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Old 02-08-2024, 07:16 PM   #1
Squish Squash
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Default Question about backup vocals during live shows in classic era

Is there a reason James did most of them in their early days but later D'Arcy became the primary backup vocalist?

 
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Old 02-08-2024, 11:50 PM   #2
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Well at the very least you can say hello

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 12:18 AM   #3
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Hello

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 01:06 AM   #4
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Darcy’s English wasn’t great when the pumpkins started out. The plan was for her to take language lessons to become fluent in English so that she could take over the backup vocals eventually. James had trouble singing and playing guitar at the same time, so they desperately needed her to take over. James did them initially in order for her to learn the pronunciation of the words, as they figured she could at least learn to sing them phonetically. It took longer than they thought which really pissed everyone off, which was a contributing factor in jimmys drug abuse (jimmy couldn’t take watching James struggle with singing and playing guitar, and took it really hard). James got stressed out and grew his hair long so he could hide behind it. Billy got really super stressed and impulsive so much so that one night he flipped and cut off all his hair (like Britney Spears did when she went crazy). Finally James sat down with her one summer as her personal tutor and she learned just enough to get by. She took over background vocals and the rest is history. Sadly around 1999 she learned enough English that she read her contract and realized what it said, prompting her to quit. Billy got pissed off at James for being such a great tutor, teaching her big words like “non disclosure clause” and “indentured servant” and “tyrant” and “delusions of grandeur “ and “irony” and “egotistical”. That’s why billy and James’s relationship soured. Billy realized his mistake a few years ago when he worked with Mike Burns (who had terrible command of the rules of grammar) and Jeff Schroeder (who uses a lot of slang, slurred his words, and speaks gibberish most of the time). He realized that it’s ok because the only language we really need to speak is music. He invited James back, and are currently on tour with some lady who sings backup, making everyone happy once again.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 05:30 AM   #5
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It's so refreshing to read the truth instead of fake news.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 02:57 PM   #6
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So amazing that D'Arcy had such an American accent despite not being a native speaker. What skill.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 03:29 PM   #7
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In a lot of live performances, her vocals were so quiet it looked like she was just making the mouth movements without any of the noise. Sometimes I actually thought that's what she was doing.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 04:22 PM   #8
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I asked ChatGPT this pointless question and here's what it said:

"During the Smashing Pumpkins' classic era, particularly in their early days, James Iha indeed handled a significant portion of the backing vocals. However, the shift towards D'Arcy taking on more of the backup vocal duties can be attributed to several factors:

-Vocal Ability and Range: D'Arcy's vocal abilities may have been more suited to the types of harmonies and backing vocals the band wanted to incorporate into their songs as they evolved stylistically. Over time, they might have found that her voice complemented Billy Corgan's lead vocals more effectively.

-Musical Dynamics: As the band's sound evolved and became more complex, there might have been a desire to have a broader range of vocal textures and harmonies in their music. D'Arcy's voice might have provided a different sonic quality compared to James Iha's, allowing for more diverse vocal arrangements.

-Band Dynamics: The roles within a band can shift over time based on various factors, including personal preferences, evolving musical direction, and internal dynamics. It's possible that as the band's dynamics changed, they found it more fitting for D'Arcy to take on a larger role in the vocal department.

-Songwriting and Arrangement: As the band progressed, their songwriting and arrangement techniques likely evolved as well. Certain songs might have called for specific vocal arrangements that D'Arcy was better suited to handle, leading to her taking on more backing vocal duties.

Overall, the shift in backup vocal responsibilities from James Iha to D'Arcy likely occurred naturally as the band matured creatively and their musical style developed."

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 05:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phang View Post
In a lot of live performances, her vocals were so quiet it looked like she was just making the mouth movements without any of the noise. Sometimes I actually thought that's what she was doing.
I love how sensitive people are to live vocals being less than perfect. Put microphones at the front of a stage that’s BLASTING mid range frequencies from guitar amps and drum kit and make the human vocal the absolute loudest sound in the room. Over for FOHcels

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 06:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by phang View Post
In a lot of live performances, her vocals were so quiet it looked like she was just making the mouth movements without any of the noise. Sometimes I actually thought that's what she was doing.
I can usually hear her pretty well in the MCIS era.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofglass11 View Post
I asked ChatGPT this pointless question and here's what it said:

"During the Smashing Pumpkins' classic era, particularly in their early days, James Iha indeed handled a significant portion of the backing vocals. However, the shift towards D'Arcy taking on more of the backup vocal duties can be attributed to several factors:

-Vocal Ability and Range: D'Arcy's vocal abilities may have been more suited to the types of harmonies and backing vocals the band wanted to incorporate into their songs as they evolved stylistically. Over time, they might have found that her voice complemented Billy Corgan's lead vocals more effectively.

-Musical Dynamics: As the band's sound evolved and became more complex, there might have been a desire to have a broader range of vocal textures and harmonies in their music. D'Arcy's voice might have provided a different sonic quality compared to James Iha's, allowing for more diverse vocal arrangements.

-Band Dynamics: The roles within a band can shift over time based on various factors, including personal preferences, evolving musical direction, and internal dynamics. It's possible that as the band's dynamics changed, they found it more fitting for D'Arcy to take on a larger role in the vocal department.

-Songwriting and Arrangement: As the band progressed, their songwriting and arrangement techniques likely evolved as well. Certain songs might have called for specific vocal arrangements that D'Arcy was better suited to handle, leading to her taking on more backing vocal duties.

Overall, the shift in backup vocal responsibilities from James Iha to D'Arcy likely occurred naturally as the band matured creatively and their musical style developed."
Haha that's funny. I do think her voice complimented Billy's extremely well, and better than James' but I have no idea if that was the reason and again it's just my opinion.

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 10:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ourruseoffools View Post
I love how sensitive people are to live vocals being less than perfect. Put microphones at the front of a stage that’s BLASTING mid range frequencies from guitar amps and drum kit and make the human vocal the absolute loudest sound in the room. Over for FOHcels
simply remove the amps and you have perfect live sound. perfect for rock and/or roll

 
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Old 02-09-2024, 10:52 PM   #13
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The silent stage thing is really a safety thing at this point. Tinnitus is a real thing and a real concern if you’ve been touring for thirty plus years. They played at crazy volumes in the past with cabs blasting them and the audience. Imagine doing that for 50-100 consecutive dates. Earplugs only do so much and hearing loss is cumulative. Now they have in ears and the audience is getting the brunt of the volume since FOH speakers are very directional. They’re doing what’s best for them and while it may be not as “rock and roll”, it’s sensible.

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 12:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by houseofglass11 View Post
The silent stage thing is really a safety thing at this point. Tinnitus is a real thing and a real concern if you’ve been touring for thirty plus years. They played at crazy volumes in the past with cabs blasting them and the audience. Imagine doing that for 50-100 consecutive dates. Earplugs only do so much and hearing loss is cumulative. Now they have in ears and the audience is getting the brunt of the volume since FOH speakers are very directional. They’re doing what’s best for them and while it may be not as “rock and roll”, it’s sensible.
You’re wrong. It’s to get vocals louder/clearer because all normies care about is vocals. Also easier to sing if less volume on the stage/less to fight against

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:02 AM   #15
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No, I'm not wrong. It's easier to get a clearer vocal mix without all the bleed, yes. But volume becomes a concern when you're in your mid fifties and have been blasting amps for thirty years. The only thing I don't quite understand is still lugging the huge rigs around when a Kemper or Axe Fx would sound just as good or better. They're running direct anyways, so there's really no point in the huge tube rigs. Players say "I want the tube feel" etc. But if you're just hearing a iso-cab mic mix in your in-ears anyways, you aren't getting the 'feel' of the amp. You aren't interacting directly with your amp like in a regular stage set up. So it becomes a moot point. They could also cut down on freight costs big time.

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:16 AM   #16
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Players say "I want the tube feel"
musicians are so effing silly

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ourruseoffools View Post
You’re wrong. It’s to get vocals louder/clearer because all normies care about is vocals. Also easier to sing if less volume on the stage/less to fight against
similarly why watching TV mixes is so fucking depressing - vocals way up, guitars muffled to a low hiss, drums sterile and dry (so normies can hEar the bEaT i figure). every band i loved that's gone on a late night show has sounded like shit (at least over TV) because it's always a shit mix

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:31 AM   #18
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also lol going to a pumpkins show for the vocals

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooch View Post
Darcy’s English wasn’t great when the pumpkins started out. The plan was for her to take language lessons to become fluent in English so that she could take over the backup vocals eventually. James had trouble singing and playing guitar at the same time, so they desperately needed her to take over. James did them initially in order for her to learn the pronunciation of the words, as they figured she could at least learn to sing them phonetically. It took longer than they thought which really pissed everyone off, which was a contributing factor in jimmys drug abuse (jimmy couldn’t take watching James struggle with singing and playing guitar, and took it really hard). James got stressed out and grew his hair long so he could hide behind it. Billy got really super stressed and impulsive so much so that one night he flipped and cut off all his hair (like Britney Spears did when she went crazy). Finally James sat down with her one summer as her personal tutor and she learned just enough to get by. She took over background vocals and the rest is history. Sadly around 1999 she learned enough English that she read her contract and realized what it said, prompting her to quit. Billy got pissed off at James for being such a great tutor, teaching her big words like “non disclosure clause” and “indentured servant” and “tyrant” and “delusions of grandeur “ and “irony” and “egotistical”. That’s why billy and James’s relationship soured. Billy realized his mistake a few years ago when he worked with Mike Burns (who had terrible command of the rules of grammar) and Jeff Schroeder (who uses a lot of slang, slurred his words, and speaks gibberish most of the time). He realized that it’s ok because the only language we really need to speak is music. He invited James back, and are currently on tour with some lady who sings backup, making everyone happy once again.
Crazy how people keep discussing and searching for answers when it's all here in great detail

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 04:39 AM   #20
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D'arcy's singing voice obviously wasn't very loud. She had problems to get recognizable even with the main singers mike:


 
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Old 02-10-2024, 07:23 AM   #21
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Catherine my ass, that was just Mark Rew & Friends. Get your facts straight you bluffer!

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 08:06 AM   #22
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D'arcy joined Catherine at the song "Four Leaf Clover", where she had added duet vocals on their actual recorded single too:




Didn't help the band to get enough publicity, to not loose their record contract later...

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 08:20 AM   #23
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“No Neil, no Catherine” that’s what every ‘Cath lifer’ will tell you

But thanks for reminding everyone of how impossibly cool and hot 1997 d’Arcy was

 
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Old 02-10-2024, 12:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by houseofglass11 View Post
The silent stage thing is really a safety thing at this point. Tinnitus is a real thing and a real concern if you’ve been touring for thirty plus years. They played at crazy volumes in the past with cabs blasting them and the audience. Imagine doing that for 50-100 consecutive dates. Earplugs only do so much and hearing loss is cumulative. Now they have in ears and the audience is getting the brunt of the volume since FOH speakers are very directional. They’re doing what’s best for them and while it may be not as “rock and roll”, it’s sensible.
sensible

sustainable

business

 
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Old 02-12-2024, 12:10 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by houseofglass11 View Post
No, I'm not wrong. It's easier to get a clearer vocal mix without all the bleed, yes. But volume becomes a concern when you're in your mid fifties and have been blasting amps for thirty years. The only thing I don't quite understand is still lugging the huge rigs around when a Kemper or Axe Fx would sound just as good or better. They're running direct anyways, so there's really no point in the huge tube rigs. Players say "I want the tube feel" etc. But if you're just hearing a iso-cab mic mix in your in-ears anyways, you aren't getting the 'feel' of the amp. You aren't interacting directly with your amp like in a regular stage set up. So it becomes a moot point. They could also cut down on freight costs big time.
You're still mostly wrong.

Technology has moved on, live amps are not needed, isolation is easier without anything creating sound on stage that isn't acoustic.

Musicians can still, and will, kill their ears with in-ears, albeit at a slower rate.

Anyway, you're wrong.

 
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Old 02-12-2024, 04:24 AM   #26
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Would've been great if D'Arcy had made a shoegaze solo album.

 
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:32 PM   #27
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Would've been great if D'Arcy had made a shoegaze solo album.
Jesus christ

 
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Old 02-12-2024, 07:02 PM   #28
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You're still mostly wrong.

Technology has moved on, live amps are not needed, isolation is easier without anything creating sound on stage that isn't acoustic.

Musicians can still, and will, kill their ears with in-ears, albeit at a slower rate.

Anyway, you're wrong.
Ok so you basically said I was right in your first part and then ended with “anyways you’re wrong”. Maybe you can elaborate on your position if you’re capable of that. Each player can have a custom mix with the in-ears. There’s no way they are blasting in-ears louder than they used to blast real cabs on stage.

 
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:16 AM   #29
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Ok so you basically said I was right in your first part and then ended with “anyways you’re wrong”. Maybe you can elaborate on your position if you’re capable of that. Each player can have a custom mix with the in-ears. There’s no way they are blasting in-ears louder than they used to blast real cabs on stage.
Would’ve been great if D’arcy had noticed me holding up that sign for her when they stopped in my city Adore tour 1998… something was telling me then that she was feeling discontent within the group… maybe there was a void that little ol me could’ve filled…. If only…

Or the LEAST she could do is give us a solo shoegaze album. 90s forever baby! We Were So Young. Lost boys

 
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:45 AM   #30
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Her voice was quite wonderful on 'Cancer' by Filter. A whole album of it though might be kind of grating.

 
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