What do good writers and good karoke singers have in common?
After being away from karaoke for over a year I went back a few weeks ago on a Friday night to my favorite karaoke bar. The name of the bar is Del’s. It’s a twenty minute walk from my apartment. I live in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh about eight blocks from the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Del’s is in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s “Little Italy.” For years I was a regular at Del’s for karaoke and the place got to be the place to be in Pittsburgh for karaoke on a Friday night. There were a lot of characters in the place on Friday nights and I was one of them with my freshly shaved face and head and I usually wore black work boots, blue jeans and a black jersey and a bandanna around my bald head. The photo for this article is of me several years ago with a friend at a Doors tribute band concert in Oakland.
When I was younger I put in years singing in rock and roll bands. I developed a stage persona that was Jim Morrison intense and I could mimic the voices of Morrison and Eric Burton to a T. I did a pretty good Paul Rogers, too.
But the bands never went anywhere so I ended up singing karaoke.
I stopped going to karaoke at Del’s because I took early social security so I could write full time and I couldn’t afford to lay down twenty dollars every Friday night singing, socializing and boozing at Del’s. Plus, the owners at Del’s brought in several big-screen TVs which they left on muted while karaoke was in session. For me, karaoke has never been the same at Del’s.
But the recent Friday night when I did go back, it all came back to me. It was like old times. My first song was “It’s My Life” by The Animals and I could still hit all the notes and my stage presence was as intense and wild as ever. I have to drink beer to carry on like that. Alcohol lessens inhibitions. I always thought that one of the reasons my karaoke performances are so popular is because I perform without inhibitions. My performances are always the wildest of all the singers. This seems to allow all the other performers to let it all hang out too, to not be afraid. A good karaoke singer puts himself or herself out there. All good writers put themselves out there, too.
Karaoke and writing have a great deal in common.
Compressionism: The Pittsburgh Stories by Guy Hogan is ready for downloading.