soundtrack to the games. Personally it’s hard for me to choose my favorite tracks from the robot master section of this album, but for the sake of you, my shirt-wearing readers, I’ll choose my most listened to songs to give you a general idea of what I mean. The first robot you hear from is Airman in “The Annihilation of Monsteropolis”, he stands above the masses of people, ten miles high above the city, pondering how he could end them all. A robot built from pieces of SR-71s and planes that crashed in World War 2, he has a large center fan which gives him the power to only push people away. No longer being able to walk among the population, he rises into the sky and yells down to the people “There will be a fire in the sky and your doom will rain down…there will be a tombstone with the planet earth engraved on it!” Megaman appears before him to take down the robot master who has had enough of living life alone, being unable to walk the streets of the city amongst the people due to his power.
Track 8 of their first album tells the tale of Bubbleman in “Promise of Redemption”. Bubbleman is considered the easiest and most pointless boss of the game, playing off that concept, the song tells of how Bubbleman has taken this abuse from his robot brothers being called the weakest of all the others but, this time he will prove them all wrong by taking down their greatest foe, Megaman. He has finally snapped, fed up with the constant mockery from everyone around him for being a “snorkel geek”, this time he will shine above the rest and take down the legendary man in blue. It is at this point that the song hits one of its most thought provoking lines “I realize something as I stand here waiting, that I’m the one who I’m really hating”. Bubbleman is ashamed of his own power and needs to use this moment, this one chance to prove not to the other robots but to himself he can become the best among them. Of course, Megaman appears before him and blows him away before the fight even truly begins.
Finally, the eleventh song of the album, “The Quick and the Blue” tells of the final stand of Quickman. Set along a western theme, this song takes an interesting drift from the others. Instead of using the direct power that the robot masters relate to or even the level style in which they are set, The Megas give Quickman an entirely unique story of his own. He is an outlaw in the city, the quickest man to have ever touched the streets armed with boomerangs at his sides. As Megaman approaches his city, Quickman knows deep down that he is no longer the quickest, that this may be the day that he falls. The rumor spreads through the town like wildfire that the man in blue has arrived and all other robot masters have fallen by death’s blue hand. They meet each other in the city streets; the town is quite as the tension fills the air, before anyone can blink a blur of boomerangs and metal fill the air in smoke as the bullets scream death as they fly. As the smoke settles Quickman has fallen and utters his final words “You’re too quick on the draw…burn this town – there is no law. What they say’s true, death does wear blue. He can’t fall.” It is an epic tale of the fall of Quickman as Megaman moves on to finish the final robot master before taking on Dr. Wily in the end.
The final song of the album is easily one of, if not my favorite, the “Lamentations of a War Machine” played to the tune of the end song of the game. As Megaman walks away from the fallen citadel of Dr. Wily, he begins to question if what he did was right. So much robot blood and death was shed by his hand, he had destroyed what were in essence his brothers who were misguided by a mad man. If there is a soul beneath his shell, would it go to robot hell? He begins to question Dr. Light asking if what he had done, if what he was made to do was really in the path of right. Left in a cloud of destruction and questions, Megaman walks away from the castle in his never ending quest for justice. As the album fades out, The Megas bid us a final farewell with “Thank you for playing, good night.” giving the listener a sense of being there playing the game along side the music as Megaman fights to save the human race. A truly amazing album that encompasses a whole game directly into the world of music. With the album finished the music continued into many forms, from the background music of their pod casts and Youtube videos to collaborations with more Nerd Rock artists.
As previously mentioned in the last Nerd Rock article, The Megas would go on to work directly with brentalfloss. Their combined efforts created “Gotta Run/Be the One” which would go on to have a music video of its own later on. The second album would be a full on collaboration with another Nerd Rock band, Entertainment System. A four song album called “Megatainment”, the collaborated efforts from both bands went a game into the past and created songs inspired by the music of Megaman 1. The first two songs follow the same formula of the first album, taking two robot masters (Bombman and Elecman) and creating a unique story. The third song though does something new, instead of one robot master, it combines two and creates “Hell has Frozen Over” the combined team of Fireman and Iceman. An interesting and well written song that tells of the destructive force that comes from their combined power. Finally the album finishes with a song of Dr. Wily’s perspective, “Look What You’ve Done”. This song takes a turn that I found intriguing, Dr. Wily knows that his robots have fallen, that Megaman has won, and that the world will brand him forever as the “bad guy”. But, it is not his fault alone, Dr. Light failed to see the evil that they had created together when building the first robot masters, and he failed to see the power they had created together, and instead he created a new robot to destroy them while cowering away from the destruction. Megaman is portrayed as a misguided robot far from his true destiny with Dr. Light as an old man and a fool failing to realize the Robot Masters potential. It is a short album but a welcome addition to their collection.
In February 2010, The Megas re-released their first album, but this time…in acoustic. It’s the collection of all 13 original songs from the first album “Get Equipped” but with all acoustic instruments called “Get Acoustic”. Through out the majority of the album, the acoustic sound gives a dramatic feel to the original songs, allowing the listener to feel the tension that is building to the final battle as well as the defeated feel in Megaman’s heart as he walks away from the castle knowing he had destroyed his fallen brothers. This new sound is welcomed in the majority of the album but, there are a few songs that needed the original electric sound to keep the full meaning and feel. For example, Airman built up to the ultimate threat upon humanity from this throne in the sky, and yelled down to the people in anger, but due to the acoustic sound and toned down voice, the impact is greatly diminished. I still love this album from beginning to end; it becomes a selection of which song is greater on the individual level over the other.
In July 2010, rumors of an album on Megaman 3 were building, so The Megas responded by releasing a short five track album yet again, but this time as a preview for what is to come. This single called “Sparked a War”, is themed around the Megaman 3 robot master, Sparkman, containing three versions of his new song (electric, acoustic, and instrumental) as well as two cover songs that can only be heard on this release. Sparkman’s song “Sparked a War” follows his declaration of the end of humanity as the war of robots against man has been sparked with Megaman as the only force that stands to fight for their freedom yet again. It’s lights out for humanity if the blue bomber is not ready to fight. Following these tracks comes in the cover songs, “Super Fighting Robot (Megaman)” and “Sunglasses at Night”. The former is a cover of the Megaman cartoon series theme song, a minute long song but well worth the listen. The second is a cover of the Corey Hart song of the same name dedicated to this writers favorite sunglasses wearing robot, Protoman. An electric cover of the song that is extremely well done and dedicated to one of my favorite videogame characters and…well I could go on babbling over it but to put it simply, it is epic.
With four albums under their belt and a fifth on the way, The Megas show no sign of slowing down or stopping anytime soon. Having already proven themselves time and time again as a measuring stick in the Nerd Rock community, they’re a group to keep your eye out for as they build to bigger and bigger heights with the Megaman community of fans supporting them where they can. As with everything else in the world though, there are always more than one interpretation of an idea out there. In the upcoming article, I plan to tell you the tale of the Protomen. A group of Megaman fans who have taken the original concept and flipped it on its head using a mix of opera and a metal sound.
Until then, read, comment, enjoy, and eat cookies!