By Taryn Gerhardt
When roommates, Al Buchanan and Jeremy Zimmer hang out, it’s not just a fun time; it’s a musical experience for everyone.
One of Zimmer and Buchanan’s favorite activities is to sing karaoke. Not only do they sing in the local establishments, but also they take it out the public, preferring to sing in local parks for whoever will listen. They also welcome other people to sing with them.
“We often go where there are rivers or somewhere overlooking something beautiful,” said Zimmer. “We just love to sing and one day, we thought, ‘why not take it to the people?'”
Buchanan, who owns the equipment, didn’t even know he loved to sing until about five years ago when some friends introduced him to karaoke.
“They wanted me to do karaoke and I didn’t think I had the nerve to sing and then, when I did, I just loved it,” said Buchanan. “I just started doing this for fun and I love to sing and hear other people sing. “
Soon he was able to pick up some equipment, trading a classic and rare guitar for karaoke equipment.
“I always wanted to learn to play guitar but I never did,” said Buchanan. “Then I met a man and we became brothers. I bought his guitar. Later, I traded the guitar for the equipment.”
He set up his equipment in the house and then decided to take it outdoors, which changed everything. The music sounded so much better outdoors.
“I didn’t know what I had until I took it outdoors. One day we went out to the park and we invited some friends,” he said.
- Now they have Sunday BBQs and do karaoke in the local parks. They pick up parties when they can.
”It’s the ones who are afraid to take the first step who surprise you. You often find out they have talent and they didn’t even know it,” said Buchanan.
When they aren’t outdoors, they sing in establishments in Pierce, Thurston and King counties and as far away as Yakima.
What’s fun about these two is they have never been formally trained in music. In fact, neither one of them has any musical background at all.
“We just love music,” said Zimmer. “We’ve just been blessed.”
The two have been friends since about 2003 and sing three to five times a week. Zimmer likes to sing country, while Buchanan is more of a crooner.
“We met doing karaoke at Viking Lounge,” said Zimmer with a laugh. “We are rebellious with karaoke.”
Buchanan especially likes John Denver songs. “I like what he has to say in the lyrics. I also like Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. I like the old time stuff.”
“It’s about the fun. I love to hear people sing. I love to get the kids on the mike. Once they get on the mike, you can’t get them off,” said Buchanan. “That’s pretty much what we do and we keep adding to it.”
The two will sometimes hire out to do parties or special events. Call 360-259-0990 for more information.
Here are a few local, Pierce County bars where you can sing karaoke.
- Engine House 9 – Thurs. and Sat., starting at 10 pm.
- Thunderbird Lounge
- Puget Sound Pizza – Tues. – Sat., starting a 9:30 p.m.