Corey Taylor Says He Won’t Use Backing Tracks at Solo Shows – ‘If You Hear Wrong Notes, That Is Live’
On Tuesday night's Loudwire Nights (May 16), Corey Taylor caught up with Loudwire's Meatball about artificial intelligence, cover songs and his new solo album, CMF2. But at the end of the conversation, Taylor opened up about a different topic that he wanted to be crystal clear on: backing tracks.
"I want to set the record straight. Something I've been saying onstage at the solo shows is I've been trying to make a point about real live as opposed to tracks and computer live," Taylor explained.
"Now, before I say anything, I want to say that I am not saying there is anything wrong with using computers or using tracks. To each his own, it's fine. If that's what you want to do, that's fine. But for me, my proudest moment is that we get up onstage and we do it as a band. If you hear wrong notes, that is live. If you hear wrong chords, that is live. If you hear me mess the words up, that is live. That makes the experience completely individual to the person at the show."
Corey Taylor Provides Alternative to Concerts With Backing Tracks
Taylor recently wrapped up a short run of solo dates with Cherry Bombs and is already getting ready for a lot more dates later this year. It's obvious that for him, authenticity is crucial to what he and his solo band create at their live shows.
"We could get up there and make it sound 100-percent amazing and it doesn't take a stack of hard drives, it doesn't take a full Pro Tools session," he said. "We get up there and it's a very punk rock approach. I like the fact that I can go up there, as a human, and produce and you're going to get everything that I've got. I want people to see that it can be done. That's the whole point of it."
As Taylor wrapped up his time on Loudwire Nights, he made one final defense for performing "real live."
"I want to provide the alternative to these people who use a ton of tracks," he stated. "And like I said, I'm not saying it's wrong, but I don't want people who are coming to a show to think that every show is like that. No matter how many times people who run tracks try to tell everybody that everybody runs tracks, not everybody runs tracks. I'm very proud of the fact that I don't do that."
What Other People Say About Backing Tracks
In a Loudwire column earlier this year, legendary rock personality Matt Pinfield shared a similar perspective with Taylor as he wrote, "There is a fine line. I want my singers to sing and my musicians to play. If a band plays with passion, power and conviction, but—for the sake of continuity—have to use some backing tracks to fill out the sound, I am cool with it as long as it doesn’t dominate the show."
In 2022, Fozzy's Chris Jericho defended the use of backing tracks at live shows, saying, "It's just the way of the world right now."
"It doesn't mean we're not singing and not playing. If you're listening to a record, you go to a Def Leppard gig and you hear "Pour Some Sugar on Me" that was recorded with 25 tracks of guitars, you can't just go with two guitars on stage and in your right mind think there wasn't something building up the background there."
"Let's say, you could have a rhythm guitar as a backtrack in certain solos. We never had it with Motorhead, ever. And I know a lot of bands that want to fill up certain parts of a song with some backing tracks—maybe a guitar, a rhythm guitar usually, or maybe some kind of keyboard or something—just to fill up spaces where it's impossible to play. And if you recorded something and you dubbed something on there, some little theme or something, I think that's okay; that's not too bad. I can live with that, as long as the rest of the song is being played properly."
Watch Corey Taylor Perform "Home" and "Zzyzx Rd." Live at The Forum
Corey Taylor joined Loudwire Nights on Tuesday, May 16; the show replays online here, and you can tune in live every weeknight at 7PM ET or on the Loudwire app; you can also see if the show is available on your local radio station. Stream "Beyond" at this location and then check out Corey Taylor's full tour schedule.