Friday, June 09, 2006

Blue Oyster Cult - Blue Oyster Cult & Tyranny & Mutation

As I recall, I “discovered” BOC between the time of their 3rd album, Secret Treaties, and their breakthrough record, Agents of Fortune, with the hit “Don’t Fear The Reaper” – most likely as the result of my pal Kenne Highland giving me their first couple of records.

These guys really sounded like no other band at the time – in fact, I don’t know of anyone since who sounds anything like them! The entire band was made up of excellent musicians, lead by the brilliant Buck Dharma on lead guitar. Everyone could play multiple instruments – in fact, they used to close the show with all 5 members in front of the stage wailing on guitars! The riffs were loud and fast and more complex than most bands’ solos, but the songs were still songs, and memorable ones, at that!

Their self-titled first album starts with “Transmaniacon MC” and immediately you are shown what these guys are all about! Power chords, a crazed half-step riff, evil-sounding harmony leads and the very first words out of Eric Bloom’s mouth are “on satan’s hog”! I never understood why the religious right didn’t pick on BOC a lot more than they did – they are far more sinister than bands like Black Sabbath, who wrote favorably about Christ!

Lots of super songs on this record, from “I’m On The Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep” (which is reprised on the second album at twice the speed as “The Red & The Black”), the beautiful “Then Came The Last Days of May” (supposedly a true story of a drug deal gone bad), the completely bizarre “She’s As Beautiful As A Foot” (with lyrics by R. Meltzer, who often contributed to the band, as did Patti Smith, then rhythm guitarist Allen Lanier’s main squeeze), and the anthemic “Cities on Flame With Rock’n’Roll”.

Truly a great r’n’r record!

Tyranny & Mutation begins with even louder power chords and faster riffs and you are probably ½ through the song before you realize that “The Red & The Black” is a new version of “I’m On The Lamb”! Kinda genius in its twisted way!

“OD’d on Life Itself” is another one of my faces. A cool, simple, (for a change!) E chord riff, and, while the words are still obscure, pretty much any teenager at times will relate to that title!!

As “Hot Rails to Hell” blends into “7 Screaming Diz-Busters” (one of many BOC references used as band names) there are tons of changes and tons of great guitars and wild imagery! “Baby Ice Dog” is introduced with the line “I had a bitch you see, She made lies to me”, so again, teenage boys are gonna relate to that! It’s a damn catchy song, too!

The record closes with “Teen Archer” and “Mistress of the Salmon Salt” – cool, sing-a-long tunes with layers of more rockin’ guitars.

BOC was called “thinking man’s heavy metal” due to the complexity of the music and the almost poetic/drug-addled lyrics. But the songs would always resonate in your head long after the albums were finished!

I first saw them on their "Agents of Fortune" tour and they were fantastic! There is a DVD out now from that tour and it is very cool, though there is no audience noise, so its a kinda odd experience. Their stage was built onto a wall of speakers and when all 5 of them came out front playing high pitched lead guitars, they almost busted my eardrums!

A year or so ago BOC came to Vegas and while the Bouchard brothers were no longer on bass & drums, the band was still great and most of the set was from the first three albums! One of the better “reunion” shows that I have seen!

This appears to be an official website.


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