Last Call: Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Shlock and Gall

My pals and I have the greatest taste in music of all time, which is why we get so pissed when our talent goes unappreciated, nay, disrespected. Take, for example, the events of last Saturday night. There we were at a Westside watering hole, suffering through someone’s hankering for whiny, post-grunge crap-rock (see: Nickelback), when one of my buddies decided to take corrective action.
First of all, a big middle-finger to every bar that has converted to those touch-screen internet jukeboxes. What happened to the days when a juke was an extension of a bar’s vibe? When all that a new customer needed to know about a bar was right there in its juke? If he saw something he liked, he stayed. If not, he left. Nowadays, anyone can walk into nearly any bar and make it his own, which is pure crap.
Second of all, an even bigger up-yours to bars with those internet jukes that allow users to skip other people’s songs. What the hell’s up with that? Are the jukebox-makers intending to start fights in bars? ‘Cause that’s what almost happened last Saturday.
To nullify the Nickelback, my buddy went over, stuffed his hard-earned cash into the juke, and played some shit that got the place jumpin’. We have one rule for picking songs: Make ’em hype. People out socializing and having a good time don’t want to hear depressing or politically minded — or bad — tuneage. They want some good-timey tracks, like the stuff my buddy played: James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and, for the depressed-looking people at the end of the bar, a few classic sing-alongs.
The place, as I said, was hoppin’, and then the unthinkable happened: The bartender, from behind her neon fortress, pointed a remote control at the machine and skipped not one but two of our songs, including Lil’ Wayne’s “Shooter,” a floor-filler if ever there was one. In its place wafted through the air some more stinky, crappy, distortion-pedal pop.
Not on my watch, pally.
Like Achilles waltzing up to the enemy, I went up to the juke, stuffed a few dollar bills in, and punched in my songs, including the Lil’ Wayne jam, all at the expense of the bartender and her friends’ tracks.
Perhaps not so ironically, a guy got up after me, totally unaware of the battle being waged between the barkeep and me, and skipped everyone’s songs to play his own godawful nu-metal garbage.
Now, choosing music in a bar is not a purely democratic process. As much as I may disagree with their musical choices, I agree with the bartender’s or owner’s right to skip bad, anti-party music at his or her discretion — there’s only so many times a body can stomach the same Top-40 hits in a single night. But where I draw the line is when a bartender knowingly skips someone’s good, party-friendly tuneage just because.
Alas, for you, Ms. Jukebox-Song-Skipper-O’er — I may not have the power of the remote in your bar, but I have something better: the power to stay remote from your bar.

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