MUDVAYNE's CHAD GRAY Rips Artists Who Rely Heavily On Backing Tracks During Live Shows: 'Great Bands Never Did That S**t'
February 11, 2024
In a new interview with Australia's The Underground, MUDVAYNE and HELLYEAH frontman Chad Gray once again lamented the lack of new bands who have their own musical identity as well as the growing number of artists who rely heavily on backing tracks during their live performances. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Even more than bands sounding like other fucking bands, the thing I'm fucking over is bands that don't fucking play their music. I'm fucking over that shit. These motherfuckers that roll so much track, it's, like, dude, when Ashlee Simpson — you remember that — when she was on 'Saturday Night Live', and they fucked up, and her drummer hit the fucking wrong song, it was straight-up lip syncing. That girl got fucking lambasted; she was murdered for that shit. Dude, now that's what people do. They just don't wanna say it. It's, like, motherfucker, you are Ashlee Simpson — you are Ashlee Simpson. If you cannot get on stage and play your shit without a fucking laptop, you are relying way too much on that fucking laptop. You are telling me that you cannot play your music without a piece of electronic equipment. And if you're gonna talk about electronic equipment, it better be a fucking keyboard or a guitar or something electronic, not a fucking computer that has fucking track upon track upon track, fucking guitars stacked, bass stacked, vocals stacked, singing to fucking tracks of your own lead vocal. Like, dude, if I fucking piped my own lead vocal into my ears, I would sing perfect. Or if I got to sing along to a track of my own vocals, like a couple tracks of it, and my vocal could be pulled back and I just kind of sat in the back of it, dude, I'd be incredible. But I don't do that. I don't believe in that shit.
"I was inspired by fucking great bands. And great bands never did that shit," he continued. "And I wanna carry that on. And you know what? If you don't fucking care that people are doing it, guess what — they're gonna do it and then they're gonna do more of it and then they're gonna do more and more and more. And the next thing you know, you're gonna be paying too much money for a fucking overpriced fucking concert ticket and you're gonna walk in there and you're gonna listen to these motherfuckers dancing around on stage, lip syncing to their fucking albums. 'Cause they don't have the skills to play it. I'm telling you that I'm going back and playing guitar again. I'm learning all this shit, I'm sitting and I'm fucking playing it and I'm bashing my head off the fucking table like, 'Fuck, this is so fucking hard. Fuck!' But I keep doing it and I keep doing it and I keep doing it, and I'm getting better and better and better.
"I just don't think people wanna practice anymore," Gray theorized. "I think all people wanna do is get in the music business and be fucking successful. There's more to being in the music business than being successful. You get in the music business because you want to be honest. You wanna be vulnerable. You wanna share that part of you with someone else. You wanna fucking give them a part of you that can't be seen unless you put it to music. There's a part of me that the world knows and they know about me because I share things within my music. I wouldn't be able to share those things without my music. I wouldn't just walk around and go, 'Man, my whole fucking life, my dad neglected me, my dad beat the fuck out of me. My dad beat the fuck out of my mom, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I wouldn't just walk around and say that shit, but I can tell that story in my music, and I can remind people if you listen to this and it sounds familiar, you're not alone. That's one of my biggest messages, man, is to fucking remind people, man, that they're not alone in this fucking crazy-ass fucking world, that we're all in this shit together. And you fucking lean on me, I'll lean back on you, and we're gonna get through it. I wanna be the guy that motivates people and lifts people up. I don't wanna be the guy that tears people down. I know it sounds weird coming from a guy that just said, fuck these people that can't fucking do this, fuck these people that sound like that. But I'm very honest. I'm very honest in who and what I am. And it frustrates me. It makes me very, very fuckin frustrated because I play in, what I believe, two bands that didn't sound like anybody else. We sounded like ourselves. MUDVAYNEandHELLYEAH. We prided ourselves on that. But it's not easy. It's fuckin hard work. You've gotta create your own sound. Dude, that's like fucking reinventing yourself. It's hard. I did it twice — I did it fucking twice in two different bands. So it's a hard job, but you've gotta do the work. You've gotta do the work to see the result. It's, like, 'I don't know why I'm fat. I've got a gym membership.' 'Well, do you ever go to the gym?' 'No.' 'Well, you're not doing the work. You're not doing the work, so you're not gonna get skinny. You're not doing the work, so you're not gonna get fit.' You can't just buy a fucking membership. That's what this fucking music business is now — motherfuckers are just buying memberships and they're just walking in going, 'Hey, I'm ready to be successful. Yeah, I've got all my fucking shit over here on tape. I'm gonna get on stage, but I'm not gonna perform it for you. I'm gonna play it, though. We're gonna hit 'play', we're gonna hit 'play' on the machine and it's gonna play it. We're gonna dance around and I'm gonna kind of sing to it, but I'm gonna be singing to a backing track of my own fucking vocal.'"
Gray added: "Dude, it's crazy the amount of people that do that shit now. And people just let it go. Apparently it's acceptable now. Like, motherfucker, people. Goddamn. You've gotta hold people accountable. You're just telling me I can just walk in and fucking hit 'play'? You're not making me wanna work very fucking hard, and if you don't want me to work hard, that's exactly what you're gonna get — some shit that sounds like they didn't work hard to make it. Just like some fucking vanilla bullshit, man. It's crazy to me. I don't know. Maybe I'm just old and angry and pissed off."
MUDVAYNE hasn't put out any new material since 2009, which means it's been a decade and a half without a single fresh MUDVAYNE song.
Last August, Chad told The Oakland Press that he and his MUDVAYNE bandmates had "four [songs] in the pipe. I've written each one of them probably three different times, 'cause it's like nothing's good enough," he revealed. "We're gonna keep pushing. We're all getting along really good. We're all talking. Hopefully we all want the same thing from our music, so we'll see. It's definitely the thing that makes the most sense to do now."
MUDVAYNE kicked off its first headlining tour in over 14 years, "The Psychotherapy Sessions", in July 2023. Support on the 26-city trek, which was produced by Live Nation, came from COAL CHAMBER, along with GWAR, NONPOINT and BUTCHER BABIES.
Previously, MUDVAYNE made waves in 2022 when they embarked on the "Freaks On Parade" tour co-headlined with ROB ZOMBIE. This 2023 tour, however, marked MUDVAYNE's first headlining endeavor since 2009.
MUDVAYNE formed in 1996 and has sold over six million records worldwide, earning gold certification for three albums ("L.D. 50", "The End Of All Things To Come", "Lost And Found"). The band is known for its sonic experimentation, innovative album art, face and body paint, masks and uniforms. MUDVAYNE is Gray, Greg Tribbett (guitar, backing vocals),Matthew McDonough (drums, synthesizer) and Ryan Martinie (bass).
Gray spent 18 years fronting HELLYEAH, which released its sixth studio album, "Welcome Home", in September 2019 via Eleven Seven Music. The disc marked the group's final effort with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away almost six years ago.
MUDVAYNE did not tour behind its fifth album, which was barely promoted and sold weakly upon release.
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