KISS 'Backing Tracks' Accusations Revived After ERIC SINGER's 'Mistake' At Antwerp Concert
June 7, 2022
A rare "mistake" by KISS drummer Eric Singer during the band's concert in Antwerp, Belgium on Monday has revealed what some fans are saying is proof that KISS is using pre-recorded tracks during its performances.
Several KISS fans who attended the group's June 6 show at Sportpaleis have shared video of KISS kicking off the set with "Detroit Rock City", the classic song that has consistently served as the live opener for the band's live performances in recent years. At the end of the track, Singer, who has played with KISS on and off since 1991, apparently "forgets to rest for a measure," according to YouTube commenterAustin Ogonoski, "instead continuing to play the standard beat for two additional measures. " After "Eric realizes he messes up," he "begins the drumroll/breakdown a measure late," which "means Paul's [Stanley] vocal track is out of sync with what the band is actually playing," Austin explained. "Paul's track plays 'Everybody's gonna leave their SEAT,' completely out of sync with the song and when nobody is at a mic."
Another YouTube user, Jochem Blaauw, who shared video of the "Detroit Rock City" performance shot from a different angle, simply wrote in the clip's description: "Show opening of the Antwerpen show 2022. Eric's rare mistake at 5:05 makes even more interesting." He also commented on another video of the same song, writing: "Great quality. Curious about Eric's rare mistake at 5:09 and Paul's 'singing' right after..."
Some of the other attendees apparently didn't notice the mishap, with Lieven Ostijn writing on Facebook: "The show got kicked into motion with classic show opener, Detroit Rock City... and with numerous loud blasts of pyrotechnics…. Paul Stanley was in remarkably good voice, and also proofed to still be one of the best frontmen in the world."
Ever since KISS's "End Of The Road" trek launched in late January 2019, there has been persistent online chatter about Paul allegedly singing to a backing tape. The speculation stemmed from the fact that Stanley had been struggling to hit the high notes in many of the band's classic songs for a number of years.
Three years ago, former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach defended KISS against claims that the band is using pre-recorded tracks during its farewell tour, saying that Stanley sang "his ass off LIVE" during a concert in California. "I have seen way more obvious use of backing tracks than with KISS," Sebastian wrote on Twitter.
FOZZY frontman Chris Jericho also defended Stanley's vocal performance on "End Of The Road" tour, saying that the "Star Child" "has nothing to prove to anybody." Jericho explained: "He's one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time. I think that's something that anybody would say. I would much rather have him use the technology that's available to not sound like he's hurting himself, which then makes me not enjoy the show as much."
Bach's comments came just hours after MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx called out another band for using taped vocals during its live performances after it previously derided other groups for doing the same thing.
Sixx wrote on Twitter: "Certain band out on the road right now putting other bands DOWN and saying that they are a REAL rock band, no background singers,and other old people cranky comments except his lead vocals are on tape.People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks. #GetOffMyLawn #WizardOfOz"
Most fans assumed that Sixx was referring to KISS, especially since Gene Simmons has previously slammed bands who used backing tapes for not being honest enough to include that fact on their concert tickets.
After KISS played on NBC's "America's Got Talent" in September 2018, Stanley was asked by Rolling Stone if that was actually a live performance or if he and his bandmates tracked it earlier. "What you tend to do is record it live and that way you know that everything is as it should be," he responded. "It's not like going into the studio or anything like that. It's…with all its imperfections, it's live."
Sixx has been open about his band's used of taped vocals during live concerts, saying, "We've used technology since '87." He added the group employed "sequencers, sub tones, background vox tracks, plus background singers and us. [MÖTLEY CRÜE also taped] stuff we can't tour with, like cello parts in ballads, etc.... We love it and don't hide it. It's a great tool to fill out the sound."
In a 2014 interview, MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist Mick Mars admitted that he wasn't comfortable with the fact that his band used pre-recorded backing vocals in its live shows, claiming that he preferred to watch groups whose performances are delivered entirely live. "I don't like it," he said. "I think a band like ours… I have to say '60s bands were my favorite — '60s and '70s bands — because they were real, like, three-piece bands or four-piece bands, and they just got up there and kicked it up. Made a mistake? So what? Sounded a little bit empty here or there? So what? It's the bigness and the rawness and the people that developed and wrote the songs and made them and presented them. To me, that's what I really like. I mean, I could put on a MÖTLEY CD and play with it all day long. I don't wanna do that."
Back in 2015, Simmons slammed bands who used backing tapes, saying: "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. If the first ingredient on the label is sugar, that's at least honest. It should be on every ticket — you're paying $100, 30 to 50 percent of the show is [on] backing tracks and they'll sing sometimes, sometimes they'll lip sync. At least be honest. It's not about backing tracks, it's about dishonesty.
"There's nobody with a synthesizer on our stage, there's no samples on the drums, there's nothing," Gene continued. "There's very few bands who do that now — AC/DC, METALLICA, us. I can't even say that about U2 or THE [ROLLING] STONES. There's very few bands who don't use [backing] tracks."
Kiss «Detroit Rock City» live @ the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium on June 6th 2022. Here’s the opening of Kiss farewell show as I taped it.