The music industry has several issues that get most artists fired up no matter what side they land on. One of the sensitive topics, especially among vocalists, is the use of pre-recorded backing vocals. Most musicians have strong opinions about the topic and don’t shy away from sharing where they stand regarding vocalists’ live performances.
A few names are more commonly known in the rock world as having unique voices that might have trouble singing live from time to time and need pre-recorded backing vocals for a little boost on stage. One of those names is Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil. He has received both positive and negative comments regarding his singing. However, he managed to survive all the negativity and focused on his music career.
The singer went through a rough patch after the pandemic lockdowns had been lifted and bands started returning to stages. Neil, who had been stuck at home like all his peers, was not in the best shape to perform and use his voice to its best ability. Hence, fans were ready to comment and criticize him for being unable to sing live. Neil even had a show in Iowa where the vocalist had to step down the stage for losing his voice.
Post-pandemic performances weren’t the only criticisms Neil received for his voice. He had previous performances throughout his career where Crüe fans commented on his vocals. There was one criticism Neil received about his live performance, which came from one of his bandmates. Mick Mars once addressed Neil’s usage of pre-recorded background vocals in an interview with Eddie Trunk and discreetly stressed that he didn’t like them at all.
During the conversation, Mars shared his dissatisfaction with the band’s decision to use pre-recorded backing vocals to help Neil on stage. Mars said, “That could get me in a lot of trouble. Let me put it this way. I’ll say two words, and you’ll know: Britney Spears. I don’t like it. I could put on a Mötley CD and play along with it all day. I don’t wanna do that.”
However, after the lead guitarist received a similar question in a Rolling Stone interview about his thoughts regarding using pre-recorded backing vocals, “I’d rather hear on-key vocals than not,” said Mars. “I guess that there are some people that don’t dig it. Some people like raw, upfront stuff. I think that background vocals strengthen the band in some ways. I mean, it is what it is.”
While the subject still polarizes most musicians in the industry, Mick Mars’ initial opinion seemed to have changed over time. Even though his earlier remarks on the subject implied that he wasn’t the biggest fan of pre-recorded backing vocals, Mars possibly decided to look at the issue from a different perspective and started supporting the band’s decision.