Honorary Membership in The Barbershop Harmony Society

otw - BHSVEGAS Forefront Mike Rowe

Off The Wall

Mike – Saturday morning, I woke up in The Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas, turned on Discovery, and watched you remove the carcass of maggot-ridden pig from a garbage can for the purposes of forensic science. It was disgusting, yet riveting. Then I watched you wash windows from a boson’s chair, and clean the inside of boiler. Also captivating. It was too hot to go outside, so the wife and I lounged around all day with Dirty Jobs on in the background. Later on though, we walked down to the theater to watch a barbershop quartet competition. And there you were. Again. Standing on stage singing a sappy love song with the International Champions. My wife, an expert in these matters, says you didn’t suck. My question is, respectfully – who are you? I mean, how does a guy who crawls through sewers wind up in a barbershop quartet?

Steve Vargas

Hi Steve – It’s a fair question, but better answered in reverse. As best I can figure, I’m a guy from Baltimore who Forrest-Gumped his way into a television career by learning a few songs that were written a hundred years ago and singing them with three of my best friends for anyone unable to flee. For me, the road to the sewer began with a barbershop quartet back in high-school, and a music teacher who insisted I could sing, despite my assurances to the contrary. It all came full circle this weekend with an Honorary Lifetime Membership in The Barbershop Harmony Society.

As you no doubt observed Saturday, I was deeply flattered, profoundly grateful, and conspicuously under-dressed – my default position these days. I was also however, very aware that I would never again be in such close proximity to the current international champs, or have an opportunity to insert myself, as it were, into the mix. So I did.

My thanks to Brian O’Dell, (a world-champion bass if there ever was one,) for graciously stepping aside and letting me “bust one” with a fantastic quartet called Forefront. (It was a relief to “not suck” in their midst.) A longer answer to your question, if you’re interested, can be found here. http://mikerowe.com/podcast/ (Episode 64)

And the sappy love song is attached.

Mike

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