Friday, June 17, 2005


Some of you have witnessed the phenomenon. In fact, even more have even participated in it. Perhaps you're like me where it's fun, occassionally, to make your way to the nearest karaoke bar and blow a little steam by being as obnoxious and annoying as you can be. I've delivered some masterful performances, possibly a few can testify to their greatness, but at the end of it, you realize how depressing and sometimes disturbing karaoke halls can sometime be. Karaoke halls are like shopping malls to me--fun for the first thirty minutes and then, in only a brief moment, everything goes South and you're kicking your way to the door. Here's a few examples of what I'm talking about. Maybe you've seen them first hand and have experienced the panic that I have gone through. Perhaps, you're a culprit and don't have friends close enough to break it to you that you're a sad and desperate person in seek of some serious therapy.

Let me first present to you, EXHIBIT A:

This is the man who doesn't realize how much of a bad time everyone in the bar is having while he audibly assaults the patrons with his horrible renditions of popular favorites like "Summer Nights", "Love Shack" and maybe even Garth Brooks "The Dance" to slow it down for the lovers. What's sad about this guy is he really thinks he's the life of the party and it's easier to let him believe it than to challenge him on it. Of course, his problems extend far beyond the karaoke hall, but they're on full display in public when he picks up a mic and stands in front of that small little screen with the bouncing ball. Normally, this fella doesn't drink but he thrives off of his small vile of adrenaline that he keeps in his pocket which is also where you'll typically find his hand that's not holding the mic. The hand in the pocket is a coping mechanism for people with anxiety issues. But once this guy makes it through the chorus once, he's home free. The hand comes out and, often but not always, will be used like a preacher or good story teller usually acting some of the verses.


The avid. The guy who thinks his incredible performance will either lead him to a record exec who will sign him on the spot (contrary to popular belief, most A&R's don't hang out in dumpy karaoke halls looking for the next big thing) or a good lookin woman who will see his performance as inspiring and will leave with him and eventually wear his ring in marriage. Usually (and obviously) neither of these happen and, if one is going to happen, it's the latter. And she'll leave him the next morning realizing the horrible mistake she made. He usually will sing slow songs becacuse the alcohol has taken hold and it's difficult to follow lyrics in the uptempo songs and, generally, the slower songs don't really test his vocal skills. He'll hang out in a lower, manly octave so that the women will swoon at his low notes. Singing in tenor/soprano range will guarantee you a lonely man when they shut down the bar. Another characteristic of the avid is sometimes he'll have an "in" with the DJ--he'll bring his own karaoke cds with the perfect arrangement that he's practiced a hundred times at home on his own player during the week before dashing out on Friday night to wow the audience at the bar. He'll make arrangements previous to getting the show started to be called up at a specified time so that he has enough time to get a few beers in him and pull a few ladies over to his table. They call his name and then he acts surprised like, "Well, Bobby, if you insist, yeah, I'll give it a try." He then dives into his well-rehearsed version of "Unchained Melody" until someone gives him the respect that he feels he so deserves. And he'll always drop an octave on the high part which is mad annoying. If it doesn't work this week, don't worry, he'll be back next weekend.


The wise guy. The joker. He's wearing his favorite parody t-shirt and (coincidence?) he's a Spankee fan. He comes with all of his friends who are all in the romantic pursuit and, for some comic relief to the ever-intense hunt for the opposite sex, he gets up and sings/raps/heckles his way through one of many different songs: "Ice Ice Baby", "Bye Bye Bye", "Brass Monkey", "Baby Got Back", "Greased Lightning", "Bad to the Bone" and so on. His comedic performance is well received, but only because people don't have the nerve to tell him that he's not, in fact, funny, but rather kinda lame. The breaks in singing (guitar solos) are usually filled with glances at his buddies to see if they're laughing at his performance. It's no longer fun if not only are they not laughing, but they have used his performance as a springboard into a conversation with a nice lady--leaving him out of the action. If they are giggling and laughing at him up on stage, then his mission is accomplished. Sad thing is that if you're trying to meet someone, it always helps to have "this guy" there because he makes you look much smoother and cooler than you actually are. "This guy" doesn't realize that he acts as this mechanism in the fragile game of dating.


This fella is never too flashy. He's the guy who has had a little too much to drink and of all the thousands of 3-minute songs in the book, he picks the longest freaking song, without fail. Usually it's "American Pie" or "99 Bottles of Beer". In the case that you have to hear this guy sing, "American Pie", he'll never really land the verses, but during every one of the 15-20 choruses in that song he'll attempt to lead the entire place in a sing-a-long. Very awkward. In fact, it's such a long song that he'll regret it sometimes half way through and will begin to lose interest--resorting to swaying back and forth, smoking a cigarette, sitting down and talking to a buddy at the table next to the stage while the sound of a voiceless accompaniment track plays on endlessly. And, in the case that he's singing, he's always a half-step low on every note.

As a disclaimer: I don't know these guys. They might be supernice guys, but I needed photos to accompany my verbals and these were the most appropriate pics I could find. No offense if you've happened across the root down and have seen your face plastered up. Unless, of course, you're a Yankee--more specifically, Alex Rodriguez.


sarahsmile3 said...

What’s that sound? Shhhhhhhhhh…………I think I just heard the hammer hitting the head of a nail. DEAD ON JEFFRO!!!!
Especially the “American Pie” guy. How funny!
I remember your Karaoke days back in L town. You would bring down the house when singing a Zeppelin tune. You knew the secret….never take it seriously.
I would love to hear/see you do a Karaoke version of any song by The Darkness.

Todd said...

Nice...can't wait to get back together. Maybe we'll have to go blow some steam together at the K-Bar.

j3 said...

I just want to take a qualified psychologist with me to help me with my analysis. Of course, my lovely wife would qualify, but she doesn't like bars that much.

Chrissy said...

Zeppelin, eh, HOLLYWOOD? God forbid I can find a karoke machine and be there when you get your drink on.

j3 said...

I'm going to retire. Only private parties. No more karaoke halls for me. You get that karaoke machine and six pack of beer and you have your Zeppelin. Just please, someone, find a karaoke version of "Misty Mountain Hop".