Producer: Derek O’Brien
Band: Eric Melvin (NOFX), Greg Hetson (Bad Religion, Circle Jerks), Steve Soto (Agent Orange, Adolescents), Derek O’Brien (Adolescents, Social Distortion)
Release Date: October 28, 2008
People come to Punk Rock Karaoke to be the star of the show. And they are.
Since I go to school in the absolute middle of nowhere, I feel like I understand what the Ramones were feeling when they wrote “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”. Young, punk, bored, I just wanna have somethin to do. That’s why people like me need to keep our eyes open for items like this, Punk Rock Karaoke, which may enhance a drunken night out with the guys. I mean, just look at the title. How can this not be entertaining at the very least?
There’s actually a history behind Punk Rock Karaoke that the DVD is based on. In 1996, Bad Religion’s Greg Hetson and some friends started a regular live band karaoke night at Vida Restaurant in Hollywood, and all sorts of punk rockers came by on a regular basis. Any average Joe could grab the mic and a little book of lyrics and scream, with a band of professionals beneath him. Since we haven’t all been able to share the experience, the DVD brings it right to our living/dorm rooms, and presto, that’s 90 minutes of doing something!
Punk Rock Karaoke is a CD/DVD package, and the CD is a collection of already karaoke-d songs with frontmen from other punk groups, such as Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Alkaline Trio, Pennywise, and even Flogging Molly. While this probably sounds like the most throwaway piece of the package, I actually found it pretty interesting to hear the voice of one group that I love on top of the music from another group that I love. Circle Jerks’ “Back Up Against the Wall” fronted by Pennywise’s Jim Lindberg is a great example, and the band sounds awesome – especially at the end when the tempo gets completely out of control. Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba sounds pretty out of place taking on Black Flag’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme”, but that’s sort of the point. As for replay value, this stuff ranks high above the actual karaoke videos, because honestly how many times are you going to do these 10 songs? Don’t you have Rock Band yet?
In the bonus feature sections, there are a few live karaoke versions (meaning, you watch random people sing songs live) including a couple Black Flag tracks and Dead Kennedys’ “California Uber Alles”. If you even watch this once, you’re pretty much guaranteed to never watch it again. Don’t get me wrong, it would totally kick ass to be there, but watching it and doing it are two totally separate things. As with pretty much every DVD I own, the so-called Bonus Features are nothing more than padding; consider the completely pointless “Welcome to Punk Rock Karaoke”, which is essentially, as you may have guessed, the words “Welcome to Punk Rock Karoke” repeated over and over.
For the most part Punk Rock Karaoke is a pretty hilarious idea, but it’s not necessarily worth $20. You might as well just turn on your Itunes and sing along, which would cost you nothing more than the price of the songs you already owned. I’ll come back most often to the vocalist renditions on the CD, but even that’s not worth the money. The best thing you could do is find somebody who already has it and borrow it.