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Parkway Drive Singer Slams Bands Who Use Backing Tracks: “Go On F!@#ing ‘X Factor’!”

Written by James Arnold-Garvey on October 31, 2013

Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall has lashed out at bands he’s observed using backing tracks during live shows, likening their performances to karaoke and labelling them as “popstars” who should be performing on TV talent shows.

Chatting with Music Feeds this afternoon, McCall shared his thoughts on the current crop of hardcore and metalcore bands he’s witnessed employing the apparently commonplace technique. The straight edge singer prefaced his outburst by saying Australian bands who make similar music have the chops to pull off a live performance without the aid of pre-recorded instrumentation, despite their lack of support:

The Australian bands, especially in this crop, are very good, very inventive, and can play their music and can play as well as – if not better than – ninety-nine per cent of the big bands you hear about from overseas that are getting pushed and have massive labels behind them and all the hype and stuff. You play with them and then you realise that Australian locals leave most people for dead.

Stating that there’s “a lot of bullshit involved in this music,” McCall claims that the practice of using backing tracks live is almost exclusively the domain of larger international acts on the scene and, while stopping short of naming and shaming the acts involved, says some of the performers were clearly humiliated when his own band caught them red-handed:

You hear the most amazing record in the world, and you watch them and they can’t even play it live. It’s all recorded guitars. The amount of big bands that we’ve played with that…are pretty much karaoke bands is shocking. The only live sound you hear is the drums and even that’s triggered to hell.

I’m not going to say names but they know who they are. And the thing is, they watched us laughing at them on stage and looked embarrassed as hell…I watched the mic turned the wrong way and yet the singing coming out absolutely perfect and the guitarist dropping the guitar. You sit on side of stage and think, ‘Why are you even doing this? Are you stoked? Is this fun? Is this creative?’ It’s just bizarre. I don’t know why you’d want to bother.

McCall says that “integrity always meant a hell of a lot to me” and that no act can hope to maintain their authenticity if they can’t play live. “That’s where you see that person’s involved in it because they get to ride on a bus and have thousands of people screaming along,” he said. “But that’s what being a popstar is – go on fucking ‘X Factor’!”

Parkway Drive will be bringing their integrity back to Australia after yet another overseas jaunt, playing alongside The Offspring and The Used as part of the Vans Warped Tour.

The festival will soon be shuttling its way around the country, starting in Brisbane before hitting Coffs Harbour, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide – you can check out the full lineup and ticket info right here.

Stay tuned to Music Feeds in the coming days to see our full interview with Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall!

Gallery: Parkway Drive – Riverstage, Brisbane 14/12/2012

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