Backing Tracks - yes or no?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Gasp100, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,700
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    I Believe I have an old thread on this subject (or I have at least commented on other threads regarding the subject) but I'm rethinking this subject again.
    There was a post in a recent thread concerning adding a keyboard player to a lineup and one person mentioned there is "no way you're going to get to the next level (ie. Wedding, corporate, better club gigs) without a keyboard player". My bass player has actually mentioned that he feels "everyone" has gone to using backing tracks as well (and he plays in a six person band that doesn't normally use tracks).
    I have the track creation process down at this point. We are all comfortable using IEM's exclusively, I have the PA gear, and I have my process pretty much ready to go.
    The only thing holding me back is the freedom and the onstage energy while playing live. We definitely call audibles during sets and we try keeping our time between songs to an absolute minimum (very often one song right into the next song or at the most five seconds with some banter). I feel like we have a very solid energy live even though we are basically a three-piece with female lead singer and each performance is getting tighter and better than the last.
    We have tested playing a few songs to tracks at a recent show and it was pretty cool, but the record BPM was a little slower than what we would want to use live which I can easily tweak in a few keystrokes.
    We played uptown funk on Friday night and it actually went over really well and had good energy. I've also seen a number of bands use tracks with the horns and to me they sound pretty lame. In all honesty Etc could be the band themselves being tied to the clinic and not having a enough experience.
    I just don't know... If we start to incorporate tracks will be bringing a little bit more gear and will be playing the same rooms to start, that's for sure.
    Has anyone seen a significant ROI by bringing in tracks to their lineup? I am extremely anal and I believe the tracks and the mix would be very well done. Better then most of the bands I have seen as of late that use tracks regularly. But again, right now we are getting it done without having to use any of that stuff. Eventually, we're going to want to take it up a notch and I'm wondering if this is the easiest way to do it?
     
  2. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,449
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    SW Michigan
    I would say go for It! I've had great success with tracks, and very rarely will anyone care, unless some Gear Pagers show up, No one seems to give a hoot, many think I'm performing this magic with my pedal board, and I think it's because it's getting to be way more common, even many of the huge acts are doing it, and especially contemporary bands, they even have there guest singers on a video screen rather in person, the kids don't care!.

    When wages don't go up for musicians in years, you need to have as small a group as possible to make any $.

    The Guys in my area that make a living playing are solo looper guys, and 2 maximum 3 piece groups with tracks, the secret with tracks is you must use real drums and guitar, the rest can be canned.

    We have been doing this for 9yrs, and been really happy that it is taking others so long to get on board.

    Would We rather be a 6 piece band and make the same $, YES!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  3. TVvoodoo

    TVvoodoo Mad Strappier Vendor

    Messages:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Location:
    Western Canuckistan
    my brother runs a wedding/special event band for 20 years.
    They have no physical bass player. He says about four people have asked.
     
  4. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,363
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Anthem, AZ
    Seems to be the wave of the future, unfortunately, but I can see that changes need to be made to make a buck and compete these days.

    A big downside is that it's getting so nobody believes that many of these major acts are playing live anymore...and maybe they aren't...who knows? :)
     
  5. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Anywhere but Here
    Go for it. Once I figure out how to do it with our gear I have full cooperation from the band and I'm going to do it also.

    It opens up so many things if done right and in moderation.
     
  6. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,971
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Gulf Coast
    What about playing solo with drum n bass tracks?

    Saw a guy do that, he was a great guitarist, overall did not sound terrible but just strange.

    Talked with him a bit, he said he would rather not do it but in the small town (we pulled off the interstate for the night in the Carolinas somewhere - nice place, good food and craft beer) there was a shortage of players.
     
  7. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,700
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    There are a few things I won't do:
    1. Vocal tracks
    2. Solo piano tracks
    3. Any spaces where the band it not playing anything (in particular intros and outros)
    4. Guitar
    I've see vids of competing bands where the band is literally standing around waiting for a song to end... in their live promo video... which they could have easily thought of a different ending, segue, etc...
     
  8. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,449
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    SW Michigan
    Bass player is the first to go in this format.
    Your better off having a physical keyboard player then bass player if you have to chose between the two.
     
  9. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

    Messages:
    18,653
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dude Ranch Above The Sea

    Most of them aren't. Turn on AXS on any given Sunday and see for yourself.

    So why should freaking cover bands kill themselves to try to reproduce what the "pros" can't?
     
  10. drewl

    drewl Member

    Messages:
    5,601
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    No, it's cheesy, fake and bogus sucking the final few breaths of what's left if live music.

    Ha, ha, just kidding, go for it Milli Vanilli.
     
  11. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,025
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    People come out to see the act, see the star, see the show, hear their fave songs, if it is a known pro act. Backing tracks become a small element.

    Not the same for the average cover band, imo. It depends on why you draw..if you do.
     
  12. custom53

    custom53 Member

    Messages:
    4,763
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus
    I don't see a thing wrong with it. Unless you are playing back up to the backing track. I have heard many local groups using it for keeping a song/show together. Works great sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. Once you decide the proper direction it's fine by me.
     
  13. Devnor

    Devnor Member

    Messages:
    2,987
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    A lot of bands are doing it from the A-room cover bands to national acts including metal bands. From what I have seen the majority of folks don't care. They more interested in what's happening on their phones. They aren't overthinking it. If you are going to use tracks, I would try to avoid having the backing track start your tune. It does seem awkward when the prerecorded intro to "Don't Stop Believin" or "I Will Survive" begins and the band is just kinda standing there.
     
  14. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,700
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    Agree obviously there are easier ways to arrange around those types of circumstances.
     
  15. Pat Healy

    Pat Healy Member

    Messages:
    10,959
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    There was a recent thread here with Don Felder's band doing Eagles songs with extensive vocal and guitar tracks. Felder's lead vocal is sometimes tracked (he lip syncs). This is material where vocals and guitar are about the only things that matter, and yet people are paying to see him.

    99% of audiences will not know or care. Do not listen to snarky TGPers who say dumb things like "it's not real music." Those folks believe that no "real" music has been created since Zeppelin. Go for it.
     
  16. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Anywhere but Here
    I beg to differ on the Journey song. I've been in a band that did the piano intro via backing track and the singer just started egging the audience on to sing along as soon as the track started. Always got a great reaction.

    I never saw one person looking around for the piano or standing there with their arms folded looking at us weird. I plan on doing it in my current band as soon as I figure out how to do it with my gear. I've never had to be a semi-real sound guy before.
     
  17. Custom50

    Custom50 Member

    Messages:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Eh, if you wanna do it then go for it. I personally will never do it. It's just not for me.
     
  18. RLD

    RLD Member

    Messages:
    6,661
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    SeaTown
    I did it for years because it was my main source of income and I wanted to make as much as possible...and it worked.
    I also learned valuable sequencing and arranging skills that I still use today.
    However...its not as much fun from a musicians standpoint.
    Unless you want to be some sort of laptop DJ setting loop points etc., the songs are the same every night...no more jamming or extending parts.
    Plus when it goes bad, it's real bad.
    I don't do it today as I'd much rather just play and utilize good players.
    Maybe there are some songs you can't do without tracks but you just be more creative and do them your own way.
    But, I don't think the general public cares.
    Sure, the guitar players with their arms crossed standing at the back of the room care, but so what?
     
  19. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,705
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    Another nail in the coffin of live music.

    Might as well play the Jukebox.

    What next, airband competitions?
     
  20. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Member

    Messages:
    895
    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Location:
    Perth Western Australia

Share This Page