It seems that my home base is closing. I started my career in karaoke at the Upper Deck in April of 2003. I moved away and when I came back to town, I knew I’d have a job waiting for me. From 2004 til 2018 I hosted karaoke every Sunday – except for a few months in 2006 when I tried to run a 2nd rig in West Ashley while a friend covered the Deck with my original equipment. The bartenders at the Deck told me to quit fighting against the trend of calling me “Karaoke Chris” when I didn’t have a better name that people could remember.
In 2005 I tried convincing the City Paper that they needed to add “best karaoke host” to their “Best of Charleston” poll every year. In 2006 and 2007, they had added “best karaoke night” and I complained a lot when a live band night won it. The Upper Deck went on to win 3 “Best of Charleston” plaques for “best karaoke night.” I’m really thankful to everyone who voted, even though that kind of advertising brought in a weird crowd looking for a more traditional karaoke night.
That crowd and some others over the years were tough to deal with, but I always tried to make everyone feel welcome as long as they weren’t putting down other people. That’s always been the policy of the Upper Deck. Everyone is welcome there, but if you think you’ve got more of a right to be there than anyone else, you’ll quickly realize you are wrong.
I have too many memories to list here. Friends were made at the Upper Deck. My career was started there. I have a lot of love in my heart for a woman I met there over a decade ago, who I also probably won’t ever get to spend time with again. I’ve forgotten the names of hundreds of people who helped shape me. My life, my identity has revolved around that place for a long, long time.
It’s weird to care so much about a building – a dirty, dilapidated building mostly full of strangers. Farewell Upper Deck. We’re all hoping you come back to us, possibly with a different name, definitely in a different location.
That’s more emotion than I normally share in a karaoke blog. No more now.