1. The Classics are Good, but not Over and Over … and Over
Thai rubber tapper Weenus Chumkamnerd, 52, had had enough of his neighbor’s incessant karaoke parties, “I warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties. I said if they carried on I would go down and shoot them. I had told them if I couldn’t talk sense into them I would come back and finish them off.” The homeowner , a doctor, and her friends favored the classic John Denver song Country Roads, and once intoxicated they would sing it all night long. In March 2008 Chumkamnerd snapped, went over to his neighbor’s house with a loaded gun, put the gun against the doctor’s head and pulled the trigger. He later told police, ”When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk.” Chumkamnerd then shot and killed the seven guests. He was apparently so enraged that he didn’t realize that he had shot and killed his own brother-in-law, Boontip Desaro, until it was all over. Thoughtfully, he had his son take Desaro to the hospital before going on the lam, but Desaro did not survive.
2. Avoid Songs That Will Get you Killed
The most famous example of such as song is Frank Sinatra’s version of My Way. At least six murders caused by the song in the Philippines, have been called the My Way Killings. The murders so captured the popular imagination that there are apparently now urban legends about the song. One victim, Romy Baligula, 29, was killed in May 2007 in mid song by the bar’s security guard, Robilito Ortega, after Ortega complained that Baligula was singing off key and told him to stop. When Baligula did not stop, Ortega pulled out a .38 and shot him in the chest.
It is possible that combined with the lyrics, the cocky, self-assured Sinatra rendition is aggressive enough to spur an alcohol-fueled Asian audience to violence. It’s also possible that no individual thinks another can do the song justice. Mostly, however, it seems that those killed were singing off key. In any case the song is banned in many Karaoke bars across Asia. Karaoke is so popular though that there are still many places where the song is on the playbooks. Experienced karaoke singers, however, choose to steer clear of it.
3. You Can’t Please Everybody
Lindsey Lawrence, 21, of Seattle, Wa., was so disgusted with one man’s karaoke choice of Coldplay’s Yellow at Changes Tavern on June 9, 2007, that she told him so, saying that his “singing sucked” and that the song “f***ing sucked.” Maybe he thought she was referring to one of the two friends that were singing with him, or maybe he didn’t care. In any case he continued the song undaunted, prompting Lawrence to grab his microphone. According to the police report, she then “pushed him and punched him in order to get him to stop singing,” and became even more violent when club emplyees escorted her from the bar. The victim received contusions to the right side of his forehead, lacerations to hands and elbows, and was transported to a local hospital for x-rays for possible broken bones. He also required treatment with antibiotics for exposure to Lawrence’s blood. Outside Lawrence took on the police, head butting and kicking, until she was subdued and arrested for assault.
4. Showmanship is Good, but Don’t Go Overboard
On March 19, 2012, Texan Jeffrey Lee Thompson, 28, was performing Hoobastank’s The Reason at a karaoke bar in Melbourne, Fla., reportedly really getting into it and taking off his clothes on stage. According to Sgt. Byron Barnes, a spokesman for the Melbourne Police Department, “He was intoxicated. It was karaoke night and he became very involved with his performance. He took his clothes off as he sang to the audience.” When a customer complained about the exhibition, the manager asked Thompson to stop singing. Thompson did not stop, so the manager turned off the song. That’s when Thompson punched the manager and knocked him out. A police officer eating at the restaurant chased down Thompson and held him, with the help of a stun gun, until police arrived. Thompson was arrested and charged with battery and disorderly conduct.
5. When You Do Get up to Sing, Don’t Suck
Falls River, Wis. men James Mischler, 28, and his friend Cyrus Kozub, 29, were singing heavy metal song Holy Diver, the title cut on Dio’s 1983 debut album on November 4, 2008, but their performance was apparently not up to snuff, possibly even a mockery of the original. They were heckled by Kyle Drinkwine, who was sporting a blood alcohol level of .169, about their “ability to sing karaoke,” or rather their inability to do so, and they heckled him back about his “big gaudy crucifix.” Offense was taken by Drinkwine, who followed the two to another bar, beat and throttled them. Drinkwine was arrested and charged with battery and disorderly conduct.
6. Try to Take Negative Feedback in Stride
Isiah Johnson, 20, was singing karaoke at Cabana Jack’s in Sandusky, Ohio, in December 2011, when the other patrons started booing his performance. According to the bartender, he angrily threw down his microphone and was asked to leave. Johnson refused. He was escorted out, and returned, belligerent. He started swinging when the other patrons began to forcibly eject him from the bar. He hit three people while a large group of the bar’s patrons pushed him out into the street. According to the police report, the first officer arrived to find “a large fight in the street.” Johnson ran when he saw the officer, and had to be chased down and apprehended. Once Johnson was arrested, the officer noted that he was under the influence of something and smelled of “intoxicants.” He was booked on three counts of assault for the fight at the bar, obstructing official business for fleeing the scene, persistent disorderly conduct for returning to argue when he was told to leave, and underage consumption.
7. Take Turns and Don’t Hog the Limelight
A toddler singing karaoke at an August 2012 family gathering at a noodle shop and karaoke parlor in Xi’an, China, refused to give up the mic so others in the family could sing. It seems the child’s uncles criticized his parents’ non-intervention saying that they were raising a spoiled child, or “little emperor,” as spoiled only children in China are often called. The argument turned violent and according to police the uncles started to beat the child’s father, Mr. Yun, the owner of the establishment. Finally Yun’s nephew, Mr. Hui, who worked at the restaurant, ran out of the kitchen with a meat cleaver and hacked the two uncles to death. He reportedly hacked each man at least ten times.