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Pro question - how many guys are playing with backing tracks live

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#1
carl1969

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Just wondering , how many of you are playing with backing tracks live? How many in the show if so? I assume this would also depend on the music your playing and the number of guys in the band. I've seen many top national act going this route lately. I am up to 21 backing tracks these days, (click/sample in my ear live).   


Edited by carl1969, 16 June 2013 - 07:28 AM.

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#2
xsabers

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We were using tracks for keys mostly, until my netbook crashed. 


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#3
tommykat1

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I have no idea what this is like. It seems it would be a distraction to me. I like the idea of having the players adapt and flow with the live environment around us. But...I've never tried it, so my opinion doesn't count until I give it a whirl one day.


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#4
critterkllr

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We use backing tracks. Stereo backing tracks for keyboards, piano, synth, violin or other programmed samples. We used to have our singer do it, but decided to go the backing route and let him focus on singing.

We also have backing guitar tracks that play simultaniously through a second rig. The guitar player and I occasionally write second guitar parts or double them.
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#5
lazer

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much prefer to play live without trax,with some exceptions like rap/electronic/visually based shows with lighting /fx

 

sometimes that is the gig

 

there was a big stink a few yrs ago when cats toured with a new mac computer system,replacing the string section and the afm cried foul to no avail

 

there is a lot of playing to trax on theatre and ship gigs,as well as sight reading,and the ship trax are able to replace fired musicians at a moments notice ,and the push of a fader :evil4:


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#6
rikkrebs

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I depends on what I'm doing. I do a Middle Eastern Techno gig that is just me various drums and a computer. Backing tracks have allowed me the freedom to even attempt this. Most bands I play with do not use them....theater gigs is about 50/50.

 

Being able to use tracks is just another tool in being a professional, however nothing beats the fun of improve in a live setting.


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#7
Doof

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We don't use them in my current country gig, but my previous group use to use them on about 50% of the set.  Mostly keys, odd percussion bits, and effects.  I didn't mind it as it really expanded our setlist.  I found it valuable experience for when I have to use them again.

 

The unfortunate part about it was that our lead player used to start the sequences from his side of the stage.  When he hit a weong button or started a sequence prematurely, it was very embarassing.


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#8
rondrums51

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I did tons of shows with tracks and clicks back in the 80's--a lot of stuff at Disney World. I had headphones, and I pulled them off one ear so I could  hear the live musicians. I made it OK, but I hated it, and I thought that if this is where shows are going, I don't want to do this anymore.

 

A while back, I did a gig with a guitarist, singer, and a keyboard player who played the bass lines, and the keyboard player had horn tracks. They came through a monitor, no headphones. Since there was no click, it got messy. It was just stupid. I am not a machine, and I don't want to play with machines.

 

This is not real live music. This is not "progress." It's de-humanizing. I will not do this anymore.


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#9
DoctorJosiah

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Only for additional instrumentation. There are still live players on stage, but like has been mentioned. Keys, strings, extra guitar parts, loops, etc

 

That's been all of my experience though, it's only the "extras". To me, that's ok. The majority of things are still live.

 

 

Now I have definitely heard many 'name' players talking about lip synching and vocal backing tracks for major artists. That too me is cheating, but then again if you are having to slam that stuff out 2 hours a night 4 nights a week, 30 weeks in a row... I can see both sides of the argument.

 

 

I just play drums here. Ya dig?


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#10
tommykat1

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I did tons of shows with tracks and clicks back in the 80's--a lot of stuff at Disney World. I had headphones, and I pulled them off one ear so I could  hear the live musicians. I made it OK, but I hated it, and I thought that if this is where shows are going, I don't want to do this anymore.

 

A while back, I did a gig with a guitarist, singer, and a keyboard player who played the bass lines, and the keyboard player had horn tracks. They came through a monitor, no headphones. Since there was no click, it got messy. It was just stupid. I am not a machine, and I don't want to play with machines.

 

This is not real live music. This is not "progress." It's de-humanizing. I will not do this anymore.

 

Well that kind of tells me what I need to know about the subject!


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#11
DoctorJosiah

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You can't really compare the 80's to today though....

 

 

The stuff now is seamless, amazingly perfect at being imperfect.


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#12
Thwack

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No tracks for us.


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#13
carl1969

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We got rid or our keyboard player and went to using samples for the keyboard tracks and maybe some looped sounded effects, we play a mix of top 40, classic 80's and newer rock songs. We are covering some artists like MUSE and 30 seconds to mars who use a lot of backing tracks live also. If I was playing a straight rock gig or a blues gig this wouldn't be happening however I play what the current market in my area demands. It keeps the band on their toes that's for sure.


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#14
lazer

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I did tons of shows with tracks and clicks back in the 80's--a lot of stuff at Disney World. I had headphones, and I pulled them off one ear so I could  hear the live musicians. I made it OK, but I hated it, and I thought that if this is where shows are going, I don't want to do this anymore.

 

A while back, I did a gig with a guitarist, singer, and a keyboard player who played the bass lines, and the keyboard player had horn tracks. They came through a monitor, no headphones. Since there was no click, it got messy. It was just stupid. I am not a machine, and I don't want to play with machines.

 

This is not real live music. This is not "progress." It's de-humanizing. I will not do this anymore.

 

Well that kind of tells me what I need to know about the subject!

btw i notice drummers with headphones or earplugs listening to a click w backing tracks on a live gig have a decidedly guilty/embarrassed look on their faces,whether conscious of it or not


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#15
RIDDIM

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I did a prog project for a few years that had backing tracks (couldn't afford a keyboard player).  I had the tracks and a click running to my IEM's.   It was good for my ability to play with a click, but I'd much rather dialog with human beings than recite to a machine.

 

Having said that, I'm not averse to using a click in dance or R&B scenarios.  It keeps me honest, and it facilitates editing after the fact, if the artist wants to market what we've done.


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#16
DoctorJosiah

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btw i notice drummers with headphones or earplugs listening to a click w backing tracks on a live gig have a decidedly guilty/embarrassed look on their faces,whether conscious of it or not

 

 

Really now?

 

 

I guess that begs the question, how do you know what is in their ears?


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#17
critterkllr

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I did tons of shows with tracks and clicks back in the 80's--a lot of stuff at Disney World. I had headphones, and I pulled them off one ear so I could hear the live musicians. I made it OK, but I hated it, and I thought that if this is where shows are going, I don't want to do this anymore.

A while back, I did a gig with a guitarist, singer, and a keyboard player who played the bass lines, and the keyboard player had horn tracks. They came through a monitor, no headphones. Since there was no click, it got messy. It was just stupid. I am not a machine, and I don't want to play with machines.

This is not real live music. This is not "progress." It's de-humanizing. I will not do this anymore.

Well that kind of tells me what I need to know about the subject!
btw i notice drummers with headphones or earplugs listening to a click w backing tracks on a live gig have a decidedly guilty/embarrassed look on their faces,whether conscious of it or not
Not me. It took a lot of hard work to bring back that natural feel while playing to a click and backing tracks. I love it. I get to add instruments to the mix that would take an extra 5 people stage. Sometimes an entire orchestra that I spent months programming or recording violin parts. We use a dedicated digital recorder and often record parts "live" during rehearsal.

I think that having a strict opinion on all backing tracks for all types of music is just a little narrow minded. I certainly don't think they're appropriate for all occasions, but don't think there's anything machine-like about the way many bands utilize it. I'm not talking about lip syncing singers.

The best live show I've ever seen was one of the more recent NIN tours. They have quite a bit preprogrammed and on backing tracks. It was still unbelievable. Many of the sounds they get are close to impossible to replicate because they use massive modular synths.

The second best live show I've seen was Sigur Ros. They don't have any backing tracks and play all sorts of random instruments live. It was great to see the creativity those guys put into their music happen right in front of you.

In both instances the bands used their own ingenuity to create something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Edited by critterkllr, 16 June 2013 - 10:01 PM.

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#18
DoctorJosiah

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Was Josh playing with NIN?

 

 

That guy brings with every note. Every night. Every time.

 

Certainly no look of guilt or embarrassment on his face.


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#19
critterkllr

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Was Josh playing with NIN?


That guy brings with every note. Every night. Every time.

Certainly no look of guilt or embarrassment on his face.


I wish I could remember. I've seen them close to ten times, but it was once in particular that blew me away the most. I believe it was the With Teeth tour. Holy crap the drummer brought it!
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#20
Formula428

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Porcupine Tree uses them, and very well too. I think it depends on how they're used. I have personally never used them, mostly because it would require a good monitoring system /IEM which my band mates (self excluded) never had.
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