Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Karaoke Diaries Part 1: This one's for the ladies. It's called "Hopelessly Devoted To You"? Oh hell no.
Karaoke is something that I've only done while being just a single gin and tonic shy of being pickled. There's a myriad of reasons for why I'm more than a little reluctant to belt out Journey's "Wheels In The Sky" in front of a room full of Japanese business men and assorted tourists mixed with the token locals. First off, lets just address the music selection part. You find me both a place where the karaoke machine has obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs, in addition to a room of people who want to hear obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs and I'll belt out Don't Go Back To Rockville or Jockey Full Of Bourbon or Just Like Honey like I was James Brown and Coconutz on East Desert Inn is the Apollo. Secondly, there's a reason why Sinatra's "My Way" has been banned in karaoke bars in some countries. Some songs were not meant to be butchered by a sloshed man fresh off his seventh rum and coke, clutching the mic stand like he's the singer from Creed. Right about now, you're asking yourself "Self, where is he going with this?". And I will tell you. You see, on two occasions I was that man clutching the mic stand fresh off my fourth gin and tonic as I'm a light weight. On the first occasion I was in Flagstaff, Arizona with some friends when my sister Faith, in a excellent display of how little she knows her younger brother, tells the karaoke maestro that I'd love to sing a song from the Grease soundtrack. This would prove difficult to do as I have never seen the movie or heard any of the songs, yet there I was being handed a microphone while not having the sense to read the song's title "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and offer a deal breaking "Oh hell no". After saying "I have no idea what this song is ladies and gentlemen" on the microphone, I proceeded to read the words to the song off the prompter, void of tone,melody, inflection and all the other elements that went into the pre "Physical" Olivia-Newton John gem. Faith then followed the Grease number sucker punch with a Sonny and Cher groin kick of a duet with "I Got You Babe". Now this song I knew. Faith filled in the Cher part and we carried the tune to the best of our inabilities much to the chagrin or enjoyment of the patrons in Gypsies, Flagstaff's after hours gay bar . Did I want to sing it to a room full of unsuspecting victims? Not a chance. Did I sing it anyways? I sure did. Did I learn my lesson and commit myself to staying out of karaoke bars lest I find myself at the mic with Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" queued up? Not at all.