Karaoke Fire and Ice

30 05 2008

We were at Sing Sing on St. Marks and my friend Melvin went straight to business with the Killers “Somebody Told Me.” As soon as Melvin started singing, people started going nuts. Money.

After a half hour my song was up. “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” I was hyped.

Unfortunately, so was some other dude.

I started belting out the Leppard but some guy was yelling over me. I like it when people are into it, but some random dude stole the other mic! That aint cool. It’s a total breach of Karaoke Guy Code!

So I stopped singing and let him finish it. He couldn’t. What a douche!

I waited a good half hour until “Rebel Yell” hit the board. I get nostalgic on this one because my friend met his wife to this song. But as I reached to grab the mike, it headed to the opposite side of the bar. Once again, I was robbed!

I wasn’t feeling the love so we left for 2nd on 2nd. And lo and behold, another dude sang Rebel Yell! What are the odds of that? My little brother got the biggest kick out of it and proceeded to bust my balls.

I hit the bar and drowned my sorrows with a few car bombs and took my karaoke angst out to Nirvana’s “Lithium“. A screamer. I then got ambitious and attempted Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills.” I butchered it. Bruce Dickinson is the man!

It was then San Loco Time for some sloppy eats. I was greeted by a rude women covered by tatoos who gave me hell while trying to order a fricking burrito. Man, it just wasn’t my night! So I asked for my money back and stumbled home.

Some nights I am on Fire, and other nights I am as Cold as Ice.


Arnel Pineda & Journey on ELLEN

29 05 2008

Arnel Pineda, Living the Dream

29 05 2008

This afternoon I was about to work out and on the boob tube was Ellen Degeneres. Yikes. Run to the Hills! But Ellen then says the magic words, “the legendary rock band found their new lead singer on You Tube is here to perform Separate Ways, Journey!”

Rock on!

And the new lead signer is a little Filipino dude! Any veteran Karaoke Guy will admit Filipinos are genetically programmed karaoke machines. Heck, they staff most of the cover bands and singers throughout all of Asia.

Separate Ways aint an easy song, but little Arnel nailed it. Then again, JOURNEY did hire him. I wonder if Def Leopard is hiring?

Who needs Chris ‘Izzy’ Cole from Rock Star when you have the real deal found on the internet from the Philippines at the other side of the planet? And they are gushing with pride about Arnel’s Incredible Journey back in Pinoy Land.

Arnel, if you are ever in NYC, head to 2nd on 2nd or Sing Sing on St. Mark’s. You are living the Karaoke Guy dream. The sake is on me.

And for all you Karaoke Guys that post on You Tube, one day it will happen. Just don’t stop believing!

The Evolution of Karaoke, Part III.

27 05 2008

2nd on 2nd

A little more than a year after hitting One-7 on a weekly basis, we discovered the mayhem of 2nd on 2nd in the East Village. This place was the first Karaoke bar I went to that felt less Asian and more like a regular bar. It was like the movie version of Coyote Ugly meets One-7. A friend of mine even met his wife there when I was signing Rebel Yell. That became a key selling point when I was trying to get friends to go to 2nd on 2nd because if that guy could get laid there, anyone could!

2nd on 2nd is still on my regular rotation, even if me or one of my friends will occasionally get thrown out for drinking too many Car Bombs. Last time we tried counting how many Bombs I drank, but we lost count at 18. It’s all part of the Karaoke!

Sing Sing on St. Marks

A few years ago a Sing Sing was opened on St. Marks and I have been a regular since day one. Unlike some of the Sing Sings in the city, it has a lively open bar as well as spacious private rooms. It also has the thick Karaoke Champ song selection of a One-7, but the staff is friendlier with the neighborhood feel of Japas. Unfortunately for Japas, Sing Sing became a bit too popular and put it out of business.

Sing Sing on St. Marks is one of my favorite bars in the city and I have consumed plenty of sake there, sometimes straight from the bottle! I have never been thrown out of Sing Sing, but I have seen many others get tossed. One of my favorites was when a few girls decided to try dancing on the bar during the Killer’s “Mr. Backside.” Bad idea. The music stopped and the one girl who refused to step down was carried out legs up, spread eagle, kicking and screaming. Of course, me being the douche that I am, got the crowd to chant “let them sing!” after she was thrown out. And the music turned back on. A Karaoke casualty is usually the sign of a good party!

The Evolution of Karaoke, Part II.

27 05 2008

“Love on the Rocks”

Every year for the last decade I host a fantasy basketball draft that involves plenty of malt liquor, trash talking and sloppiness. Tradition dictates that draft survivors take it deep that night. My girlfriend suggested we go to Japas. We were all sloshed, so it seemed like a good idea!

It was a debacle. Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was carnaged in good fun. But after seeing one my friends whom I’ll call The Uncle kneel down on one knee and serenade a lady with Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks,” I was hooked. It was pure genius. Who cares if I butchered Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice”?

Japas Revisited

After that fateful night at Japas, my boys wanted more. So we hit Japas again. We tried to get nice and sloppy, but one of them brought a very bossy girlfriend. A true Game Killer. Not only did she stuff the box with songs, but also decided what songs we were going to sing! It was a night of Mary J. Blige and Justin Timberlake. She then offered to share Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” but her version of sharing was to scream over the other person. Like Foreigner, we were indeed as “Cold as Ice”!

The Karaoke One-7 Era

Karaoke One 7

One night after a fine dinner at the underrated Basta Pasta, my girlfriend and I gave the Karaoke bar next door, Karaoke 17, a shot.

It had 13,000 song book courtesy of Karaoke Champ with the open bar of a Japas as well as the private rooms like Village Karaoke. Even if the staff were like cold Asian robots, 17 became my karaoke den of choice for the next few years probably because I did not know any better. It turns out 17 tries to cater more to the “Phantom of the Opera” show tune crowd as opposed to the party crowd. I bet they are glad I am gone. I owe them a visit!

Karaoke Guys: Ben Karaoke

27 05 2008

Ben Karaoke

Ben is the original Karaoke Guy. That guy who seems to sing duets and ballads as well as the rock anthems. He is a 30-something yuppie who works an office job down the street from One-7.

Ben is the first Karaoke “regular” I got to know. He was so regular that he would usually show up at the bar by himself. It took me a while to figure this out, but when I called him out on it, he was actually proud of it! He whipped out his phone and started showing me photos of girls he hooked up with, most of whom he met at One-7.

After learning this, my boyz would hit the karaoke scene more frequently, sans any bossy girlfriend types.

The Evolution of a Karaoke Guy, Part I.

27 05 2008

Everyone Remembers Their First

It was at Village Karaoke on the Bowery, down in the depths of the private rooms. My girlfriend took me to a birthday party full of girls, but most of them did not dig dudes. They forced me to sing “Jump” by Van Halen. The only part I knew was the part that goes “Jump!” It was humiliating. Crickets. The only thing worse would have been a night out at Lucky Cheng’s or The Culture Club.

Sometimes the Second is Better

About a year later, my girlfriend convinced me to meet join her and her cousin at the cavernous Japas on St. Marks. Those Karaoke Divas flawlessly belted out the likes of Madonna and Pat Benetar. After plenty of Kirin and sake, I mustered up the courage to give Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics a shot. It was monotone. It was kind of lame. But I did it. And it felt good. It certainly beat having to learn the cha-cha!