Over the course of the past year alone, there has been quite a lot of controversy when it comes to the use of backing tracks.
Back in 2022, radio personality Eddie Trunk said that the use of pre-recorded tracks “has become an epidemic that needs to stop.” Also last year, KISS was accused of using backing tracks, and more recently, members of Mötley Crüe have been accused of using backing tracks throughout their 2022 Stadium Tour.
The use of pre-recorded tracks is a hot topic of debate for some within the metal community; while some folks think it’s okay to use backing tracks as part of live performances, others are super against the idea.
Several metal artists have provided their thoughts on the topic, and more recently, while talking to Cassius Morris, Devildriver singer Dez Fafara weighed in on the debate. This is what Fafara has to say regarding the matter (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):
“I can’t even fucking reserve judgment for that, because I was raised on punk rock and psychobilly and goth, and that shit is not on tape. I mean, I get it if you’re Katy Perry — I get it. If you’re a metal band and you’re using tracks, if it’s like a small, little, like a piece of something that nobody can do… Like, here’s actually the example for Devildriver. We do a cover song called ‘Sail’ by Awolnation. Actually, I think our version is better. And I do it because it’s… Blame it on my ADD [attention-deficit disorder] and I’ve suffered from ADD/ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] my whole life. But there’s a girl in the background doing this high part. Obviously, no one can do that on stage. So we’ll run that to a track — and not all the time, mind you.
“But I think when you start tracking vocals, when you start tracking bass, when you start tracking guitar, when you’re tracking drums, and you’re a metal band or a punk band or a blues band — all of these bands are supposed to be real bands — then we have a fucking serious problem.”
The Devildriver frontman goes on to add: “And I get it. [Say] we’re on a huge stadium tour and the singer is sick tonight. He can’t even sing but there’s forty thousand tickets sold. Okay, all right, maybe you wanna run something on track to save the show. I get it. Or maybe there’s a backup harmony that nobody can do. Okay, I get it.
“But when you start running the main tracks of vocals, guitar, bass, drums? Fuck off. I mean, I can’t paint the picture any more than that.”
What do you think of Fafara’s points and the use of backing tracks as a whole? In what cases do you think the use of pre-recorded tracks are okay to use? Or, are you against the use of them in general?