Who should pay for our water has undoubtedly been one of the most hotly debated topics of our time. But for many musicians, it pales into insignificance in terms of the longevity, divisiveness, and fallings-out that have accompanied that exclusively music subject; Backing Tracks!
But are they as bad as some of our colleagues would espouse? Undoubtedly, some of the cheaper or free backing tracks available should be banned under the UN Convention for Human Rights due to their torturous tones. Others however, are note perfect, and when accompanied by a live instrument and/or the right vocals, they can be amazing. Here are five reasons we think live Acts should consider (good quality!) backing tracks, especially if you’re a one, two, or three piece:
1 - You Sound Professional: As a general rule, punters listening to a covers Act want them as close to the real thing as possible. Backing tracks allow you to do that by filling in the instrumentation you cannot play yourself.
2 - Instant Sound Check: Even the greatest detractors have to admit that when it comes to sound checking, tracks win hands down. For most, plugging in a machine with the instruments professionally mixed, beats the hell out of twisting knobs for an hour in the hope of getting a reasonable sound.
3 - Never Need a Dep: Backing tracks don’t get sick, don’t take holidays, and won’t take a higher paying gig than the one you’re offering. They’re loyal, reliable, and never need to be dep’d.
4 - Makes Learning New Songs Easy: Unlike playing a song completely live, where every note and section has to be learned, backing tracks mean you only need to learn the lyrics and essential music parts. Simple!
5 - Less Hassle: No matter where the gigs is, what time it’s at, or who it’s for, your tracks will never whinge to you. They’ll never argue over what songs to include in a set, or demand more money on specific nights of the year. All in all, tracks are no hassle!
As with all technologies, backing tracks are not for everyone. Even some pubs and Bookers loathe the thought of them, making sure to only book Acts that play 100% live. And that’s their choice. But it doesn’t mean that tracks don’t have their place, just ask any of the 1000’s of solos, duos, and even 4 and 5 piece bands, that use them!