“Excruciatingly creepy and painful to listen to”

That was one commenter’s assessment of NPR’s piece on the bass singer Roger Menees’s world record for singing the lowest note. The print story is pretty much phoned-in boilerplate (you can listen to the on-air interview here), but the comments are definitely entertaining:

Woah. This subwoofer on the multimedia computer didn’t even pick the lowest frequency up. They cut out at the end, and then pick back up when he finishes burping and begins talking again. Wow.

The burping reaction seems to be common:

[T]his sounded much like a child drinking soda and sayingt he alphabet during a belching contest.

Even dogs get in on the act:

What a fascinating story - however, my 8 1/2 terrier mix Smokey went crazy, thinking there was somekind of large growling predator lurking somewhere in our kitchen. Thanks for messing with my dog’s mind

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  1. Wade wrote:

    It was good until the belching thing at the very end. You might notice in his speaking voice is very clear.

    The blowing out the speaker thing is not that impressive. I have a pretty good set of pipes myself and often cause the MODERATOR to kick in on both my sound system I use for gigs and the one at the comedy club I perform at…That just usually means I am too IN the mic.

    But still congrats to Roger he is a great guy!!

  2. cdguy wrote:

    I heard the interview, too, and it was SO remeniscent of listening to JD. Both Roger’s talking and singing voice. It reminded me of why I sometimes didn’t care for JD.

  3. Diana wrote:

    Sorry, I’m just not impressed at all with basses that can sing ridiculously low but sound so awful!! Give me a pretty tone on that low note or don’t bother to give it to me at all.

  4. PayAttention wrote:

    In his attempt, he mentions that he’s going to start, and sing downward using the do-re-mi’s.. What an idiot… he’s going backwards! It would be do-ti-la-so…etc., since your singing down!

  5. quartet-man wrote:

    A lot of people in SG call Solf├Ęge “do re mi’s”

  6. irishlad wrote:

    #5 Q-Man according to #4 SG would stand for silly goats.

  7. UPayAttention2 wrote:

    #4 You’d better clean off your own porch. You said “your singing down” when it should have been “you’re singing down” since you are using a contraction for you are.

  8. Irishlad wrote:

    #7 you’re so right with your grammatical synopsis.

  9. Tjeerd wrote:


    You can see him interviewed on CNN here.
    He sang for the Dixie Melody Boys, blew a speaker in Vancouver BC.
    Now drives a bus for Lady Gaga.

  10. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Have any of you ever sung below double low C? How dare you criticize Mr. Menees when none of you have ever been a Guinness Book Of World Records winner? If you are Tim Storms, then by all means, give your opinion on his low singing. If it bothers you that your speakers suddenly go silent when he drops below the range of human hearing, you can always turn them off and get the same effect.

    (Sorry to those who have no idea what I’m really talking about…I’m just having a little fun doing some cross posting…couldn’t resist making a stab at a comparison to Tommy’s comment #23 in the current Open Thread.
    http://averyfineline.com/2010/07/01/happy-fourth-open-thread/ )

  11. quartet-man wrote:

    #10 lol,I got that before you explained it and agree. I used the food analogy year ago (probably right here.)

  12. PayAttention wrote:

    Ok, I’ll admit I may have been unclear or said didn’t put into correct words what I meant to say. And I’m not putting down his singing. Surely someone understands what I meant?
    When singing do-re-mi… if you happen to be in the key of c, then do=c, re=d, mi=e (etc.)… but in the same key, if you are stepping down on the keyboard in c, c=do, b=ti, a=la (etc)… but roger sang c=do, b=re, a=mi…
    note: i don’t know what key he started in.. that’s beside the point. surely you get my point? him singing do-re-mi’s is pointless since he’s not using them correctly. I do know that much about music!

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    #12, I get you now. You are saying that he is singing the words do re me, but to the notes that are do, ti, la. Gotcha.
    That reminds me of choir when I was a junior. The other basses were singing the wrong notes on an interval. The interval was from a C down to an A which of course is do la. Well, they were singing from C to G even when the syllables were told to them, they sang do la to the notes do sol. She had me singing it by myself to to them to show the correct way. :)

  14. cynical one wrote:

    When you get that low, I’m not sure how someone can really call it singing. And if it’s not pleasant to the ear, other than for the Guiness certificate, why would anyone want to take a chance on burning their vocal cords?

    Some audiences will applaud, just because you tell them it’s the lowest note ever, even though it hurts to hear it. People are sometimes stupid, huh?

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