Brooklyn calling: Karaoke night is for punk rock lovers

The Brooklyn Paper
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Celine Dion is not welcome at this karaoke night.

A pair of rebellious rockers couldn’t find a karaoke machine that would imitate any or most punk songs — so they recorded their own lyric-less instrumentals for a night of singing badly called Punk-Rock Karaoke.

Organizers Jay Johnson and Patrick Tyrrell say they produced 200 guitar-and-drum tracks out of their 500-song catalogue for the event on May 24 in Bushwick.

Judging by the results, the hard work seems to have paid off.

At Punk-Rock Karaoke, people swarm singers, freely grab extra microphones, and even throw themselves into the audience for a proper stage dive. Johnson says that the night of glorying in punk favorites like the Dead Kennedys or Descendents is in the true spirit of a concert gone wild.

“At regular karaoke, you hang out in a corner and when you’re done singing, you go back to your corner,” said Johnson. “Punk-Rock Karaoke is more like a show.”

Johnson and Tyrrell first started throwing the singing parties as a way to raise money for social causes when they lived in Chicago. When they moved to Brooklyn last year, they decided to continue the tradition. This upcoming show is only their second one in Brooklyn and it is raising money for the New York Abortion Access Fund.

“We’re finally starting to get beyond just our friends showing up,” said Johnson.

The most popular songs at Punk-Rock Karaoke include Against Me’s sentimental crooner “Baby, I’m an Anarchist,” the Dead Kennedys fascist name checker “California Über Alles,” and big basslined “Waiting Room” by Fugazi.

Punk-Rock Karaoke at Pine Box Rock Shop [12 Grattan St. between Bogart Street and Morgan Avenue in Bushwick, (718) 366–6311,]. May 24, 9 pm, $8.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Destroying Dustins says:
So what you're saying is two funemployed, dime-a-dozen, transplants played with their Macbooks in their over priced apartment and then went out drinking? Now that's Brooklyn baby!!!!! LIKE, YAAAAAH!
May 8, 2013, 6:55 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Mr. Hipster, it was great reading about how you helped clean up East River State Park in the other article today. Thanks for supporting the community.
May 8, 2013, 7:58 am
jay from nyc says:
ok first this is hardly original, Arlene's Grocery used to do this every week for years AND that had an actual live band playing rather than some crappy machine.
Second fake a** Karoke is NOT punk and SO not what punk was about, and back in the day when punk was still alive these posers would have gotten beat down by a punk of X-ers (and no, I don't mean gen x or the band x or the drug x either, if you don't know what I mean, then you were never punk and don't know anything about punk).
Third, wonder if these "punks" have paid the mechanical licensing fee to publicly use someone else music, or are they just riping bands off?
As Johhny Rotten said, "Ever get the feeling you've been had?"
May 8, 2013, 8:25 pm
J from Brooklyn says:
Just to clarify/feed the trolls, we don't make any money off this. Every single event we do, have ever done, and will ever do is a benefit for activist organizations (so far in NYC we have raised money for ABC No Rio, Housing Rights Organizations, Animal Rescue groups and a few others). I would clarify on the personal attacks, but I don't really care if you don't believe our punk credentials are up to snuff. Come out and see if you feel the same way. Worst case you gave some money to a cool political organization and will have actual ammo to make fun of us with.
May 19, 2013, 12:17 pm
Craig from Kensington says:
This sounds awesome! I'm really excited.
May 24, 2013, 5:49 pm

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