On Monday, though, the official word from the popular restaurant chain came: Oso Closo was indeed the winner of $10,000 in prize money, free food for a year, and a burrito named after them which will appear on the menu in local restaurants.
Now that burrito-gate is officially behind us, we caught up with Oso Closo singer Adrian Hulet to get his take on all that's gone down... and why the band chose black beans instead of pinto ones for its creation.
Who initially heard about the contest and how did that person go about talking the rest of the band into writing a song about a burrito?
I guess [Oso Closo guitarist Chris] McQueen was having a meal at Chipotle and saw a sign about the contest and mentioned it to me, and we agreed that we should definitely try and get something together for it. A few days later, I woke up a little early and sat down to try and write and just kind of wrote the burrito song. I called McQueen and told him I thought I had it pretty much done and that he should come over and help me finish it. He came over and made it a thousand times better, and we recorded it that day in my living room on his laptop. Then, when it was done, we were so stoked about it we called our friend Shane Connelly to see if he'd help us make a video and enter the contest with us. He obliged.
So who's set of "favorite ingredients" (steak, peppers and onions, black beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, roasted chili-corn salsa, tomatillo red-chili salsa) make up the Oso Closo burrito?
Those are mine. I just wrote the song about the burrito I always get. There was a conversation in the van once about what ought to be on it. We compromised by adding black beans. I never was much of a bean guy.
Some of the Chipotle employees in the video seem a little confused by you guys, did the band get permission beforehand to film inside the restaurant?
Not really. We pretty much just went in there renegade style, and starting filming. They were pretty cool about it. Right after we got the last shot, someone politely mentioned that they weren't sure if we were allowed to be there filming so we thanked them and headed out.
Tell us a little more about how the video was filmed.
We shot it in HD on one camera. I had an MP3 of the song on an iPhone and would hold it up to my ear to reference where I was in the song and then we'd shoot. Then we all ate dinner and bobbed around a lot while Shane filmed it. After we got the Chipotle footage, we threw a party at our house and invited over a bunch of friends, a lot of whom are the wind and string players from our newest record. We wrapped empty beer cans in foil and had everyone toss them around and pretend to celebrate the almighty burrito and all it does to bring people together. It was a pretty great day in Oso land.
One of the perks of winning the contest was $10,000 in prize money. Do you guys have any big plans on how to spend the cash?
Yeah, we've got several things we plan to do with it--primarily to pay off our new record. We ran a fundraiser starting last April, asking our fans to help us make the new record. The response was incredible and we managed to record and release the new disc with just a few thousand dollars left over to come up with. So Chipotle really came through for us there. Beyond that, we're doing what bands have to do--maintain our vehicle and merchandise inventory and things of that nature. Touring and releasing albums, making music videos, all without label support is a pretty expensive undertaking. We're always trying to find new ways to support ourselves so that we can continue to create.
Other than the money, you're also entitled to a year of free Chipotle. How many burritos do you guys anticipate being able to take down in the next year?
A bunch. We got our free burrito cards in the mail a few days ago. I'm pretty sure everyone has been a couple times already. But we're leaving on a three-week tour starting Saturday the 19th, so having free food for a while couldn't have come at a better time. And I can confidently say that someone's day is definitely brighter if you hand them a card that's worth a free burrito at Chipotle. So we've been spreading the love around as much as we can as well.
Now that you guys have a fancy jingle under your belts, have any other companies come knocking to get you to write jingles for them?
Absolutely! It seems to have already started, and we couldn't be more excited! Basically Shane Connelly, Chris McQueen and I are going into business together for this kind of work. We're already well into a new project for a new Nintendo DS game and there are several other prospects in the visible future. We're calling it Table 60 Productions.
Has the Oso Closo Burrito song been added to your regular set-list? If so, how has the reaction been?
Not regularly. But it doesn't take a lot for us to play it by request. We played an extended version of it at our album release party, on the 4th of this month, with an open solo section featuring Grammy award-winning keyboardist Shaun Martin. The response to that night was pretty insane. Then again, Shaun Martin can and absolutely will melt your brain every time he touches a keyboard. But the tune isn't too shabby either.
Other than burritos, what kind of other exciting things have you got going on?
Definitely our new record, Today is Beauty's Birthday, is the biggest news for us right now. We just released it and are completely proud of the way it came out. It's absolutely worth getting your hands on, and our tour schedule for the next year will be indicative of our belief in that. We head out for a Midwest run starting next week. And we'll spend time on the road again before the year end and again in spring. The speed of things is definitely increasing and we're all poised and ready for whatever happens next.
Oso Closo performs tomorrow night, with Macon Greyson and Ha Ha Tonka, at The Boiler Room in Denton
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.