Providence Restaurant Inspires New Song by Viral TikTok Star ‘Traffic Cone Sax Man’
Just shy of 1 million followers, this TikTok saxophone player is destined for greatness.
Wenzl McGowen, also known as Traffic Cone Sax Man, has been making a wave here on the SouthCoast and Rhode Island and he's just getting started. From America's Got Talent to TikTok, McGowen is taking his act on the road all around the world, one city at a time.
On Friday, Jan. 27, McGowen released his latest song "Saxacone" on Spotify and it's all thanks to a Providence Chipotle.
We spoke with the musician that's taking social media by storm to discuss his latest single, his band, his unusual saxophone and that one viral experience at Dartmouth Mall.
Tell me a little bit about this new song of yours.
"So, I actually just walked into a Chipotle and started playing. I don't know what I was playing, but people were like, 'What are you playing? This is a great song! When is it coming out?' And I literally just made up the song on the spot. It got 60 million views across all platforms and there was a huge demand for the song. So I produced it, went in the studio, recorded it and now it has almost 4,000 pre-saves on just that one song. People are extremely excited to finally hear the song."
This is all because you walked into Chipotle on Thayer Street in Providence?
"Yeah, that's right."
Was this your first viral video on TikTok?
"I uploaded one of me playing my sax and didn't check my TikTok until a day later. I opened my phone and there were about 100,000 notifications and suddenly I had gotten 20,000 followers overnight. Then I uploaded the Chipotle one and the next day when I woke up, it had 5 million views and then continued to have another 5 million views per day for about two weeks straight. It was complete insanity and now I have close to a million followers."
What's the name of your band?
"It's called Moon Hooch, and we've been a touring act for the last decade, playing in 26 countries all over the world. It's only been recently that my traffic cone saxophone solo project took off. I'm still in the band, but also doing solo stuff and exploring different avenues to engage fans."
You've recently played at Dartmouth Mall. It didn't exactly end up the way you wanted. You were asked to leave and had the Dartmouth Police called to the scene. Thankfully there were no arrests made. What actually happened?
"Yeah, I mean, people were loving it. People were cheering me on in the mall, and the security guards also loved it, but they think they need to kick people out because that's their job. So they were kind of like, 'We have to kick you out.' I was told I could play outside, so I played outside, but then a different security guard came and was not having it at all, so she called the cops.
Meanwhile, I was just playing and announcing through a megaphone that the best dancer gets $100. A little girl came over, danced and I gave her $100. She was in complete disbelief. It's just so against what people expect because usually you go somewhere and you see signs asking for money. I just think it's funny to be like, 'No, you can actually just make $100 by literally just moving three steps and having a good time.'"
What is the craziest story that involves you and your saxophone?
"I just played recently down in Tampa, Florida. I went out late one Saturday night and there were girls twerking onto my traffic cone and people throwing dollar bills into my traffic cone, but then some angry cops kicked me out. That was pretty hilarious."
What made you want to put a traffic cone in the saxophone? Did you experiment with anything else other than a traffic cone?
" I started this around 12 years ago when I put a cardboard tube into my saxophone and realized it makes it lower. I had lost that cardboard tube but found a traffic cone that was the same size and brought it to a plumber. I asked if they could fit this into my saxophone and the plumber helped me fit it in even though he was like, 'What the hell is going on here?' So, that's how I invented the traffic cone saxophone or 'saxacone' as some people call it. And now a bunch of other players started doing it, and it's turned into an international thing. Some of my videos have comments saying that this is very common, people in India do this all the time, and it's becoming global traffic on the saxophone revolution.
Where and how can we hear your new song?
You can stream "Saxocone" on all platforms and by following Wenzel McGowen on Spotify.
McGowen told Fun 107 that he is planning a return to the SouthCoast somewhere on Feb. 12, 1 p.m., very briefly, but it's a secret as of now so stay tuned.