Kip Pierson got a karaoke machine because he just couldn’t do it all himself.
Pierson has been in bands since the 1970s, according to his own estimation. But even after the bands broke up, he would do solo gigs.
“I’d always bring extra mics with me, in case a friend would come along to sing, or an audience member would want to sing,” Pierson said.
Finally, in the late 1990s, he purchased a karaoke machine.
“Karaoke was becoming very popular, and having the machine made it possible to play more songs,” he said. “There are many songs out there that one man and a guitar just can’t do.”
Even at his karaoke shows, Pierson often brings his guitars along.
“Sometimes I start by playing guitar, and singing myself,” Pierson, a Hopatcong resident, said. “I’ll switch back and forth between my guitar and the machine. It gives people variety.”
And speaking of variety, Pierson makes sure his is always up to date, as he shares the monthly machine updates with a friend who also hosts karaoke.
While he has thousands of songs on his karaoke machine, Pierson said currently the most popular genre is country.
“But depending on the day and the crowd, anything goes,” he said.
“I love the variety that Kip plays,” said Mary Jespersen, a regular at the Jefferson House, where Kip played recently. “He plays all kinds of stuff.”
When it comes to the ridiculous to the sublime, Pierson said that there is generally about a 3:1 ratio of serious singers to those who may have imbibed a bit too much.
“More people than not think this is important,” he said. “Along with just the screen that shows the lyrics, I will use TV screens if they are available, to show the lyrics so people can sing along with singer. Sometimes I’ll get some drunk guy who wants to come up with his buddies and have fun.”
Fun was a recurring theme among Kip’s fans, old and new.
“He’s just a lot of fun to watch,” said Randy Briggs, a Jefferson House regular who also lives above the restaurant.” I’m the one who suggested they bring him in here.”
“He’s cool. I like karaoke,” said Chet Beamer, a new Kip fan. “I don’t sing, but I like watching other people do it.”
To see Kip’s performing schedule, click here.