Punk Rock & Dental Entrepreneurship


Look, I know what you’re thinking: Punk rock. Eh, who cares? Well, let me tell you why this isn’t just about the music; it’s about an entertaining evening that anyone can enjoy, even if you’ve never headbanged in your life.

Look, I know what you’re thinking: Punk rock. Eh, who cares? Well, let me tell you why this isn’t just about the music; it’s about an entertaining evening that anyone can enjoy, even if you’ve never headbanged in your life.

Growing up in Southern California’s vibrant punk scene, bands like Pennywise, Circle Jerks, The Dickies, and Goldfinger were the soundtrack of my youth. These bands were icons to me, but to my wife, Dana, punk rock was just noise—until she experienced her first Punk Rock Karaoke night. Amid the raucous chords and passionate crowd, Dana found herself swept up in the excitement, exclaiming, “This is ridiculous AND so much fun!”

Imagine stepping up to the microphone, the crowd buzzing with anticipation, as you prepare to sing with a live band composed of punk rock legends. That’s the essence of Punk Rock Karaoke, a unique experience where you’re not just attending a concert—you are the concert. Since 1996, Punk Rock Karaoke has offered music fans a once-in-a-lifetime chance to lead a live band featuring icons like Greg Hetson from Bad Religion and Circle Jerks on guitar, Stan Lee from The Dickies on guitar, Randy Bradbury from Pennywise on bass, and Darrin Pfeiffer from Goldfinger on drums. They make you sound even better by singing your backup vocals, too.

Here’s how it works: You show up at The Well Comedy Club on White Lane. You pick a song from a curated list of punk classics. When your name is called, voilà—you’re the lead singer in a punk rock band backed by the finest handpicked sidemen. It’s simple, exhilarating, and open to everyone, whether you’re a seasoned punk or someone who’s just curious about the scene.

Saturday night began with an electrifying start. The opening band, Deadset, laid the groundwork for the evening with their teeth-grinding rock performance, laying down a gritty foundation that vibrated through the venue. Following this intense opener, Nate Parrish took the stage, and backed by his whole band, shifted gears with his energizing pop punk sounds that had the crowd bouncing along to infectious rhythms.

By day, I work with driven entrepreneurs, devising advanced wealth planning strategies—a profession that might seem worlds apart from the raw, spontaneous energy of punk rock. Yet, the truth is, I don’t know of anything more “punk rock” than being an entrepreneur, especially in the dental industry. Both require a spirit of resilience, authenticity, and downright grit to keep pushing forward against the grain. So, as the night progressed, the vibrant spirit of the Bakersfield music scene had me fully immersed.

When it was my turn to belt out “Bikeage” by Descendents, I got the adrenaline rush of being a rock star with an audience loudly singing in unison. I also loved watching Nate Parrish lead the crowd in a sing-along to “Disconnected” by Face to Face. The entire venue rose to its feet, united by the anthemic chorus, echoing through the walls of The Well Comedy Club. It was a powerful reminder that we are all part of the show, whether on or off the stage.

Another unforgettable moment came when I met “Lord Metal Blade,” a fellow performer I had previously only interacted with online. His roaring rendition of “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead captivated the audience, showcasing the event’s eclectic musical embrace that extends beyond just punk rock. Being able to step away from the keyboard and interact in person helps the community grow in friendship and encouragement.

Among the performers, Angie Bennett had a particularly memorable moment. Years ago, she was star-struck to watch Stan Lee of The Dickies perform live. Now, she felt the full surrealness of the experience of performing with them. “I’m having . . . a moment,” she shared, her voice tinged with disbelief and joy. This sentiment captured the night’s essence: a mix of nostalgia and exhilaration, where past and present blurred in the glow of stage lights.

Reflecting on these experiences, what I’ve learned here is profound: Every one of us has a role to play and something unique to contribute. This realization is a reminder that every person and every moment adds to the tapestry of the evening. The Punk Rock Karaoke experience proves that music has the power to unite us, transcending genres and generations. This isn’t just a chance to relive old anthems; it’s an opportunity to create new memories, push boundaries, and discover the thrill of the spotlight, even if just for one song.

So, whether you’re a punk rock devotee or just curious about the hype, join us next time. You might, like Dana, find yourself surprised at how much fun you can have, even if you can’t tell one punk band from the next. And she does remind you to bring your earplugs if you’re new to the genre.

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