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Joe Every-dude belts it out

Tim Smith sings karaoke around Tacoma as an outlet

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He kinda’ looks like the MultiCare distribution guy he is, unassuming, blending; a sort of Joe Every-dude.

And then he steps up to the mic, opens his mouth, and lets out “The Freshman” by the Verve Pipe.

Joe Every-dude Tim Smith can sing, and when he does, he belts it out from the gut.

Not entirely what one expects from a Karaoke performance, especially when Karaoke seems to have become either an over-singer’s Junior American Idol or a  crooner’s Sinatra-fest 2007.

Smith’s style fits the Karaoke vibe of Puget Sound Pizza, which is definitely not your mother’s Karaoke bar; it features a catalog of great music, bartenders second to none, and singers ranging from decent to awful.  As the evening progresses, there seems to be a shift change of singers, with the novices moving on for their evening’s fun, leaving behind the seasoned pros and severely inebriated.  Smith belongs in the former group; I move toward the latter.

Smith trained his pipes in school bands and choirs, with a series of musical projects such as The Leading Edge and the cover band Viper (“All covers, nothing but covers,” he states), frying his vocal chords and enforcing a vocal hiatus.

While working security after a stint in the Marines, he discovered Karaoke, which he calls his “night fun.”

As Angela Jossy begins Radiohead’s “Creep,” our conversation stalls, and Smith’s eyebrows raise somewhat skeptically.  She continues her song, and he nods his silent respect and approval.  I hoot mine.

We continue our conversation, and he talks about being a finalist in “Seattle Star,” an Idol-like singing contest.

“The girl who beat me was beautiful, and a beautiful singer.  Enough said,” he chuckles wryly.

He embraces Karaoke because it’s not about talent, “the essence of karaoke is letting the bad people get up and sing.  I do it because it’s my outlet.”

My name is called to the mic, and I sing my piece.  Not exactly well, but it’s an exhilarating experience.

As Smith puts it, “Karaoke is crack on the mic.”  I agree, as I twitch for more.

But it’s Smith’s turn, and the opening strains of The Police’s “Roxanne” fill the air.

Jossy’s eyebrows rise somewhat skeptically, and she intones, “hm. Bold move.  Not everyone can pull off the Sting.”

As he continues, she nods her silent approval.

Again, I hoot mine.

And I’m not sure, but I might just be addicted; I might just have to follow Smith’s lead and hang at O’Malleys on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or the Westgate Inn and Charlies Pub any night of the week, or Ida’s and PSP on Friday and Saturday Nights.

Or I might just stick to singing in the shower.

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