[dropcap]A[/dropcap] guy named Owen might be the most popular dude in Boston these days, even though he spent the last week hanging around Pittsburgh sports bars, presumably watching the Penguins get swept by the Bruins.
A week ago, the night of June 3, the Bruins took a 2-0 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference Finals playoff round with a 6-1 ass-whipping of Sidney Crosby and the Pens. COLIN CAMPBELL, frontman of hardcore band COA (formerly Colin of Arabia), was working at Presidents Rock Club in Quincy when he called Pittsburgh sports bar Silkies and asked for “Owen.” After a brief back-and-forth with the person on the other line, Campbell dropped the gauntlet: “Own who? Owen Two! Pittsburgh sucks! Fuck you!” With such a perfect execution, the Presidents crowd erupted like Patrice Bergeron just scored a game-winner.
The YouTube clip, recorded by B3 Productions, has been viewed nearly 1.2 million times, the audio has been sampled by local sports radio, and Campbell not only has his own Sully’s Brand t-shirt, but one created by B3 with his own face on it, for sale at the Quincy venue.
Campbell’s rise to fame is as unexpected as Torey Krug’s.
“It’s a real natural prank, no one in the bar knew what I was gonna say,” the 32-year-old Campbell says yesterday by phone. “I’m still 13 inside. I like punk rock, beer, and making prank calls. I’m like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”
While the Game 2 prank got the greatest exposure, thanks to social media and the simple brilliance of the joke, Campbell says “we’ve been doing it for a while.” He recalled making weather jokes to Tampa-area bars after the Bruins beat the Lightning in 2011, and actually called a bunch of New York bars during the Rangers series in this year’s second round. “The Rangers series was the first time we were able to use [the Owen joke],” he adds.
After Owen Two, Campbell, like any fan, was nervous he might have jinxed his beloved Black and Gold. “I thought, ‘Oh, you can’t make a fool out of me!,” he recalls. But while the Bs-Pens series became more competitive on the ice, Boston kept winning. There was a call for Owen Three, and of course, the grand finale, Owen Four.
Campbell called Howlers, the Pittsburgh bar that banned serving Sam Adams during the series, late Friday night and asked when they served last call. The person on the other line walked into the punchline like skating into a Zdeno Chara open-ice hit: “Don’t bother cleaning up, I’m sending the Bruins in to sweep!”
With a good sense of humor befitting a Boston sports fan, Campbell says he’s taken his fair share of calls as well. When he worked at McGreevy’s on Boylston Street, Yankee fans would call the bar and rub in Red Sox losses. And he knows that Presidents is now a target for Blackhawks fans as the Bruins prepare to take on Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals, which start Wednesday.
Campbell will worry about that later in the week. In the meantime, he’s focused on his Bruins-supported Beard-a-Thon campaign, which so far has raised $200 for the One Fund.
Oh, and he had some extra ribbing for Pittsburgh, like a Brad Marchand face-wash after the whistle.
His last call of cruelty directed at the Steel City came over the weekend, when he called a few Western Pennsylvania golf courses and tried to make reservations on the green for Crosby and Jarome Iginla.
A couple of receptionists first took him seriously, before realizing the joke was on them.
COA will release a new record in the fall, but not before playing the This Is Hardcore festival with GWAR, Sick Of It All, Negative Approach and others at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on August 11.