A friend sent me this video. I’d never seen anything like it, and as I was watching I wondered how these guys came up with using beer bottles to make a song. The following scene unfolded in my head as if I’d been there with them.
Disclaimer: This is all made up. I don’t know these guys or anything about them. I have made all of this up.
It’s a Sunday morning. A bunch of fraternity boys from a university like the one in Animal House are sprawled like rag dolls on couches and chairs, empty beer bottles everywhere. One of them, who doesn’t get hangovers, is awake. He starts blowing into an empty bottle to entertain himself while he waits for the others to get up. He also plays violin, having been enrolled in the Suzuki program as a child by his over-achieving parents.
He notices that the sound he’s blowing in the beer bottle is an F note. He grabs a different size bottle and it produces a C. Another bottle, slightly bigger, gives him a G. He starts tooting, “Louie, Louie” in the classic C – F – G pattern of most popular songs. His friends gradually come to life and roll over on the floor and couches to see what’s up, intrigued.
“Hey, let me try that,” one of them says.
“Get your own bottles,” he says.
Pretty soon all are experimenting with making music, forgetting about their hangovers. One is a really good organizer, a little OCD, and he picks up an empty six-pack container and loads it with six different size bottles. A few minutes later he says, “Check this out.” He moves his mouth over the bottles like he’s playing a giant harmonica, and toots their fraternity’s theme song close enough that the others recognize it.
Everyone is impressed, and they crawl around looking for cartons, too. One of them spots an empty water jug and pats it a couple of times. “Look, we could use this for bass notes.”
The fraternity president has slept through most of this, but he eventually rouses from the couch and curses them for waking him up. They ignore him, and he takes a leak. He decides he needs to join in, so he finds an empty eight-pack carton in the kitchen and gathers bottles off the counter to fill it. He’s musically inclined and catches on quickly. Soon he figures out the Michael Jackson song, “Billie Jean,” the one that was in his head when he woke up because someone kept playing it over and over last night. The others start following him. He becomes their band leader. “Play a couple of bass notes on that water jug,” he says. “That’s good. Now PT, lemme hear you do the intro.”
After a while, the marketing major says, “We sound pretty good. I think we should video this and put it on YouTube. I can talk to the priest at the Cathedral and see if we can record it there. The acoustics are great.”
“Good idea,” the president agrees, “and that’ll make it classier than doing it here.”
After a week of practicing and recording to get their moves just right, they video their song at the Cathedral, and the marketing major posts it on YouTube, where it goes viral. They become idols throughout the world. Someone signs them to do a tour.
And you and me, we’ll never look at a beer bottle again without hearing “Billie Jean” tooting in our heads.