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“We were getting more successful, which allowed everybody to go out and get four-track machines. Buck is a very good engineer, and he wrote (Don’t Fear) The Reaper at home, made a very good demo and came in with it. It sounded very polished right from the start.
“The opening guitar line is one everybody knows. Sting even admitted to me that it influenced him when he wrote Message In A Bottle. It was on the demo. Everything you hear on the record was on Buck’s demo – we just played it as a band and changed a few things.
“The cowbell... Man, I feel a little bad for Christopher Walken, who is stuck with people coming up to him and saying, ‘More cowbell!’ [Laughs] But it’s a great sketch, it’s incredibly funny, and you have to be flattered by it. More people probably know Reaper from that SNL sketch than those who knew the song to start with, which is incredible since it was a big hit.
“Actually, I’ll be honest: Some of us thought it was a little too commercial sounding at first. Shows you what idiots we were! [Laughs] But when people call us a metal band, I say, ‘Au contraire, have you heard (Don’t Fear) The Reaper?' That’s not metal at all.”