DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Beaten Over Karaoke Performance

Cops: Wisconsin man battered singer over lousy heavy metal cover

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Beaten Over Karaoke Performance

NOVEMBER 12--Meet Kyle Drinkwine.

The Wisconsin man, 24, allegedly became so incensed by a lackluster karaoke performance of a heavy metal song that he assaulted the singer and a second man, police charge.

According to a River Falls Police Department report, Drinkwine throttled singer James Mischler, 28, and his friend Cyrus Kozub, 29, "over one's ability to sing karaoke." Though cops did not specify which song set Drinkwine off last week, Kozub told TSG that Mischler was performing "Holy Diver," the title cut on Dio's 1983 debut album (the band is fronted by Ronnie James Dio, the former Black Sabbath lead singer).

[In a subsequent interview, Mischler told TSG that when Drinkwine and some cronies started heckling him, he responded with a putdown about the "big gaudy crucifix" worn by Drinkwine. "I told him he should find a better vending machine for his jewelry," Mischler recalled, adding that the comment angered the heckler, who himself had earlier performed an Eminem song. Mischler said he was concerned about reports claiming that he did a mocking version of "Holy Diver." "I genuinely love Ronnie James Dio," he said.]

Following the assaults, police apprehended Drinkwine after a short foot chase. A subsequent Breathalyzer test recorded his blood alcohol content at .169, more than twice the state limit. Drinkwine was booked into the Pierce County Jail on battery and disorderly conduct counts. He is pictured in the above November 7 mug shot snapped in neighboring St. Croix County, where he was charged with violating probation on a prior case.

Though Drinkwine declined to speak with cops following his arrest, an officer overheard him, during a jail phone call, tell a friend he "fucked up" and was arrested for fighting.

This is the second time in 15 months that a karaoke singer has been attacked over their song styling. Last August, a Washington man was punched by a female bar patron who thought his cover of "Yellow," a Coldplay song, "really sucked." (7 pages)