Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wild Side Singers

Originally conceived as a Lou Reed cover band, Wild Side Singers, putting together the tracks for their debut album, work diligently to emulate the speak-sung voice of their idol in the studio. Though at least two of the four members is blessed with an excellent singing voice, the group tries every tactic in the world to desperately roughen up their vocal chords. Rodin Dowling, journeyman producer and Svengali to the band insist that each vocalist smoke two cigarettes in between vocal takes. Members are eager to oblige, but thus far, results have been heavily mixed.

No matter how many studio tricks are employed, they cannot escape the fact that Wild Side Singers, instead of emoting a kind of cocksure swagger a la Reed, instead sound pubescent, high-pitched, and halting. In frustration, producer Dowling hires session players to render an adequate facsimile of Reed's deliberately untrained timbre. The group is, however, allowed to play their own instruments to produce the backing track upon which the vocals will be layered. Their slight at not being allowed to sing a note on their own album, however, is a hard pill to choke down.

Surprisingly, their album I've Been Told That You've Been Bold scores an underground success in the independent charts. As a result they are asked to engage in a twenty city tour. The group is in a panic trying desperately to devise a way, any way, to sound authentic to the album. Failing to devise any adequate means of compensating for the huge shift in pitch that any sober person in the audience will easily recognize, they instead revert to the old standard of any anxious musician and begin using copious amounts of drugs. Ironically, drug abuse solves the problem. Who would have thought that heroin usage changes the tone of a person's voice?

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