Chad Gray Reveals How Mudvayne Enhance Their Live Sound Without Backing Tracks
Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray hasn't been shy about his feelings toward backing tracks, something he thinks has become an "epidemic" within the live music industry. He has, however, revealed how Mudvayne have enhanced their own live sound without the use of tracks.
Most artists who are in favor of backing tracks argue that they're beneficial for making the performance sound more true to the studio recording, especially when songs feature electronic effects, orchestras and things of that nature. But Gray has argued that bands are using them for everything now — lead vocals, guitars and beyond. So when it came time for Mudvayne to plan their live show when they reunited in 2021, they discussed how they could make their sound fuller without having to use tracks.
"I'm like, 'I don't know how well we're gonna do if we can't be as close to the sound of our album as we can be,'" Gray recalled to Metal-Roos, adding that the band agreed they didn't want to use tracks. "I was, like, 'We're gonna have to get somebody to come in and help us fill our sound out' — guitars, backing vocals, shit like that."
Thus, Mudvayne recruited their friend, guitar tech Marcus Rafferty, to join them onstage. He plays guitar and wears face paint like the rest of the band, and also helps out with backing vocals.
"We brought in a utility player — literally — somebody just to help us. But he's really singing, he's really playing guitar. We don't have any tracks," Gray continued. "We don't do that shit. Our music is fucking honest and our music has to be played that way. And I don't give a shit if anybody says any negative shit about us having Marcus. That was our answer to trying to be like other bands that just aren't doing it anymore."
The frontman the noted that his favorite metal groups don't use tracks, Metallica, Slipknot and Lamb of God.
"With the whole track thing, I'm just, like, at what point are you ripping off your fans?" he said. "Because people work really hard to buy tickets to concerts. And if they go there and you're not fucking playing your music, which is what they're paying to see, then… You know what I mean? It's become too much."
Check out the full interview below.
Mudvayne currently don't have any upcoming tour dates, but last month, Gray confirmed that the band had a total of four new songs written. They only plan to release the tracks if fans really want to hear them, otherwise they'll just continue to tour with their existing catalog.