January 04, 2010
It's one of hockey fandom's eternal questions: When is it the right time to record an unofficial anthem for a Stanley Cup contender and post it on YouTube?
By doing so, you've crossed that "Super Bowl Shuffle" threshold of inherent expectations for glory. Which is fine when things worked out as well as they did for the Henrik Zetterberg "snipe, snipe" slow-jam in 2008; not so much for the echo-chamber ear-bleeder that was the Philadelphia Flyers' unofficial playoff anthem from last season.
Well, with the Washington Capitals near the top of the Eastern Conference and on more than a few short lists for Cup contenders this season, it's their turn for an unofficial anthem. Sonically and visually, it's one of the best we've ever seen.
Here is filmmaker/MC Andrew Bowser with "The Caps Rap," which manages to name-check Mike Gartner's mustache while featuring cameos by GM George McPhee, defenseman Mike Green(notes) and the world's worst Alex Ovechkin(notes) impersonator.
Where the heck did this audacious and admittedly listenable track come from? We spoke with Bowser to find out.
Bowser is a D.C. local filmmaker who has done some work for MTV, Funny or Die and has written/produced/starred in the feature film called "The Mother of Invention." We were really excited when we looked at his IMDB page and saw that he played a young Henry Hill; alas, it has nothing to do with "Goodfellas."
Here's our email chat with Bowser:
Q. OK, so how did you get the players and general manager to agree to appear in a rap tribute video? And what are your Caps fan credentials?
BOWSER: We simply showed up at practice and asked them! It was pretty awesome hanging out at the arena in that outfit.
My Caps fan credentials are admittedly unimpressive. I have only been a fan for a little over a year. But my fandom grew fast and hard. I attended games last year with my brother-in-law and was hooked. I recognize that there are many, many wonderful people who have been supporting the Caps over numerous years -- and I hope they're not offended by my newbie status!
Q. Your hip-hop influences are ...
The biggest influence were some of my friends at the high school I went to near DC. Kids would always be free-styling and battling each other and I would secretly want to join in -- but never had the guts!
Q. The Ovie Shuffle seen in the video is an eye-catching dance move that seems relatively easy to accomplish. Is it your hope that you've got the next Macarena there; and this being DC, can you do it to Chuck Brown go-go music?
Heck yes you can do the Ovie Shuffle to go-go! I just wanted reference rap videos that ignite a dance craze, whether it be stanky leg or otherwise.
I'm not sure if the shuffle could catch on -- but would love it if it did.
Q. Do you believe the actor who looks nothing like Ovechkin, yet portrays him in the video, more resembles Bill Lumbergh from Office Space or Dave Grohl?
Hmm...Dave Grohl...and Michael Phelps!
Q. As far as we could tell, you didn't name-check a single goalie and only about two defensemen. Given the Caps reputation as a defensive team, do you feel this is pretty much appropriate?
I mention Varley! Sometimes it just came down to whose name I could rhyme the easiest...
Q. Finally, what's your ultimate goal for this song? Playoff anthem? Soundtrack for a Cup parade?
I would love to see it played on the Jumbotron at the Verizon Center! Then maybe ... a live performance between periods?
I just want it to get fans excited. I made it for the fans that have been with the team since before I was born and before I came on board as a Caps fan (obviously!). I made it for the people that have loved the team for much longer than I have because their devotion impresses and inspires me!