"The Longboard Grill wanted to introduce live-band karaoke to San Diego," says bassist Rob Renovales, whose group Pickford's Party plays the PB venue's "Rock Out Karaoke" each Wednesday.
"We knew a bunch of covers already, so it was just a matter of integrating the video lyric screens, tightening up old tunes, and learning some new ones. The crowd has been very roller coaster--like. One night we're packed and 20 singers are signed up before we strike the first note. Other times, we have to start the night off by singing a few on our own.
"Our biggest challenge has been the female songs; we didn't know any -- why would we? -- and we had to learn a substantial amount of chick tunes in order to keep the girls coming up onstage. The majority of participants are girls, either alone or with a group. We play Pat Benatar, Blondie, Lisa Loeb, Courtney Love, Tracy Bonham, Joan Jett, and Gwen Stefani.
"Guys always want us to play Johnny Cash, Jimmy Buffet, and Garth Brooks, much to our dismay. Sadly, the stuff we learned -- like, Foo Fighters, STP, Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Poison -- gets picked very seldom. The exception is Billy Idol. Guys love belting out 'Rebel Yell.' "