Last night, former Idolator editor Brian Raftery threw a book party for his brand-new tome Don’t Stop Believin’: How Karaoke Conquered The World And Saved My Life. As you might expect, karaoke was part of the festivities, courtesy The Original Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke Band (which features Rob “YC” Kemp on bass). The night ended with a big sing-along of “We Are The Champions,” but earlier in the evening, Spoon’s Britt Daniel joined the band on a version of Wire’s “12XU”; it’s above.
Brian (I don’t have to do the whole last-name-second-reference thing here, right?) also has a piece in Slate on “karaoke rage” today:
In 10 years and seven countries, the only karaoke-related tension I’ve ever experienced took place in a Long Island bar, where a stewing townie grimaced all the way through my overly emphatic version of Van Halen’s “Jump.” (I left shortly afterward, so as not to give him the chance to beat me with a garnish tray.)
One explanation for this uptick in karaoke rage is that karaoke bars bring together several socially combustible elements. Fill a room with 30 or so exhibitionists, ply them with alcohol and wireless microphones, and it’s only a matter of time before all the forced interaction results in conflict. Indeed, when the first karaoke machines were exported from Japan in the late ’70s and early ’80s, many communities in Asia and India shunned the devices, fearing they’d attract undesirables. Marketers responded by convincing local educators that karaoke could be used to improve literacy—or, more ingeniously, by pitching American prison wardens on the idea of using karaoke to soothe gang-related animosity.
How did that idea not get turned into a musical, I wonder?