Mudvayne’s Chad Gray on Backing Tracks: “Why the F*ck Are You Onstage?”


Everyone from Ronnie Radke to your favorite washed-up rockstar has an opinion on backing tracks, with some feeling like they enhance the show (or are a necessary component for certain bands) while others feel like it’s a cheap imitation and a cop out from having to perform. Mudvayne singer Chad Gray is definitely in the second camp, according to his latest interview.

The singer lambasted those who use backing vocal tracks—but is completely fine with musical ones—and claims fans get shafted when backing tracks are used.

“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. Ashlee Simpson, when she did what she did on ‘Saturday Night Live’, 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.”

The really frustrating part about this conversation is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some fans care more about backing tracks than other fans, some bands need backing tracks more than other bands, and some singers just want to make blanket statements to maximize engagement.

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