The Day the Cowbell Died

Ever since the infamous SNL skit featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell aired on April 8, 2000, drummers around the world have been forced to endure countless “more cowbell” jokes. Every time you even think about overdubbing some cowbell on a pop song or including it into a latin groove, you can guarantee a slew of tired punchlines and horrible impressions from those around you.

For me, it got so bad that I stopped using a cowbell all together. It just wasn’t worth it. What was once a staple in every drummer’s sonic arsenal, quickly became nothing but a comical cliché

April 8, 2000
April 8, 2000

Loop #76

After listening to Bernard lay down some ultra-funky cowbell in the video I posted yesterday, I decided it was time to bring my own cowbell out of retirement and base a loop around it. It’s part New Orleans, part Hot Chip and a dash of Paul’s Boutique.

Now, don’t even think about making any stupid cowbell jokes in the comment section. I have my finger on the “delete” button and I’m not afraid to use it.

Preview Here:


Download the Logic session here. (99MB)

Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

96 BPM

6 thoughts on “The Day the Cowbell Died

  1. Nice loop. I have been working through the Billy Martin book, and his use of the cowbell, along with Stanton Moore’s, is really nice. I think one aspect that most things you hear misses(because you are hearing programmed, not played, loops)is the variance in tone and timbre, iow the nuance that comes from playing a good sounding one (or a bad sounding one…), as programmed beats always bang on the same sample. But someone who plays the clave or a counter riddim thing on it and changes up the dynamics and hits, resulting in different notes, is doing it right.
    Do you ever use the same pattern/substitution approach with it, alternating, fe, with the bell on a ride cymbal? Or that brake drum that’s sitting in the garage of Casa Gruss..

  2. moober… thanks for sharing your friend’s blog. some good stuff in there. I’m still holding on to my ahmet stories for a rainy day.

    jp… yeah, I often move from cowbell to ride cymbal bell while maintaining the same pattern. I’ll actually be posting some 6/8 examples of this from the tune I’m working on with bob reynolds. taking a bembe pattern and using it around the kit with the right hand.

  3. cool..did Bob R ever figger out if he was in 12/8 or 6/4? Will I?

    Shoot, got to go, the Huey Gnu-is and the Lews band is, Dayton is sure a great place! Especially this suburb of Dayton, can’t recall the name.

    miss ya,

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