After dozens of raucous jam sessions, weeks of agonizing wrist cramps and the nonstop parade of puzzled stares by colleagues who happened by the EW conference room while our bureau bands were “practicing,” the time to battle had arrived. Both the Los Angeles and New York offices had about one week to tinker with Rock Band 2, the new, improved followup to the game we’d become absolutely addicted to, and we each picked a song with which to duel. The date was set, the fight was on and we were ready to rock!

Playing for LA: writers Whitney Pastorek (vocals), yours truly (guitar), Josh Rottenberg (drums) and Editor-at-Large Ben Svetkey (bass). On team New York: senior editor Adrienne Day (vocals), intern Jaya Saxena (guitar), music editor Rob Brunner (drums) and editorial assistant Simon Vozick-Levinson (bass). Our song: Blondie’s “One Way Or Another.” Theirs: the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” (fine choice, if I may add). And in case of a draw, however unlikely, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” was designated a wild card.

The “battle of the bureaus” précis, and your favorite Rock Band battle stories, after the jump…

To be perfectly honest, the process of choosing a song nearly brokeup our bands. The stakes were high for the LA team, who by virtue ofits size and location, seemed to be the underdog. New York, onthe other hand, had a fancy conference room, hundreds of potential bandmembers (aka EW employees) and one hell of a sound system. So what ifLA had diligently mandated daily band rehearsal; New York, is, New Yawk, y’know? (Can you tell which team I’m on?)

(East coast editor’s note: (a) New York was way too busy actually workingto practice during the week, and (b) LA had been playing for severalmonths prior, because they apparently have the time to do so. So nyaaa!)

Naturally, there were a few rules.

1. The winning band would be decided by point score, but each membercould choose his or her own difficulty. (The higher the difficulty, the morenotes, hence a better score.)
2. With (1) in mind, no playing on “easy.” (Apparently someone in New York didn’t get the memo.)
3.”No Fail” mode had to be turned off. (If a band member screwed uproyally, it was up to the player’s bandmates to save him/her.)
4. The songs chosen had to be from the Rock Band 2 disc library.(This was due to internet connectivity issues which made downloadedcontent — and the XBox Live Battle of Bands feature — unavailable.)

Did the use of overdriveclinch it for the winning team, or did it all come down to difficultylevels? Would a Rock Band jam ever fly at your place of employment? What songs would you choose in a battle? And how much does Whitney Pastorek rock?!