In the basement, there's a box of Tido on the washing machine. "Tido" may be a parody of Tide or a reference to a member of the Jackson 5.
Near the bottom of the setlist, there is a circle with the letters "PMRC" with a line through it. This stands for "The Parents Music Resource Center". This administration notified the record labels in 1984, suggesting that record companies put labels on their records that contain "explicit lyrics or content".
In the bonus videos in the first venue (basement), if you're in the green, the furnace and washing machine freak out, and police lights appear in the window.
In quickplay, if you play as Clive Winston or Xavier Stone, at the end of a song, they will sometimes sets their guitar on fire, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
On the floor of the Harmonix Arena, there is a sign that says "the end is nigh!", like those held by street preachers.
Similarly, on the floor of the Harmonix Arena, there is also a chalk marking of Buckethead on the floor. This is a reference to his "Crime Slunk Scene" album.
One of the loading messages before you play Free Bird refers to the previous game's loading message about Free Bird: "FINE. They're NOT just heckling you this time. SIGH."
Another loading message reads "Remember, NO STAIRWAY!". This is a reference to Wayne's World, where one of the characters tries to play Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven at a guitar shop but the owner stops him, showing a sign that indeed reads "No Stairway". It's also a reference that Led Zeppelin forbid their songs from being in any of the Guitar Hero games.
When loading the song "Less Talk More Rokk" by the band Freezepop, the loading screen will say "Throw your undies on the stage, no wait, you're underage", which is a line from another of Freezepop's songs, "Super-Sprode", which is a bonus song by Freezepop in the Harmonix PlayStation 2 rhythm game Amplitude. Super-Sprode is also downloadable content on the X-Box 360 & PlayStation 3 versions of Rock Band in the Harmonix Track Pack. It is labelled as Sprode.
After the encore "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" at the Nilbog High School in the PS2 Version, or Rat Cellar and in the X-Box 360 Version, your drummer disappears in a puff of green smoke, yet another reference to the movie This is Spinal Tap.
In the end of the Career, the stars discreetly spell out "Live and Let Rock", a possible reference to Paul McCartney's song "Live and Let Die".
Also on the loading screen, you can see a game of hangman; if you look to the left of the image, the word of the game is "Strong Bad", who is featured in the game with the song "Trogdor".
The Venue Rock City Theater, is located in Detroit. This is a reference to the KISS song "Detroit Rock City".
The Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II, the credits read "No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming." This is a reference to his absence in the 2006 American League Championship Series due to a sore wrist from playing Guitar Hero.
A list of guitarists are featured in the game. The very end reads "R.I.P. Dimebag", referencing the murder of Dimebag Darrel of Pantera.
Some of the loading screens prior to a song are jokes and references specific to that song; for example, before encores, it tells the player never to "just jam" when the audience wants an encore (a reference to the movie This Is Spinal Tap), while prior to "Jordan", the player is told that wearing a bucket on one's head won't improve one's performance, a direct reference to the song's artist, Buckethead.
The scrolling text on the walls of the school venue contains various lyrics to Alice Cooper's "School's Out".
Also at Nilbog High School, the scoreboard says 69-69.
Clive Winston will use a violin bow to play his guitar when star power is activated with him. This is a tribute to several guitarists, most famously Jimmy Page, who would often do the same thing during performances. Pandora also mimics this action sometimes when her star power is activated, yet she does not actually have a bow.
Xavier Stone will sometimes pick his guitar with his teeth when using star power, another tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
When you select the Gibson Melody Maker in the guitar Select screen, it mentions in the bio "association with certain...(ahem) 'Runaway' success stories. This is referring to the band "The Runaways". Joan Jett, former guitarist for The Runwaways used this guitar.
In Practice mode, the bedroom has many Rolling Stones references. A Their Satanic Majesties Request poster, Let It Bleed album, and a poster of the band themselves in the far right corner.
The Rat Cellar is a possible reference to Aerosmith's "Rats in the Cellar" or, more likely, The Rathskeller (an infamous Boston venue shut down after health violations).
One of the loading screens for the song "Freebird" says "You're looking for solo I in practice mode". Solo I in the song "Freebird" is one of the hardest part of the solo.
When you see the description of the songs Thunderhorse and Trogdor in the store, the three last numbers in the bar code are 666, also 666 is the number of the beast.
On the PS2 version, whenever you choose to play Sweet Child O' Mine in quickplay, you always play as Clive Winston with the Les Paul guitar, possibly because Clive is the guitarist who looks most like Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash.
The clock around the neck of the character Grim Ripper shows the time near midnight, presumably 11:58, possibly as a reference to the popular 80's Iron Maiden song "2 Minutes to Midnight".
Though the song was released before the era the game is based on, in the character description for the Grim Ripper, there is a reference to the Blue Öyster Cult song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
When viewing the character Axel Steel's information on the character page, the beginning is a slight reference to the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'", in the line "just a city boy/born and raised in South Detroit", with "Detroit" replaced by "Peoria".
In the school clock, you can see a "666"; the number of the beast.
In the school clock you can see a "69", a "Kama Sutra" position.
The guitarist now sings along to certain parts of songs, as long as you have a 4X multiplier, and are in the Green on the Rock Meter. They'll sing backing vocals for some tracks, but not all of them. Easiest ones to notice are F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.'s screaming part, and Closer's "searching for!". They also sing along for most of My Curse if you maintain a 4X. This only happens in the PS3/360 versions.
In the Music Video Venue, there is a "Godzilla" Poster in the background.
In the cutscene before the Slash Guitar Battle, an audience member can be heard yelling "OH MY GOD, IT'S SLASH!" when Slash enters the stage.
If you look at the "More Stats" screen for the Tom Morello Guitar Battle, all of the names of the sections are named after how his/your guitar sounds loosely translated.
Both the stage diver's shirt and the stage dancers shirt's say "Bom Chicka Wah Wah", which was an Axe bodyspray advertising catchphrase.
Upon completing Through the Fire and the Flames on Expert, on the 360 version, the Inhuman achievement is unlocked, which is a reference to Dragonforce's album Inhuman Rampage, the album this song is on.
One of the quotes from the loading screen states "20 minute free-form jazz odysseys are not O.K.", which is a reference from "This is Spinal Tap" when the band is trying to decide what songs to play without their lead guitarist.
The large glowing sign on the left of the screen in Kaiju Megadome is a Japanese Proverb saying something along the lines of "Falling down 7 times, getting up 8.". Kaiju is the 7th stadium out of 8, and all the signs behind where the guitarist play say encouraging things about not giving up.
In the PS2 loading screen with the buff guitar-playing arm, if you look at the guy's forearm, there are 2 cards tattooed: 3 and 7,a reference to the song "3's and 7's" which appears in the game.
In the PS2 version loading screen, the little skeleton with wings has a 5 Gum logo on his arm.
The loading quote that says "Don't trash your instruments unless you can afford to replace them," is a possible reference to The Who, who, before they were popular, played shows in bars, and were getting paid around £200, and smashing up £300-400 of equipment per gig.
When you play or practice Through the Fire and Flames on Expert, the loading screen will only say "Good luck". This only happens on the Wii and PS2 versions of the game.
On the poster of the Desert Rock Tour, there is a signpost with an arrow pointing to the right saying "Lou's Inferno". Lou's Inferno is the final Venue.
One of the loading screens says, "It's probably not a good idea to tackle your lead singer." This is a possible reference to John Myung of Dream Theater, who once tackled James LaBrie on stage.
Lou in his human form is one of the teachers in the tutorials.
On the Xbox 360 edition, there is a sign on the crowds left-hand side of Mitch's Moose Lounge that reads "Telus, I dare you to stage dive."
In the Kaiju Dome, there is a poster of Sublime featuring Lou Dog.
The note difference from Hard and Expert difficulty of Through the Fire and Flames is 999, as a reference to Studio 999, which is a reference to Neversoft.
On the stage "Studio 999", there is a poster that looks like the Neversoft logo, the developers of Guitar Hero III.
In several venues, the number "999" appears, a possible reference to Studio 999.
"Studio 999" could be a reference to the cover band Studio 99.
Towards the back of the Kaiju Megadome, there is an ad for Neversoft.
Also, in Studio 999, the stage has a Pontiac logo on it.
Victory Solo O is missing in the The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
In practice mode, the song sections for Impulse are all hyperboles.
There is a guitar called “A Farewell to Kings.” The description reads “It’s time to play your hand, but don’t rush into it.” This is a possible reference to Rush and their 1977 album A Farewell to Kings.
The song "Lay Down" is displayed in game as being made in 2006. This in incorrect, as it was actually made in 2005.
In a few venues, ads for 5 Gum appear. Strangely, 5 Gum ads also appeared in Tony Hawk's Proving Ground which had Guitar Hero III as a demo (Xbox 360 only).
Despite the lead singer appearing in the cutscenes during co-op career, he doesn't appear at all during any of the songs.
When you play the song "Impulse" on Easy difficulty and the bass track, there is a single blue note in the middle of the song. (Easy: 3 notes, blue is a fourth note.)
Opening Neversoft Cutscene: If you look very carefully at the Guitarist/Eye, he is wearing a white T-Shirt with a picture of Lou on it.
Cutscene 1: There was cake on the right side of the magazine.
Cutscene 4: When the lights shine on the singer, La Marseillaise (the French national anthem) plays for a few seconds. Note they are playing in England.
Cutscene 5: On the TV, when watching Wednesday night life, Klay Beacon is probably a spoof of Kevin Bacon, and because of his hair.
Co-Op Cutscene 3: At about 9 seconds, it shows three magazines, and the middle one is titled The Throwing Stone, which is spoofing Rolling Stone.
Cutscene 8: After finding out about the "Celebrity Has-Been Danceoff", the band demands to stop the deal with Lou. However, Lou shows the contract, which says in small print, "your soul is mine," and a crack in the earth opens beneath the band through which they fall into the inferno.
In the third cutscene when Lou offers the contract to the band, He says "Just go ahead" which are the only real words spoken in all of the cutscenes.
The ending cutscene for the Co-op career is the same as the solo career. This is incorrect, as the bassist from the solo career appears in it when the pop out of Celebrity Has-Been Danceoff and in co-op mode, the bassist is a character that is chosen by one of the two players. Furthermore, in the co-op career, the final battle with Lou is omitted.
In one cutscene, the band and Lou are watching a video of the band performing. The website they are on, FretVid, is mimicking the layout and logo of YouTube.
The various silhouettes of the guitarist of the band in the cutscenes depict that the default guitarist is Casey Lynch.
Co-op Cutscene 1: The Singer's and The Drummer's lucky numbers are possibly: 1 & 5 because their phone number has many 5 & 1 numbers
Co-op Cutscene 3: The Singer's name is possibly Eddie, as you can hear the drummer say "Hey, Eddie!" while pointing to the TV.
On the first screen, it says "just press any button to play", which is referring to one of Aerosmith's albums "Just Push Play".
Sometimes, Steven Tyler will pick up a camera near him and sing into it. But when you look, he isn't actually holding anything.
In the 5th venue, it shows a sign that says "Play Hard" either meaning the football players should play roughly or just telling you to play the Hard difficulty level.
The Joe Perry guitar battles stats are named after Aerosmith songs. (Examples: Joey's Got a Gun = Janie's Got a Gun/ You Don't wanna miss a thing = I Don't wanna miss a thing/Done without Mirrors = Done with Mirrors)
Lou and the God of Rock can be seen in the crowd during the last venue.
In the opening scene, Lou (in his human form) can be seen. He has hired someone to hypnotize the crowd but fails when the band shows up.
The Bassist, Singer, and Drummer from previous Guitar Hero games can be seen in the Band intro video.
In the church-like venue, in the pre-encore cinematic, the Dethbat, the main icon for the band Avenged Sevenfold, can be seen flying through the window on stage.
When you're in the music studio, if you look next to the computer for GHmix, you'll see a Van Halen poster.
One of the tattoos available for your custom rocker is a monkey with a wrench, referring to the song "Monkey Wrench" in Guitar Hero II.
In the recording studio, a banner displays the name of your band in Career.
In AT&T Park, in the background on stage is the words Bighouse Blues, referring to the title of Tier 5 in GH3.
In the character creator, the hairstyle called "The Remedy" (a similar hairstyle is available in Rock Band 2 and GH5) may be a reference to the band The Cure. It is similar to the band's hair.
When Playing Vocals, The loading screen will sometimes say "Tip: Move Away From The Mic To Breathe". This is a reference to an Internet meme from the the video "Chocolate Rain".
Another Meme reference is made in the song Too Much Too Young Too Fast. In the results screen, the name of the first section is "All Your Intro Are Belong To Us" a reference to the infamous line "All You Base Are Belong To Us" from the poorly translated game Zero Wing.
The Bass Guitar Inlay named "Rolling the Bones" is a possible reference to the Rush song "Roll the Bones".
The Drum Skin named "Cowboys from..." is a reference to the Pantera song "Cowboys from Hell".
The Guitar Body named Free Bird is an obvious reference to the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird".
All of the Kingly Command actions are based on Elvis Presley.
All of the sections of No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn are named after places on the way to Brooklyn, with the final section being called Brooklyn
The hairstyle "Seattle's Finest" appears to be reference to the Seattle band Nirvana, as it resembles the hairstyle of deceased singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain. The guitar tone "Seattle Fuzz" also seems to be a reference to Nirvana.
The "Metal Chops" facial hair option is a clear reference to Motorhead singer and bassist Lemmy, whose song "Overkill" appears in the game. To poke fun at Lemmy's age (65), the default color for "Metal Chops" is gray.
In the Create a Rocker Mode, there is a tattoo called Woof At The Moon, as from Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark At The Moon".
In Career Mode, in the Times Square and Sunna's Chariot venues, the band is composed of a supergroup consisting of Sting as Bassist, Travis Barker as Drummer, Zakk Wylde is Guitarist for songs sung by males, while Ted Nugent is guitarist for songs sung by females. Ozzy Osbourne sings songs sung by male singers, and Hayley Williams sings songs sung by female singers.
One graphic in game is called 'no more sparrow' a reference to the Linkin Park song 'No More Sorrow' which was DLC for Guitar Hero 3
Once the cheat "Extra Line 6 Tones" is unlocked there is a tone called "Girls Don't Cry" which is a reference to the Cure's song "Boys Don't Cry"
The "When I say Jump..." action is a reference to the Van Halen song Jump.
When you play "Beat It", notice how the singer moves during the last chorus. This dance is similar to the dance in the Michael Jackson video to this song. This also happens when you play Livin' on a Prayer, as the singer starts moving like Bon Jovi in the chorus.
It's certain that the person hired to brainwash the crowd in the Band intro cutscene might be Kenny G.
The achievement titled "1.21 Jigowatts?!?!" is a reference to the movie "Back to the Future".
The drumskin named "2 minutes to..." Is a reference to the Iron maiden song "2 Minutes to Midnight".
"Cherry Bomb", one of the headstocks available in guitar customization, is a cherry with a fuse instead of a stem. This is a shout out to the song "Cherry Bomb" by the Runaways which made a future appearance in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
When you play The Unforgiven on a Stand in the first gig, you see Zach Harmon change James Hetfield's guitar. You can unlock him by earning 100 stars on band career.
James Hetfield plays the Acoustic Guitar in The Unforgiven on a Stand, like he does in actual live performances.
At the begin from Wherever I May Roam, you see Hetfield holding his guitar behind his shoulder.
This is the first game where every song is unlocked from the start.
Most of the game's achievement names are references to Metallica songs or Metallica covers, such as "Astronomy" (Originally by Blue Öyster Cult), which is earned for hitting all SP phrases in the song Orion.
In the song Battery, the whole band doesn't play at all during the acoustic intro.
Lou (In his human form) makes yet another appearance in the game, but only in a couple of cutscenes.
During "No Leaf Clover", an orchestra plays behind the band, but only at the stage where the song is introduced.
During the Career intro, when the camera zooms in on Casey Lynch's house, the word "Electric" can be made out on the golden gates. In-game, the word "Electric" is tattooed on Casey's stomach.
This game's Career ending is similar to the ending in Disney film Hercules. In both endings, the main characters are offered immortality, but they choose to stay on Earth instead.
In the London Sewerage System venue, rats come out of the phone booth at the start of encore songs. Interestingly, this venue's encore song in the guitar career is "Round and Round", a song by Ratt.
The achievement/trophy "Hail The Reverend" is associated with the Avenged Sevenfold song, "Beast and the Harlot". The name of the achievement/trophy is a reference to Avenged Sevenfold's late drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan.
While playing Master Exploder, the singer does not use a microphone although one is present. This is a reference to the video, because in the video Jack Black (singer of Tenacious D), while he is singing the intro, the microphone burns. This is also a reference to the lyrics (I do not need... A microphone).
Another reference to Tenacious D is the fact that the Guitarist will sing backing vocals.
In the song "Intruder/Pretty Woman", you can see Guitarist Eddie Van Halen using a drill with a Van Halen design and proceeds to rub it against the strings to create the eerie sound effects that are in the intro to the song.
During the first part of "Ice Cream Man", when Roth is playing guitar, Eddie and Wolfgang can be briefly seen having a pretend sword fight with their guitars.
Half of the intro drum solo of Painkiller is removed.
Several references to the role playing game World of Warcraft are made throughout the game. One of the main bosses in the game, Arthas Menethil, also appears as an unlockable playable character in Quickplay.
Pandora's Warrior form is either based on the drow race from the Dungeons and Dragons series or the Draenei race from World of Warcraft, as she closely resembles both races, both in body and armor. Neversoft themselves, though, claims she is a Night Elf.
One of the Hero Feed tips tells you not to play guitar with your teeth unless you have a dentist in your family. This is a reference to late guitarist Jimi Hendrix, as he sometimes used to play the guitar with his teeth during live performances.
One of the hero feed tips says that playing the guitar with your tongue may be hard to do but is is a good challenge. This may be a reference to Ace Frehley.