Michael Baker’s got more in common with Mel Blanc than just initials. For one, they’re both entertainers—although the late Blanc is arguably the more famous, a genuine Hollywood celebrity who created the voices of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, and a host of other animated characters.
But Baker’s the man who’ll fill Blanc’s most celebrated Northern California role—one known to a couple of generations of Bay Area residents—as Moo Master for Berkeley Farms Dairy.
As in “Farms? In Berkeley? Mooooooo.”
A lifelong Bay Area resident and leader of the Oakland, rock band Slim, Baker recorded his entry in the parking lot of a Berkeley grocery store.
His effort was named one of six finalists, which were then posted on the Internet for web surfers to listen to and then vote for their favorite. His masterful moo emerged the clear winner.
Baker, the grandson of a dairy farmer, collected $5,000 and won the role of corporate Mooscaster for the dairy through the end of 2004.
The 32-year-old singer/songwriter, who grew up in the East Bay and clearly remembers the original commercials from his childhood in the ‘70s and ‘80s, has never done professional voice-over work. However, he is no stranger to the recording studio or the stage. Baker’s band, Slim, has been performing in the area for the last five years, and recently recorded their debut CD, Interstate Medicine, at Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios.
The album features former members of Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, and Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt’s bands, and has already broken onto commercial radio playlists. One song from the album, “Sister Rosa,” was recently named a winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.