Karaoke master Frank Bade says his music collection runs "from Patsy Cline to Pink," and over the past four years he's been in business with 'The Music Factory,' he's had some requests he was actually surprised by.
"One elderly women once requested 'Born to Be Wild,' he said with a chuckle. "Another kid around 17 or 18 requested 'The Auctioneer Song,' which must have been a hit in the early 1960s."
Most weekends, Bade and his Karaoke equipment liven things up at local bars in the BV county area.
His 'Music Factory' has run Karaoke nights at Brewster's, Smokey's and Puff's in Storm Lake, and he's also a regular at night spots in Newell, Sioux Rapids, Laurens and Early.
"It all started out with me partying with friends in the basement of my home," said Bade, who lives in Newell and works days in the service department of Fitzpatrick's.
He invested in Karaoke equipment about four years ago and has been at it ever since.
Bade is unique even in the world of Karaoke. He says he manages to break even most nights, but he has also uses his passion for Karaoke and music for causes other than his own.
A few weeks ago, he ran a Karaoke benefit at the AmVets building in Storm Lake for a Galva couple who have been hit hard with health problems and big-time medical bills.
Both Joan and Roger Beebe have had those problems. Joan is still battling Hepatitis C, which she contracted while overseas in the military. Roger has heart problems.
Bade knows the couple because they also run a Karaoke business on the side.
"We've been friends for a while, and met through our own Karaoke businesses," Bade said. "Over the years we've exchanged a lot of CDs; if they aren't working and I need a particular song or CD, they'll lend it to me and vice versa."
The event at the AmVets raised $2,700 for the Beebes, Bade said.
"I just feel that I'm old enough now to give back something to people and communities," he said. He added that ten years ago, at the age of 32, he also experienced heart problems.
"I had some clogged arteries and had an (angioplasty) procedure done," he said. "Having gone through that, I know how stressful it can be, and how the bills can really mount up."
He has also assumed the emcee/Karaoke duties of Storm Lake's 'Rock and Remember' event.
"Rock and Remember started as a fundraiser for a family and a band that had lost its bass player," Bade said. "A few years ago, the family didn't need the money anymore, but we still wanted to raise funds for something."
That something turned out to be Storm Lake High's music programs, something that is close to Bade's heart.
His father played the bass drum for a concert band that used to perform every weekend at the band shell in Storm Lake.
"I just think music education is every bit as important as academic or sports programs," Bade added.
"The funds we raise for 'Rock and Remember" isn't a lot, but it helps to buy microphones, music stands and anything they might need.
"It's just been a fun event for myself and so many others," Bade said. "Every year, six live bands play, and they'll play everything from classic rock to current music. I've met a lot of the band members and that has always been part of the fun.
"I guess this is just something for me to keep involved with people and with communities," he said. "It sure beats sitting around and watching TV at home."
With his 'Music Factory" Karaoke business, Bade estimates that he has over 4,000 songs
"Some songs are requested every night, like 'Crazy' by Patsy Cline, 'Born to Be Wild' by Steppenwolf and 'Sweet Home Alabama,' he said.
He says people enjoy being onstage, even if they don't carry a tune too well. He adds that the quality of the singing varies widely.
"At one end, you have the people that are very good," he said. "At the other end, some people just can't stay in tune.
"To me, those are the best because they always want to do repeat performances," Bade said.
As an emcee, Bade sees himself as something more than just a person who provides the Karaoke equipment.
"I guess overall, I'm just an entertainer," he said.
He says he owns six hats like those worn by the 70s disco group, 'The Village People."
"I'll get six guys on the stage with those hats on and they somehow manage to get through the song," he said with a chuckle.
For two years, Bade was also the emcee and Karaoke master for KAYL's 'Karaoke Tour.'
On those nights, Bade would play what he called 'Kamikaze Karaoke.'
"People turn in their request slips, but I get to choose the song," Bade said. "One night we had a big kid, about 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, and he sang the song, 'Barbie Girl.'
Meanwhile, even on a slow Karaoke night, Bade enjoys his work.
"I'm also a DJ, so I get to listen to some of my favorite music, too," he said.
"Karaoke isn't a business you're going to make a lot of money at," he said. "But it's really been fun for me and I've met a lot of great people through it."