Ex-Deep Purple Member Blasts Kiss for Alleged Backing Tracks Use, Explains Why He Doesn’t Like Bands Relying on Computers Live

In a recently published interview for Metal Castle, Joe Lynn Turner, former singer of Rainbow and Deep Purple, weighed in on the somewhat currently-trending topic of using backing tracks and cues live. Asked about his “contemporaries using backing tracks in the live setting,” he replied:

“I think it’s become too much. I understand some groups need to rely on these computers, but I’m old school, and I think live music should be live. That’s what people pay for. If you are well-known and you’re going out there and using backing tracks, you’re not being honest; it’s pantomime. It’s not even karaoke.”

Joe Lynn Turner - Rising Force - Tuska 2022, Helsinki, Finland 02/07/22

“I feel it’s cheating people, and it’s cheating yourself. Because if you can’t cut it live, well, that’s what separates the men from the boys. That’s what separates who’s great and who’s average. Anyone can cover it up in the studio, but it all comes out live, and if you can’t hack it, then get off the stage.”

“I understand there’s a technology that certain bands use today, but if you’re Kiss, for example, maybe you ought to quit while you’re ahead, guys. Don’t you think you’ve got enough money to where you don’t need to take all the static for doing what you’re doing? All it’s doing is destroying your legacy, and you’d probably be better off if you just stopped. I’m not trying to point them out individually, but they’ve been known to use it.

Is Performing With A Backing Track Cheating? My Opinion...

“And look, I understand how difficult it is, especially for singers, because you can only go so many nights in a row. So, if you want to be out there still, maybe cut back the nights, and maybe you can’t make as much money.

“I think we have to look at the driving force here and then try and understand the motivation for why they do it. If you’re only doing it for money, so you can have five nights instead of three, that’s not a good enough reason for me. Go play for three nights and be yourself. Or stop doing it altogether.”

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The issue with Kiss that Joe Lynn Turner mentioned in the interview is about the controversy from earlier this year. As we reported back in June, the band had a small “accident” live on stage when drummer Eric Singer missed the cue and we could hear that Paul Stanley’s vocal track was out of sync with what the band was playing.

KISS : Total Lip Sync Fail in Antwerp Belgium 6 June 2022 4K Paul Stanley

In an interview from 2015, Gene Simmons revealed that he wasn’t fond of bands using backing tracks. He said:

“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 synch. At least be honest. It’s not about backing tracks, it’s about dishonesty.”

Photo: Nashville69 (Kiss Cracow 2019)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.