Marty Friedman Makes an Excuse for Bands That Use Backing Tracks – ‘Who Cares?’
Referring to KISS, the guitarist Marty Friedman offered an excuse for the use of pre-recorded backing tracks in otherwise live rock and metal performances when he remarked on the matter in a recent Cameo greeting.
Cameo is a video-sharing app where fans can pay to have a participating figure or celebrity send a personal video to themselves or others. In addition to Friedman, a former Megadeth guitarist, Cameo has also included Megadeth bandleader Dave Mustaine.
A hot topic in rock, KISS have long been accused of using pre-recorded tracks when they do concerts, although they aren't the only ones. KISS manager Doc McGhee has even addressed the situation. But this month, the KISS fan page Syncin' Stanley apparently purchased a Cameo from Friedman specifically asking for his take on KISS and the use of backing tracks.
Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.
According to Syncin' Stanley's YouTube, "Syncin' Stanley is a PARODY character who exposes and makes fun of current KISS and [singer] Paul Stanley’s lies and hypocrisy." Regardless, the fan page may not have gotten the answer they wanted out of Friedman.
Marty Friedman on Backing Tracks
"Who cares?" the ex-Megadeth member says. “I don't really know anything about that side of it; I don't know if [Stanley] does or if he doesn't. But if you're caring about lip-syncing and things that are going on, you can't go to any gigs anymore because even … indie bands are doing all kinds of stuff with tracks and click tracks and adding vocals." (via Blabbermouth)
Friedman continues, "So when you talk about bands that are playing arenas and stadiums, they are doing so much stuff that wasn't around in the original days of KISS. So if you get pissed off about something like lip-syncing, then you can't go to anything anymore."
Use of Backing Tracks in Rock + Metal
During a performance last year, KISS reportedly flubbed part of their song "Detroit Rock City," seemingly exposing pre-recorded backing vocal tracks for Stanley. Years earlier, in 2015, KISS bassist-vocalist Gene Simmons criticized bands who use tracks live.
But the debate about backing tracks extends far outside KISS, though the classic rockers are often fingered for a group that utilizes lip-synching in their live show. In 2019, former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach defended KISS, claiming that they did not lip-synch.
Last year, Falling in Reverse pulled out of a festival after their laptops went missing, prompting subsequent speculation around bands' reliance on technology for live gigs. Around the same time, a video seemed to show Motley Crue using backing tracks.
Live Singing vs. Pre-Recorded Vocals
Friedman muses, "Singing in KISS — I mean, it's not like you're going to see Celine Dion or something where you really give a shit how many octaves someone can sing. KISS is so many more things than just singing."
He adds, "What are you gonna do? It's 2023. Technology has allowed things to happen and things to evolve. And it's not 1976 anymore. Just be glad that a band that you like is still doing something that you can go see or not go see. So I would just say don't concentrate on those things. Concentrate on the joy that you originally got from the band, and whether you wanna go see them now or not see them now, that's cool."
Friedman concludes, "These guys [in KISS] gave their lives, decades and decades. They could have been on the beach, they could have been hanging around. But what were they doing? They were doing in-stores and they were doing meet-and-greets and they were doing soundchecks and they were doing gigs and traveling, all that stuff. … You've gotta give it up to those guys. And they have my ultimate respect."
See a whole list of rock bands that have admitted to using backing tracks below.
Marty Friedman Talks KISS - Mar. 5, 2023
KISS 2023 Tour Dates
April 12 – Manaus, Brazil @ Arena Amazonia
April 15 – Bogota, Colombia @ Estadio Campin
April 18 – Brasilia, Brazil @ Mane Garrincha
April 20 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil @ Mineirao
April 22 – Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Allianz Parque
April 25 – Florianopolis, Brazil @ Hard Rock
April 30 – Santiago, Chile @ Santa Lauro
May 27 – Columbus, Ohio @ Sonic Temple
June 3 – Plymouth, England @ Argyle Stadium
June 5 – Birmingham, England @ Home Park
June 6 – Newcastle, England @ Resorts World
June 10 – Prague, Czech Republic @ O2 Arena
June 12 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Ziggo Dome
June 13 – Belgium, Brussels @ Palais 12
June 15 – Clisson, France @ Hellfest
June 17 – Munchen, Germany @ Konigsplatz
June 19 – Krakow, Poland @ Arena Krakow
June 21 – Dresden, Germany @ Halle 1
June 22 – Berlin, Germany @ Schmeling Halle
June 25 – Cartagena, Spain @ Rock Imperium
June 27 – Lyon, France @ Halle Garnier
June 29 – Tuscany, Italy @ Lucca Festival
July 1 – Mannheim, Germany @ SAP Arena
July 2 – Cologne, Germany @ Laxness Arena
July 5 – London, England @ O2 Arena
July 7 – Manchester, England @ AO Arena
July 8 – Glasgow, Scotland @ OVO Hydro
July 12 – Rattvik, Sweden @ Dalhalla Amp.
July 13 – Rattvik, Sweden @ Dalhalla Amp.
July 15 – Tonsberg, Norway @ Kaldnes
Oct. 29 – Austin, Texas @ Moody Center
Nov. 1 – Palm Springs, Calif. @ Acrisure Arena
Nov. 3 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Bowl
Nov. 6 – Seattle, Wash. @ Climate Pledge Arena
Nov. 8 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Rogers Arena
Nov. 10 – Edmonton, Alberta @ Rogers Place
Nov. 12 – Calgary, Alberta @ Saddledome
Nov. 13 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan @ SaskTel Ctr
Nov. 15 – Winnipeg, Manitoba @ Canada Life Ctr
Nov. 18 – Montreal, Quebec @ Centre Bell
Nov. 19 – Quebec, Quebec @ Videotron Ctr
Nov. 21 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Canadian Tire Ctr
Nov. 22 – Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena
Nov. 24 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ Thompson-Boling Arena
Nov. 25 – Indianapolis. Ind. @ Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Nov. 27 – Rosemont, Ill. @ Allstate Arena
Nov. 29 – Baltimore, Md. @ CFG Arena
Dec. 1 – New York, N.Y. @ MSG
Dec. 2 – New York, N.Y. @ MSG