more cowbell

Tim ma-paharper at IOPENER.NET
Sun Jan 30 08:43:20 EST 2005

thanks Gary
gary shindler wrote:
 > ') ;  document.write('') ;  document.write('') ;  document.write('') ;
 > document.writeln ( '' );  document.write('') ;  document.write('') ;}//-->It's a
 > vamp about the SNL "Behind the Music" skit about "Don't Fear the Reaper" with a
 > brief synopsis of a concert. Here it is...
 > Blue Oyster Cult, Playing Along With 'More Cowbell'
 > By Paul Farhi
 > Washington Post Staff Writer
 > Saturday, January 29, 2005; Page C01
 > There was something missing the other night when Blue Oyster Cult, the '70s
 > stadium rockers, kicked into their signature song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," in
 > a gig at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis.
 > Fans of the band, and of "Saturday Night Live," knew exactly what the song
 > needed: More cowbell.
 > Ever since April 2000, when "SNL" first broadcast a skit parodying "Reaper's"
 > recording session, the 29-year-old rock anthem has been inseparable from the
 > humble cowbell. And perhaps from Christopher Walken's portrayal of "legendary"
 > record producer Bruce Dickinson, who repeatedly pleads in the skit for "more
 > cowbell."
 > In fact, a kind of cult has sprung up around the Blue Oyster Cult bit and its two
 > magic words. "More cowbell" appears on T-shirts, coffee mugs and buttons, and the
 > spoof is still discussed and debated on Web sites across the Internet. It has
 > become a stock witticism in clubs and bars as bands begin to play (indeed, one
 > group in Upstate New York named itself More Cowbell). Snippets from the skit pop
 > up regularly on the radio. When the cable entertainment channel E! named its 101
 > Most Unforgettable 'SNL' Moments last fall, "Cowbell" ranked among the top five.
 > For those who've never seen it, the sketch's hilarity probably defies a printed
 > description (it's best to see it for yourself at Suffice
 > to say, Will Ferrell, who wrote the skit, plays a band member named Gene Frenkle
 > whose specialty is the cowbell (and whose shirt fails to cover his flopping gut).
 > Walken, ever intense, is the producer who is determined -- good taste and common
 > sense notwithstanding -- to get more cowbell into the song's recording. He urges
 > Frenkle to "really explore the studio space" while whaling away on his cowbell --
 > which Ferrell does, in a breathtaking bit of physical comedy.
 > Despite the obvious irritation of the rest of the band, Walken's Dickinson
 > persists. "Guess what?" he says between takes. "I got a FE-ver, and the only
 > prescription . . . is more cowbell!"
 > Walken, an actor who has specialized in portraying the slightly unhinged, has
 > described the six-minute sketch as career-defining. "People . . . I don't know .
 > . . I hear about it everywhere I go," he told the Orlando Sentinel in October.
 > "It's been years, and all anybody brings up is 'cowbell.' I guess . . . you never
 > know what's gonna click."
 > Among the more amused viewers of the bit are the actual members of Blue Oyster
 > Cult. "We didn't know it was coming," says Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser,
 > co-founder and lead guitarist of the group. "We all thought it was phenomenal.
 > We're huge Christopher Walken fans." He adds, "I've probably seen it 20 times and
 > I'm still not tired of it."
 > Roeser says the TV sketch accurately portrayed the look of the band in its
 > mid-'70s heyday, but took some artistic license with a few details. For example,
 > "SNL" player Chris Parnell, portraying the group's lead singer, is referred to in
 > the skit as "Eric." That presumably would be a reference to longtime band member
 > Eric Bloom, but it was actually Roeser, not Bloom, who was in front of the group
 > when it made "Reaper." And while there really is a record producer named Bruce
 > Dickinson, he had nothing to do with the recording of the song. (Dickinson did
 > work on some of the group's later releases.)
 > What's more, the cowbell skit is presented as an episode of VH1's "Behind the
 > Music," a real show that chronicles the lurid rise and fall of real-life bands.
 > But Blue Oyster Cult never really was a "Behind the Music" kind of band. "We did
 > our share of drugs, but we never really [expletive] up," Roeser says. In fact,
 > after a break in the mid-'80s and a few lineup changes, the group (featuring
 > three of its members from the 1970s) has toured continuously, and plays about 80
 > to 90 dates a year.
 > Roeser said people still ask the band about poor Gene Frenkle, whose image
 > appears in a still frame at the end of the sketch with the words "In Memoriam.
 > 1950-2000."
 > Roeser breaks into a laugh. "That's a total fiction," he says. "They made up that
 > character."
 > Fact is, there is a cowbell on "Reaper." If you listen closely to it on oldies
 > radio, you can make it out in the background. But it was an afterthought. The
 > song was recorded without it, and was added as an overdub at the last minute.
 > According to former BOC bassist Joe Bouchard, an unnamed producer asked his
 > brother, drummer Albert Bouchard, to play the cowbell after the fact. "Albert
 > thought he was crazy," Bouchard told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press in 2000. "But
 > he put all this tape around a cowbell and played it. It really pulled the track
 > together."
 > During its show at the Rams Head on Thursday night, the five-member group dusted
 > off its hits from three decades ago, including "R.U. Ready 2 Rock," "Burnin' for
 > You" and "Godzilla." Then, after a long guitar preamble, it snapped into its
 > set-closer, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper."
 > The familiar sweet notes swooped and soared, drawing the mostly middle-aged crowd
 > back to its headbanging youth.
 > Of course, it could have used . . . well, you know.
 > ---------------------------------
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