Chuck Billy On Bands Like Def Leppard Using Backing Tracks
In a recent interview with the Syncin’ Stanley YouTube channel, Testament frontman Chuck Billy was asked about bands using backing tracks for vocals. The metal vocalist claimed that using backing tracks was not his style and that he definitely does not lip-sync. He then made the following statements on the subject:
“I guess there’s bands out there that probably need help. I know there’s bands like Def Leppard that use a lot of backing tracks, but that’s also backing tracks for that big sound, ’cause, obviously, you can’t get all their voices live unless you brought in a choir. So, there’s an exception to the rule.”
He also mentioned the rare occasions when he lip-synced. He said:
“I think the only time I’ve ever had to lip-sync is when you shoot videos for, like, MTV. Of course, those aren’t live.”
‘We’re Like A Live Vocal Band’ Claims Def Leppard Guitarist Phil Collen
Def Leppard members seem to disagree with the Testament’s frontman Chuck Billy’s claims. The 46-year-old British rock band has been frequently faced with these accusations in the past. Their guitarist Phil Collen denied these accusations in an interview with ‘Ultimate Classic Rock’ in 2019. His statement was as follows:
“Our vocals are always live, and that’s the big difference – we’re like a live vocal band. And that’s something that a lot of the other bands don’t do. They kind of fake the vocals and it’s not really them. But this is really us. … It’s real. The vocals are real. Everything’s totally, a hundred percent real.”
The Ongoing Debate About Pre-Recorded Tracks in the Rock and Metal Music Scene
It would be wrong to deny that many modern rock bands make use of technological advances in music. And pre-recorded tracks are becoming increasingly common for touring artists in all genres of music. Many rock artists use playback tracks to some degree. However, there are a significant number of people who argue that the use of pre-recorded vocals and sound enhancements goes against the nature of rock music. On the other hand, there are rock stars who say it’s quite normal and they don’t hide it.
One of those in favor of using these technological advances is Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers. In an interview with Rock Feed in 2019, he said the following:
“It bothers me that it bothers people. I’m, like, ‘Why does this bother you?’ It’s the way it is. People have been doing this since the ’80s. And we want the sound to be the best it can be. Could we go up there, just the four of us, and put on the best rock show ever? Of course. But that’s not how we wanna do it.”
In a 2014 interview, Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars admitted that he was uncomfortable with his band’s use of pre-recorded backing vocals in their live performances and stated that he preferred to watch bands that performed completely live.
A few months ago, in a video response given to Syncin’ Stanley YouTube channel, Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy lashed out at bands who rely heavily on backing tracks during their concerts. He said:
“I think it’s bullshit, really, And my peers are doing that shit.”
It seems that the ongoing debates are far from over.