"This song was 'banned' from Grand Theft Auto 2"
It might not seem like it to non-gamers, but there's actually more to Grand Theft Auto than murdering, carjacking, prostitutes and killing sprees. The defining feature of every GTA game, outside of the wonderfully crafted sandbox world, is the soundtrack. The latest incarnations have hours upon hours of cutting edge music from a broad spectrum of genres, but before Rockstar had become the gaming behemoth it is today, the music was created in-house. And not all of it made the cut.
The below track, dubbed YTZ, was created by "chief noisemaker-in-residence" at Grand Theft Auto Colin Anderson. Originally, it was planned for a radio station on GTA2 called Ridiculous FM which specialised in progressive rock. However, the powers that be deemed prog too uncool and the project was shelved forever. Until now, as Metal Hammer unveils the 20-minute opus by the fictional band Aori...
The article goes on to interview the composer of the track, Colin Anderson, whom mentions the existence of some cut and censored tracks from the first two Grand Theft Auto games, as well as a small glimpse into the musical selection process at Rockstar Games back in the 90s. It's honestly a fantastic read for anybody who's a massive fan of the 2D titles, and I'd highly recommend reading the rest of the article, linked above.
I've never really been a fan of progressive rock, but listening to this track, I've found that it's absolutely superb. Definitely a fan.
Despite this, however. I can completely see how this would have been scrapped as an idea for Grand Theft Auto 2. It really doesn't fit the atmosphere at all. As the article mentions, neither does it fit the time period, given that progressive rock was far from popular in the late 90s.
Colin's description of the track and its legacy
As a huge Prog Rock fan I'd originally planned to create a radio station called "Ridiculous FM" for Grand Theft Auto 2 - broadcasting "Regressive Rock" to the citizens of Liberty City around the clock.
The idea was to make it similar to the Country station from GTA1 in that it would only play a single track repeatedly. The joke this time being that the "one track" would be a conceptual suite of 70's Art Rock inspired music clocking in longer than any of the other stations in the game at almost 20 minutes (before adding a DJ or adverts).
I did some initial planning for it when we started GTA2 but quickly decided against pursuing it because, a) it would have been way more work to do than we had time for, and b) it felt far too self-indulgent - which is perhaps a little ironic given it was meant to be a Prog Rock homage after all. We'd already got away with putting Country music in GTA1 and people had responded positively to that, but Prog Rock was even uncooler than Country music back in 1998 so it felt like we'd really be pushing our luck to get away with that. In the end, after hearing Bulamatari's excellent "Taxi Drivers Must Die" I reluctantly decided that GTA2's Regressive Rock station would have to wait as faux Brit-Punk provided a much funnier focus for GTA's radio stations second time around. And so, consequently, Ridiculous FM was shelved.
Ever since then, during late night jam sessions (and the occasional lunchtime one too) with my muso friends, I've enjoyed wondering what my Prog Rock track for Ridiculous FM might have sounded like if I'd actually gone through with it. Eventually it became a bit of an in-joke my friends would use to rip the piss out me. Any time I played them something new I'd written they'd invariably ask if I was planning to use it as part of my Prog Rock epic - secure in the knowledge it was never, *EVER* going to happen.
Eventually I decided it was an itch I just had to scratch. So here it is, 15 years late (which surely must be some sort of record for missing deadlines, even by DMA Design's impressive standards), I give you GTA2's "missing" Prog Rock track "YTZ" by the band Aori.
To paraphrase Derek Smalls, I hope it lends a more 'sophisticated' perspective to your Kill Frenzies :-)
- Source from the YouTube video's description