By Shawn Perry
When talk of rock and who’s still around laying it down works its way into a conversation, the topic of Blue Öyster Cult will inevitably come up. Why, you may ask. Consider the following: BÖC, despite an absence from the current hit parade, is still beating down the path, playing upwards of 100 shows in the US and abroad every year. Since the turn of the new millennium, interest in the group has surged on a variety of fronts. In 2000, BÖC was parodied on Saturday Night Live in a skit in which Will Ferrell plays fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle and Christopher Walken portrays producer Bruce Dickinson overseeing the 1976 studio recording of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Despite its distortion of the facts, the sketch has gone on to become one of the most memorable and popular bits in SNL’s storied history. Just Google “more cowbell” and you’ll see what I mean.
More recently, Sony has been releasing expanded reissues of several classic BÖC albums, the latest being 1977’s Spectres and 1978’s Some Enchanted Evening. As two of the band’s best-selling albums, Sony has filled these babies up with plenty of bonus tracks and in, the case of Some Enchanted Evening, a concert DVD. As with many projects of this magnitude, key players were invited to oversee the results. For BÖC, that meant founding and present members Buck Dharma, Allen Lanier, and the singer in the dark glasses, Eric Bloom.
When I was granted the opportunity to speak with Bloom about the reissues, as well as his career in general, I immediately flashed back to the mid 70s. These were the days when I started going to lots of concerts, some of which featured BÖC at the infamous Long Beach Arena. I mentioned this to Bloom, and he recalled these particular performances with a genuine fondness, stating that they were the first shows the band had ever headlined. The tone was set for a generally warm and organic exchange. At times, both Bloom and I would veer off course, exploring other facets of his experiences. But somehow, we managed to get back on track, with everything floating to the top in perfect unison. I came away with a better understanding and newfound respect for Bloom and the band he’s sang and played guitar with for 35 years: the one and only Blue Öyster Cult.
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