Herman Li: “Guitar Hero was very important for metal – and for all guitar-driven music”

Several of DragonForce’s songs appeared in the game over the years, particularly the notoriously hard Through the Fire and Flames.

Herman Li performing live

Credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

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Guitar Hero served as the gateway drug to metal for many fans – and budding guitarists – throughout the 2000s and early 2010s. DragonForce certainly made a fair few fans out of it too (provided they could shred fast enough), so it’s no wonder guitarist Herman Li has been full of praise for the rhythm game series.

Li reminisces on the success of the video game in an interview with Metal Hammercrediting it with boosting the profile of metal in general as well as DragonForce and their peers.

Guitar Hero was very important for metal – not just for DragonForce, but all guitar-driven music,” he says. “With guitar music, the waves come and go; it’s popular, then it’s not popular, it’s hard to say why. But Guitar Hero definitely got a young generation to hear guitars, and gave them a choice actually, between what they hear on the radio and what they don’t hear on the radio. Tim Henson is an example from that generation; he played Guitar Hero as a kid, now he’s a guitar hero himself!”

DragonForce’s hit Through the Fire and Flames was notably one of the hardest playable songs in Guitar Hero III. Other tracks from the band to appear in the series include Fury of the Storm, Operation Ground and Pound, Heroes of Our Time and Revolution Deathsquad.

Elsewhere in the interview, Li also tells the story of the occasion where he met Brian May and his surprise that the Queen guitarist not just knew of, but was a fan of, his band.

“I went to see Mr. Big at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2011, and [Queen guitarist] Brian May was there,” Li recalls. “Everyone wanted to speak to him, everyone was onto him, and I was like, ‘Obviously I don’t want to annoy Brian May.’ I know what it’s like to be a guitar player at a show, people pulling your ear off.

“Then, suddenly, he came up to me and said, ‘Hey Herman, how’s it going?’ What the fuck?! Brian May came and spoke to me! He likes DragonForce! That was a shocker for me!”

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