Friday, March 19, 2010

Juke Box Hero

Yeah, that's right. I just went Foreigner on your ass. So it's Friday night, and I got to thinking about days of yore, where I used to spend my night on a barstool at Poorhouse or Dicey Riley's, drinking and enjoying good company. The perfect companion to this experience is a few singles and a well stocked jukebox.
Nothing kills your buzz faster than someone ruining the ambiance of your favorite watering hole by throwing on some garbage that would make a teenager squeal. To be fair, I understand that a good jukebox should contain music from several genres. But playing "I Want it That Way" does not make you trendy or ironic, it just makes you an asshole that people want to throw balled up beverage napkins at.
So how do you play to an often mixed crowd? Survey the room as your stroll up to the machine. The purpose is not to appeal to everyone because you want to impress, but to appeal to everyone so they don't use the extra credit feature to skip your song and play theirs next in line.
Almost everyone has been drunk and down on their luck at least once, so you're always safe with Johnny Cash. Skip playing Folsom Prison Blues for the millionth time and choose "Sunday Morning Comin Down" instead.
Ok, you have two more credits, what to pick? If you're in a bar, the odds are pretty good that someone, if not the great majority, is trying to get laid. Play Violent Femmes' "Add It Up". Last credit. Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline" or Queen Bohemian Rhapsody". If your timing is right, fellow bar patrons will be drunk enough to kick off a rousing sing along.

One to avoid? Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " It's been ruined by hipsters in tight jeans with stupid haircuts.

What songs do you play on the jukebox at the bar?


  1. Heh, what's funny is that Don't Stop has kind of become Rob's theme to me. But anyway :)

    When Lester's used to have the jukeboxes on the table, we played the same songs everytime we went. Chitlins con Carne by Stevie Ray, Girl on LSD by Tom Petty, She Don't Use Jelly by Flaming Lips, and sometimes Harry Chapin's WOLD. Songs that I really didn't listen to anywhere else.

  2. I <3 She Don't Use Jelly. It reminds me of being 15. I wish I would've known Lester's when there were jukeboxes on the table...