Backing tracks...

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
A great band that plays to backing tracks and manipulates them on the fly is Twenty-One Pilots. First time I saw these guys (a duo), and how they performed, I had no clue how they did it (played along so seamlessly to the backing tracks). Then it dawned on me that this was new-school and showed legitimate talent.
I am glad you brought up Twenty One Pilots.
Recently I started to think that use of backing tracks was starting to reduce many artists' gigs to glorified karaoke shows.
However this week I saw Twenty One Pilots and they have a fantastic live show.
They have made me feel a lot better about the future of live music!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I am glad you brought up Twenty One Pilots.
Recently I started to think that use of backing tracks was starting to reduce many artists' gigs to glorified karaoke shows.
However this week I saw Twenty One Pilots and they have a fantastic live show.
They have made me feel a lot better about the future of live music!
Agreed. They're interaction with the crowd is one of the best I've seen. Plus, the crowd always seems to know the lyrics. No one ever sang along to an entire Rush tune in concert (at least I never heard it).
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
You mean the Singing Dogs that did that canine version of Jingle Bells. I think they actually did a whole album barking the songs. Oh wait...sorry the subject is backing tracks. I though it was about barking tracks. My mistake.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
If you play to a click it's easy. Program some midi or samples over it and your good. MANY bands will have their entire set done like this. There are 2 ways to do it. One is everyone has clicks in their ears, everything has to be in time, and you can't have any variance or you are hosed. Another would be to get the drummer to initiate the next song with a sample pad etc. Then you can go as far to have loops, or do things on the fly.

I think the drummer initiating it is very common in this day and age. It's pretty cool for a guitar player that records harmonies on an album to be able to have them in the live material. Or if 2 guitars are playing lead you can have the rythem in the backing track. or an extra vocal part etc.

Being from the olderschool era myself I have not gone this route, but it's more out of fear for it screwing up live and trying to fix that on the fly. lol
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
Being from the olderschool era myself I have not gone this route, but it's more out of fear for it screwing up live and trying to fix that on the fly. lol
Haha, same reason on my end. Plus currently, I'm the only one who consistently wears IEMs when we play (we're a local cover band, nothing extravagant) so until everyone else jumps on board we're leaving the tracks out of our set... We'd certainly like to one day since we don't have keyboardist, percussionist, or dedicated rhythm guitarist.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
A large number of people I play for use tracks live. I don't mind it at all.
I think a lot of it stems from the trends in production on modern recordings. You can layer and layer and layer in the studio, but if you want that duplicated live you would need a huge band. Most people can't afford that, and at the inid level, as stated before, many venues can't accommodate that.

When tracks are used correctly they blend right with the musicians on stage and no ones notices. There's a new project I was just hired for that has a LOT of tracks, even some of my drum parts are doubled on the track. We did that so I wouldn't have to use triggers on every drum to duplicate specific sounds from the albums. The amount of labor I would have to put in on programing all the samples, and setting up the triggers/cables/modules for every gig would be a nightmare.
If anything it's forced me to be tighter. If I'm slightly off from those doubled drum tracks people will hear the flam. Can't have that!

Even on gigs I do without tracks I'm always running a click to my IEM's anyway, so there isn't much of a difference in my world, haha.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Haha, same reason on my end. Plus currently, I'm the only one who consistently wears IEMs when we play (we're a local cover band, nothing extravagant) so until everyone else jumps on board we're leaving the tracks out of our set... We'd certainly like to one day since we don't have keyboardist, percussionist, or dedicated rhythm guitarist.
I was at a clinic and asked Flo if he had ever had issues with the click track live.. He said "oh forsure". I asked him what he did and he said "rip the iem's out"

sometimes I don't have time to rip out custom molded iems, and if you are using IEM's you probibly don't have a good PA mix. haha. I thought about how much it would suck to rip that out, then finish up the song hearing yourself only and not great.

the entire band uses the click or NO one.

Sure, the drummer keeps time, but it's the other guys that make me rush or fall back most of the time. With all the tempo changes in our songs it would be pretty tough.
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
sometimes I don't have time to rip out custom molded iems, and if you are using IEM's you probibly don't have a good PA mix. haha. I thought about how much it would suck to rip that out, then finish up the song hearing yourself only and not great.

Sure, the drummer keeps time, but it's the other guys that make me rush or fall back most of the time. With all the tempo changes in our songs it would be pretty tough.
Agreed. The other guys' handling of tempo drives me nuts sometimes... even when I angrily reiterate follow ME!!!! LOL.

And as an aside about IEM mix, if you ever get the chance to own/use one, the Mackie DL1608 digital board (what we use) supports up to 20 remote iPads to control it. I bring my own iPad Mini to the gig and mount it to one of my stands in reach. I select the Aux channel my IEMs are in and I can control the faders for all inputs at any given time all night. It's a real treat. I'm sure any of the other brands that have WiFi-enabled mixer boards might have similar capability.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
And as an aside about IEM mix, if you ever get the chance to own/use one, the Mackie DL1608 digital board (what we use) supports up to 20 remote iPads to control it. I bring my own iPad Mini to the gig and mount it to one of my stands in reach. I select the Aux channel my IEMs are in and I can control the faders for all inputs at any given time all night. It's a real treat. I'm sure any of the other brands that have WiFi-enabled mixer boards might have similar capability.
I've done the same with a Presonus mixer (I don't remember which one) and it was such a relief to be able to mute feeds I didn't want, and boost those I did.
 

Billn59

Junior Member
So when Van Halen was touring the 1984 album, did they use backing tracks, or did they just have someone backstage playing the keys?
I saw them on that tour. Eddie played keyboards on two songs. Jump and I'll Wait. On Jump he just played keyboards. During the guitar solo part he improvised it with the keyboard. On I'll Wait hey played both keyboards and guitar. Doing intro with the keyboards then playing guitar during riff part and the solo. Didn't seem to me like any backing track was playing. May have been different on later tours, but they did have Sammy who could fill in on guitar some. Hard to believe it was 35 years ago.
 
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