Gene-Simmons400 Gene Simmons has criticized bands who use backing tapes – just weeks after KISS admitted using them.

In February they confirmed they’d used some non-live elements during a tour of Japan, saying, “To reproduce production here, we play live with extra tracks. Nothing to hide.”

Simmons recently told AdelaideNow, “There’s nobody with a synthesizer on our stage. There’s no samples on the drums, there’s nothing. AC/DC, Metallica, us – there’s very few bands who don’t use tracks.”

But he says his argument is more about honesty than about the use of additional elements, adding, “I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks. It’s like the ingredients in food – the first ingredient on the label is sugar. That’s at least honest.

It should be on every ticket: ’30 to 50 per cent of the show is backing tracks. They’ll sing sometimes, sometimes they’ll lip-synch.’ At least be honest.”

Discussing Madonna’s onstage fall during last months’ Brit Awards ceremony, Simmons stated, “That was unfortunate, but she got up, on with the show. It’ll happen. That’s not embarrassing – it’s embarrassing when the backing track dies.”

Watch KISS performing a stripped down, acoustic set for fans in Japan, here.

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  • Doug R. on

    Well, at least he’s honest about it. And at this point, Paul needs all the help he can get!
    Happy birthday Steven Tyler, still Rockin’ and Rollin’ at 67, “Amazing!” 😉
    Next Rock Icons with Nikki Sixx looks good, that would be 6 great episodes in a row. Definitely the best new show on TV! 🙂

    • James K. on

      Steven’s 67 and he’s as good of a singer and performer as he’s ever been. The only complaint I have about Rock Icons is it’s only 30 minutes long. I wish that show was an hour instead. So far, every episode has been great. Sam Dunn and Banger Films have easily become the best documentary makers for metal and hard rock.

      Rock on Doug!

    • Doug R. on

      I agree James, I show as good as Rock Icons should definitely be an hour long show! Maybe next season, especially if the ratings are really good. Steven is amazing, 67, and just as great as ever, maybe even better than in his “prime”. Well it’s almost party time, keep rockin’ James, cheers! 😉

  • RTunes68 on

    Gene’s doing a bit of double-speak and parsing words. He counts KISS among the few who don’t use backing tracks, but KISS, in fact, did use backing tracks in Japan. So now he’s saying that his objection is with bands who use backing tracks, but don’t admit to it. I guess to their credit, KISS did admit to it….although they’ve always said they don’t and anyone who does, isn’t a bonafide musician. Nice bit of confusion.

  • Rob Poling Jr on

    Gene usually talks out his ass but he is speaking of two different kinds of backing tracks. One where the track is playing and the musicians are faking it and the other by adding instruments to try and match the recorded version. KISS use to always have a keyboardist on tour but I guess Paul and gene were hurting in the pocket so they cut him out.

  • Chris Bacchi on

    Does anyone know for sure exactly what was pre-recorded during “Samurai Son”? I’ve seen the video (but couldn’t tell) and read the comments, but if it was only Paul’s vocal how do you play live to a pre-recorded vocal?

    • el loco on

      That is easy, and has been done for many years, the drummer will count off thereby triggering the file (hitting some sort of pad,, for example) containing the pre-recorded vocal or whatever instrument shall be added, so both parts, band and track(s), will be in perfect snychronisity and timing. This will then be included by the front-of-house mixer to the sound you get to hear and also given to the musicians onstage in their monitoring system so that lip-synching is possible and will seem like the real thing. Concering big productions involving a hell lot of dancing, running around, changing clothes, and especially and more recently even acrobatics like Pink, Madonna etc., this method or similar methods have been industry standard for a long time now. And since technology has advanced it will be more difficult to detect for the average consumer – unless, of course, you are “clever” enough to not believe that one can perform a perfect circus act (e.g. Pink’s professionally choreographed gymnastics on the ropes) and still sing like on the record and without any heavy breathing in between. I went to see Pink when she had only started the thing with the ropes, it was a good balance between music and a few extras for your viewing pleasure, but today her show seems to rely 50% on these gimmicks, so I would not go see her again, I want the music PLUS the show but not the show with the music as some sort of side dish. If you want circus, go buy a ticket to circe du soleil or similar road shows.

    • Chris Bacchi on

      Since there are significant gaps in the vocal, then there must have been a click track as well to keep Eric Singer in time with the pre-recorded vocal?

    • el loco on

      Yes, there might also have been a click track even thiugh, of course, Singer is a professional drummer who can keepo perfect timing once started. Or the other way round: the pre-recorded track gives the drummer the count off signal/click first so that he can start the band accordingly.

  • elliot goldberg on

    gene missed his calling as a weatherman.

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