Enlarge W.A.S.P. in Orlando

W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless Defends Using Backing Tracks: “If I’m a Fan, That’s What I Wanna Hear”


The use of backing tracks at live shows is a hotly-debated topic, such as the debacle between Sebastian Bach and Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke earlier this year. Despite the fact that it is pretty much inevitable that major artists—particularly aging ones—will use backing tracks during live performances, many have never accepted the use of backing tracks as legitimate or acceptable.

In a new fan-filmed video of a Q&A session before W.A.S.P.’s performance in Orlando, singer Blackie Lawless is asked whether or not W.A.S.P. are using backing tracks. He admits to using them and goes off on a lengthy answer (transcribed by Blabbermouth) about keeping the live show as close to the record as possible.

“When we go into a studio — and let me clarify that statement; that’s me singing — but when we go in a studio, we do choruses, we double, triple, quadruple the vocals. So my feelings were when I listened to live YouTube [recordings of our shows] and we weren’t doing that, it sounded thin. When we started supplementing it, it sounded better.

“If I’m a fan and I’m coming to a show, I want that thing to sound as good as it can. There are other bands — the Queens of the world — they cannot duplicate 24 vocals at one time. That’s what they do on those records. If you want it to sound like those records, you’ve gotta have some help.

“Now, in defense, I guess maybe what you’re asking, is it fair for a band to go out and use only those? No, that is not fair.

“Like I said, I take a lot of pride in what I do, for the lead vocals that I do, but when it comes to vocals or when it comes to orchestration…

“We went out and we did The Crimson Idol the first time without orchestration. It was okay. It sounded all right. It was kind of like The Who doing Live at Leeds, what they did with Tommy.

“When we did the 20th anniversary of the tour, we took the orchestration with us and we went into production rehearsals. And I had never heard it like that before, because the only time I ever heard it with orchestration was the albums. And I went in there and I stood in the middle of that room and I heard that orchestration with the live band, and it made the hair stand on the back of neck. And I [went], ‘Good God. I’ve never heard this like this before.’ To me, that was a treat. And I don’t give a shit what anybody says; if I’m a fan, that’s what I wanna hear.

“So, again, if somebody’s trying to bullshit an audience, no, I don’t go along with that at all. You’re out there to do a job; do your job. But to supplement it? Absolutely not. I’d wanna hear it.”

W.A.S.P. recently started playing “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” again, so it might be worth a few backing tracks to see them live.

29 Nov – Leesburg, VA – Tally Ho Theater
30 Nov – Columbus, OH – The King Of Clubs
02 Dec – St Charles, IL – Arcada Theater
03 Dec – St Charles, IL – Arcada Theater
05 Dec – Denver, CO – Oriental Theater
07 Dec – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Theater
09 Dec – San Francisco, CA – The Regency

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