Backing tracks are back in the news. Is it something bands should use?
Paul Stanley was human again. During a June 6 show in Antwerp, Germany, he stepped away from the microphone while his backing track played on.
It is not the first time this has happened.
Surprisingly, the commentators in the two YouTube videos I watched were kind to Mr. Stanley.
One can read into their polite critique as being at the crossroads of fandom and intolerance.
I too have stood at this crossroad, looked both ways, shrugged, and kept moving forward.
The thing is, this is a personal decision music fans have to make. There is no commentary, no matter how vociferous, that will convince anyone that using backing tracks have merit or are an injustice.
Look, what Mr. Stanley is doing does not rise to a Millie Vanilli level of embarrassment. That duo didn't sing at all on their smash lp, Girl You Know It’s True. The 1989 record sold 14 million copies and got them the 1990 Grammy for best new artist. They had to give back their Grammy when they were finally caught lip-synching. I hope they got to keep the cash for all those record sales. Sadly, one of the two, Rob Pilatus, died from a drug overdose in 1998. The other half of the duo, Fab Morvan, blames the record industry for their demise, saying they were "chewed up and spit out by the record industry machine.”
Of course it isn't his fault he lip-synched an entire album. I bet the dog used to chew up and spit out Mr. Morvan's homework as well.
But I digress, back to the point.
KISS, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison, Jan and Dean (I reached back for that one!) all have
been known to use backing tracks or lip-sync during live performances.
However, they all could do one thing that Millie Vanilli couldn't. They all could actually sing and/or play instruments at one time in their lives. And they all did it really well. Top 40 well, hall of fame well in some cases.
The central question is, do you still want to see these bands perform live, or do you think they should hang it up as soon as they can't reproduce live what they created in a studio.
For the sake of discussion, let's say Mr. Stanley started singing in front of an audience at the age of fifteen. That means he's been at it for 55 years. How many voices can take that stress and still sound decent? Keep in mind there is a lot of screaming and straining going on when you sing rock n roll.
By way of comparison, the great Tony Bennett was singing beautifully at 95 years old, however, his type of singing doesn't stress the vocal chords in the same manner Paul Stanley has.
What a fan has to ask is, do I want to see only the real deal on-stage, or would I rather see some of the world's most popular bands even if they need a little help?
"I believe a performer and/or musician should be able to use any tools necessary to present the best possible performance. That being said, if you are not disclosing to your paying audience, that the tools being used in your act are in fact artificial, then it’s really not fair to ridicule or judge anyone who has an issue with it.”
The Verve Pipe
I'd love to hear how you feel about it.
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See ya soon!