April 6, 2022

A Cool Thing About Karaoke: Taking Risks with Good People

A Cool Thing About Karaoke: Taking Risks with Good People

In the movie BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT, one of the characters says “life’s a risk, carnal.” Life is absolutely a risk–and so is karaoke. After this episode's Karaoke Trivia Bullpen challenge, Adam and Ed talk about the risks and rewards of karaoke, and the risks associated with starting a mobile KJ business–chiefly, the cost it takes to set one up in the first place.

Why business? Are the guys transitioning into the world of business podcasts? Of course not. Their guest, though, Joey Held, talks to all kinds of artists and entrepreneurs in his podcast “Good People, Cool Things,” and reached out to us because he loves talking to karaoke people as well–for nearly 20 years, he’s been on both sides of a karaoke night, as a singer and as a host. They all compare notes on the progress of a goal they all share–singing karaoke in all 50 states, discuss one key rule to providing a great karaoke performance, and have a great time doing it all. Who knows–they may even end up on Joey’s podcast someday, as karaoke is a very cool thing.

This episode briefly mentions a karaoke charity event that took place in Pittsburgh where proceeds went to RAINN. If you’d like to contribute to RAINN, you can do that at their web site: RAINN | The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization

As always, you can find more info on the website (https://www.sungpoorly.com), and on social media--the show is @sungpoorly on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now even Tiktok. You can reach Adam and Ed via email by sending a message to sungpoorly@gmail.com. And if you want to support the podcast and snag yourself some great karaoke and podcast swag doing it, our store has all of that and more–www.sungpoorly.com/store.

Theme song: "Gasoline" by Ben Dumm and the Deviants. Make sure to check out Ben's newest music at The Ben Dumm 3.

Joey Held is a writer, podcaster, and author based in Austin, TX. He's the founder of the Crisp Bounce Pass newsletter; host of the Good People, Cool Things podcast; and author of the book Kind, But Kind of Weird: Short Stories on Life's Relationships. He's never met a pun or dad joke he didn't like, and he prefers a wireless mic when performing karaoke.


Karaoke Risks and Rewards

Adam Wainwright: Hello, and welcome back to "The Greatest Song Ever Sung (Poorly)," the podcast that takes karaoke exactly as seriously as it should be taken. I'm your risk taker, Adam Wainwright.

Ed Cunard: And I am your adverse to risk voice of reason Ed Cunard.

Adam Wainwright: Wow. 'Adverse to risk," Ed. I, you know, what if there's one thing I will say about you it's that you always play it careful. Everything. we're out and about, all your life decisions. Careful, careful, careful they call you "careful Ed" behind your back.

Ed Cunard: I figured they would. That sounds very much like me.

Adam Wainwright: It does sound like you Ed, but you know what? I just have to say something. I think more people should review the show because I've been looking at these recently and some of these are just beautiful, beautiful, like beautifully written things. I want to bring one to your attention to it. We got this one from AnxiousArchfey.

Arch Fe. Yeah, I want to say was anxious, arch Fay on apple podcasts and it warmed my heart and brought a tear to eye and it went something like this. Let's get into the character of the, the review clearly. "I've always been pretty chicken when it comes karaoke. But after listening to an episode of this show, I always want to my nearest karaokebar and queue up my favorite song. The best podcasts make you feel as enthusiastic about a subject as the host field. And this show delivers in spades."

Ed Cunard: I can see why that would warm your heart. That warms my heart as well. Thank you. AnxiousArchfey.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah, thank you so much. And so, if you're not Southern, then I'm just doing it, the mask, your identity. And if you are Southern, I just want it to represent your accent. There we go. Covered all the bases right, Ed? That's all of them.

Ed Cunard: All bases covered. Another note at the beginning here: we also plan on doing another karaoke advice episode later this year. So if you need some karaoke advice, send us an email at sungpoorly at gmail.com to get your questions in.

Adam Wainwright: We will answer them. I swear. We're gonna, we're gonna read those questions. We're going to answer them. We're going to give you advice and you're, you're hopefully going to listen. Isn't that? That's how podcasting works. Right?

Ed Cunard: I think that's how it works. Yes. And speaking of giving Adam, you gave me a solid thrashing last episode with our karaoke trivia bullpen. So I'm hoping to, to pitch a shutout inning here today.

Are you ready for what I'm about to do to you?

Adam Wainwright: I am 100% ready. I bring it on. Let's go.

Ed Cunard: Okay. So here's what you're going to get. Five trivia questions based on the episode's topic with varying degrees of difficulty. Each question is worth one point. So the top score for any round is five points. If you get stuck And I am hoping that you do, you could ask for one hint per game. Even if you get all the questions wrong, you can still win by answering the impossible question, get that one, right and you get all five points. But remember, even if you save your hints, there are no hints for the impossible bonus.

Adam Wainwright: Here's how I'm feeling today. I'm going to, I'm just going to lay it out on the line. Right? I feel like you've tried so hard to cultivate the shutout innings you're going to get it until the impossible question. And I'm somehow going to guess that one correctly. That's how would say it's going to go.

Ed Cunard: I don't think that's how it's going to go.

I think you were at least going to get the first one. I certainly hope that you do, but today's episode is all about taking chances and taking risks. Later, we're going to be talking to Joey Held of the podcast "Good People, Cool Things" and a lot of these questions kind of relate to that either good or cool or business.

Cause he talks to, You know, entrepreneurs, musicians, other creative types, people who have taken risks and had them pay off. So with that said, Adam, can I quiz you?

Adam Wainwright: You can quiz me Ed. Let's go..

Trivia Theme: Can I quiz you? Can I quiz quiz you can. I quiz you quiz cannot quiz you quiz you while I'm gone.

Adam Wainwright: I really wanted the first verse of that there. That was a beautiful intro. I'm psyched to do this now, but I wanted you to, just to go into a full verse about quizzing me,

Ed Cunard: I thought about writing one, but I figured that would just take way too long.

Adam Wainwright: Hey, I would love it. And if I'm loving it, I'm guessing our listeners would enjoy it too.

Ed Cunard: Maybe, maybe we'll do a remastered remix of this episode.

Adam Wainwright: And then do karaoke to it at a bar.


Ed Cunard: fantastic.

Adam Wainwright: sounds so "meta.". Is that what "meta" means? Is that it, did I figure it out?

Ed Cunard: I think you're fairly close to it now, are you, are you ready? Cause I want to hit you with these questions.

Adam Wainwright: Ed, I've been ready since, since like three minutes ago. So I guess so I'm still ready. Yeah.

Ed Cunard: question one. Music is a business, especially for mass market albums. you have A&R people, agents producers, musicians, distributors, retail outlets. Heck Goldman Sachs anticipates the value of the entire recording industry will be as high 131 billion by the year 2030. But this trivia isn't about the industry. This trivia is about the music. Adam? What is industry rule #4,080, and what musical artists said it?

Adam Wainwright: Oh man, I have no idea. Uh, give me a clue. I'm just going to use the hint right away.

Ed Cunard: It's a line from the song "Check the Rhime."

Adam Wainwright: I do not know the song "Check the Rhime", but I'm going to say it's KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions

Ed Cunard: well no to finish the line is "record company people are shady" and I would have accepted either Q-Tip or A Tribe Called Quest.

Adam Wainwright: Uh, fair. I should have taken the hint from the theme right there. Rolling into, yeah. I didn't know that one.

Ed Cunard: Okay. But speaking of business, this is question two entrepreneurs and business owners put in a lot of time into their work. One survey from the New York Enterprise Report found that small business owners work twice as much as regular employees in terms of time. It also found that 33% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours per week.

And 25% said they work more than 60 hours per week. That's what I would call hard for the money. What disco icon released "She Works Hard for the Money" in 1983, as she transitioned to a more mainstream pop sound.

Adam Wainwright: Man, Ed, I've had to start admitting that objectively bad at music trivia. So this is just a joy for me, but I'm learning so much. oh, so for the money, uh, Joan Jett, no, that's, can't be it. That's not a disco. I'm off

there. Nope.

Ed Cunard: know, Do you know what I'm going to call that one? Like, give it another shot.

I'm giving you another shot.

Adam Wainwright: Uh, I immediately regretted it as it came out of my mouth. Um, uh, Paul Abdul.

Ed Cunard: It was Donna Summer.

Adam Wainwright: Sure.

Ed Cunard: I thought she was the one disco person you knew. I thought that was a good

chance for.

Adam Wainwright: no. only disco I really know is I know a little earth, wind and fire, and I know John Travolta in that movie.

Ed Cunard: Okay, That's fair. I guess we're moving on to question three,

Adam Wainwright: That's the only direction to go.

Ed Cunard: Our guest that we talked to later in this episode, Joey Held, has a connection to a neat bit of karaoke media: Jewel's "Undercover Karaoke" Funny or Die video. In she goes undercover as an office worker named Karen who was in town for a frozen foods, convention and sings a Jewel song, blowing the crowd away to the point that they pulled her back for an Encore. Later, she comes back as herself and sings

another of her songs. Name one of the songs she sang is Karen and the song she sang is her.

Adam Wainwright: Ed, have never seen that video. And I haven't thought about Jewel or anything in a very long time. I can't, I can't remember what song. Did she sing "Can't Fight the Moonlight?" Was that her? I'm going to go with that.

Ed Cunard: No. The answers in question for Karen, I would have accepted "Who Will Save Your Soul" or "Foolish Games", as she sang both. And as Juul she sang "You Were Meant For Me."

Adam Wainwright: Oh, okay. Okay. I haven't thought about Jewel in forever. You're digging deep right now,

Ed Cunard: I really am. I feel like I've made it too easy on you in previous weeks. And I wanted to, uh, I wanted to step it up.

Adam Wainwright: That's okay. I didn't think the score. Okay.

Ed Cunard: Question four. We've already covered that music is a business, but so is basketball. And sometimes the two collide in interesting ways. For example, plenty of NBA stars have also released records. Notable among them Shaquille O'Neal, whose debut album "Shaq Diesel" peaked at number 25 on the billboard top 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. The lead off single,.

"What's Up, Doc (Can We Rock)" was a collaboration between O'Neal and a group who he called one of his favorite groups in interviews causing the trio to reach out to him and get the ball rolling on creating that track. Name the Brooklyn hip hop group, signed to jive records who provided O'Neal with the assist.

Adam Wainwright: If it's the Brooklyn hip hop group, it has to be the Beastie Boys.

Ed Cunard: It is not. It's Fu-Schnickens

Adam Wainwright: don't know who Fu-Schnickens isis, Ed. What kind of shit is that? Hold on. Can we discuss some shit for a second right now?

Ed Cunard: Yes.

Adam Wainwright: you could ask me questions about Shaquille O'Neal. You could have named me to ask him one of his albums, which is "Shaq Fu: Da Return". Like I've listened to that shit. You could ask me about Kurtis Blow's "Basketball.".

Like, and I would have been right there you. Instead you find Fu-Schnickens expect me to know that shit.

Ed Cunard: I honestly would have thought that I would have introduced you to Fu-Schnickens by now.

Adam Wainwright: no,

Ed Cunard: My era of,

Adam Wainwright: no,

Ed Cunard: hop listening.

Adam Wainwright: I haven't done an insignificant amount of hip hop listening, and no idea who that is.

Ed Cunard: Back to our upcoming guests, once again, for a minute. In addition to being a karaoke enthusiast and podcaster, Joey Held is also an author. and His collection of short stories "Kind, But Kind of Weird" is available now.

Not surprisingly people who write songs also write other things. Back in his undergraduate days at Syracuse University, this front man for the Velvet Underground founded "The Lonely Woman Quarterly", a student periodical that featured some of his poetry and fiction. In fact, "The Gift," the second track on the Velvet Underground album, "White Light/White Heat" is literally a story that he wrote that is set to music named this iconic front man who later went on to have a solo career.

Adam Wainwright: You are finding like ways to like poke at like the things that I just missed on my spectrum of musical knowledge. I'm not a music expert by any means, but I listened to a good amount of music across genres. I've covered the spectrum. I'm working through the rolling stone top 500 right now.

no fucking idea. I can't venture a guess. I'm aware of the Velvet Underground. I'm sure I've heard of their songs. I've never made a point to know anything more about them other than the fact that they're the Velvet Underground.

Ed Cunard: Can I give you a bonus? Hint?

Adam Wainwright: No, that's not the rules.

Ed Cunard: It is Lou Reed who A Tribe Called Quest sampled in "Can I Kick It?" which was our parody lead off for the segment?

Adam Wainwright: That's fair. I, yeah.

Ed Cunard: Well, let's, let's see if the impossible bonus hits for you. Our guest's podcast is called "Good People, Cool Things." What defines a good person and what defines a cool thing? While the is somewhat more philosophical, the second has ways to quantify it. I don't know enough about William Thompson first Baron Kelvin, to know if he was a good person or not.

I do know that he was a British mathematician, mathematical physicist and engineer born in 1824. He published a paper in 1848 titled "On an Absolute Thermometric Scale" in which he proposed an absolute scale based on the following parameters: the melting point of water is zero degrees. The. boiling point of water is a hundred degrees.

The arbitrary points, which coincide on the two scales are zero degrees and a hundred degrees. We now call this the Kelvin scale, which measures temperature just as Fahrenheit and Celsius do, and is most often used in scientific applications. One degree Kelvin is the approximate temperature of the coldest known natural environment in the universe.

It's located approximately 5,000 light years away from earth. What is this? The coolest thing in the universe called.

Adam Wainwright: Um, it's the Calvin supernova ed,

Ed Cunard: Unfortunately, it is not. It's the Boomerang Nebula.

Adam Wainwright: uh, Nebula. God, that was my second guess. Well, you did it, Ed.? You shut me out. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Ed Cunard: I think I overcorrected, I promise to get more back in line next time.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah, we need to, we need to like, because we could ask, we could, this could just escalate like a good, bad karaoke night.

Ed Cunard: Shutouts for the rest of the season.

Adam Wainwright: out for the rest of the season. Just impossibly difficult questions. No, we'll get back on track. We're going to, I'm going to I'm up next. I'm going to try to. You know, be like I am in merciful and, you know, give you questions that maybe you can answer probably can answer some of them.

I will continue to say that last week, I may have been hard on you, but you did miss the Nas / Jay-Z beef questions. So,

Ed Cunard: did. And that is, uh, going to be a point of shame for me for as long as I can remember that

Adam Wainwright: Don't carry it with you too long. You took a chance, you took a risk, you took a guess. It was a

Ed Cunard: Yeah.

Adam Wainwright: You're going to regret it, but you did it and that's important. That's the theme of our episode today.

Ed Cunard: That is the theme of our episode today.

Adam, and something that we haven't really covered yet.

Adam Wainwright: Oh, damn. Ed, what does that even mean?

Ed Cunard: Everyone takes a chance when they get up to sing a karaoke song. You might do it well, you might do it poorly. The crowd might love it. The crowd might hate it, but there's always an element of chance, which means there's always an element of risk. Adam, I'm personally curious. What's a karaoke risk that you took that paid off.


Adam Wainwright: I don't know. I think it was memorizing Young MC and taking a chance on learning something. It was a little outside of the spectrum, it was a track that you liked a lot. I think I heard for the first time with you, uh, probably the karaoke night I was attracted to it. So I, I spend time, you know. Back when I would drive a lot, I used to sit there and listen to tracks I liked in the car and I learned them. So I could bust out a karaoke and have like a foundation for some things. And, I learned "Bust a Move.". It was kind of outside my spectrum of what I'd been doing at that point. And, you know, I, I stepped in, did it for the first time and just absolutely crushed it plays so well in a bar.

It's it's one of my go-tos, it's one of my karaoke. You can sing one song and shut a place down type of things and it's traveled well, and it was all because I took a risk to step outside my comfort zone as far as the genres that I was used to, um, something I was comfortable with, and it's something I still carry with me today.

So, it worked out and I'm pretty, pretty happy with it. I can't wait to get back to busting a move sometime soon. I think it's only fair that I ask you. What's a, what's a risk that you've karaoke risk you've taken.

Ed Cunard: Well, Adam, you know that my entire thing for karaoke is about risk and taking chances, which is really easy to do when you're really not the best singer in the room or close to it. This past weekend. At the time of recording, my friend, Jamie came out with some of her friends to karaoke and her friends asked me if I could do the Eminem part to the Nicki Minaj song Roman

Adam Wainwright: I don't know that one, Ed.

Ed Cunard: And neither do I, but once again, I'm like, yes, I will do a song I've never heard before. That's absolutely fine. Did I crush it? No. Did I get close enough to surprise everyone? Yeah.

So that was a risk that paid off. It was a lot of fun. I was out of breath at the end. With reading the screen, I knew to, you know, skip the other F word that I won't say at karaoke, but,

and I didn't realize that was in the song.

I might not have agreed to do it if it, if, if I knew that, but I mean, just, you know, breezed over it and kept going. And it a lot of fun. I still haven't actually listened to the song itself yet, which I probably should.

Adam Wainwright: Uh, he's just live with the memory of whatever's in your head. Now that can be the song to you. You know, now it's just the version, the bad version that you sang of it is now I think, but I love that. I love, I love there and we people that have us take chances and take risks, but I also know, um, they're not always positive.

Ed Cunard: Oh, God. No.

Adam Wainwright: No, they're, they're not. I'm going to let you kick this one off. Tell the people a karaoke risk that you took that didn't pay off.

Ed Cunard: Well, we know that I'm a big fan of season two's opening guest, Frank Turner.

Adam Wainwright: Oh yeah.

Ed Cunard: I bought some Frank Turner karaoke tracks about, I don't know, two or three years ago. And like, I love the music I really do. There were two problems with doing it at this bar out here in Pennsylvania. bar. Oddly enough.

No one there knew what I was singing, which is always a risk at karaoke. If you don't really crush something that nobody has heard before, it doesn't often go over well. The other thing is his singing voice is a lot higher And I had drank night, that in my head, I'm like, yeah.

I can, I can sing in that range.

I absolutely cannot, as you well know. So I sounded like a squeaky. Injured cat, singing a song that no one there really knew. And it was a tough three and a half minutes. I, I don't typically feel shame at karaoke. That's about as close as I've gotten in a long time. What about you?

Adam Wainwright: I'm trying to think of a specific instance, but it's a generality. I mean, a lot of times with risks, especially a karaoke it's it's with songs that you, of you just, love the song, you love everything about it. You sing it in your car and then you step on stage.

You're like, oh no, this is going to be any kind of problem. Like I'm going to nail this song. I know it by heart. And then you get on stage and realize, oh no, Not only can I not sing this song, but nobody about this song. Like it's like a dual layer. like it's me trying to sing "Phantom of the Opera."

I feel like I tried to do the "Music of the Night" at some point. know you think you did this pretty well at.

Ed Cunard: I think I did it better than I thought I ever could. I don't think I did it


Adam Wainwright: but I feel like I've tried singing like the Phantom of the opera before, just doesn't play well on the bar most of the time, you can absolutely crush it, which I absolutely can't. There is one specific instance, one time I tried and I, song that I knew was out of my range, but somebody talked to me in the trying it, so I did, I did my, Adele, And somebody walked up and said, could you sing Josh Groban for me?

Can you sing Josh Groban? And I said, no, I can't sing Josh Groban. And they're like, no, I just heard you do that. You know, like you can totally do Josh Groban. So I signed up and I decided I'm going to try you raise me up by a Josh Groban. And guess what? Like for the first 50% of that. I can totally hang.

I'm like, okay, this is like, I have the vibrato in the depth of my voice to do this. And then the last 50% of the song was a fucking mess because Josh Groban sings like an angel. He does. So I took the risk. It did not pay off it. Wasn't a song that like really resonated the bar. It kind of killed the mood.

It was just bad.

Ed Cunard: I can see where that song would be a mood killer. That's like for 50 year old sad ladies who want to feel something. I think, I think that's the

target market for,

Adam Wainwright: 50 year old sad ladies should feel something. Ed. Come on.

Ed Cunard: oh, they absolutely should, but that might not be the vibe for your average karaoke.

Adam Wainwright: You're not wrong. Unless we're at the golden peasant.

Ed Cunard: I will say that out here in Pittsburgh. And I missed it because I was afraid of the weather. They had an event and I they're going to have it again they took a risk doing sad karaoke night, where you have to sing sad songs. You can't sing them. Ironically, you have to be in your feelings.

And I think there's just such a neat, risky idea for an event because like you and I will talk about this and we've talked about it on the show before, people tend to prefer, I like happy party atmosphere at karaoke having an entire night devoted to misery in song. I just love that idea.

Adam Wainwright: I feel like that will be really cathartic in a way. Like if you go there knowing that it's going to be sad and everybody's going to be singing sad songs and be in their feelings and something you're prepared for when you walk in for the night, a really great idea. I think that's


 I actually really liked that idea though.

Ed Cunard: Yeah.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah, that's very

Ed Cunard: I like an official theme night.

Adam Wainwright: I do too. I like a theme night too.

When I feel like that's a great one,

Ed Cunard: Yeah,

Adam Wainwright: a good cathartic one.

Ed Cunard: it's a risk that paid off

Adam Wainwright: It is a risk that we assume paid off. pay it off where we love and support any karaoke nights and take risks.

Ed Cunard: and all the proceeds benefited, RAINN the, uh, domestic violence support charity.

Adam Wainwright: oh man. That's that is awesome.

Ed Cunard: Yeah.

Adam Wainwright: We should throw the link into the description for this week's episode. So if people want to continue the good feelings towards RAINN, they can make a donation.

Ed Cunard: I love that idea. That's fantastic.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah. So get out there. And if you want to continue to good feelings and take a risk and support this risk taken by this karaoke night, make a donation to RAINN.

You'll find the information in our data and the podcast where you find it on the spaces. I just had a lot of words right there at, because I like stepping outside my comfort zone. You know what I'm saying?

Ed Cunard: I think I do know what you're saying, Adam. So how, how have you stepped outside of your comfort zone with karaoke?

Adam Wainwright: Oh, so many ways add so many ways. I used to live in my comfort zone. I used to be like, Hey Johnny Cash. Cool. I can sing that. What you want me to sing this other deep voice country artists? Yeah. I could probably learn that. Oh, you want me to sing this random duet with you? Sure. Because, you know, I, who can't sing kid rock, you know what I'm saying?

the answer to that is like apparently a hundred percent of people in Western, Pennsylvania, by the way. Um, but are you sitting subtle into those things? And then, you know, you start expanding and stepping outside my comfort zone. Bust a move. It was starting to do hip hop with you. It was blindly walking up and singing karaoke songs.

It was whoring myself for drinks that a karaoke night, Which I know we've told the story about us, like, saying you buy us a drink, we'll sing any song. Do you want to karaoke with those people? Not knowing that we would do that anyway, if they just asked. So I feel like I've done it a lot of ways and in a way, just kind of deepen my love for karaoke and people, my appreciation for the people that host karaoke.

 It contributed help round me out a little bit as a singer. And as just a karaoke enthusiastic. . I feel pretty good about that comfort zone description. Ed, what do you think? What about you? Tell me, I know you have a very large comfort zone and a very small comfort zone at the same time.

It's like a very intricately woven thing. Tell me about it. Tell me about your karaoke comfort zone and how you escaped it.

Ed Cunard: Karaoke itself was me getting out of my comfort zone. I don't remember if you realize how nervous I was when we first started going regularly, how I would only do things like "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie, because I knew I could do the rap part and that's pretty much what my singing voice sounded like at the time too.

I am frighteningly confident in pretty much every social situation. At the same time, I did fear to some extent, looking like an asshole, especially when compared to more naturally talented singers like you and the other people that we knew at the time and karaoke really helped me get over that.

Like I've never been shy about speaking in public. I've never been shy about being in front of people, but karaoke did to some degree loosen me up in that. And so karaoke itself was a risk. And then all the games that you and I play. I mean, if you would've asked me 15 years ago, would I sing songs I had never heard before at karaoke, I would have looked at you like you had some kind of horrible brain injury that was impacting your judgment. Like, no, that's ridiculous. I would never do that. And now it's my favorite thing to do, because it's the only way that I kind of get that positive, nervous energy and adrenaline like we did when we first started doing it. It amps up thrill of doing it to be like, Yeah.

no, I'll, do that song.

I never heard it. No, I don't need to go outside and listen to it. I'll figure it out. So. It really, it got me out of my comfort zone. It expanded my comfort zone and now I'm horribly obnoxious in how far I let my comfort zone extend.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah. The funny part is though, I feel. With that it's even still expanding the comfort zone and exploring new avenues of doing it. And we're still trying new things and growing and taking these risks and these chances, I mean, every time you step into a new place and we do the silly shit that we do, let's take a chance.

And I feel like that will just never go away, but karaoke, cause there's always going to be a new place. There's always going to be a new host. We need to pay some respect at, I know you did a little bit of homework here. We're going to talk briefly about the risk of being a karaoke entrepreneur.

I think a lot of people know that they show up on their bar in their favorite night. They spend the tracks. We keep the night going. We've talked about the importance of the KJ. We talked about it at length extensively, the ins and outs of the karaoke nights, but what people don't think about. The chance that person takes the, even do what they're doing.

Ed, you talked to our good friend, friend of the show, Christopher Price. Tell us a little bit about the startup costs for a karaoke entrepreneur.

Ed Cunard: So I reached out to Chris because I knew he was somebody who would know some of these answers as he's a very technical guy when it comes to things. Think about all the things that go into starting a mobile karaoke business. up, you need speakers. You need something that will sound good. last a while.

So you're looking no lower than 400 per speaker. Or if you're looking for like a more high-end thing, you're looking at about 800 to a thousand per speaker, and you need more than one speaker to run a karaoke night in a large room, you need a subwoofer. So add another 400 for a less expensive one, or as high as almost two grand for a really, really good one, no matter what you'll need wired mikes, because you need something that can take a beating and keep on working cheap ones are about $25 a pop.

But they'll often break within the first year. Maybe even the first show, good ones go for 300 for a set of three. If you want to be fancy and provide wireless, then you have to go kind of mid-grade. Cause you don't want something too expensive that somebody might break and you don't want to go super low end.

So it's really crappy. And then you're looking at about 400 a pop for. You'll obviously need a mixing board that can handle multiple singers, plus your music tracks. So somewhere between an eight to 12 channel board, looking at about $300, there stands for your speakers, the cables that connect everything.

The computer itself that runs the program because by and large people are not using CDs or laser discs anymore. They're, you're looking 700 to two grand. The program itself. 20 bucks or $200 one-time fee. And then don't forget the music. I know there's a lot of DJs out there who pirate everything, but you're at your safest with a subscription to one of the companies or buying a back catalog.

You can't really put a number on that. It depends on which way you want to go and how much you're willing to spend with it. But it is your biggest running expense because people are going to want new songs as new songs. If you really work the angles, you can probably start for about $6,000, which to some people might not seem like a lot to some people that might be a very high barrier to entry.

But think about this nationwide, the average going rate for a KJ $200 a night. Now that's an average and it depends on a lot of factors, a host, just starting out with one show. If they were making that rate and most likely they're making lower when they're just starting out. If they were making $200 a week with one weekly show, they wouldn't get their initial investment back until week 30.

So that is than half a year. So a

lot does go into running a successful karaoke business. And if that's a risk you want to take, we know people that you can reach out to. I believe that we know somebody who's developing. How to start your own mobile karaoke business course

Adam Wainwright: Ooh, like a masterclass.

Ed Cunard: like a masterclass.

Adam Wainwright: that's so cool. It's wild thinking about the startup costs these things and remember like we're talking once a week, but they still need to get booked and getting booked in depending on the area you're in can be damn near impossible.

so a lot of your karaoke DJ's are working other jobs during the day. If they're not, then they probably been around for a very long time. It's they're all doing it out of love. love of karaoke, love of the night, love of music, and you should just support them. This is my, like, is why we'll continue to advocate on behalf of kgs to not treat them like dicks and to tip them at the end of nine.

If you see somebody treating them like a Dick, step it, step in.

Ed Cunard: Don't start none. Won't be none.

Adam Wainwright: That's what they say, ad

Ed Cunard: That is what they say.

Adam Wainwright: I'm going to put a cap on it. I'm going to say we've covered it from all angles. You shut me out and trivia. I'm going to put a cap on this and say, we introduce an entrepreneur, author, all the things. He's the very definition of taking a chance to taking the risk.

So let's, uh, cue the guitar talk to today's guest.

Joey Held Interview

Adam Wainwright: Today's guest reached out to us because of his deep love of karaoke, a love he has carried from all the way back in his high school days. That love took him all over from hosting karaoke to even singing before a WNBA game. On top of that, he's the guy behind the podcast "Good People, Cool Things," where he talks to artists, entrepreneurs and all sorts of people about their work and passions, and he has a book of short stories out. We're not really even sure the guy has time to sleep for as busy and productive as he is. Joey Held, welcome to the "The Greatest Song Ever Sung (Poorly)."

Joey Held: Thank you so much. I'm, I'm very excited to be here. Coming off a night of poor sleep. I think that was a fitting intro. sometimes don't as much time as I probably need to.

Ed Cunard: I don't think any of us do, but again, thanks for coming on for reaching out, we're always very excited to talk to a karaoke person about their love of karaoke. So where is your karaoke origin story? Where, where does that start? Because it's something you can just fall into or it's something that you directly go to just out of a gut feeling. Where did you start?

Joey Held: The very first time I can remember doing karaoke at a Relay for Life event, which if you're familiar as a, you know, a cancer walk, someone on your team's gotta be walking the whole night, but in between they had karaoke and a friend of mine I'll give him a shout out his name's Mike. So a very, you know, basic name, so one of 12 Mikes I know, probably, give themselves a pat on the back, but we did, uh, a couple different songs. I honestly don't remember what our duet was. I know he was really excited about it. The first thing I remember doing was "Head on Collision" by New Found Glory-- how's that for karaoke track.

 Never done it since, but it was a newish song at the time. So, and you know, that was a big, big genre of music, the pop punk there. So, did it, loved it. I ended up being requested as a backup for someone else doing it. So I was like, all right. I think we, I think we got something going here and just took off ever since that was back in 2005, I believe so closing it on two decades of karaoke madness.

Adam Wainwright: That's a, it's two like decades of greatness. And that it's such an interesting way. I wonder how many people got there start at a relay for life doing karaoke. Cause that's one of my earliest karaoke memories too, is singing Usher . I did the Ludacris part of Usher's "Yeah". At a relay for life for a friend.

And that's one of my earliest karaoke memories. Relay for life such great event for so many reasons. And the start of karaoke, origin stories is just. One of the many, many beautiful things about that event. So something that Ed told me that I was very interested to learn is that you've kept a playlist of every karaoke song you've ever done. Is this correct.

Joey Held: This is correct. Yes.

Adam Wainwright: How long is this playlist?

Joey Held: I did a poor job of doing my homework. I have a Google spreadsheet as my backup. And then a Spotify playlist that has all the songs, but the last couple of times I've gone karaoke. I haven't made the changeover yet. So currently it's at 561 songs, but I think it's probably closer, closer to 600. I'm gonna, I'm gonna throw it out there.

Adam Wainwright: That is wild. So ed hasn't kept track and I kept track for a while. So I also had a playlist and I was gonna, like, I was curious about this, cuz mine was at like 150 and I know I'm well, well, short of that number, but almost 600 songs. That's the versatility you show in just everything. I think that karaoke, that playlist just has to be great.

Joey Held: I mean, it's great, but it's got a lot of duds in there too. I used to host karaoke when I lived in LA and we started at 7:00 PM, which I, I feel like is kinda early for karaoke bars, particularly in the middle of the week. It did karaoke 365 days a year and a Tuesday at like 8:30 when there's one person in the bar and you just gotta keep it going.

There's a lot of songs where I'm like, I wonder how this sounds at karaoke. Often it was not great, I mean, it's the bartenders and one patron listening. So it's not too bad.

Ed Cunard: I tried to do the math because after we got into this, I made a commitment to sing one song I've never sang before at every karaoke night I've done. So I think I'm in the same range as you, probably not as successfully because I've done some real off the wall things, including songs I had never heard before to keep that trend going.

So We also, the three of us share the same goal of hitting up a karaoke night in all 50 states. Which ones have you hit already? Cuz you're making good progress.

Joey Held: Yes. I still have quite a ways to go. I have knocked out. was gonna try and do this in chronological order, but I don't know how well that will go. So I'll just try and go like east west. I guess I've done Florida, New York, Louisiana. I was about to say New Orleans. That's not a state, uh, Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado.

Nope. definitely skipped Tennessee. We'll go back back east a little bit. Uh, then California. And know I'm missing another one cuz there's 10, but why can't I think of the ten one that's in there? Uh, it's some, some state more on the east. So we'll, we'll vaguely say, uh, we'll say North Carolina, and I'm gonna throw in Nevada because I'm going there in May , for the first time ever. And I'm gonna make sure I do karaoke while I'm out there. So How about y'all? What have you hit up?

Ed Cunard: For me, it has been New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Oregon.

Joey Held: Love it.

Adam Wainwright: Yeah, that's a good, that's a pretty, I didn't realize your list was that extensive ed, like you traveled more than I give you credit for. I think, I've hit up, I think Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky,, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi. I don't think I in Texas, tried, and California.

Ed Cunard: This is starting to sound like an Animaniacs song.

Adam Wainwright: It is just like, we could turn it into one real easily. But what we're trying to say is like, you've, you've been everywhere. It's kind of incredible and you're bound to have some great stories if you do it that much. So, it got back to us that you met someone once at karaoke when you did an obscure song of theirs. So what was the song.

Joey Held: This is cheating a little bit because they didn't have the actual song at karaoke, but back when I was hosting, uh, I would play songs in between, and this was. 2011, but I have my old iPod, I, the, the like OG, you know, 32 gigs. Delightful. And a guy came in and I was like, that guy looks super familiar and he has a very, very distinctive face.

It's Mickey Rourke, not Mickey Rourke Jesus Mickey. Rick does have a Mickey Park. I'm sorry, from the show "2gether", played by Alex Solowitz. Who's done a, a handful of other things, but that was where I recognized him from. So I played the 2gether song, which is a boy band parody that was on MTV back in like 2001. And he came up to me. And are we doing some calculus

there? Yeah.

Adam Wainwright: remember the U plus me was us.

Joey Held: U plus me equals us. I know my calculus. Yes. And, so I played the song. My favorite song of theirs is "The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (is Getting Back Your Stuff)" and so I played that as an in between song after he sang his song and I just see him at the bar, he just stops, and then he turns around and his, his face is just like, in in shock. And he came up later, he's like, "how, did you have that song?" And I said, my sister had your CD. Like, it was, was great. And he was just so excited, uh, and, and did a few other songs that night. We did a duet later to Boyz II Men, it was delightful.

Ed Cunard: You also have a connection to my karaoke video of all time. You used to host karaoke at the place. Jewel did her "Undercover Karaoke" thing for Funny or Die? Did see some of your regulars in the video? Were you in the video?

Joey Held: Yes, I am not in the video. This was, uh, I believe this happened like very shortly before I moved to Los Angeles, and so I did not see myself cause I wasn't there, but I would say about 75% of the people in that video, I brought up onto the stage at some point, to, to very mixed results. I would say. A few of them had, you know, one or two classics that they'd always sing, but all of them were characters and I'm glad they all got featured cause they were just... I dunno if delights the right word. Uh, cause they were a little, little bit of a handful, but definitely, uh, made for memorable nights for sure.

Adam Wainwright: You're in Austin now. We're hearing that it's a great karaoke city. Sell Why should Ed and I add to our list of places that we wanna visit the Austin karaoke scene. What makes it special?

Joey Held: Well, you've got a nice mix of spots that are private room. If that's more your jam or public, where you get up on a stage, people sing. There's. I mean, it's in the south. So already the friendliness is, is very nice there. Austin. Also, the only place I've seen this was at the bar Egos, two people dancing to a song in their chairs.

They were doing like a two step type of thing where you're like spinning each other. But. Fully seated. And I thought that's something I've never seen before. I dunno how you can spin someone while you're in a chair. They were pulling it off. It was very impressive. And I've just always had, like, it's a very inclusive environment, very welcoming, which I know karaoke is supposed to be a hundred percent of the time I found that's not always the case.

 But it's just a nice, you know, nice mix of a good stuff and you can go get it taco afterwards. You can go get some barbecue. I would recommend after instead of before or else you'll be very heavy on the stage. But, uh, you know, you do whatever feels right.

Ed Cunard: So you've been on both sides. You've, you've hosted, you've done karaoke. You've done karaoke all over, in some strange venues in some commonplace venues. As somebody who has done that much hosting and singing, do you have any big unified theory of karaoke or a philosophy on it or anything like that?

Joey Held: I know I just referenced sitting down as, as being something I enjoyed seeing and the dancing, but on the stage, unless you physically cannot stand up, stand up. Act like you're enjoying things. Even if, if you haven't done a song before, like the more enthusiasm you show, the more the audience is gonna give you back.

 So if you are, and, and this is a story that I remember because of how bad it was, uh, but this woman did not come up when her name was called. And this was at a bar that puts the next three singers that are coming up. So she, she should have seen, should have had time comes in about two performers later and they play her song.

It's like an eight minute jazz loungey type of feel, song, very, you know, sultry vocals, lots of horn breaks and all that. And she's just sitting down looking bored on a chair. Like she brought up the chair to sit down onto it and I was just like, Looking around and it's like, no, one's really into this because I think because of how bored she looked.

And so I was like, if you were standing up having a good time, you'd, you'd get it back a lot more. So

Ed Cunard: Or even vamping on the chair, like it was like a piano that you were draped over.

Joey Held: yes, At least give, give some sort of interest so that we also can respond in God.

Adam Wainwright: I, agree with you. You should be into it, but Ed and I are notorious for sitting down when we get a chance, because we'll do it to purposely walk away from the monitor, so we will do like "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, and we will walk and sit in the front of the stage, away from the monitor. So they know we're not looking at the screen and go from, add to the entertainment. So 99% of the time, I'm gonna agree with you, But I'm just gonna have a slight variance there.

Joey Held: But even that you're doing it in an entertaining way. And you're, I'm sure you're having a fun time doing "Rapper's Delight."

Adam Wainwright: Ed, ed

Ed Cunard: Or,

Adam Wainwright: entertaining no matter what.

Ed Cunard: or while watching the last game of the 2016 world series, because I didn't wanna leave the TV.

Joey Held: That is understandable. and what a great world series that one was.

Adam Wainwright: Oh, it was, it really was. your podcast " Good People, Cool Things." Okay. You talk to all sorts of people, entrepreneurs, musicians, writers. Others. you've been doing this for a while. I've had a chance to check out a couple episodes.

I love some of the conversations. I love some of these people that you're talking to. I, I listen to, um, I don't think it's the newest one, but the one last week about the importance of, making science more accessible and having discussions about hip hop and connecting it to school and education and stuff like that, loved that episode, love these conversations you're having with these people.

A lot of people got started podcasting during the pandemic, including Ed and I. What have you learned? What advice can you. pass on to people that are either just getting started or maybe want to improve their quality? Like what advice, what, what things have you learned that you can pass on to the, the people.

Joey Held: Yeah. I think for the people considering getting started, I would say. Get started, uh, at the old, you know, the old saying of perfect is the enemy of done started that started that sentence without knowing how it ended. But you know, a lot of people fret over artwork and buying, you know, all kinds of expensive equipment.

As long as you don't sound like you're in a well, or you're like holding a phone or, or computer, whatever in your mouth. So it's just inaudible. Like we all, if you go back and listen to any show's first episode, it all sounds. Much worse than, than how it currently sounds. And you'll never know until you get into it and, and see, you know, what sounds good what's working.

So I would just say to start, if you haven't then if you have started, if you're doing an interview type of show listening, always a, always a good thing. I know a lot of people go in with questions and just stick to that script. Like it is, you know, they're holding a out for dear life to it. And I have found the most entertaining conversations.

I know that I've done have definitely been. When someone says something that I had not prepared for, and I follow that rabbit hole, wherever it goes. And sometimes it doesn't go anywhere. And that's a part you maybe will edit out of your podcast, cuz it's like a 20 minute tangent that is irrelevant to anything.

And you thought it was more interesting than it was gonna be, but you never know unless you go down it and more times than not, you'll get a great gem from it. So I would say just listen and then pull, jump into follow whatever you wanna say, the path, down that, that path that it leads to.

Ed Cunard: What was one of those great rabbit holes, cuz now I'm very curious.


Joey Held: Uh, that's a good question. Um, I, I interviewed someone who studies, well, he does a, he does a weird history, his name's Mark Hartman, very entertaining conversation. And he had gone on ghost tours. And so I, he just kind of like casually mentioned that, that he, you know, he's like, oh, I'm a fan of ghost tours.

So I was like, okay, well, give us a. Some good stories. Like, have you ever seen any kind of ghosts or anything? And he didn't? Uh, he, he said he had not ever seen a ghost on a tour, but there were like a couple times where he was like, that was probably a ghost, uh, which I think was good. And then he, he took that to, uh, give a little educational thing about why ghosts often don't have feet it, and it's because we remember people, you know, like if you're describing someone's clothing or something, you'd say like their shirt, their pants, you know, maybe like their hair color, eye color, but you rarely describe the shoes. Be like, oh, that's, you know, Jake wears converse all the times. Like, I wouldn't describe a person like that.

I would, I, you know, I'd, I'd go through the other things first. And so when we see a ghost, it's often they don't have feet and kind of just like trails off at the knees cuz that's, you know how we remember that?

Adam Wainwright: that? is like, my mind is slightly blown right now just, but yeah. Hmm.

Ed Cunard: I'm wondering if there's an untapped market for a karaoke night ghost tour combination.

Joey Held: think there

has to be

Ed Cunard: Do you sing to bring the spirits out? Do you sing to keep them away? I don't know.

Joey Held: That's a great question, but I feel like we might need to explore

Adam Wainwright: I feel like it, when it involves ghost tours in karaoke, there's always going to be a market there.


Joey Held: Yeah,

Adam Wainwright: would just be brilliant. just needs to do it.

Ed Cunard: I mean, it sounds like a wacky enough idea that it might have been a short story in your book.

Joey Held: it. I, I think that's a, the first chapter of.

Ed Cunard: I'm just curious though, cuz I, I I've read the majority of it now. I haven't quite finished it yet. It's quirky and it's funny and it's charming and it's well written. what is your writing philosophy? I was just really held engaged for everything that I read so far.

Joey Held: That's a great question. Uh, I, I generally just try to write things that I, that I enjoy I think that other people would enjoy too. were definitely a couple of stories where I was rereading it. And I was like, might be a little too niche. Like this might just be for me. Um, I mean, that's part of the joy of creative writing is sometimes you're only writing things that only you are, but it's, it's a great way to kind of maybe like get out of a writing rut or even just to explore some other areas.

Like there was a story where I was. Kind of starting to get down like a super dark path. And I was like, I dunno if that fits this, like, so, so maybe holding onto it for, for future installment. Uh, and I, I like to think a couple of the stories get like maybe morbid is too strong of a word, but a little, you know, a little spooky, uh, and yeah, yeah, yeah.

I like that. That's a good one. I, so, I mean, I think it, it just kind of goes back to do I enjoy this and, and we can even tie it into karaoke if I'm enjoying the performance. I imagine most people would enjoy it. They're always gonna have some haters out there, but I think for the most part, people enjoy when they see you enjoying something.

And if that comes across in the writing and it's like, oh, it seems like he liked writing this. I, I, I think that usually leads to some good, good readers out there too. That enjoy it.

Adam Wainwright: I think that translates any kind of art that you do. I think people just sincerely want to be in a room they see people enjoying what they're doing, whether it be, you know, a stage performance, whether it be music, you don't, I, I it's part of the reason that I think William Hung became so pop, like, like legitimately popular. Like I have a friend who is legitimately a fan of William Hung, not like ironically or an ironic way, but legit, like genuinely just loves him because, and I think it's because William hung was so committed and seemed to enjoy what he was doing so much.

And people that resonates in a room for, for people. Um, you can feel it and your book, which is named "Kind, But Kind of Weird: Short Stories on Life's Relationships" I'm just throwing that out there cuz we haven't mentioned it yet.


Joey Held: it.

Adam Wainwright: so the question that I would have is like, so how many short stories did you write before you decided to form your collection for the book?

Were the ones that didn't make the cut that maybe will get a B side of someday or just the needed more work. Um, at what point did you decide this is the number that I want and how many did you pull from in order to put together what you can read in the book?

Joey Held: Yeah, I think, um, well I think to, to start with the just overall collection, I was kind of like at, I think I was around like 45 or 50 and I was like, I should do something with these. Like let's, let's put these together somehow. And then, so yeah, just going back through and some, I had written, you know, maybe three or four years ago, and so it was going back and it was almost like rereading it for the first time.

Cause I was like, oh, I don't remember really writing this that much. And also this entire part is bad and let me try and edit it real quick. And so that was, that was nice to just approach things from kind of a fresh perspective. Cuz if you're writing something and you just are constantly rereading it, you kind of will miss some things and.

I mean, I hired multiple editors for this and they definitely caught things I missed even after rereading it many times. So thankful, thankful for editors, you are all doing a great service. So, so kind of, narrowing it down from that. And, I honestly just kind of went more for like a word count than amount of stories.

Um, just from a, like, I, you know, will people get sick of reading like 400,000 words? I would guess. Yes, I it's. I believe the final count is right around 67,000. So it's about 230 pages, which is, I feel like a good, good sizeable amount for a collection and not, you know, I wasn't trying to get like a Harry Potter type of, crazy series going on, but who knows, maybe the next one I'll sneak into that route.

Adam Wainwright: I mean, I don't think anybody would complain if you, uh, snuck into that route. Cuz what you've assembled. Like I picked it up the e-book and I'm working my way through it too right now. And what you've assembled is just something that's, it's just wonderful to read. It


Joey Held: Oh, well, thank you so much.

Adam Wainwright: It, it it's the pick up and just absorb on a. Saturday morning when you wake up a little too early in the sun's rising and. You have a nice cup of coffee in your hand, you can get your day off to a beautiful, beautiful start. And that's my wholehearted endorsement of this book.

Joey Held: Well, thank you so much. I might need to add that in the description. That's a great

Adam Wainwright: the do whatever you want

to Joe. Adam says, that's exactly it. right there. So Joey, you've been so wonderful to have on board, and we've loved having this discussion with you in this conversation with you. But now we need to kind of put you through the ringer cuz you came on our show and now we need to hit you with our best shot.

So what this is gonna be, it's gonna be five quick fire with air quotes questions. Just give us the first thing that pops into your head. What I like to describe this as is that you don't owe an explanation for your opinions to anybody. So express your opinions. Whatever they may be, however controversial.

You may think they are just throw 'em out there. want to hear 'em and at the end, because it's only fair if you'd like to have a chance to fire away. So you can ask ed and I, any kind of question, and we solemnly swear that we will answer truthfully,

Joey Held: Love it. Love it.

Adam Wainwright: you, ready to go, Joey?

Joey Held: I am. Let's do it.

Adam Wainwright: Okay. So what is the absolute best thing you've seen a karaoke night?

Joey Held: There was a man said this was when I was in Miami and he sang Frank Sinatra. And was like a dead ringer for Sinatra. Like he sounded very similar to him. This was at a bar where there were tables near the stage. He started walking across the tables to like serenade people. And I never saw that guy before.

I never saw him after. And I like to think he just goes around from town to town. And does that, he's just a traveling Sinatra.

Ed Cunard: I would love see that else I would probably love to see is whatever your answer ends up being to this question. What is the worst thing you have seen in karaoke?

Joey Held: Oh, I I'll do from when I hosted. and I, I don't wanna call them out but they are in that jewel video. and this person came up on stage It is not, is not great. Often I, you know, often would like get distracted and like not sing into the microphone was usually, uh, on something, whether or, some kind of drugs.

So it was, it was sometimes a difficult performance to get through. And one time the, People sitting in the back, I didn't know who they were, but they were like, Hey, we'll give you $20. If you turn her mic off while she's singing. And I was like, that seems kind of mean, but let's see how it goes.

cause this is still early days. And I, I, I was like, why not? Let's, you know, $20 is nice, but I, I was broke. That sounds so sure. That sounds great. And they, uh, I, so I slid it down for a little bit and I'm like that that's kind of mean, like, I'll put it back up. And, right when I was about to do that, one of her friends, they were like, oh, Hey, the microphone's not on. And then, so for most of the rest of the song, they were just like, start the song over. I need to, I need to sing with the micro. And I was like, I. Grab the list that was full of like 80 people.

I was like, do you see how long this list is? I was like, you've gotta keep the song going. Like you have to keep going. There's so many people waiting. I can't start it over. Also, our machine was very archaic and it, it was actually very difficult to start songs over, especially when there was a queue already to go.

So it was a mess on my part. It was a mess on our mess on all of our parts. Probably the worst thing. I've seen at karaoke.

Adam Wainwright: That does in fact sound like a mess? Um, just, just a mess. Just, yeah. okay. So, so this may be a little tricky because you do have such extensive history, but then again, this might be very clear. Okay. So what is the one song you would love to sing a karaoke that you've just never been able to find a version of, or you've never been able to find a good version of.

Joey Held: Ooh, that is very good. this is, this is gonna, uh, upset my purist, uh, my P my punk purist, but I'm a big fan of, the Offspring. They were the first group that I had ever, gotten a CD of, like with my own money. Ixnay on the Hombre for my, my mid nineties fans, but they have, uh, a song that's called the worst hangover ever.

And it's a ska song. It's definitely, you know, they, they kind of devolved into goofy songs all the time. I, so this one is, is. Less than peak Offspring, but it's just a song about, you know, having a hangover. And I feel like that's very appropriate for karaoke and at the end he's like, you know, I'm never gonna drink again.

It's like, okay. I probably never drink again. I may not ever drink again, at least not till next weekend. And I think that's a very fun outro to the song. I, I don't think a lot of people would know the song and they probably wouldn't like having a song they're not familiar with, but I think they'd appreciate the message.

So it would be fun to do, but. Wasn't a single and I don't expect to ever find a karaoke version.

Ed Cunard: It does sound like a lot of fun. Now imagine that somebody kidnapped your family

Joey Held: Oh no.

Ed Cunard: and the only way release them was to wow the kidnappers with a karaoke performance. What song do you choose?

Joey Held: I will go with "My Band" by D12, uh, purely based off the fact that I was in a karaoke contest one time, and I got second place and won $50, only losing to someone who apparently was a backup singer to Chaka Khan at one point. And so I was like, that seems like the fair order of operations there.

 I did my band at that and it apparently wowed a room of, I don't know, 40 strangers, uh, enough to vote me into second place. So I would hope it would do the same for the kidnappers.

Adam Wainwright: I wanna see that performance so bad. Just, just so bad

Joey Held: Well, come out to Austin. We'll do it.

Adam Wainwright: Now we're well, and I will talk about that. Sure. As we plan our tour here, our karaoke tour. But here's the question. Here's our favorite question that we've tracked the data on. We're forming science. We're doing science right now because we wanna know if you could magically strike one song from every karaoke playlist forever, Which song would you choose?

Joey Held: There's uh, there's so many going through my head right now. I feel like people have said this before, but "Bohemian Rapsody", I'm sorry. No one is Freddy Mercury, and it's so It's such a long song. Uh, I'll give an honorable, mention to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" cuz everyone does the "Old School" version where they drop F bombs

Adam Wainwright: Mm-hmm

Joey Held: in the chorus. And I'm like, that's, I've seen that before. it's like let's be more original. Like if they, even if they did another swear, I, I would enjoy that. Like just, you know, mixed up just the little littlest bit. I also just think "Total Eclipse of the Heart" takes way too long to get into the, like meat of the song.

, so if we could maybe eliminate the first verse, we can keep it.

Adam Wainwright: Uh, you're not gonna get any arguments from myself. Ed, do you have any qualms with those answers?

Ed Cunard: No, I don't. I, there, there are no qualms. There's no justifications needed.

Adam Wainwright: You're 100.

Ed Cunard: how the game works.

Adam Wainwright: You passed did it. Okay. And Joey, you did it too. Those are great answers. They were insightful. Interesting stories. Like you picked some great songs to eliminate forever that I am definitely on board with. you aced the test. That was a great quick fire around, and now you're gonna have a chance to fire away.

So if you have any questions Ed or I, we solemnly swear to answer correctly.

Joey Held: Well, I'm curious what you would strike.

Adam Wainwright: Oh see, no one's asked us that yet. Ed, Do you wanna go? Do you


Ed Cunard: Do you wanna just, do you wanna just go on three?

Adam Wainwright: Well, I, I, we might have I, no, I want us to have different answers.


I'm not gonna accept. We would give the same answer. So I'll let you go first. I'll let I'll I'll grant you that. So go ahead and speak for us real quick. And I'll think of something different.

Ed Cunard: My, my answer to this is always "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. you've never really seen a good version of it. Because it doesn't exist. It's usually by people who are too drunk, can't sing. And in all fairness, both Adam and I have been in "too drunk, can't sing" before. but it's always awkward.

It's treated by drunken rednecks as a romantic love song when it clearly isn't, it's like, is this how you guys wanna express your love to each other drunkenly at the bar tonight? Is that, is this really where you're going? I have big objections to "Picture".


Adam Wainwright: Yeah, "Picture" is objection worthy. I'm gonna throw something out there that just general, cuz I don't know if I've ever heard anybody really. Can I eliminate a band or I have to narrow it down to a Song

Ed? what

Ed Cunard: song.

Adam Wainwright: We've set

Ed Cunard: song.

Adam Wainwright: here. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. I'm going to just completely eliminate "Let it Be" by the Beatles. Because here's, here's the reason why, and this is partially just because of like, I love the Beatles. I, I think they made beautiful, brilliant music. I don't think anybody can sing like the Beatles unless you do "Yellow Submarine". Or if you're, if you're singing anything by Ringo, I think most people can hit those.

But if you start getting into the, like, when you're missing the harmonies with a lot of this stuff, and you're missing, think like, I don't know. I hear the Beatles. I don't know if I've ever seen anybody sing "Let it Be" well, I dunno if I've ever heard them sing, like come together or yesterday or any of those? I, I don't know if I've ever heard a Beatles song. outside of Ringo done well at karaoke. Um, my worst karaoke performance was a Beatles song that Ed gave me and he booed me at.

Joey Held: Well, first of all, I, I applaud both of the selections. I don't know if I've heard "Let it Be" in a hot minute at karaoke, but I agree. I think generally the Beatles songs are, are just like such a distinct unique feel that it's hard to pull off at karaoke.

Ed Cunard: I will argue that their first two albums is fun for karaoke when it was like garage rock-y.

Adam Wainwright: Okay.

Ed Cunard: and upbeat. But like once they became like serious. Yeah, no, no. Yeah. I'm with Adam on that. I'm, I'm also with Adam his disastrous "Across the Universe," it was almost as bad as my "Mr. Jones." I.

Joey Held: I am curious to dive into to those a little bit, but one other Beatles story at the bar I'd go to in Miami. There was a guy who, and, and we have a very diverse karaoke repertoire, but I know a lot of people tend to stick to the same, you know, two or three that they're comfortable with.

 And this man always sang "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" by Smashing Pumpkins, that despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat, a cage. If, if, uh, anyone listening does not know the title of that song. And then one day he came in and he did "Twist and Shout" by the Beatles. And I was just like, this is such a hard left turn

but I, uh, you know, I, I applaud it, so, and he seemed to be having more fun with that. So I was like, maybe just diversifying really, really got him into a good place there.

Adam Wainwright: Sometimes all you have to do on a karaoke night is just to switch up, get outta your routine, you'll create some new memories in the entirely new environment that you didn't know. You could. Joey, you've been wonderful. We've had a great time having this conversation. We're just gonna turn the floor over to you.

You are a hardworking person. You have a billion different things going on. Tell our listeners where they can find you, how they can support your efforts. just anything you wanna talk about the floor is yours.

Joey Held: Oh, I love it. I, I like, I should play some like, uh, mood music underneath, but I, I mean, most of my stuff is, is through joeyheld.com. That's a, a great place to find it. You can get to the podcast, you can check out the book, see some of the writing that I've done before. And I always love meeting people on Twitter @josephcurrency.

Keep it nice and simple.

Adam Wainwright: We do love simple. please, please dear listeners go to all of these things, support this wonderful person. thank you. So, so, so very much for doing this show. We love talking to people that are passionate about karaoke and you are epitome of passionate about karaoke, and I love it to death.

Joey Held: awesome. Thanks so much for having me. This was so much fun.

Ed Cunard: Oh, yeah, we enjoyed it too. And we, hope to see you singing at a screen sometime soon.

End Notes

Adam Wainwright: Hey, Hey you. Yeah, you, I know, I know I do this every now and then where I address you privately, but you know, I just, I just can't help it. I just like you more than all the other listeners. Thank you. In particular for tuning in, we really appreciate you. Now do me a big favor. Okay. Just just slide into those DMS, alright?

Give us some direct feedback. The best way? Email us at sungpoorly at gmail.com. hit us up at sungpoorly on most social media platforms. There's even a website, sungpoorly.com. Ed will tell you more about that. I'm sure because he loves that website. Like we love you. Now, I'm not saying that you should leave a review or telling a friend about the show will make you a better karaoke singer, but you never know love you, boo.

Ed Cunard: I mean, it can't hurt, as far as I can tell, but also tell your karaoke, loving friends to check out our website sungpoorly.com, where All episodes, blog posts and merch can be found. And while you're spreading the love, send some to Ben Dumm. He gave us our theme song "Gasoline.".

You can find him at the Ben Dumm 3, wherever you get your music for your ear holes.

Adam Wainwright: All right. Let's change the momentum back Hi everybody. I'm sorry. I disappeared there for a second. It was blank right before ed. I don't know what happens. I had a step away to, to talk to someone very important. But now that I'm back, you might as well make sure to tune in two weeks a week, explore finding your karaoke, voice identity before talking to a comedian and impressionist that works karaoke into his standup.

That's it? That's all there is no more. So until next time I'm Adam Wainwright.

Ed Cunard: I'm Ed Cunard.

Adam Wainwright: And remember that singing off key is still technically singing.


Joey HeldProfile Photo

Joey Held


Joey Held is a writer, podcaster, and author based in Austin, TX.

He's the founder of the Crisp Bounce Pass newsletter; host of the Good People, Cool Things podcast; and author of the book Kind, But Kind of Weird: Short Stories on Life's Relationships. He's never met a pun or dad joke he didn't like, and he prefers a wireless mic when performing karaoke.