The use of backing tracks during live shows has become a prominent debate in the metal scene. For some, like Anthrax’s Scott Ian, the use of pre-recorded tracks is not a big deal; for others though, like Mudvayne‘s Chad Gray, the use of such technology is greatly frowned upon.
The Mudvayne vocalist recently shared his feelings about the use of pre-recorded tracks while chatting with Syncin’ Stanley. Initially, the frontman is asked if he would ever rely on using such technology, to which he says (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), “No, I wouldn’t.” This question prompts Gray to go off on how much he’s against the use of backing tracks as part of live shows.
Regarding his views on backing tracks, here is what Gray has to say:
“I think it’s an epidemic, man. I really do. I think it’s crazy that what’s happened in the past happened in the past, like the Milli Vanillis of the world. That band was fucking dead the second they did that. [Editor’s note: Milli Vanilli was caught lip syncing on stage] Ashlee Simpson, when she did what she did on ‘Saturday Night Live’ [was busted lip syncing on the show], that girl was absolutely lambasted, like she was the goddamn devil and all the things.
“There’s so many huge artists that do it or whatever, and it’s really frustrating, coming from a dude that doesn’t do it. I would never have backing vocals or lead vocals, and I know that people do lead vocals and stuff. I’ve actually toured with bands where I’ve watched their soundcheck and there’s so much goddamn track coming down the pike, it’s like — it sounds like the album. It’s crazy. Vocals, guitars, guitar overdubs, everything. It’s insane. But there’s a part of it, like, I kind of feel like, do you wanna come to a venue, spend good money and listen to my record? You know what I mean? Or do you want to come and listen to the music live? Which means missing notes, you’re not hitting every note, it means dropping lyrics, it means missing guitar notes, it means missing drum beats. It’s the human element. And it’s really frustrating to me because people are paying good money to go and see their favorite bands play songs that they love and they’re not getting that. They’re getting shafted, I think, honestly.
“If you can’t sing your shit and you can’t play your shit, your music, then why the fuck are you onstage? You’re not doing anything that anybody else can’t do. There’s nothing special about what you’re doing, and you can do anything in the studio, so… Again, I’ve seen bands where their tape stops and it’s absolutely fucking atrocious. It doesn’t sound even remotely close to anything. And I have some friends that do actually do it, but they do it, again, with musical parts or whatever. It’s not this blatant, you know, backing vocals or lead vocals.”
Gray goes on to add “I absolutely am sick of it and I think that motherfuckers that don’t play their shit shouldn’t be allowed to play. I don’t think you should be allowed to take someone’s money, ’cause you’re not playing your shit. That’s my two cents.”
Are you against the use of backing tracks or are you okay with them? Do you appreciate those “human” moments when an artist might slip up with a note or lyric?