30 Days of Rock(alypse)
Often when I work on a writing project, I develop a soundtrack that inspires me or expresses the themes and images that I am incorporating into my work. I did it with Steamscapes: Asia, and I decided at that time to share my soundtrack to help GMs and players look at the world of Steamscapes through the music.
With a game like Rockalypse, so much of my research has been musical as well as visual, so the soundtrack is quite large. It encompasses multiple movie and TV series soundtracks, as well as albums or even entire collections of works by specific bands. From that list, I have put together a 30-song selection of videos to share. While the Kickstarter is running, I will be posting one song per day to this page. This will be a curated collection, so for each song I will be sharing some of my thoughts on why I've picked it and how it relates to Rockalypse.
The full YouTube Playlist is available here:
Day 1 - The Katayanagi Twins Battle (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
Credit where credit is due: this scene is one of the original and quintessential inspirations for Rockalypse. This is how I wanted the game to feel - over the top, a little ridiculous, a little self-aware, but very serious about music. I particularly like how so much of this movie can be expressed in terms of Fate aspects. "They tore the roof off" is clearly a scene aspect that the GM uses to establish the power of the Katayanagi twins. Many of the lines in Scott Pilgrim work like that - declarations that initially seem like conversation but also state something clearly true about the world. Try thinking about "dating a high-schooler" as Scott's Trouble aspect, and watch how many times it gets compelled until he reaches the milestone where he switches it to "I have to defeat 7 evil exes."
Day 2 - Blue Man Group, "Time to Start"
A basic primer of the essential rock concert movements you'll need to know if you're going to play Rockalypse effectively. Excellent for beginners, especially #4.
Day 3 - Lenny Kravitz, "Are You Gonna Go My Way?"
There are so many things about this song and video that earn it a place on the Rockalypse soundtrack. It makes a great funk-rock anthem with its driving beat and extremely catchy guitar hook. The lyrics have the feel of a player character introducing themselves to a crowd (and Lenny does have a bit of the PC aura about him). And the whole look of the video just makes me think of this as a musical Thunderdome. I feel like this video is a scene that could easily exist in Rockalypse.
Also there's Cindy Blackman. While I love Kravitz's flowy suit, it's Blackman on drums who looks the most badass. Always be yourself, unless you can be Cindy Blackman. Then be Cindy Blackman.
Day 4 - The Who, "The Punk and the Godfather"
(Just music with this one - no video.)
There is a certain amount of youthful rebellion inherent in Rockalypse, because there is so much youthful rebellion built into the history of Rock. In America, Rock was received with polite scowling from the older generation, but in England it caused riots. From the Teddy Boy riots at showings of Rock Around the Clock to the Radio Caroline heyday of the 60s, England experienced a decade of overt resistance to the music and the culture that surrounded it. The Mods and Rockers even fought literal battles over the very nature and soul of rock and roll, all while their parents fretted and called them both punks.
Quadrophenia, though clearly slanted towards the Mod experience, represents one of the first times that rock music took a serious reflective look at itself and its own cultural impact. "The Punk and the Godfather" is an iconic examination of the generational interplay at work in these movements. American Millenials are experiencing a generation of decline where the world their parents have handed them is worse than the one they grew up in. But that experience is not entirely new - it happened to England in the 50s and early 60s, and that's what this song is about.
In game terms, The Who can also serve as an example of the flexibility of instruments in Rockalypse. If anyone doubts that drums can be used for Melody or Harmony, just listen to Keith Moon, especially the cymbal work he throws into the breaks.
Day 5 - Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Of course, no discussion of musical rebellion is complete without "Anarchy in the UK." Punk in England grew out of the backlash against the mainstreaming of Rock music. By the end of the 60s, Mod had become the height of fashion. The BBC had official stations that played popular music, and in many ways the culture war had been won by Rock music. But the next generation of youth who grew up amidst the decadence of Swinging London in the late 60s and early 70s did not feel served by it. They were angry at the government and at the current state of popular music, which they saw very much as a gloss over the real problems in their society.
This anger was expressed in every aspect of Punk Rock and the subculture it sparked. Not since the Blues had a musical movement been so clearly associated with a single emotion. There were outliers - the Ramones may not have been as angry as the Sex Pistols or the Damned - but for the most part anti-establishment anger was the core of the Punk aesthetic. (And even the Ramones sometimes tapped into this rebellious anger, like in Rock and Roll High School.) Later musical movements with anger at their core owe a lot to the road that Punk paved.
Day 6 - Le Tigre, "TKO"
Although Patti Smith made serious waves as an early Punk icon, much of the Punk movement - like many Rock movements - was almost entirely male-dominated. The 80s saw a few Punk-adjacent female acts like Shonen Knife, but nothing on the scale of what was coming in the early 90s.
The Riot Grrrl explosion in the 90s brought a climactic shift in the culture and audience of Punk. And no one was more at the center of that explosion than Kathleen Hanna, first as part of Bikini Kill, then Le Tigre, and more recently The Julie Ruin. Hanna's screaming vocals (somewhat reminiscent of David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven or Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes) quickly became a signature of the Riot Grrrl sound, even as more melodic bands (such as Sleater-Kinney) emerged onto the scene.
More important, though, was the community-building that occurred around the music. Riot Grrrl 'zines and political speech inspired a core audience that left concerts ready to engage in all manner of activism. And though the movement (like other manifestations of third-wave feminism) has sometimes been criticized for its blindess with regard to trans women and women of color, the impact of the Riot Grrrls cannot be understated. Imperfections aside, Riot Grrrl music very much continues the traditions of Punk's ongoing fight against The Man, with the reminder that The Man may in fact be Patriarchy.
Day 7 - Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise"
From its inception, the very existence of Hip Hop has been political. It was born in the Bronx in the wake of the gang wars of the late 60s, and it grew up in the 70s amidst blackouts and burning apartment buildings. The music and the culture that surrounded it was very much a product of its place in history - a defiant celebration in the face of catastrophic circumstances. It would not be accurate to say that early Hip Hop was lacking in anger. It's just that the anger expressed itself differently.
In the early 80s, Hip Hop saw a certain amount of mainstream growth with the transition to its new generation, particularly Run-DMC and LL Cool J. But as with Punk, the new school of Hip Hop soon found its voice in expressing dissatisfaction with the movement's progress. In the second half of the 1980s, Public Enemy and N.W.A. emerged to lead the charge towards a more overtly political message. Now the anger was up front - it was the reason for the rhyme. In 1988, both Straight Outta Compton and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back were released, and rap would never be the same.
It Takes a Nation of Millions..., Public Enemy's contribution to that pair of records, is specifically about the politics of the recording industry and the racism that Hip Hop has always faced. "Bring the Noise" is a subculture anthem if ever there was one, and Chuck D's opening cry of "BASS!" is just iconic. D's introductory opening lines are fantastic, but in many ways this whole song serves as an intro, establishing and justifying Public Enemy's presence on stage and in musical history.
Day 8 - Red Elvises, "Boogie on the Beach"
Let's take a quick pause to acknowledge another one of the big media inspirations for Rockalypse. Six String Samurai is one of those cult classics that instantly connects fans when they discover each other. It's a typical wasteland "search for the promised land" story, but with an alt-historical rather than a futuristic apocalypse. The protagonist (Buddy, aka "Four-Eyes") fights against mutants, bowling teams, communists, and Death himself, using mostly swordfighting but also a little bit of musical battle. But the whole story is very much built on musical imagery.
The visual aesthetic for this movie makes it a fantastic source for your Rockalypse game, but one of the things that will really stick with you is the soundtrack by the Red Elvises. Their sound is part surf rock and part Russian folk, and all amazing. If you haven't seen Six String Samurai, you should definitely track it down. And in the meantime, browse through some Red Elvises videos.
Day 9 - New Order, "True Faith"
I am a huge New Order fan. Although Substance '87 (and "True Faith" specifically) was my first exposure to the band, it was instantly transformative to my musical tastes. I had enjoyed most of the 80s New Wave, but sometimes the electronic sound of the early 80s could get a little monotonously high-pitched. New Order showed me a different tonal range with similar instrumentation (although Depeche Mode was also exploring that range at the time). And the lyrics were deeper as well - more meaningful, more abstract. I was in my early teens and ready to move on beyond the simpler themes of Human League or Men Without Hats (as much as I do love both of those bands). And of course I soon realized that New Order and Joy Division had been there long before 1987; I just hadn't realized it. These two bands were some of the most influential sources for the 90s Techno movement and, by extension, modern Trance and EDM. EDM is essentially the modern evolution of a combination of New Order and Grand Master Flash.
The video itself has always stuck with me. It's very memorable for its surrealistic dystopian imagery, and would make a great inspiration for a game set in the Streets of Cyber City. Also I'd like to point out that "Sign Interpreter" is a band role you might consider playing...
Day 10 - Imogen Heap, "Me the Machine"
While there is a lot of technology involved in music these days, one of the people who is making the greatest strides innovating the connections between technology, performer, and music is definitely Imogen Heap. She has long been a pioneer in sampling, harmonics, and sequencing, but more recently she pushed into combining these techniques with motion capture and gesture technology to create the MiMu gloves and rig. They are synthesizer, sequencer, and extremely advanced theramin all wrapped in one. "Me the Machine" is a song that was entirely composed and performed using the gloves.
If you're curious you should definitely check Heap's original TED Talk. These gloves are only a couple of years old at this point, and we are starting to see other artists experimenting with them. For performers who want a bit of the electronic sound and strong visuals, they are absolutely perfect.
And if all that doesn't immediately inspire you to play some cyberpunk Rockalypse, I have no idea what will.
Day 11 - Qkumba Zoo, "Big"
(Music starts at 0:51)
Qkumba Zoo is one of those international acts that you come across now and again and wonder, "Why wasn't this so much bigger?" Their look is amazing and their music alternates between intensely fun and hauntingly beautiful (including an excellent rendition of the Bright Blue song "Weeping"). They are also perfect for Rockalypse because they embody a post-modern tribal/rave aesthetic better than just about anyone that I've seen. Unfortunately, they lost dancer/sculptor Tziki to suicide before completing their second major album, so the little that we have of the group is all we get. But you owe it to yourself to track down their music.
"Big" fits especially well into the Rockalypse soundtrack, because it's all about welcoming aliens to Earth by being our truest selves. You could easily build a different kind of apocalypse that involves aliens but isn't actually caused by them, and this song may inspire some of the themes of such a game.
Day 12 - Gorillaz, "Clint Eastwood"
Gorillaz emerged from one of the most interesting artistic collaborations of the last two decades. Damon Albarn of Blur met Jamie Hewlett, the artist responsible for Tank Girl, and they decided to make a band in a more literal sense than anyone has ever meant that phrase. Hewlett designed the four band members - 2-D, Russel, Noodle, and Murdoc - and Albarn wrote the music and brought in a stream of musical collaborators to build the band's sound. The number of artists involved gave Gorillaz a very eclectic sound, although Albarn managed to keep the songwriting tight enough to convey consistent musical throughlines. But more than almost any band ever the Gorillaz were unified by their aesthetic. Jamie Hewlett's work on the visuals of Gorillaz were an essential element of the band's success. The band's emergence was well-timed to coincide with the American anime boom of the late 90s/early 2000s, which created an audience that was very much ready for a band like this.
In some ways, this kind of thing had been done before with groups like Alvin and the Chipmunks or The Archies. But the Gorillaz were intentionally created as animated characters simultaneously with the music, rather than either the music or the characters coming first. The video for "Clint Eastwood" is designed to introduce both, and really shows off right away the amazing collaboration between Albarn and Hewlett.
One thing you quickly realize about the Gorillaz is that they are just about the perfect adventuring party. This is a band that could be inserted without any changes directly into a Rockalypse campaign, and in fact much of the imagery in their videos suggests that they might already be in one.
Day 13 - Jason Forrest, "War Photographer"
There is so much to love about this video - the blending of instruments and styles, the mecha transformation, the heavy featuring of roadies and techs, and the story itself. This video is one of the primary inspirations for the RagnaRock stretch goal setting. It is a wonderful rendition of a Rockalypse game.
Day 14 - Tengger Cavalry, "Mountain Side"
I used to think that I didn't like metal, but over time I began to realize that what I didn't care for was the standard American approach to the vocals. In particular, I disliked the higher-range screaming that was so prevalent during my formative years (the 80s). However, as I broadened my experiences, I discovered bands that were doing different things vocally, and suddenly everything was fine. (Thank you especially to Peter Steele of Type O Negative.) That shift was what allowed me to appreciate the musical backbone of metal.
In the last couple decades, metal has been moving beyond its American/European center and becoming more international. At the same time, bands have begun to explore traditional themes and instrumentation in combination with the metal sound. As a result, we now have a rich diversity of international and folk metal pushing the boundaries of the genre. Tengger Cavalry is a Mongolian folk metal band that brings in both folk instruments and throat singing, and it all blends amazingly well. Check them out! And if you've never heard of folk metal, you owe it to yourself to explore the many varieties that exist.
Day 15 - Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Dani California"
We're at the halfway point now, and you may have guessed from the wide range so far that there is no way that I can possibly hit all the bands that may have influenced Rockalypse, let alone all those that are significant to musical history. So I'm going to cheat a little bit.
This video contains a huge number of visual references to eras of rock but also to specific artists. Can you name them all? (Don't worry if you can't, there's a Wikipedia page for this video.) But if, as you're watching, you wonder to yourself something like, "Why is Flea wearing those star-glasses?" then you know there's something for you to research. In this case, Bootsy Collins. So take a browse through the video and see what you do and do not recognize. Then hit the Wiki and use it as a launching point for some musical exploration.
Day 16 - Janis Joplin, "Ball and Chain"
We're going to slow things down a bit and dip back into Rock history for a few songs.
So far we've mostly looked at bands or at least multi-instrument performances. Even when Jason Forrest or Imogen Heap craft a song, they're still blending many different sounds. The magic is in the sum total, in the orchestration. But sometimes the wonder of music can be focused around a single virtuoso performer - someone who may be supported by the other instruments but who really carries the entire piece. Such is the case with Janis Joplin's legendary performance of "Ball and Chain."
Joplin's control is completely out of this world. But don't take my word for it - that's Mama Cass with her mouth hanging open at 3:30.
Day 17 - Heart, "Crazy on You"
Speaking of virtuosos, let's take a moment to appreciate what happens when you get two not only in the same band but in the same family. Ann and Nancy Wilson are both incredible in their own right, and when you put them together you get some amazing writing and performing. This song is a display of excellence throughout, from Nancy's iconic intro to Ann's tremendous vocal power. Heart absolutely deserves their place in musical history.
The other reason I share this song is that I was privileged this summer to see Heart in concert. And if you have seen them more recently you will agree that they have not slowed down at all. They were touring with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett, and I saw that show just a week and a half after I saw the Sting/Peter Gabriel tour, so let me say this - age is no barrier to Rock and Roll. If you want your character in Rockalypse to be a 70-year-old rocker, you do that. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Day 18 - Yes, "I've Seen All Good People"
Progressive Rock emerged as a movement in the late 60s/early 70s and had a profound effect on the music industry. Although The Beatles had somewhat paved the way with songs that bled into each other on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Prog pushed the musical understanding of Rock even further. It brought in classical musical structures like movements, motifs, and theme and variation techniques. The intent was to free Rock music from the grip of verse-and-chorus structures that had typified its first two decades.
Because of this, Prog was typically hard to market using conventional radio and established pop music industry methods. Often individual movements or segments were removed from their larger context and sold as "singles," though their meaning was diminished by this separation. This happened to The Moody Blues with "Tuesday Afternoon," the truncated version of "The Afternoon" on Days of Future Passed, and with Pink Floyd's "Us and Them," which was edited down to half its original length as a single. Even the famous "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield is best known only for the small portion of it that appears in the soundtrack for The Exorcist. Fewer people are familiar with its full 49-minute progression.
But because of this excerpt view that so many people have of Prog, it often does not get the credit for innovation that it deserves. In particular, fans of modern music need to understand that the efforts of Prog musicians helped in no small part to shift the industry towards the sale of full albums rather than singles, a trend that has somewhat reversed in recent years with the onset of digital sales.
"I've Seen All Good People" is an important selection from the heyday of Prog Rock, and it is also a relatively short example that still offers a look at the structural play that was happening. And of course, the first section was originally released as a single ("Your Move"), because the radio at the time couldn't handle even a 7-minute song.
Day 19 - The Clash, "This is Radio Clash"
Jumping back into Punk for a couple of songs. The Clash was my first Punk band, and I will always return to them. I discovered them at just the right point in my youth when I was beginning to think about counterculture and rebellion, and this song in particular always felt like the perfect expression of that ethos.
The Clash (along with early U2) were also one of the reasons that I have always felt attached to political expressions in music. They primed me very well for my later love of Midnight Oil. And they are also the reason that I steer towards the more political side of Punk itself: Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, and Public Image Limited. If I were playing rather than running Rockalypse, I would definitely craft my apocalypse around fighting against the system.
Day 20 - Social Distortion, "Don't Take Me For Granted"
I'm not as much a fan of the 90s and 2000s Punk Revival, because I think it's missing a lot of the politics that made the original Punk bands great. But as I have been researching the history and interplay of musical movements, I have been curious about where that sound really originated. How does one get from The Clash or The Misfits to Blink-182 or Green Day? How can we even refer to these two eras with the same word?
But I think I've found the throughline, and it's Social Distortion. This is a band that was definitely part of the original Punk movement, but they brought in more of an American Rock sound (and even Country). Combine Social Distortion with the post-grunge alternative bands of the mid-90s and it is much easier to see where the Punk Revival comes from. You can even hear the occasional modern vocalist trying to emulate Mike Ness.
This is mostly my personal theory, but I find it compelling. Try listening to some of these bands side by side and see if you agree.
Day 21 - Queen Latifah, "Paper"
Queen Latifah is one of the most important women in Hip Hop, but she can also step into an amazingly smooth R&B sound when she wants. Her versatility as a performer has made her the star of screens of all sizes, and she brings such grace and strength to all her roles.
I chose this somewhat unusual piece from her library mostly because of the video. I really like the ruined cyberpunk setting it suggests, and I think it could serve as a perfect inspiration for a Rockalypse game.
Day 22 - Björk, "Army of Me"
Another very strong thematic influence on Rockalypse is Tank Girl, both the comics and the movie. The attitude and aesthetic are perfect for the game, and the soundtrack is excellent as well. I have been a fan of Björk since her Sugarcubes days, so this song in particular always stuck out for me. Also, I prefer this original version to remixes that have been used in later movies.
Although the original video is not actually taken from Tank Girl, the imagery still has a dystopian, almost cyberpunk vibe. Plus, it has a gorilla, so there's your connection to Fate Core.
Day 23 - The New Pornographers, "War on the East Coast"
As Rock music has often been anti-establishment, so too has the establishment often fought back with laws, restrictions, and public condemnations. From the BBC of the 50s to the PMRC of the 80s, there have been many reactionary organizations trying to divert or even stop the spread of Rock. TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart once called Rock and Roll "the new pornography." And it is from that statement that this band takes its name.
The New Pornographers are well-known as a unit, but they are in fact a supergroup made up of many separate bands and solo artists. Because of this, their albums have a more varied sound with different vocalists taking front on each song. This one is sung by Dan Bejar (also the lead singer of Destroyer). The joke of the video is that AC Newman is doing the lip syncing while Dan walks silently next to him. But the video also has a fascinating "Life During Wartime" undercurrent that fits nicely into the Rockalypse milieu.
Day 24 - M.I.A., "Bring the Noize"
M.I.A. is a controversial and highly political figure in modern Hip Hop. Whatever you may think of her views, she has helped to bring Rap into a broader global context. In the same way that Hip Hop grew from racial oppression and Rap later turned to specifically highlight that oppression, M.I.A. focuses on oppression and political violence both internationally and closer to her home country of Sri Lanka. Since the very beginning of her career she has spoken and advocated for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, a group whose historical experiences have more than a few parallels to the history of Black people in America. And M.I.A.'s music has more than a few parallels to the more political Rap of the late 80s/early 90s.
I included this song for a number of reasons. First, it acts as a callback to the Public Enemy song of (almost) the same title. Second, it really shows how Rap can change with different themes and influences, yet still have the same power. And finally, because the video inspires me to create a similar hidden community to insert into a Streets of Cyber City setting.
Day 25 - Living Colour, "Auslander"
Living Colour burst onto the hard rock scene in the mid-80s with Vivid. They brought a mixture of Funk and Metal that built on the Punk/Reggae fusion work that had already been done by Bad Brains, and the two bands have continued to influence each other in the ensuing decades.
Many people are familiar with the songs from Vivid, especially "Cult of Personality" (partially due to its presence on the Guitar Hero games), but I am choosing to focus on the lesser-known Stain, which was the introduction of the band's new bassist, Doug Wimbish. Wimbish has helped to define Living Colour's sound in the modern phase of their career, including a resurgence that began with The Chair in the Doorway. "Auslander" is an example of the more hardcore sound of Stain in particular. Its themes of the treatment of refugees and immigrants is still very relevant, and may be something you want to include as a backdrop to your Rockalypse setting.
Day 26 - Skinny Puppy, "Assimilate"
Industrial music has a much longer pedigree than most people realize, since its most well-known pioneer, Kraftwerk, started recording in the early 70s. Their breakthrough album Autobahn was released in 1974. But if you listen to it with more modern ears, it just sounds like (as it was) a primary precursor to electronic music of the late 70s and early 80s rather than any part of what we think of as Industrial. The transition happened because some of those bands that were most directly influenced by Kraftwerk - bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Monte Cazazza - were recorded under a label called Industrial Records. These bands then applied the term Industrial to themselves, and they began the transition of the movement towards a harder sound while maintaining its ambient, electronic roots.
Skinny Puppy helped complete the transformation of Industrial into what we know it today. At the same time, Ministry came at the music from the other end and brought metal into what would become Post-Industrial. However, I included Skinny Puppy to prove that both keyboards and Canadians can be hardcore.
Day 27 - Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Cities in Dust"
Born in the time of Punk, and existing somewhere between Punk and New Wave, both the music and the aesthetic of Siouxsie & the Banshees were extremely influential on what would later become Goth. Siouxsie Sioux never liked the Goth label, and arguably her band was never fully a part of that genre, at least not as much as bands like The Cure or Bauhaus. Nevertheless they had a huge impact on the direction of British music of the early to mid 80s, and much of this music would end up both comprising and influencing the 80s Alternative movement (not to be confused with anything bearing that name during or after the mid-90s).
"Cities in Dust" is a classic example of how Siouxsie & the Banshees skirt the edge of Goth. Thematically, the extended Pompeii metaphor is perfectly suited for the genre, and Sioux's vocals have a kind of wailing quality that really drive the imagery home. But the music leans slightly more towards the New Wave side. It's certainly more moody and intense than something from Human League, but it wouldn't be out of place in an early Sinéad O'Connor song.
I share this song partially because it (along with everything else that was on the first few years of 120 Minutes) holds a special place in my heart. And also because that sense of looking back on a fallen civilization is a particularly interesting flavor to include in a Rockalypse game.
Day 28 - Ladybaby, "Nippon Manju"
If you have been following this list so far, you may have liked some but not all of the selections, which is fine. But at some point you're going to wonder, "What happens if we want to play a game but can't agree on a style for our band?" You might be worried that you and your friends have very different musical tastes and couldn't possibly bring them together. Well, this is where I remind you that Kawaii Metal is a thing, and that it brought us Ladybaby.
Sadly, Ladybeard (the Australian wrestler/stunt man in the middle there) left the band after a few singles and a little bit of touring, but in that time Ladybaby gave us this wonderful song and video. Let no one ever doubt that you can blend anything you want to, and even some things you might not want to.
Day 29 - The Dazzlings vs. The Rainbooms, "Welcome to the Show"
While Jem is certainly a classic influence when it comes to music-themed adventuring, the award for best representation of musical battle in a cartoon absolutely has to go to Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks. If you like cheesy high school band movies, you need to watch this movie. And if you're a fan of MLP and have been reluctant to step into the Equestria Girls franchise, this one is a must-watch.
The whole movie is great, but this moment in particular manages to encapsulate a perfect representation of a Rockalypse-style conflict. I have considered writing up the scene to show how it would be played using the Rockalypse rules (you know, in all that spare time I have), and I might yet do it at some point. But if you play Rockalypse with me at a convention, I will tell you that one of the pre-gens is based closely off of Fluttershy. If you know Rainbow Rocks you'll quickly spot which one.
Day 30 - The Pillows, "Little Busters"
My own personal inspiration list began with four things: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Six-String Samurai, Tank Girl, and FLCL. I have a deep attachment to FLCL both the show itself and the amazing soundtrack. This series is one my favorites for music because it really brings the music to the front (in much the same way as Trigun and Cowboy Bebop). It's weird, but I love it.
The 30-day journey of the Rockalypse Kickstarter has been an amazing experience for me, and at this point I just want to share a sense of celebration. So this list ends with "Little Busters." Enjoy, and thank you for listening.