Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band...

Oh, I've sang a song or two into the hairbrush. Who hasn't? I remember the lip syncing starting circa 4th grade. I had Madonna down pat and remember my first talent show as I whipped those arms, bedecked with bracelets from elbow to wrist. My little choreographed moves were soooo fluid as I mouthed every word to Holiday. It only got better from there. I would sing, and dance, and prance around to all the current hits. My girlfriends and I making up our own dance moves good enough to be on Solid Gold. My shining moment then was knowing all the words to SuperSonic as MeReeZee and I performed it in our Senior Class homecoming assembly. The stage? Oh, I embrace it.

And that type of moment never ended. I have friends who can truly perform. My skills rose exponentially when I sang along with them. My lone voice, with all of its potential pitchy mistakes, was consumed by their tenor, soprano, and harmony. Thank goodness.

Even in grad school we were not immune to this source of entertainment. We would literally put on our favorite songs and stand around in a circle and sing. For hours. (Obviously, keeping our throats moistened with wine or beer!) But this was something we loved to do. ShaNa, MarciaGarcia, and I would crank up our faves, old and new, thoroughly entertaining ourselves (and clearly no one else) on numerous nights when we should have been reading about Constitutional Law or Advocacy. And I loved it. And the countless renditions of "Pour Some Sugar on Me"... that tune might as well have been our anthem.

And then karaoke began to bloom and grow even bigger. Now, I would be a much bigger aficionado of karaoke if I could really bring it home. While I had participated in the monster group sing-a-long karaoke style to Funky Cold Medina at a bar in New Orleans, karaoke just never smacked of the "authenticity" I wanted. And in New Orleans, I don't think anyone cares how you sound. Karaoke is drunk man's Gong Show most of the time, but once in awhile, you get a show stopper. And because of that, I can not truly compete.

I am not the musician, that is all my brother, Tumbleweed.

And he has even appeased me by playing guitar while I warbled out a few tunes. I envisioned myself a real chanteuse. The first time I actually had the guts to do karaoke alone, I poured my little heart into Janis Joplin's version of Me and Bobby McGee And people were nice to me with their loud cheers and restraint from throwing bottles. Alcohol has been making people over-appreciate things for years. And it gave me courage.

At my summer birthday bash a few years ago, I hired musicians to play. My old friend and incredible musician, J., was the rockstar du jour. He, who used to let me sing 'Jane Says' with him every single time he was playing a gig and I showed up, gave me a little birthday treat. He played backup and I did my first actual gig and once again broke out M&BM. It was real instruments! Real guitar! It was uberKaraoke. And I felt like a superstar. Did you know vodka makes you sing better?

I had a main Gay in college and he was snide about, well, most things, but singing in particular. He heard me sing Me and Bobby McGee in LA one night and he, in clear and utter amazement, said it actually sounded good. Did you know vodka makes your ears work better? And I for a moment thought, I can really do this. Ahhh...daydream believer. Maybe I could also wake up tomorrow and compete in the Iditarod. Let me not posit for one nanosecond I actually think this is a new career path, but oh, it is fun to ponder. I sang Me & Bobby McGee in a ultra-dirty club in NYC one weekend. The acoustics AND music and it was SO bad, that even my own ears threatened to close up shop. I thought there were some feral cats in the alley procreating. Awful.

And then JohnnyMac got me the iPod Karaoke system for the holidays a few years ago.  BLESS YOU! I can sing the hell out of a song when I have the actual artist who recorded it singing with me. Love it! So I got to dust off my jitters and stretch those vocals full on.

Our friend BigLeaguer is the lead singer in a great band in Atlanta. These are men with other full time careers but who have that rock star interest and rock star edge. One night we went to see them play and Lee invited me up to sing Pour Some Sugar on Me. Are you _____kidding me?

I hope I approached the stage with decorum when I really wanted to elbow people out of the way like the building was on fire in my haste to get up there. And it was purely magical. In my knee high boots and my Dolce and Gabbana tank top, I thought, this is how U2 must feel! Lee had no idea. And albeit ephemeral, it was glorious and I. Loved. It.

So now, even though those Superstar moments might be relegated to my living room where last night my son and I were listening to Coldplay and he turned to me and said, "No singing Mommy". Oh, Mommy is always going to sing. Better get used to it, pumpkin.

But with MiniMac's actual mic and mic stand in our house, we have already done some gigs together. And to my girlfriend who asked if I secretly bought the mic and stand for him but really so I could use it too? Really? The answer is: Of course!

Sing your heart out today. 

18 comments:

Liza said...

Thanks for the laugh! I bet you are better than you think!

Eva Gallant said...

I loved this post, because I, too, love to sing. But I can't. I'm awful. But, hey, with a hair brush, I'm solid gold!

Big Fat Gini said...

Chuckle.

Actually, my mind kind of wandered back to my first talent show. The one where I tried to sing Like A Virgin and my parents were all like, "yeah, no...how about Material Girl instead."

Sadly, it took me years to catch on.

mermaid gallery said...

Me and Bobby Mcgee is my go to song as well...i remember singing it to a truck driver that picked me up hitchhiking in Greece..... no vodka there... but i could see real fear in his eyes when i finished....he obviously thought i was crazy! I too, would have loved the singing career but alas...i just can't sing!....that doesn't stop me ...and my son always used to say, "no singing mommy" too!

Pricilla said...

With me it was my father and show tunes.

I knew all the words.
Thanks for the memory.

Baloney said...

I love playing karaoke revolution on the Wii with my 7 year old. I did not (of course) buy that game for him but he thinks I did.

Kristina P. said...

I like to sing at work and show up the stars who actually sing them.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I can bet you are 10 times better than I am! :o)

Kelli said...

Singing is just one of those talents I do no posses. What I lack in pitch, I make up for in volume. It's fun, but I feel bad for those being subjected to it. I too have one song I'm convinced I don't '100% suck at.'

Sporadically Yours said...

Enjoyed your post! Waaaay before Karaoke - I sang into a hairbrush AND a fan. Talk about cool effects - however, I am no singer by a long shot. When my son asks me not to sing that means I am really torturing him. ;-)

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

You go, girl!

CountessLaurie said...

What is a main Gay?? I am so out of the loop :)

ipenka said...

The iPod Karaoke sounds like a lot of fun. Too bad I'm horrible at singing.

Yay to the shower!

Slamdunk said...

Glad you are still performer.

And, I count buying things for kids that adults can use as a wise purchase--the multi-audience gift.

Not that we have a retro electric football game set or anything.

So. Cal. Gal said...

A friend of mine is a opera singer and I asked, "How did you know you could sing?" He replied, "I didn't. But everyone else told me I could." Well, no one has ever said I could. And I tend to believe them.

The Random Blogette said...

My husband and I used to go out and sing Karaoke all of the time when we were dating. Now that we have kids we don't get to go out as much but for my 29th all of my friends took me out to a dive bar for Karaoke and I had a blast. Now we have Rock Band for the wii so we can be real rock stars. We borrowed a mic stand once and it was amazeballs. I can sing the crap out of Ratt "Round & Round" and a few other songs. Sing your heart out girl!

Maria said...

Oh yes. I plan to. In the car. Loudly. And to the utter and helpless embarrasment of my two older boys. Because, somewhere, deep down, there is a rock star in there!

janis said...

oh my gosh! I too can relate! And at 49.. I am still belting them out. I can't sing. Cant carry a tune. But that doesnt stop me. A couple years ago while working for the State, I had a job where we were "encouraged" to bring in your ipods... It kept us from dying of boredom at our computers. I wasnt very use to earphones... and I "entertained" my younger co-workers with my ability to sing current hits from Lady GaGa, as well as good old Lynyrd Synryd. Eventually I learned to sing in my head instead of using my voice...oh how embarrassing~ even though the "kids" got such a kick out of, Jan's singing again!".