Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Death by karaoke

Being a legendary karaoke performer, I am troubled by this report:
Last November, an inebriated 24-year-old with the woefully apt name of Kyle Drinkwine was found by police in the back of a Wisconsin alley, his hands covered in blood. According to testimony compiled by the Smoking Gun, Drinkwine had spent the evening unwinding at Emma's Bar, a local watering hole that was hosting a karaoke night. Shortly after performing an Eminem song, he allegedly became so enraged by another patron's version of "Holy Diver" -- the 1983 anthem by heavy-metal patriarch Ronnie James Dio -- that he assaulted the singer and his friend and fled when police arrived. "This had started … over one's ability to sing karaoke," notes the arrest report, which reads like a Mike Judge novella.
Drinkwine's sad, stupid plight wasn't an isolated incident: In August 2007, a Seattle man was assaulted onstage during a karaoke rendition of Coldplay's "Yellow," while last December, a San Diego man encored his karaoke set by walking toward the crowd and attacking an audience member. And in Asia, there's been a string of karaoke-bar stabbings and shootings, including a horrific incident in Bangkok in which eight amateur singers were murdered by their neighbor, reportedly due in part to his hatred of John Denver's "Country Roads."
To begin with, no one should ever sing Dio for karaoke. Heavy metal was not meant for karaoke. So that attack was understandable. And did the Bangkok singers really deserve to die for "Country Roads"? It depends on how bad they were. In general, karaoke violence is a bad thing; but bad karaoke is itself a form of violence.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're way off on Dio.
    Consider this:
    But here's the amazing thing. Someone produced an acoustic guitar and Ronnie James sat down and did a slowed-down, unplugged version of "Man on the Silver Mountain" that blew my friggin mind. Who knew that song was about loss and longing?
    You've just got to let your inner artist out.