Blue Oyster Cult Biography
Last updated: 04/27/2012 12:00:00 PM
FORMED: 1967, Long Island, NY
"This ain't the summer of love," snarled Blue Oyster Cult singer Eric Bloom, resplendent in studs and black leather, back in 1976 on the band's platinum-plus best seller, Agents of Fortune, and the sentiment is perhaps even more revealing today.
Blue Oyster Cult's new album, "Cult Classic" on Herald Records, distributed by Caroline, includes state-of-the-art digital re-recordings of the band's greatest hits, featuring the version on "Don't Fear The Reaper" heard in Stephen King's TV mini-series, "The Stand", and a new take on "Godzilla," which will serve as the theme music for a TNT "Godzilla-thon" movie special. In addition, the group has re-cut "Burning For You," "Cities On Flame With Rock & Roll," "Flaming Telepaths," the aforementioned "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" and a brand-new studio recording of the classic live guitar jam, "Buck's Boogie," among others.
"It was fun to go back and re-record these songs with the arrangements that have evolved over time and in a lot more hi-fi manner than we could previously," says Bloom.
Long before Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots ruled the heavy metal airwaves, this Long Island-based band -- which today includes, in addition to Bloom, legendary guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, original keyboardist/guitarist Allen Lanier , bassist Jon Rogers and drummer Chuck Burgi made tightly wound, whip cracking arena-rock, its dark, S&M imagery a forerunner of today's would be hip nihilist blank X generationism. The missing link between the Velvet Underground, KISS and the nascent punk-rock movement of the late '70's, Blue Oyster Cult evolved out of the Stalk-Forrest Group which first came together as the psychedelic Soft White Underbelly on the campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY. Supposedly, the band's producer Sandy Pearlman got the idea for the name while reading a recipe for Blue Point oysters. The band's noirish imagery was symbolized by their logo, the ancient symbol of Cronos, the Titan god who swallowed his son, the Grim Reaper.
Produced by Pearlman along with Columbia A&R exec Murray Krugman, Blue Oyster Cult's self-titled '72 debut on Columbia, with Its literary lyrics by such seminal writers as R. Meltzer and Patti Smith, was a prescient forerunner of such disparate larger-than-life arena-rockers as Metallica, Megadeth and Guns N' Roses.
"I don't know about influences," sniffs Bloom, "But Axl Rose came to see us in L.A. a few years ago and said he always used to see us as a kid."
Even before they added an elaborate laser light show, includlng a duster that appeared to emerge directly from Bloom's fiber-optic wrist bracelet, the group's live performances helped them develop the kind of grass-roots following which led to the platinum-plus Agents of Fortune In 1976, one of the first heavy metal records to achieve that sales plateau. Almost 20 years later, the band is still out there playing before arena-sized crowds.
"People get tired of the mechanization's of today's computerized music," says Buck Dharma, one of the true pioneers of heavy metal guitar. "They're going back to real musicians playing real instruments. And we certainly have the capability of reaching a whole new audience."
"The enthusiasm is still there, because this is the best job I've ever had," adds Bloom. "We enjoy playing and writing and every facet of the lifestyle."
The group is currently working on material for their first album of new songs in six years with it's release tentatively slated for spring '95. Until then, BOC fans can content themselves with these spanking new, digital versions of their favorite hits, starting with "Don't Fear The Reaper," the classic rock ode to spitting in Death's eye.
"When I look at some of these other bands and see what they have for hits, I consider myself very fortunate I get to play these songs every night," says Buck about the group's legacy. "How would you like to have to play 'Achy Breaky Heart' every night? That would be torture."