Here's a little thought experiment that will blow your punk-infected brain: Let's say you decide to go do some karaoke. Totally lame, right, because you get nauseous at the thought of celebrity or idol worship, so why pretend to be a rock star? You're the edgiest punk fan of them all. You have more metal embedded in your face than the victim of a pipe bomb explosion. Your eyes are permanently rolled in the up position to anticipate any future disgust you might have for something that so many people love and adore.
Now imagine that Greg Hetson from Bad Religion walks into the concert hall where you're waiting to see him play and asks you if you'd like to join him on stage as their new lead singer. There wouldn't be enough untapped angst in the world to stop you from squealing so loud that the International Space Station could pick up the signal.
Even the most hardened punk aficionado can't contain their enthusiasm when someone from Social Distortion, Bad Religion or The Dickies strolls in their corner of existence. Well, that's exactly what's going to happen this weekend when the original Punk Rock Karaoke group visits Gas Monkey Live. Oh, and in karaoke terms that makes for a ridiculously large stage, seeing how it's in a 2,000-capacity room.
The concept of the show is exactly what its name implies. A real, live punk band will back up anyone with the gumption to stand in front of a mic and belt out their favorite tune from a list of 400-plus songs by punk staples such as The Clash, The Ramones, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, D.I., The Dickies and a ton of others.
The concept has been replicated right here in Dallas and in other cities with a brave enough punk community. But this incarnation started the trend, having formed in California (that hotbed of punk music) all the back in 1996. Now in its 20th years, PRK includes some very familiar names such as Hetson, guitarist Stan Lee from the Dickies, bass player Edward Tater from D.I. and drummer Derek O'Brien from Social Distortion and Agent Orange.
"They're a really good festival band," says Peter Ore, the talent buyer for Gas Monkey and man responsible for bringing this madness to Dallas this weekend. "They've played on the Warped Tour and Riot Fest. Right now, they just wanted to get out and play a couple of dates so they're just doing this in Denver and Dallas on this run."
Ore said he first saw the punk karaoke supergroup on the Warped Tour and described the unique show they put together as "quite entertaining to say the least."
Karaoke can already be a pretty stressful experience to subject ones self to. Add in the fact that a total stranger is fronting such a storied and revered group of musicians gives it a fun sense of danger from song to song. But then that, in its own way, helps give the whole thing an extra "punk" edge.
"It could be a beautiful disaster or it could just be amazing," Ore explains. "You get some people who go up there who sing and they know every word to their favorite punk rock song and don't need a lyric sheet and just destroy it. Then you get the drunk guy warbling a classic Ramones tune and everyone wants to throw bottles. That's the beauty of it."
The atmosphere of the PRK shows aims for a huge party where anyone can have a good time regardless of the caliber of the singer, which is why the Gas Monkey has lowered its ticket prices just for this show.
The fact that most of them will be singing songs by the musicians who first recorded them presents its own thrill. "To actually get up there and sing a Bad Religion song with a guy from Bad Religion is pretty badass," Ore says.
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