A band pays its dues and gets to spend more time than ever before in the studio. The lap of luxury! While the musicians jam out side 2 filler right on the studio floor and the singer sits in a corner, scribbling out lyrics, Oliver might as well be preparing his bandmates for a long hiatus. While the band loads up every possible tracks with exotic overdubs afforded by the studio’s equipment, Oliver might as well be asking the manager at the cool record store where he’s worked for the last 15 years for a leave of absence. The question is, who’s going to get that call to play the role of Oliver?
Oliver: A multi-instrumental, supporting musician usually added in preparation of a band’s breakthrough or reunion tour. With the promise of larger crowds expecting faithful renditions of the hits, Oliver affords the band the ability to replicate the key studio overdubs that would not otherwise be performed live or that would require an official band member to abandon his or her usual instrument, thereby leaving another hole in the music. Oliver differs from the traditional “backing” or “ghost” musician in that he is positioned among the official band members, the only differences between himself and the official band members being that he’s not photographed with the band, may never record with them, and gets much less tail.
Although the need for this Oliver character is borne out of a band’s deepening “studio era,” he typically makes his first appearance when the band emerges to bring its new double album on The Road! Who’s gonna play that extra keyboard part on your new single when you hit the road? Oliver. Who’s gonna strum that third, 128-String Guitar part that sounds just right on the record? Oliver? Who’s gonna hop over to bass so that the bassist can take a turn at the piano? Not the singer, but Oliver. Who’s gonna whip out a harmonica and catch a few rays of spotlight for a solo on that cover of “I’m a Man”? That’s right, the mysterious new guy on board for the tour.