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Music notes: Ashlee, using backtrack lessens you in the eyes of fans

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Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson

Memo to Ashlee Simpson:

Ashlee, Ashlee, Ashlee. What are we going to do about you?

You were exposed as a lip-syncer on "Saturday Night Live" and then you poked fun at yourself during NBC's Radio Music Awards on Monday night.

Sure, just make a joke. That should clear it all up.

And while you're deluding yourself that everything will be OK, music critics across the land are rolling their eyes. You must know that from now on you will be analyzed, scrutinized and examined under that dreadful, critical, pop-culture microscope.

Although you have managers, and "your people" are spinning this issue in the press, you have lost the trust of some of your fans. Maybe they should start to call you Ashlee "Vanilli" Simpson.

What also boggles my mind is that, according to Deseret Morning News TV editor Scott Pierce, "Saturday Night Live" has always, from the very first episode, claimed to insist that musical guests perform live. Although executive producer Lorne Michaels has now gone on the record to confess that in the past other singers have lip-synched on the show.

It's not only yours, but "Saturday Night Live's" integrity that has come into question.

What's even more distressful is that "your people" are blaming not only acid reflux disorder for the problem, but your drummer? "The drummer pressed the wrong button," Ashlee's father Joe Simpson told the Associated Press.

Sure, blame everyone but yourself.

Using a backtrack isn't honest. While you claim it's the only time you've relied on a backtrack, how are we supposed to know? And then to say that using a backtrack is "common industry practice." . . . Well, Simon & Garfunkel didn't use a backtrack during their reunion tour this summer. Neither did Rush. I don't think Norah Jones, John Mayer, Green Day or Metallica use backtracks. And all are among the major moneymakers of the past summer-tour season.

Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison didn't use backtracks. Neither did Janis Joplin (although some shows could have used them). Those singers sang from the heart, which is a phrase you seem to be fond of.

Do you think you could have made it big back in the 1960s? Do you think you could have been signed on your musical ability alone, like those heavy-hitters?

What about such bands as Journey and the Eurythmics in the 1980s? I don't think they used backtracks. Journey never took precautions to "help" Steve Perry's sky-high tenor. If he had a bad night, well, he had a bad night. Annie Lennox, from the Eurythmics, has a voice that can go on forever. But then again, she could sing without having to rely on a pre-recorded digital tape.

One more thing, Ashlee. You were supposed to play a private concert in Salt Lake City, at Granger High on Tuesday, because the school won the "Rock, Vote and Win" national contest. But thanks to this vocal snafu, you didn't show.

Funny how a lack of integrity can to make life difficult. You wouldn't have had to cancel if you weren't caught lip-syncing.

If you hadn't relied on the "common practice" of using a backtrack, you might have sounded bad on "Saturday Night Live," or you might have had to cancel — but you'd still have your integrity. And those fans.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com