IF YOU GO
Who: SexTon in the Struthers Fourth of July parade
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
SexTon, the rock band, owes its existence to “Rock Band,” the game.
All of the members are big-time gamers with a special affinity for “Rock Band.”
“We were ‘Rock Band’ players first, and we figured, ‘Why not try this for real?,’” said John Cutlip, the band’s guitarist, lead singer and songwriter.
Their love for the game is also helping the band get noticed.
One of SexTon’s songs has been placed on the download list for “Rock Band,” making the band almost certainly the first in the area to achieve such an honor.
“A Better Forever” was picked up last week by Harmonix, maker of “Rock Band.” More SexTon songs soon will follow, said Cutlip.
The band had to submit the song for approval, and after receiving that, it had to have each note of each instrument’s part “charted” — or translated — to “Rock Band” so that gamers can “play” it.
There are companies that will chart a song for a hefty fee, but Cutlip & Co. decided to do it themselves, since they knew how.
Cutlip said it took about 40 hours of work to chart the song — time that most bands (even the few that have the technological know-how) are just not willing or able to commit.
The result, however, is huge exposure.
“We are already getting positive feedback [on the web],” said Cutlip. “It’s difficult to play, and hard-core players love the challenge. But casual players also like the song itself. Some have called it an ‘epic’ tune.”
“Rock Band” players will download songs every day just to have something new to play, said Cutlip. If they like the music, they also will check out the band’s website. As of Tuesday, “A Better Forever” had been downloaded or purchased about 150 times.
SexTon, which formed in 2008, released its first album, also titled “A Better Forever,” in April. All of the band members are still in high school, except for Cutlip, 23, who is attending Youngstown State University. “A Better Forever” was recorded in his basement.
The album has a theme of moving on, said Cutlip, and reflects experiences in his own life. It has an alternative rock-punk feel, although the songs bear the anthemic quality of classic rock.
SexTon has been playing out for a while now, averaging about one gig a month. The members include Cutlip’s twin brothers Josh, 17, (bass), and Justin, 17 (drums); Carleen Bechtel, 16 (vocals, guitar); and Mark Toth, 17 (keyboards). All are from Struthers, except Bechtel, who is from the Columbiana area.
“A Better Forever” is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Zune, ThinkIndie, eMusic, ReverbNation, Napster and many other carriers. Go to SexTonBand.com for more information.