Q&A: Karaoke host Adrian Spillman

  • Photo by Tessa Berg
From the April 4, 2012 edition

Even when he’s not on the clock as one of the city’s most popular karaoke hosts, you can usually find Adrian Spillman (a.k.a. Adrian X) knocking back brews or belting out tunes at his favorite haunts. He sat down last week to sound off on the ups and downs of being a karaoke kingpin.

My last name is Spillman, just like a really s---ty Mega Man enemy.

I was born and raised in Pataskala and gradually made my way more and more west and ended up downtown here in Columbus. I was bored out there.

I worked for the post office for 11 years. I was a professional body piercer. Right out of high school, I worked two weeks at Cedar Point; it was too far away.

I’m pretty much a full-time karaoke host. I started going to shows a lot because it’s one of those things where if you’re going to be at the bar anyway, you might as well have fun while you’re there. Lucas, the guy who owns all the equipment, he gave me a shot three years ago, and it just stuck.

I got to be a rock star, and I didn’t have to pay a band or practice. It’s kind of like being in the ultimate cover band.

Our regulars are more of the punk rockers and the goth kids. They feel comfortable because I’m kind of like that, too. I’m not goth, but I mean, I like bad music.

The cool thing about my regulars is they would probably survive the zombie apocalypse. And probably start it.

I try to do a once-a-month theme. Last month we did superhero karaoke. We did David Bowie-oke on David Bowie’s birthday. We did burlesque karaoke.

I was doing stand-up for a while, but I burned out on that pretty quickly. So now I do stand-up at karaoke night.

I’m getting kind of sick of the Adele, actually. But if it’s done right, it sounds great. Needless to say, I’ve got two words for Cee Lo Green.