Topic: Backing Vocals?  (Read 1959 times)

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wombar

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Backing Vocals?
« on: August 02, 2003, 06:48 AM »
Hi All,

I've recently joined a function band (3 piece) and they've been saying that they want me to try to do some backing vocals. I'm really looking for some advice from those of you who have done this kind of thing, it's just not something that has been required of me in the past.

Any tips/techniques that you can share?

Cheers ;D

Poopypants

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2003, 08:37 AM »
What are your concerns?  Your pitch? Timbre? or just the fear?

wombar

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2003, 10:09 AM »
Pretty much all of the above!  ;D

I think my problem is that I've just never really sung before, pitch is probably going to be the biggest problem as I've got a very deep voice.

It may sound stupid but I dont really know how to do backing vocals, I guess that the requirements will change with each song so I'm going to talk to the band next practice and ask them what they are expecting.

I was just wondering if there were any do's or don'ts when it comes to backing vocals really.

Cheers

drumwild

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2003, 10:35 AM »
I work with the lead singer on my parts and get them down. After that, I make sure I can hear him in the monitors, focus and breathe!!!

My mic stand is positioned slightly behind me to my left. It booms in and the mic points up (so it won't fall out).

Being a singer will add value to what you do!

wombar

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2003, 11:53 AM »
I'm well up for doing it's just a confidence thing at the moment as it's something that I've never had to do. Like you said drumwild, it will definitely make me more valuable.

Ah well, I'll let you know how I get on, if you dont hear from me with a couple of weeks I've probably been arrested for crimes against mans ears. ;D

Cheers

Poopypants

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2003, 01:00 PM »
When I first sang backups, I was complaining that I was awful. The singer told me to start singing awfully now, so I can get to singing better sooner!

Offline Jon E

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2003, 01:59 PM »
Jump in first on those tunes that have "shout vocals"--You know, the ones where everybody is singing the chorus together.

This can give you some experience and buil more confidence.

Don't be embarassed to try at rehearsal.  You might not be good at all typres of back ups.  For instance, I can harmonize with the main melody,but I can't always saty on my part if there is a 3-part harmony going on.

Granted, we really don't pratice it that much either.

You fill find where your voice fits the band best.

dougstiers

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2003, 02:30 PM »
Personally, I would tell you to sing as badly as possible so they wouldnt ask you anymore. I have been singing back-up and some lead for 20 YEARS while playing and absolutely HATE IT. Nothing worse than having to worry about wether your mike stand is in place, if youre gonna hit it and all that crap. Why do you think 99% of all "major" bands' drummers don't sing. Because we have enuff to do, thats why. We split our minds into quarters to do what we do already, why throw another job in there. Our job is to keep time, and make sure everyone stays in meter. NOT SING. Thats how I feel about it. If they tell you have to sing, do it untill you have established yourself and then tell them it takes away from your playing too much. ;).
Thats how I feel about it.

Offline Joe

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2003, 03:22 PM »
Sheesh—you may as well ask a pedal-steel guitarist to sing.
I'm not a particularly slow player, yet I don't play fast.  I play half-fast.

Offline nudrum

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2003, 05:02 PM »
I recommend singing the vocal line that is the easiest for you to find and sing while you play. You have the noisiest instrument and shouldn't be expected to sing difficult harmonies (where you are searching for the right note), not in the beginning anyway. I had to keep my playing simple at first. After awhile I surprised myself with what I could play while doing a nice groove or fill.
Enjoying a resurgence in jazz gigs.

drumwild

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2003, 05:41 PM »
Fortunately for me, I trust the guys in my band. The singer/guitarist lets me know what's going wrong and how to fix it. Rehearsal is our time to make mistakes, take risks, and fine-tune everything.

Sometimes I think I'd rather give up the singing, but this beast has grown. Now I sing lead on two songs, have lots of backups, and introduce the band during a song.

When I toured CA with Noodle Muffin, they would ask me to sing ALL of the leads two days before the gig, so the lead vocalist could rest his voice. That didn't get me out of backup vocal duty during the show.  :P

chefdoug

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2003, 06:46 AM »
 I do a fair amount of singing with my current band as we are trio and sometimes that third voice is just needed, it just sucks when a song is played in 7 or 5 or something and they expect you to sing in those songs. It's like entering a whole new realm of polyrhythms because now you have to add a 5th element to your playing. So sometimes I like to sing, other times I hate it, depends on the song.
  Recently I went on an audution for some cover band, I spoke on the phone with the frontman, and he told me he's looking for a drummer who essentially will be the primary backup vocalist to do all of the higher harmonies. After speaking with him, I almost didn't go for that reason but I went anyway, cause you never know. I played like 8 songs with these guys, 7 of which had alot of vocals. My drumming was solid that night but definetely suffered a bit due to all of the singing. What bothered me was that he actually seemed more concerned with my vocals than with my drumming, what's up with that, do you want a drummer or a singer? He told me his old drummer did all of these vocal parts, I said thats all fine and well, but most drummers will not be a primary backup vocalist and if that is such a huge requirement for his new drummer, he will have a heck of a time finding his new drummer. I left the audition and he told me he would have me back and he's been emailing me this past week, it's just not my bag.

Poopypants

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2003, 10:02 AM »
I do a fair amount of singing with my currant band

The California Raisins?

Offline Louis Russell

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2003, 10:06 AM »
The California Raisins?
Are they still active.  I heard they dried up   ;D
No one will believe it's the "Blues" if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it last night!

chefdoug

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2003, 12:46 PM »
The California Raisins?

LOL!! ;D
must be my inner chef. I probably spell currant more than I have to spell current.

Poopypants=Official Drummer Cafe smart-ass spell checker

Drumbo

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2003, 08:45 PM »
The California Raisins?
Are they still active.  I heard they dried up   ;D
Actually the Raisins are led by drummer Buddy Miles with  Will Vinton, Howard Smith, Howard McCrary and Ellis Hall on backup vocals  . . . the last I heard they are all still active although the last of four Raisins albums was released in 1990.

nullify_drummer

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2003, 10:33 PM »
hey man, something that helps me is a tea spoon of honey, and a tea spoon of cough syrup. it makes my vocal chords and stuff sound smoother and lets me sing better. it dont tastes the greatest but it works.  and my mic stand is set up wierd. i have a boom stand behind me raised way up with a 13 or 15 inch goose neck angling over my stool and putting the mic in front of me. i move a lot to my left or right because of my kit set up, its wide and what not and this method allows me to swing my arms and turn my body with out hittin my mic or mic stand.

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(ok now use your imagination big time, and thats kinda what it looks like. only better and real, i dont have the mr. acro skills)




Offline Sean Welch

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2003, 11:30 PM »

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Heyyy... are you guys playin' HANGMAN in here?  ;D
Be like your ancestors or be different. It doesn't matter.

wombar

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Backing Vocals?
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2003, 12:07 AM »
Give me an "O". ;)

Seriously tho cheers for the replies so far guys. I'm thinking that it might be worth me doing a bit more singing in the car from now on to get used to it.

 

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