W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M J E R R Y I. Song selection is the first pillar of successful karaoke. Selecting the proper song can take you a long way to either stardom or boredom, so it is listed first and is the most important. If you pick “Love Shack” and don’t even show up, you will be fine. Shania Twain? You’re good to go. You pull Meatloaf, “I Would Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That)” out of the songbook, you’ve got yourself a 12-minute long golden ticket, and everyone will love you. But on the other side of the coin, if you throw out some Coldplay or some other teenage angst-soaked ballad, then you’re going to lose. For the love of God, if you try and sing any Fiona Apple that’s not “Criminal,” well that’s just criminal, we all hate you, and you should probably just sit down. II. Stage Presence. You know what’s more uncomfortable than a wedgie? Some sort of dead fish, standing there sing/muttering into the microphone. You need to engage the crowd, or you might as well just go outside and sing to the dumpster because you are garbage and so is your performance. Let’s take Da- vid Lee Roth for an example of what to do. Diamond Dave can’t sing a lick in his isolated vocals on “Running with the Devil”, but the high kicks and splits in “Jump” solidified him as a superstar. Another example is Brittany Spears. You think she carried a dang python around on stage in a bikini because she just came out of a Florida swamp? Hell no, that kind of stage presence can carry you past poor material and lack of talent. Use stage presence to your advantage, and don’t just stand there behind the mike with one hand in your pocket, like some flunky Alanis. III. Vocal performance can actually help you if you really know how to sing. You don’t have the pipes of Whitney Houston or the hughh! of the living George Michael but for cryin’ out loud, if when you sing people have asked if you have pinched some of your sensitive bits in the car door, you may want to think twice before stepping foot in the hollowed area behind the mike. G N A G Y THE THREE PILLARS OF K ARAOKE Why is Against the Grain’s Jerry Gnagy writing about karaoke and not beer in CRAFT, a food and beverage publication, you ask? Great question, reader! Jerry was bound and determined to impress you with his karaoke prowess and to pass on that valuable knowledge (à la Mi- yagi, Danielson), so with absolutely no deliberation, we decided to let Jerry be Jerry. It is his column after all. Anyway, a karaoke bar is still a bar and when was the last time you kara- oked without some serious liquid courage? And there you have it. Kevin Bacon has nothing on us and alcohol. What is America? The land of the free? Home of the brave? Who cares? Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser, and we, especially, all want to be stars. Now that we have established the three pillars of Karaoke, the rule is that you need at least two of these to be successful. Here are some equations to illustrate: The results of a recent study stated that the majority of Americans would rather be per- ceived to be famous and die miserable and alone than be unknown and have a healthy life filled with love. Naturally, you can draw two conclusions from this study—one, Amer- icans may have a somewhat warped priority when it comes to fame, and two, I can’t be trusted to not just make up a study out of thin air to try and introduce my thoughts on karaoke. Great Song Selection (“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers) + Great Stage Presence (jump off stage and hump inanimate object) + Mediocre Voice = Successful Karaoke Yep, good old karaoke, it’s the sport of kings and better than diamond rings, where you can for at least a few minutes step into the limelight and become a star...unless you stink up the joint and, in that case, you will bring great shame and dishonor to both yourself and this great country. Now in order to save the USA and your dignity, I am here to share with you my know-how on how to make every karaoke session successful. I, with the help of the renowned karaoke artist Reuben Kincaid, have distilled the essence of good karaoke down to three pillars. You follow these rules, and I guarantee * you will never fail. Great Song Selection (“Any Man of Mine” by Shania) + Poor Stage Presence (stand there) + Voice of a Goddess = Successful Karaoke Poor Song Selection (a song by Tori Amos) + Good Stage Presence (take off shirt, have pasties with tassels) + Mediocre Voice (sound like Tori Amos) = You look like an idiot I don’t really see myself in terms of color, but in this case, I’m red, white and blue through and through. So, if you don’t want America to lose face in the world, you will use this guide to ensure that you will have a successful karaoke experience. Not a guarantee * © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.