Carry A Tune…Or Karaoke?

Okay, I admit it: I’ve always wanted to try karaoke. Remember when Neil Patrick Harris got trapped into belting out Petula Clarke’s “Downtown” on an episode of “Doogie Howser, MD?” Or Cameron Diaz’s wretched performance in “My Best Friend’s Wedding?”

From its 1970 origins in Japan to its having passed into the American cultural lexicon by the 1980s, karaoke is one of those things that everyone seems to have an opinion about, whether or not they’ve actually tried it.

So here’s the deal: I’m part of the Asheville Women @ Work group that meets once a month. Unlike most groups, we have no agenda. We don’t want your money. We don’t want to organize a community service project or do hard-core networking. We want to eat, drink, and be merry–and talk about our work and our lives. That’s it. No dues, no drama. Show up when and if you can. We’ll miss you if you’re not there, but we’ll probably see you next time. A very fun group of women that includes business owners, life coaches, legal assistants, marketers, writers, real estate agents, managers, event planners, stay-at-home-moms (that’s hard work, in my book), and a whole lot more. In fact, it’s such a great group that it deserves its own post at some point.

After dinner on the patio at Wild Wing (Biltmore Avenue), a karaoke splinter cell broke off and headed to Razcals–a bar and karaoke club just off Fairview Road. (If you’re an Ashevillain, Razcals is located in the former B.B. Barnes building. If you’re not an Ashevillain, take Exit 8 off I-240 and look for the sign.) Disclosure: I’d seen the sign plenty of times, but the “c” in Razcals looked like an “e” and I thought it was something like “Razeals.” Duh!

Razcals proprietor Dave met us at the door and welcomed us in–the place has a pretty dark and dive-like interior, and most of the decor involves raccoons (since they’re rascals, I guess). Not a big crowd, but it was a Thursday, so that may keep some crooners off the late-night circuit. The karaoke “stage” has a backdrop of a big band outlined in red neon, a variety of microphones, and the requisite equipment off to one side. The computer offers about 40,000 choices, apparently, so there’s something for everyone.

After Elvis and AC/DC left the building, we indulged in a Bob Seger group-sing, belting out “Old Time Rock and Roll” to the best of our (limited) abilities. No Tom Cruise in tighty-whiteys-and-socks intro for us; just a video monitor with the words and a row of bright lights that kept us from making eye contact with the audience. Said audience was nice enough to clap and cheer for our performance, which was kind of them (their mama’s raised ’em right). We were followed by a decent version of the country song about keying the cheating boyfriend’s four-wheel-drive, then “Independence Day,” “Copperhead Road,” “Cool Change,” and David Allan Coe’s 1975 classic “You Don’t Have To Call Me Darlin’, Darlin’,” which is a perennial crowd pleaser, apparently. I’m sure the music continued, but I couldn’t stick around as long as they would let me (let me, let me, let me, let me, let me!), because my dog was waiting up.  

We were better than Cameron Diaz, but I think Doogie and Pet Clarke could have cleaned our karaoke clocks. Oh, well. I wanted to try it, and I did–and on a work night, even!

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