The 5-minute Sketch that Spawned a Pop Culture Phenomenon
"I've heard it a hundred times but I'd never seen the video, I laughed so hard I was in tears!"
"It's hilarious when Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon can't keep a straight face talking to "cock o'the walk" Bruce (Walken) Dickinson. Walken's delivery is priceless.....babies."
"Now it makes sense... I would hear the Christopher Walken intro to "Little Sister" by Queens of the Stone Age but I never knew the joke"

Watch the "Little Sister" video featuring Gene Frenkle!



On April 8th 2000, Saturday Night Live featured a comedy sketch spoofing the recording of the Blue Öyster Cult hit, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as fictional music producer Bruce Dickinson (not Bruce Dickinson the lead singer of Iron Maiden) and Will Ferrell as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle. It begins with the members of Blue Öyster Cult (and Frenkle) assembled in Sunshine Studios in 1976 preparing for a recording session that produced one of the band's biggest hits, "and fortunately for us, the cameras were rolling." Music producer (Walken) introduces himself as "thee Bruce Dickinson" and tells the band they have "what appears to be a dynamite sound." The band members are impressed at this compliment because of Bruce Dickinson's supposed high standing in the music industry. We quickly learn that Dickinson is determined to inject "more cowbell" into the track, regardless of good taste or musical integrity. An intense Walken (Dickinson) encourages cowbell specialist Frenkle (Ferrell) to "really explore the studio space" while hammering away on the cowbell. What ensues is a hilarious parody of how this historic recording session could never have transpired.

"More cowbell" has become a catch-phrase and a pop culture phenomenon. T-shirts featuring the slogan have been sold at Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, and 80s Tees. Sports teams such as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Pittsburgh Penguins use the sketch as the basis for cowbell-related fan participation. In the 2002 NBA Playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks used a clip of Walken to stir up the crowd and fulfill owner Mark Cuban's pledge to give the Sacramento Kings, whose fans were known for excessive cowbell noise, a taste of their own medicine. As late as March 2007, the catch-phrase is still being used during highlight commentary on ESPN's SportsCenter.

"More cowbell" didn't catch on immediately. It took a few years to finally emerge and reach the mainstream as the ultimate inside joke. And it continues....Where will we experience more cowbell next? Below are some more interesting facts surrounding the whole Cowbell Phenomenon, how the slogan's popularity has grown and various references in pop culture. Some timeline facts are from wired.com and others are part of a Wikipedia article on the SNL sketch that has since been removed.

Who played the Blue Öyster Cult band members?
Jimmy Fallon was Albert Bouchard
Chris Kattan was Buck Dharma
Chris Parnell was Eric Bloom
Horatio Sanz was Joe Bouchard (Notice how he smashes into the drum kit on every cut, on purpose?)
Will Ferrell played fictional character Gene Frenkle and Christopher Walken was Bruce Dickinson.



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