I saw an interview with Paul McCartney and he called out major bands playing live with backing tracks but refused to say which ones. I also saw an article about Motley Crue using pre-recorded tracks to bolster their sound.
McCartney: “To me the concert experience is at the heart of what music is about. You come to a show and you are in the room so it is the real thing. I have been to concerts where I think, ‘Oh, I really am in the room with Tony Bennett and it is like he is in my living room’. That is a great part of the experience. I then think, ‘Wait a minute, people must think that about me’. When we make mistakes playing live, we always now turn it and say, ‘Tell you what this proves we are live
McCartney and his band did just that when I saw him. They messed up an intro of a song…Paul laughed and went on.
Before you read the rest…I might be harsher than some people. I didn’t even like it when after 1981… the Stones started to fill up their stage with different musicians to sweeten the sound…and professional backup singers…I would rather hear Keith sing backup. The same applies to the Who… who did the same thing on their 1988-89 tour. That was more because of Townshend’s hearing problems but I would have rather heard the four of them and maybe a keyboardist…BUT at least those bands were not faking it…they didn’t hide anything…they just added more musicians.
Sometimes backing tracks have to be used…Backing tracks are sometimes used when a band cannot have an orchestra or an exotic instrument which I totally get. I’ve seen KISS use it when Peter Criss would sing Beth…I totally get that. I’ve seen The Who use a backing track for Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley which again I totally get. They don’t try to hide it…it’s a part that would be hard to duplicate live and is the main part of the song. That is the reason Keith Moon wore headphones while playing those songs so he would come in on time.
Those tracks are not what I’m talking about. What I’m getting at is when a guitarist, bassist, or vocalist mimes what they were doing and you are NOT hearing it live. You are hearing what they perfected in a studio sometime in the past.
There are places when this has to be done. Many TV studios are not made for rock bands and they have to lip sync to a backing track…most of the bands don’t like doing it but if they want to promote a song they do. In music videos for the most part…they have to lip sync also… so there are times when there is no other choice.
When you are paying $100 for a ticket…I don’t believe lip-syncing or faking should be allowed or they should have to tell you they are doing it. I could take four more bloggers (any volunteers?) and we could mime to Jumpin’ Jack Flash…would anyone want to pay $100 for that? Many acts that dance and jump about…when you hear them sing you hear no panting or breathing hard and you SEE them panting and breathing hard. I’m not a fan but I admire the fact that Lady GaGa actually called some performers out for lip-syncing.
“I don’t think it’s cool to lip-sync, I’m not judging if people do, because it’s everybody’s own style and type of artist they’ve decided to be. But I think that if you pay money for a ticket to see a show then the artist should f**king have some pipes and sing their records for you”… I agree with her.
Paul McCartney is 80 and sometimes his voice goes off… not a lot but sometimes…so what? Mick Jagger goes off at times…but that makes them human. I’m old fashion about this… but I cannot respect anyone that goes out and mimes their greatest hits in a live atmosphere. I’ve been listening to a lot of concerts in the 70s… Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, The Who, Led Zeppelin, etc. How did they do it without autotune? How did they do it without an extra Jimmy Page guitar pre-recorded? If they messed up…they messed up…big deal…they are human. Some performers have said since the ticket prices are so high…they want to give a perfect show. No, I don’t want a perfect show…I want a real show warts and all.
What do you think? If you go to see a band live…do you want to hear guitar, vocal, or bass tracks that were recorded earlier? Live music…should be live… right? Am I’m expecting too much? It may not bother many people.
Artists who have been caught lip-syncing include Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Milli Vanilli, 50 Cent, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Madonna, and more.
Ah…I cannot conclude this post without Miss Ashley Simpson…the poster child for lip-syncing.