Dream Theater’s James Labrie lashes out at lip syncing allegations: ‘F**K You’

DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie has resisted accusations of using pre-recorded vocal tracks during live performances.

The rumor that LaBrie relied on pre-recorded backing tracks that got stronger last month after fan videos from DREAM THEATER‘s current North American tour were shared on YouTube† Some fans have specifically pointed to the post-chorus of the DREAM THEATER song “Bridges in the Sky” where the alleged lip sync takes place.

LaBrie finally addressed the internet chatter during DREAM THEATER‘s concert last Friday (March 18) at Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas. He told the crowd, “Now I’m going to fucking clarify something for you, okay? People have been saying I’m fucking lip syncing? Damn. Damn, what’s wrong with people online?”

He then apologized to the public for his outburst, noting that he and his… DREAM THEATER band members launched their current tour over six weeks ago. “I think I’m going crazy because I’m almost at the end of a… [tour] leg,” he said.

In recent years, more and more artists have been allowed to rely on pre-recorded tracks, drum triggers and other diverse technology that make concerts more synthetic but also more consistent. For better or for worse, pre-recorded songs are becoming more and more common for touring artists of all skill levels and genres, and they’re not just used in pop music – many rock artists use playback tracks to varying degrees.

In March 2020, SHINEDOWN guitarist Zach Myers said “90 percent” of rock artists use at least some pre-recorded songs during their live performances. He told rock food: “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. Can we go there, the four of us, and give the best rock show ever? Sure. But want to we don’t do it.”

Earlier SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach has previously said that he is “one of the last people” to still not use pre-recorded tracks on their live shows. “I don’t know how much longer I can tell you that I don’t use tapes on stage because I don’t, and I never have,” he said. Consequence of sound† “And I still don’t. When I have opening bands, and they use tapes, and then I come out and I don’t use tapes… sometimes I feel stupid, because I think, ‘What am I doing? “What if all those kids half my age can get on stage and do all my moves, but don’t have to warm up an hour before the show, or weeks, before the first show?” Sometimes I think, ‘Why should I care if the public is so used to this different way?’ “It’s getting rarer and rarer to see a good band that is actually a real band – that doesn’t mimic or make crazy moves while a band is running. It just gets rarer as the years go by.”

in 2019, IRON VIRGIN guitarist Adrian Smith said he “disagrees” with certain rock artists who rely on pre-recorded songs during their live performances. “I’m telling you, I see it with a lot of younger bands, and I don’t think it’s a good thing,” he told the New York Post† “I mean, the music is getting too technical now. You have automated recording systems, which we use, but I think we use them more for convenience than necessary. We’ve toured with a few bands that use tapes – it’s not really. You’re supposed to be playing live; it should be live. I don’t agree with the use of tapes…I’m really sorry.”

One musician who has been open about his band’s use of recorded vocals during live performance is: MOTLEY CRUE bassist Nikki Sixx, who said, “We’ve been using technology since ’87.” He added that the group used “sequencers, subtones, backing vox tracks, plus backing vocalists 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 the sound.”

In an interview from 2014, MOTLEY CRUE guitarist Mick Mars admitted he wasn’t comfortable with his band using pre-recorded backing vocals in his live shows, and claimed he’d rather 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 that bands from the 60s were my favorite – bands from the 60s and 70s – because they were real three piece bands or four piece bands, and they just got there and made a mistake? So what? Sounded a little empty here or there? So what? It’s the grandeur and the rawness and the people who developed the songs and wrote them and made them and presented them. To me that’s what I really like nice I mean I could wear one MÖTLEY CD and play with it all day long. I don’t want to do that.”

KISS lead singer Paul Stanleywho for several years has struggled to hit the high notes on many of the band’s classic songs, has been accused of singing on a backing tape on KISSis underway “End of the Road” tour.

Back in 2015, KISS bassist/singer Gene Simmons criticized bands that used backing tapes for not being honest enough to state that fact on their concert tickets.

“I have a problem if you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks,” Simons said. “It’s like the ingredients in food. If the first ingredient on the label is sugar, at least that’s fair. It should be on every ticket — you pay $100, 30 to 50 percent of the show is [on] backing tracks and sometimes they sing, sometimes lip sync. At least be honest. It’s not about backing tracks, it’s about dishonesty.

“There is no one with a synthesizer on our stage, there are no samples on the drums, there is nothing,” Gene continued. “There are very few bands that do that now – AC/DCMETALLIC, U.S. I can’t even say that about U2 or THE [ROLLING] STONES† There are very few bands that don’t use [backing] tracks.”

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