The Daily Pick

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Cowbell Craze

I posted a gif file last week of Will Ferrell playing the cowbell, and man, I've gotten more emails, conversation, and suggested links out of that one tiny post than all the other posts combined.

For those of you who don't know the Will Ferrell/Christopher Walken Saturday Night Live spoof of VH1's Behind the Music, then 1. What rock have you been living under? and 2. You can see it here. And here. And here. It's well worth your time. There is even a transcript of the skit online, though it doesn't do the performance justice without Walken's delivery and Ferrell's physical comedy.

But that's just the start...

1. Wikipedia has a reference to the SNL skit in its Cowbell entry. "During a popular Saturday Night Live sketch, Christopher Walken played famous music producer Bruce Dickinson, insisting that "more cowbell" is the key to making Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" a success: "Guess what? I got a fever. And the only prescription... is more cowbell." Wikipedia adds: "Cowbells are sometimes popular noisemakers at sporting events, despite attempts to suppress them."

2. Urban has this entry: "More Cowbell" = 1. "Something everything needs more of," 2. "A remedy."

3. The Washington Post interviewed Blue Oyster Cult about the More Cowbell skit. Regarding Gene Frenkle, the enthusiastic cowbell player who is listed "In Memoriam" at the end of the sketch...

Lead singer Donlad Roeser breaks into a laugh. "That's a total fiction," he says. "They made up that character." And he adds: "We all thought it was phenomenal. We're huge Christopher Walken fans. I've probably seen it 20 times and I'm still not tired of it."

4. Wow, there is even The Cowbell Project, which asks for readers to send in "Songs that don't have a cowbell, but should," and furthermore asks readers to actually add cowbell to the tracks.

Unfortunately, the downloads of these songs don't work anymore. Nevertheless, the text is hilarious:
"Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keys. The foundation of rock music. Occasionally strings are used to give a lush, orchestral feel. But we all know when a song needs that extra oomph, that extra push over the top, there's only one thing that will satisfy: The Cowbell.

It's the cymbal's evil third cousin. It's the dark ring that pounds in the back of your brain and lets you know, it's time to rock. The cowbell is an instrument that can't be overused. It should never be underused. Many great rock and roll songs are perfect because the cowbell is used just right.

Here you'll find some of the top cowbell songs ever. These are the songs that took this dark, clanging demon and pounded the essence of rock into your veins and left imprints of the dark master in your subconscious. Click on the track and you'll hear why the cowbell, when used properly, is the perfect instrument."

5. Fortunately, The Cowbell Project rejected's submission of Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True" with, you guessed it, more added cowbell. But he posted it on his own site, and now it's still there. Check it out at the bottom of the Cowbell page. It's definitely worth a laugh.

Thanks to everyone who emailed comments and suggestions!

posted by The Daily Pick at 8:43 PM


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