Smokin' cheddar: The amazing Dick Cheese with his band, sans Old Spice...
Can you smell it, people -- the magical aroma of Dick Cheese with Old Spice? Whether loving homage or (more likely) blatant rip-off, the new Old Spice commercial featuring Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell crooning a lounge-y version of the DuranDuran hit "Hungry Like the Wolf" seems lifted straight from the playbook of Phoenix son and Lounge Lizard King Richard Cheese, whose own version of the tune is a fan fave.
True, the commercial, which depicts the cheesified Campbell in a swank, '60s-style, shag-carpeted den, tickling the ivories in a tux shirt with tie loosened, surrounded by a passel of mega-babes, is pretty cool. But how much cooler would it have been if Dick had done it? After phoning the Dean Martin-esque musical genius, ensconced in his swanker-than-thou Vegas digs, he told me he'd respond to my questions via his MySpace blogsite, as he's been inundated with queries from Cheese-heads ever since the ad first aired.
"I just saw the commercial for the first time the other night, and I was very disappointed," writes the millennium's Mel Torme. "Old Spice has blatantly ripped off my act. Gee, a tux-wearing lounge singer surrounded by chicks crooning a Vegas-style version of an alternative rock song? What an original idea! Did Bill Murray put you up to this??"
The Dickster continues, declaring to the world that,
"I have nothing against Bruce Campbell, who is a fabulous entertainer, but I think the Old Spice people have really slapped me in the face. This whole thing has been like a cold bracing splash of their wicked cologne, except I just shaved, so it burns, and burns hard."
But this is one Dick that won't lay down. In the same blog post, The Cheesy One announces that his "incredibly high-paid attorneys" are exploring "all avenues of litigation" against corporate monstrosity Procter & Gamble, which manufactures the cinnamon-ny men's fragrance. In the meanwhile, the silver-voiced vocalist is calling on his fans to, "boycott Procter & Gamble's Swiffer Carpet Flick 20.6cm x 9.6cm Cleaning Cartridges! Take that Procter and Gamble! Ha!"
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Sure, Richard Cheese isn't the only singer who's ever done lounge versions of popular tunes. (His include such classics as Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up," Rage Against The Machine's "Guerilla Radio," or Nirvana's "Rape Me.") But this is his shtick, people. And in the words of the James Bond theme as sung by Carly Simon, "Nobody Does It Better." Plus, employing Dick Cheese would open Old Spice to whole new demographic of the young, the hip, the uber-cool, who're already "in" on the Richard Cheese experience.
Inquiries to P&G flacks regarding this matter were not immediately responded to, but I will update this post if they get back to me with a statement. In my opinion, they should just own up to being inspired by Dick, and contract him to produce their next commercial, even if they keep Bruce Campbell on for continuity's sake. That way they'd get a better ad, and they'd appease the millions of Dick-lovers out there who're royally pissed by this dissing of their dood.
So instead of just eating crow, swallow a little Dick Cheese, P&G, and make us all happy.
PS: For more on Dick Cheese, read former New Times staffer Jimmy Magahern's 2005 cover story on the icon, "Big Cheese." Also, very weirdly, YouTube has a mini-documentary on the making of the Campbell Old Spice commercial, here.