BLACK STONE CHERRY guitarist: “A concert is a concert and an album is an album”

CHRIS ROBERTSON was also not immune to the popular topic of using pre-recorded material at concerts and put in his couple cents on the matter in a conversation with

“I’m not going to turn a blind eye to it and say, ‘Screw all the bands that use plywood,’ because that’s not fair. Because there are a lot of bands in modern production that 50 percent of their songs – take those FALLING IN REVERSE, for example; Ronnie Radke will be the first to tell you that 50-70 percent of some of their songs are phonographs that the band plays to. Now, do I think it’s okay to cancel a concert because your phonograph is flying? Absolutely not. I believe that at its core, a band should be able to perform their songs as a band. And if you can’t do that, then you should have some kind of clause or something to cancel such a performance. But I have no problem with bands using some kind of material, because who can expect a band to hire an orchestra every night? If they really think that kind of sound has a negative effect on the song….. What band – I don’t care who you are – can afford to hire a 40-piece orchestra to tour to play one song a night. Bands can’t do that.

So it’s actually a fine line for me. And even though the question is a sensitive one, I think for me, a band shouldn’t be completely on plywood. The guy playing drums, the guy playing guitar, the guy playing bass, the people playing the damn instruments, and the singer – they should all do their job. The extra material? If that’s what you’re doing, I get you. Do your own thing. Or if you’re a band where you have one guy who sings, and he puts harmonies on the chorus in the studio, and nobody else in the band can physically sing, and he does the lead vocals, but they already have the harmonies, then so be it, man. Whatever. Personally, I wouldn’t, but I understand why they do it. Because at the end of the day, 95 percent of bands that launch tracks don’t do it because they can’t play the material or don’t want to play it; they do it because they’re afraid to perform a version of a song that people haven’t heard on the radio. And we just have a different mentality. We think a live show is a live show and an album is an album. And that’s the difference. And there’s no right or wrong answer to that question, man. There’s no right or wrong answer to “yes to tracks” or “no to tracks” in today’s society. As far as BLACK STONE CHERRY is concerned, we’re not using them. The only thing we do is if sometimes in the video we see that we get a song really, really fast, then every once in a while we’ll play it under a metronome to determine the tempo of the song so that it’s not so fast that I can’t sing it. And then if we play it one night under metronome, we’ll get right back into the right rhythm and then we won’t do it again.

I can promise you that if you come to a BLACK STONE CHERRY concert, anything you hear, whether it’s an instrument or a vocal, if you hear it during our show, it’s going to be performed by one of us. And if it’s bongos, it’s J. F. comes out from behind the drum riser and plays the bongos. We don’t use any backing tracks. We never have and we never will. We are very similar to HALESTORM in that respect. They’re another one of our great friends who have it exactly the same way. They don’t use any phonograms – nothing. They just go on stage and do their thing!”


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