The Notification that Should be Placed Outside Every Karaoke Bar


10) There are no A&R (Artists and Repertoire) men in the audience tonight.  It’s just a bunch of nobodies listening to you, so sing your song and get off the stage.

9) Don’t feel your way through a song.  There’s nothing we hate more than watching some fool “feel” their way through a song.  Feeling your way through a song involves closing your eyes to spiritually feel your way through a song, it involves swaying, dropping your head emphatically when a crescendo hits, rhythmically dropping the mic between verses, and smiling or waving at people in the audience in the manner Crystal Gayle would.  You’re not Crystal Gale, and there are no A&R men from any major record labels in the audience.  Just sing your song and get off the stage.

8) Don’t suck if you sing.  We’re not talking about you marginally talented people that are only on stage for fun.  We’re talking about the inebriated, tone deaf people that attempt to overcompensate for their inability to sing by yelling and screeching their way through lyrics.  You’re not Axl Rose or Kurt Cobain.  There’s nothing to be gained by finding an octave that would cause a dog to bash its head into a wall.

7) Stop grading people when you’re in the audience.  It’s all right to laugh at them.  That’s what they’re there for.  If you’re doing this from a point of superiority, however, you may need to reexamine your life for just a moment.  You may have a mutual respect society built up at this bar, based on the fact that you can do a mean Bohemian Rhapsody, but remember that the people who have that appreciation for your talent will no longer feel that way when the bartender says last call.

6) Karaoke is not an art form.  Most of you who will sing tonight have no artistic abilities.  I don’t care what American Idol and The Voice have done for this novelty, it is not artistic.  Most of you who will sing tonight cannot read music, much less write it.  We’ve all had people compliment us on our karaoke abilities, and we’ve all had that urge to consider it an artistic achievement.  Fight that urge.  Sing your song.  Have fun.  Get off the stage.  We’re all pretending here tonight.

5) No matter how much you drink, nobody cares what you think.  You know nothing about the music business, so quit pretending like you know talent when you see it.  You will see some good singers up on stage tonight, and you will see some bad ones.  There is very little discrepancy between the two.  No one cares that you can spot it.

The American Idol and The Voice shows have turned us all into Simon Cowell-style harsh critics.  Fight the urge to think you’re Simon Cowell.  Even Simon Cowell isn’t the Simon Cowell you think he is.  He brings on dupes that are terrible, and he tells you he thinks they’re terrible.  He does this so that you’ll give him credibility.  The golden rule in the bar tonight is: ‘No one cares what you think, no matter how much you’ve had to drink.’  No one cares that you used to hold some obscure job in the music industry, so you know what you’re talking about when it comes to talent.

You know as much about the music business, as I do about football…Even though I’ve watched it and read about it going on forty years.  I’ve listened to critics, experts, former players, former coaches, and former General Managers talk about the game of football in intricate ways, but the more I learn the more I realize I know little to nothing about the game.  Just because you were a sound guy for some local, cover band doesn’t mean you’re any more qualified to spot talent than I am, so quit pretending that your opinions on a karaoke singer are any more relevant than ours.

4) You’re not that much better than “that guy” on stage.  Hundreds of people enter onto our karaoke stage with the notion that they’re not as bad as “that guy” that took the stage before them.  The business of karaoke singing is built on the “at least I’m better than that guy” meme.  We have news for you here, that we’ll tell you for one night only!   It’s something that even your closest friends won’t tell you, you’re not that much better than “that guy”.  We’re not talking about some anonymous guy that reads this bill either.  We’re talking about you, even if we haven’t heard you sing yet.

*(A Side note for all dreamers.) Most artists featured in the Top 100 in Billboard are, in fact, as talentless as you are.  Labels hire people to hire other people to buy songs for “the artists”.  The labels then have the album’s producers arrange “the artist’s” music, digitize “the artist’s” voice, then sample other people’s music into the artists’ music, and the producers are then required to use all of the technology available to them to prevent you from hearing how talented “the artist” is.  They do all this, because some big honcho, at some big label, has deemed this “artist” a prized commodity.  Yet, these “artists” still don’t know how to read or write music.  There’s one minor distinction between you and them: no one is willing to invest millions into you becoming a star.  I know, you can sing better than Britney Spears, but so can 90% of the U.S. population.  No one cares.  Investors don’t care.  Investors want someone that one portion of the population wants to have sex with, and the other portion of the population wants to be.  Most of the business that you purport to know so much about isn’t even about singing ability anymore.  So you may be somewhat better than “that guy” but no one really cares.

3) Don’t massacre the song.  We’ve had plenty of “fun” singers get up on stage and just have a blast in the opening minutes of a song.  They got us all excited that they were going to be a “fun one” who did some justice to the song while making everyone laugh and sing along.  You don’t have to know all the lyrics, but you should know the song.  There’s nothing that makes us cringe more than a person who gets lost halfway through a song.  If you’re going to do a song, you should listen to that song like you’re going to do it.  Again, perfection is not what we call for here, but you should at least be able to murmur your way through a song to rhythmically pass it off, until you get to the part you know.

2) Don’t sing sad or meaningful songs.  Sad and meaningful songs are self-indulgent.  This is true of most songs, but it is especially true of karaoke singers’ songs.  Remember, we are not at this joint tonight to discover the next Crystal Gayle.  We’re here to have a good time and to hear some guy rock out in a fun way that causes us to laugh and drink more.  If you have had a sad week, either stay home, or go to a bar that allows you to sit in a corner and sulk.  No one cares that you feel like Karen Carpenter’s “I won’t last a day without you” perfectly captures the way you feel about your most recent breakup with your boyfriend.  Most of the sad and meaningful songs you sing will be forgotten the minute you step off a stage, or we’ll talk through your sad and self-indulgent moment until you leave the stage, and if we even notice you when you leave we’ll probably be laughing at you.  If you still want to sing these songs, you’ll have to do so before 9 P.M. when no one is here.  After 9 P.M. you’ll receive a second playlist that has all of the sad and meaningful songs removed from our playlist, because no one wants to drink anymore after they’re sung.

1) Sing fun songs.  We brought karaoke to this establishment to have dopes get up here and sing “Meet the Flintstones” out of key.  The patrons of our bar are not here to hear someone sound exactly like Kenny Rogers.  They want sing-a-longs and chanteys.  They want “The Theme from Gilligan’s Island” and “Grease”.    It’s why they go out to karaoke bars like ours in the first place.  If our patrons wanted to hear something closer to perfection, they’d go see the latest incarnation of the group Journey.  That guy has, at least, practiced more than you have.

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