mark buton musician
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backing tracks

The Swamp Dogs was my first experience with backing tracks (MIDIs in our case).
Like many people I considered the use of these as 'cheating' and originally insisted we pull practically every other instrument out, usually leaving only bass and drums.
Over the years though I have come to appreciate what a powerful tool the ability to augment just the sound of a guitar is, and how much flexibility and versatility it has allowed us (and others obviously).
The ability to tackle songs that we were previously unable to cover because they had strings, keyboards or a horn section, has been really exciting.
My view shifted when I came to the conclusion that no-one thinks SATNAV, cars, or even ballpoint pens is cheating! Using electric guitars and amps could be seen as cheating (as Dylan can attest), and effects pedals - forget it! Technology has always been used to make our lives easier, and this is no different.
I now spend a fair amount of time creating or editing

backing tracks
MIDI files, and derive great satisfaction from emulating the sound of whatever song it is I'm trying to re-create. Likewise, adding layers of harmonies to the tracks is very fulfilling for me too.
I'll admit, none of the above comes close to the goosebumps you get when performing with a good group of singers and musicians, but with peoples' lives being so busy ("I didn't even get time to look at that let alone learn it!"), and the financial restrictions of finding renumeration for a large group of people, this has made the job viable for us.
Add to this the fact that Barry is the first musical partner I have had (out of many) where we don't have 'musical differences' - friendly relationships in bands aren't always so easy to maintain.
pros and cons
pros and cons  
Backing tracks always know the song (even when you don’t!).
Backing tracks won’t argue about when the bridge comes in.
You can turn them off.
They don’t want to be paid!
They’re not very good company.
They don’t help you lug your stuff into or out of the gig.
They won’t enter into your witty repartee with you.
They won’t buy you a drink when you’re a bit short.
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  Thanks to Guy at Clearwater Software and Ken at Vikingbear Design Studios for assistance and support Website by Mark Burton  
art and music in cairns