Yesterday I talked a bit about the unique and game-making soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Today I want to elaborate a bit on the game’s rock and metal station. If anything screams 1980’s it’s rock and metal, and the game got it right on their own metal station, V-Rock.
V-Rock was the quintessential metal hits of the mid-80’s. Here is a complete list of songs from the original release of the game (note that Bark At The Moon was removed and that Love Fist is a fictional, in-game band who I’ll get to in a bit.)
Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock
Motley Crue – Too Young To Fall In Love
Quiet Riot – Cum On Feel The Noize
The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
Love Fist – Dangerous Bastard
Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes To Midnight
Loverboy – Working For The Weekend
Alcatrazz – God Blessed Video
Tesla – Cumin’ Atcha Live
Autograph – Turn Up The Radio
Megadeth – Peace Sells
Anthrax – Madhouse
Slayer – Raining Blood
Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
Love Fist – Fist Fury
David Lee Roth – Yankee Rose
That is quite a list of signature 80’s rock and metal. Of course I can listen to this stuff all day and night long and probably make a years-long playlist out of it, but I think this selection really captures the spirit of the time.
A radio station is more than its songs. V-Rock features everything that makes this a true 1980’s rock station. The station has hilarious transition lines like “V-Rock – for people who wear name tags to work” and “While other stations’ listeners are in school … we’re shoplifting!” A few of the commercials, like the “complete the look – goth edition” spot for the Vice City Mall are also tailored to the station.
And above all else, V-Rock has an entertaining and outright hilarious DJ. Helming the mic for the station is Lazlow, who was an intern to the station’s former DJ, Couzin Ed. Ed was fired and Lazlow given the reigns as a cost-cutting move. In fact, Couzin Ed calls in at one point to lambaste Lazlow for being unqualified to host a metal station.
Couzin Ed has been a real-life radio DJ, and Jeffery “Lazlow” Jones was also a DJ and multimedia personality when both were hired by Rockstar Games to be involved in the Grand Theft Auto series. Lazlow is in fact chiefly responsible for the success of the game’s radio stations in his role as executive producer of the soundtrack.
While very accomplished in real life, Lazlow’s in-game character is much less heralded. Lazlow is a loser, being unable to score with a local waitress and having played in marching band while Couzin Ed was doing bong hits. Lazlow even laments that V-Rock’s mascot, the Vulture, gets more airtime than he does. It makes for some entertaining drives around Vice City to listen to Lazlow get cut down by most of the population, such as when biker gang leader Mitch Baker calls in to give Lazlow shit for playing “sissy music.” And this call-in happens right after the station plays Loverboy, if I’m not mistaken.
In a bonus segment only available on the game’s officially-issued soundtrack, Lazlow is fired as the host of V-Rock. Lazlow would go on to find hosting jobs throughout the GTA series, culminating in being an actual character in Grand Theft Auto V. The real-life Lazlow would continue his involvement with Rockstar Games until 2020 when he left the company.
If having compelling music and on-air “talent” wasn’t enough, the game outdid itself by inventing its own band. Love Fist is a group of drug-addled Scotsmen who fit right in with the hair metal scene. A handful of original songs were recorded for the game and feature on V-Rock. Two other songs air in segments during Love Fist-related game content. A Love Fist EP with all four songs present was made available in 2013 for digital purchase and streaming.
The band were given members and personalities to suit the times. Lead singer Jezz Torrent (say his name in a Scottish accent…) is featured in several cutscenes as a party guest. The band also has a series of missions in-game where Tommy Vercetti must help the band escape a stalker, get their needed drugs, and get to their gig. Love Fist’s former members and mentions of their music can be found in later GTA games as well.
The music of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was great overall, and having a dedicated metal station with so much work put into it made the game that much better. I’ve spent countless hours in Vice City, driving my stolen cars and jamming to the great songs on offer. And Lazlow’s work as DJ is great. The game both celebrates and totally rips on metal culture and is a hilarious stew of satire and dark humor. In terms of video game soundtracks it just doesn’t get any better than Vice City and V-Rock.