Rock Band SANTA CRUZ Blasted For Allegedly Using Pre-Recorded Tracks During Los Angeles Concert (Video)
April 9, 2022
SiriusXM radio personality Eddie Trunk has blasted the rock band SANTA CRUZ for allegedly using pre-recorded tracks during a recent concert, saying it's "unreal" how fans and promoters are seemingly okay with the practice.
This past Wednesday (April 6),SANTA CRUZ — whose current lineup consists of longtime frontman Archie Cruz along with new recruits Jerry Jade (guitar),Tommy Bradley (bass) and Randy McDemian (drums) — played a show at the legendary Whisky A Go Go venue in West Hollywood, California. The following day, a fan-filmed video of SANTA CRUZ performing the song "Under The Gun" was posted on the "concertsrock" YouTube channel, showing Cruz at one point walking away from the microphone while the singing continued to be heard through the P.A. until Cruz, Jade and Bradley returned to their microphones for what was the song's chorus section.
On Friday, Trunk took to his Facebook to share the concertsrock video of the "Under The Gun" performance, and he included the following message: "This is beyond words … everyone I guess just okay with this?! As I've said and have been saying this has become an epidemic that needs to stop . So bad it's to the point this band doesn't event attempt to fake their lip synching.. stunning. Imagine paying to see a band you love 'live' and it's anything but. What's the point? Imagine you are a band that puts the work in to be live, and others don't, play to a computer , and fans talk about how great they sound.. pathetic. It's the norm in pop, it's gotta stop in rock. Bands, fans and promoters have to care that a live rock show is live or it will only get worse. Madness."
Eddie later shared an image on Twitter of a mock t-shirt promoting a fictitious 2022 tour by him under the banner "Eddie And The Traxx" with the slogan "Sounds Like The Album – Because It Is". He wrote in an accompanying caption: "Very close to starting my own band. And I can't sing or play. But if everyone is okay spending hard earned money to see a band play 'live' & instead hear a computer then why not? Guess it doesn't matter? Plenty of bands I can open for sadly doing the same thing".
Archie responded to the criticism in an Instagram Story on Saturday, suggesting the whole thing was planned and intentional. "Pro-tip: fuck up a track live on purpose & get a shit-ton of free publicity," he wrote. "Y'all fucking bought that shit".
While most of Trunk's followers were in complete agreement with him on this topic, several took the opportunity to criticize him for failing to call out FOZZY frontman Chris Jericho — whom Eddie has repeatedly referred to as a "close friend" in the past — for recently admitting that his band uses "backing tracks for some songs" and insisting that "everybody" else does as well. Jericho was a guest on the April 4 episode of Trunk's SiriusXM show "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" but was not questioned about the backing-tracks comments that he had made just days earlier.
In recent years, more and more artists have been given a pass for relying on pre-recorded tracks, drum triggers and other assorted technology that makes concerts more synthetic but also more consistent. For better or worse, pre-recorded tracks are becoming increasingly common for touring artists of all levels and genres and they're not just used in pop music — many rock artists utilize playback tracks to varying degrees.
Speaking to Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, Jericho stated about rock bands using pre-recorded backing tracks during live performances: "We use backing tracks for some songs, and everybody does. Unless you're GUNS N' ROSES… Let me rephrase that… If you're in Slash's band… GUNS N' ROSES has backing tracks. They have a keyboard player. 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. It's just kind of the way that bands are. It doesn't make you any less of a band. 'Cause you know what? QUEEN used tracks in the '70s. If you don't believe me, watch it when they play 'Bohemian Rhapsody' live."
Back in July 2020, Jericho was accused by Sebastian Bach of using pre-recorded lead vocal tracks during live performances. The former SKID ROW frontman, who has also been outspoken about rock bands using pre-recorded backing tracks during live shows, initially claimed Jericho was "miming to a tape" at FOZZY concerts in a social media post. In response, the wrestler-turned-rocker insisted that he had "never mimed anything ever" and challenged Bach to a "singoff" with "no effects, no tuning, no bullshit", saying "Bas is a great singer...but I'm better".
In March 2020, SHINEDOWN guitarist Zach Myers said that "90 percent" of rock artists use at least some pre-recorded tracks during their live performances. He told Rock Feed: "It bothers me that it bothers people. I'm, like, 'Why does this bother you?' It's the way it is. People have been doing this since the '80s. And we want the sound to be the best it can be. Could we go up there, just the four of us, and put on the best rock show ever? Of course. But that's not how we wanna do it."
Bach had previously said that he is "one of the last people" who are still not using pre-recorded tracks at their live shows. "I don't know how much longer I can say to you that I don't use tapes onstage, because I don't, and I never have," he told Consequence Of Sound. "And I still don't. When I have opening bands, and they're using tapes, and then I come out and I don't use tapes… sometimes, it makes me feel stupid, because I'm like, 'What am I doing, when all these kids half my age can come onstage and do all of my moves, but they don't have to warm up for an hour before the show, or weeks, before the first show?' Sometimes, I'm like, 'Why do I even bother, if the public is so used to this other way?' It's becoming very rare to come see a good band that's actually a real band — that's not miming or doing silly moves while a tape is running. It just becomes more rare as the years go on."
In 2019, IRON MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith said that he doesn't "agree" with certain rock artists relying on pre-recorded tracks during their live performances. "I tell you what, I see it with a lot of younger bands, and I don't think it's a good thing at all," he told the New York Post. "I mean, the music is getting too technical now. You have computerized recording systems, which we use, but I think we use them more for convenience than because we need to. We've toured with a couple bands that use tapes — it's not real. You're supposed to play live; it should be live. I don't agree with using tapes … I think it's a real shame."
One musician who has been open about his band's used of taped vocals during live concerts is MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx, who said: "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."
KISS lead singer Paul Stanley, who has been struggling to hit the high notes in many of the band's classic songs for a number of years, has been accused of singing to a backing tape on KISS's ongoing "End Of The Road" tour.
Back in 2015, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons slammed bands who used backing tapes for not being honest enough to include that fact on their concert tickets.
"I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks," Simmons said. "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."
"Under The Gun" is the first single from SANTA CRUZ's new album, "The Return Of The Kings", which will be released this fall via M-Theory Audio. Cruz recorded the follow-up to 2019's "Katharsis" as a one-man studio project throughout 2021 in his native Finland.
This is beyond words … everyone I guess just okay with this?! As I’ve said and have been saying this has become an...
I have long railed against the epidemic of bands using tracks live. And how fans & promoters just accept “live” acts & paying to see a band “live” and it’s anything but. This is how bad it’s become. Everyone okay with this?! Unreal! https://t.co/EHp6zW57i4 v
Because you are a REAL artist! Thx to all who deliver truly live & put the work in to do so. Appreciated it now more than ever w/what’s going on out there & how many turn a blind eye to it! And “everyone is doing it”is NOT an excuse.Because everyone isn’t! https://t.co/apcWVpqXnb
Another real artist here. In a real band. That puts the work in to actually sing and play live.. what a concept .. this shit has to stop ! Madness ! No fucks given to even try and fake it .. https://t.co/A9e8WQLAtB
Very close to starting my own band.And I can’t sing or play.But if everyone is okay spending hard earned money to see a band play “live” & instead hear a computer then why not? Guess it doesn’t matter? Plenty of bands I can open for sadly doing the same thing pic.twitter.com/wAj1GLLJpa
This is funny. 1st of all Jericho has denied lip synching repeatedly. Do you have video of him w/no mic & vocal? Did I shoot & post the video? No. How about band/bands that do this? You OK with it? I don’t care who the band is it’s ridiculous & has to stop! https://t.co/caw111wwB3
I think the controversy is you not calling out the bands you’re friends with, but take a major jab at those you have no desire to like. I agree live shows should be live, but if you’re going to point fingers point at all involved
Spot on!!! He changes the subject back to his disdain for back tracks live. That’s fine but he completely side steps the fact that apparently Jericho admitted to it and he jumps on everyone else that does it but doesn’t say anything about his pal doing it.
You know if it was a band that you supported,you know for a fact you wouldn’t be saying shit about this. You would be making a pathetic excuse in their defense as to why they had to use them. Plus you are the last person to judge they performed live wrote their own music more
This is a great point. 🌟 I tuned in mostly to hear that topic addressed. I wanted Jericho to tell us it isn’t true because I’m really digging the things Fozzy is doing right now, creatively. Now I just imagine that he told Eddie not to bring it up. 😐
I’m old enough to remember when people called for the heads of Milli Vanilli for doing this ( only worse because they didn’t even sing the recorded tracks). Now it’s SOP. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about occasionally blanking on a lyric during a gig.
I think time and place can exist too. Take the Who and Baba. Piped in, but the rest was all live even if it meant it wasn’t as full as the recorded track. But vocals? Other guitars? Drums? Nah…then I’ll just stay home and listen to the record.
A great band is better live than in the studio- the energy and the presence. Musicians talk about recreating the record, and I say what's the point? We have the record, what happens that night makes it special. It's easier to use tracks, and audience gets lost w/o them. Its both
I’m ok with intro tracks used on the album - symphony, choir, effects such as storms, stuff like that. But the actual playing better be live. I don’t fork out big ticket money to see Milli Vanilli. What would “A Nightmare to Remember” by Dream Theater be without the car crash?
Fucking ridiculous. At the @TheWhiskyAGoGo no less. It would be an honor and privilege for @DemonScarNYC to play that stage. I assure we don’t have tracks. We just kick ass and play rock n roll live the way it should be. 🤘🔥🤘
Absolutely agree! I will not pay top dollar to see bands live that do this. I’ll stick to small clubs and seeing local bands that actually play. I’m done with all this shit! They get paid good money for these shows they should give people 100%!!