It brings folks together. Val and I owe pretty much everything we’ve shared together due to karaoke.

Karaoke was at the center of our first date… we went to a nifty place in the Castro called The Mint. I had discovered The Mint a few years earlier since Lorin and I were karaoke buds from our Davis days and once Lorin moved out to the East Bay, it was a birthday party location for him one year.

The Mint is basically a bar with a small stage. The VJ on the weekends, Frank — is a no nonsense, one strike, you’re out kind of guy, but if you get up on stage and sing, he’ll do his best to make you sound good. And if you’re spectacular, he hits the “flames” button and cheesy fake torch-like flames sprout up on either side. It’s a wonderfully fabulous and cheesy at the same time kind of place, and 99% percent of the time, everybody has a good time.

Val also separately discovered The Mint as well, so when trying to figure out where to have our first date, the subject of karaoke came up (because nothing is as crazy a first date as singing to someone you barely know!), and once we discovered we both separately knew about The Mint, well, it was almost a foregone conclusion that I knew this lady was going to be someone very special in my life.

Ever since then, when folks think Val and Dave, they often think “karaoke”.

As the self-appointed Karaoke King and Queen of the East Bay, folks often send us links about karaoke related stuff and it’s time that I started to enlighten our blog audience of my two cents of the karaoke experience.

More after the tag…

  • Another friend that shall remain nameless sent me this — Cartman singing “Come Sail Away”. When assuming an accent and singing karaoke, this one is one of my favorites to do…
  • The same article also refers to other methods of “at home” karaoke, such as the Playstation “Karaoke Revolution” games and the Magic Sing microphone. Both are good, but for different reasons… the KR PS2 games are good if you know how to sing with timing and with pitch matching, but you don’t necessarily need to know the words. In the case of the Magic Sing, knowing the words helps, but it’s better if you match the actual note they expect you to emit.

Okay, the rest are Dave’s Karaoke Suggestions. (Val probably has her own rules too, but I certainly know enough now when I should speak for US and when I should explicitly state I’m speaking for MYSELF.) 😉

  • Two rules about karaoke in public — it’s 80% how you emote and 20% how you sing. The second — always tip the VJ before you sing.
  • Dave’s Karaoke Songs: Secret Agent Man, Copacabana, Xanadu, Mexican Radio, Wild Boys (though I might retire this one since the last time I tried it was a self-admitted nightmare, even moreso than THIS version of Secret Agent Man).
  • Songs I’ve tried and won’t do again: It’s All Been Done, You Can’t Hurry Love, River of Dreams. All of these songs I like, but I don’t have the range to deal with the songs.
  • Songs I want to try someday: Jungle Love by the Time and Torn by Natalie Unprouncable, but the latter sung with a Sean Connery accent so that I can hit the notes in a lower range.
  • The best song anyone can do even when drunk that still sounds awesome: Sweet Caroline. The audience ends up singing half the song FOR you.
  • The strangest, quickest song anyone can do, even when drunk that still sounds awesome: Song 2 by Blur.
  • The longest karaoke song you can do, and never (a) after a few or (b) by yourself: American Pie. (In a group with some folks with church choir experience and no drinks — and it’s a freakishly awesome thing.)
  • Songs that should be retired and sung by NO ONE other than the artists: Summer Lovin’, Like a Virgin, Separate Ways, Daniel — those of you who have indulged in karaoke in public places probably have your own stories of “the scariest karaoke ever” song
  • Val’s Karaoke Songs: Crazy, Total Eclipse of the Heart, 9 to 5, I Need A Hero, and some stuff from Rent

But again, folks — it’s not how you sing, it’s whether or not your audience is entertained.