During its nine-year run, The Drew Carey Show—which premiered on September 13, 1995—lured a cavalcade of guest stars to its fictionalized version of Cleveland. These included everyone from Donald Trump and Tammy Faye Baker to Jay Leno and the then-mayor of real Cleveland, Michael White. But the sitcom’s abundance of musical cameos are perhaps even more notable, especially since they were in line with the show’s increasingly absurd plot twists.
In one memorable 1998 episode, “In Ramada Da Vida,” Drew, Oswald (Diedrich Bader), and Lewis (Ryan Stiles) form a band, The Horndogs, to play at a local Ramada Inn. The only catch is, they need a guitarist to round out their lineup, which precipitates backyard auditions with a bunch of famous names: Slash, Matthew Sweet, Lisa Loeb, Joey Ramone, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Roy Clark, Jonny Lang, Michael Stanley, ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, and Joe Walsh. The latter naturally won out, though he wasn’t playing himself, but a gritty guy known as Ed.
Walsh-as-Ed appears again two episodes later on “Drew Between The Rock And A Hard Place,” during an emotional scene when Carey decides to leave The Horndogs—and is subsequently replaced on lead vocals and accordion by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Drew’s just as downtrodden in a season-six episode, where he is too depressed to get out of bed. What cures his melancholy? An appearance from The Go-Go’s, who help him rejoin the world of the living—and then sing the show’s theme song, to boot.
In the two-part season-seven opening episode, “Drew Carey’s Back-To-School Rock ’N’ Roll Comedy Hour,” guest star Jenny McCarthy asks Oswald to introduce her to Warsaw Tavern house band Smash Mouth, performing 2001’s “Pacific Coast Party.”
Also appearing at the Warsaw in this special season-opening episode? Uncle Kracker, Sugar Ray, and Peter Frampton, the latter with Talk Box in tow and tattoo of Mimi (Kathy Kinney) on his chest…
Perhaps most impressive, however, was a season-seven episode in which Mimi has to prove how sorry she is after slighting Drew. As a result, she straps on a guitar and performs with Motorhead, naturally at deafening volumes.