How the Golden Echoes Work Together
We wanted the film to illustrate the way in which the Golden Echoes worked on the preparation and public performance of a song. We included a rehearsal scene in John Landis’s garage in which viewers glimpse the group and observe some of the cues that are used by members of the Echoes during public performances. “When we put a song together,” says John Landis, “we each try the different parts, until we get the best three background voices together for it. That’s why you see us moving around on stage: the baritone is always on the right, the tenor in the center, the fifth man on the left facing the stage. The lead man doesn’t have a microphone stand. He holds his mike because he needs to be able to look around and communicate with the other singers and musicians. I can communicate with my hands. Each group has its own habits and ways of communicating. That’s why it’s complicated for a man new to the group.”
The Golden Echoes
The Golden Echoes have a marvelous sense for singing together, of anticipation, which has come from years of familiarity with one another. They give their on-stage signals in nuances that do not distract the audience from the spell of the song being sung. John may turn his head this way and that way to indicate, “My voice is getting tired. Will you take over the lead? I’ll take over your baritone part.” At the end of a phrase, group members will switch voices so seamlessly that a listener may not realize it. If the drummer or lead guitarist lags, John gives a modest circular hand signal. When he wants to finish a song after repetitions of a line or a refrain, he may raise fingers or simply nod. He can also signal for lead or background singers to stop while the musicians continue.