In the August 16, 1991 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on page 62, there's a story on band names that have umlauts in them. (Umlauts, we learn, are the two little dots over a letter, in particular over the "O" in Blue Oyster Cult.) The story credits Richard Meltzer with the "fad" of using umlauts in names, and recounts the story of how BOC was named. From the article:
"Sometimes genius strikes at the least-expected moment. In 1971, musician and songwriter Sandy Pearlman was trying to devise a new name for his band. Standing on a New York street corner with rock writer Richard Meltzer (who had been in an earlier incarnation of the group), Pearlman glanced into the window of a nearby restaurant and noticed that the menu included Blue Point oysters. "I said, 'Why don't we call it Blue Oyster Cult?'" he recalls. "And Richard said, 'And we'll add an umlaut over the o!' And I said, 'Great!'"
There's another quote from Pearlman later in the story: "It was meant to bring all sorts of ambiguous implications to the name."
Apparently when BOC auditioned for Columbia in 1971, they did not have a name. They had to come up with one to finalize the deal, and entrusted Pearlman to come up with it. This is presumably when Pearlman and Meltzer decided on the name "Blue Oyster Cult".
It is believed that the name was already part of Pearlman's Imaginos poems, which were conceived around 1967. When Pearlman returned to the band and announced the name, the band was less than enthusiastic about it. In fact, some band members said that they hated the name. Never the less, the name stuck.
There is an interesting story as to how Pearlman and Meltzer came up with the term "Blue Oyster Cult". It has been reported in several BOC articles in the past, but is believed to be untrue. The story goes that Pearlman went off with Meltzer, got stoned, and noticed a bottle of "Cully Stout Beer". Using this name, the two tried to come up with a number of anagrams using the name, one of which was "Blue Oyster Cult", and that this was how they came up with the name.
What is more likely however, is that Pearlman and Meltzer tried to come up with anagrams for "Blue Oyster Cult" and came up with "Cully Stout Beer". As Bolle Gregmar notes, the term "stout beer" is not a likely label for a beer (editor's note: sort of like labeling Pepsi Cola as "Pepsi Cola Soda").
However, someone once made a fake label for this "beer" using the BOC symbol, and the label appeared in the March 1976 issue of the rock magazine *Zig Zag* (an interview with Sandy Pearlman also appears in this issue).
Speaking of the origin of band names, Sandy Pearlman is also the one who came up with the band's earlier names, "Soft White Underbelly" and "Stalk-Forrest Group". The first came from a quote by Winston Churchill saying that Italy was the "soft white underbelly" of Nazi Europe. "Stalk-Forrest" came to Sandy presumably while eating Chinese food that had mushrooms and bamboo shoots in it.
Bolle Gregmar reports that the "dots" over letters are known as "diacritics", and that the word "umlaut" actually refers to the letter 'u' with a diacritic over it. He also reports that Allen Lanier may have originally suggested the use of the umlaut in BOC's name.
Diacritics, or "diaereses" marks are used in languages to indicate pronunciation. In some cases, it indicates that two adjacent vowels should be pronounced separately. Therefore, if one pronounces the band's name as the umlaut indicates, it might be pronounced Blue "Oh-Easter" Cult. However, in some cases, the umlaut indicates that the vowel is pronounced differently. In this case, the pronunciation might be Blue "Eeooster" Cult.
Other bands later copied BOC's practice of using umlauts or diacritic marks in their band logos. For example, Motorhead used a diacritic over the second 'o'. Motley Crue used diacritics over both the 'o' and 'u'. Also, the heavy-metal parody band Spinal Tap put a diacritic over the 'n'.
As previously mentioned, BOC, starting in 1976, toured with a laser show. Due to controversies surrounding the band's use of lasers, they were removed from the shows a few years later.
According to Bolle Gregmar, some of the controversy was actually politically motivated by members of the Carter administration (James Carter, better known as "Jimmy" Carter, was President of the US from 1977 - 1980), who had the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) citing hypothetical (and largely overblown) dangers of BOC's use of lasers.
However, the main problem with the lasers at that time was that they were very unreliable as well as fragile, and were very expensive to repair (which was required several times during the years BOC used them). Some of BOC's use of lasers, including Eric's wrist-laser, can be seen on the *Live 1976* video.
In addition to wrist-lasers, Eric had a few other "hand effects" over the years. Prior to the use of lasers, Eric used to have a device that either emitted sparks or shot rockets from his hand.
These effects, along with the use of the wrist-laser, were most often used at the end of "Astronomy". Eric also had a knife effect which he used to give the illusion of slashing his palm or wrist (the knife would leave a large trail of blood).
This effect was usually used either during "Unknown Tongue" (during the line "And then she took her father's razor, and watched it cut into her palm"), or during the monologue portion of "Seven Screaming Diz-Busters" (where Eric would sometimes tell the story of selling his soul to the Devil to become a rock star, and he had to sign his record contract in blood).
Other than lasers, BOC has used numerous lighting effects over the years to great effect. The lasers and/or spotlights were often shined on a large mirror ball. Strobes were often used during the ending portion of "Flaming Telepaths" (during the "and the joke's on you" section), as well as during portions of "ME 262".
Appropriate use of colored spotlights has also be important during BOC shows, such as green lighting during "Godzilla" or red and yellow lighting during "E.T.I." (during "the king in yellow and the queen in red" lyric).
Albert had a drum solo during "Buck's Boogie" in the mid 1970's. In the late 1970's until he left the band, his drum solo was during "Godzilla".
All subsequent BOC drummers also had a drum solo during "Godzilla". While they were used by BOC, the drum solo also was punctuated by lasers. After Joe Bouchard left BOC, all subsequent BOC bassists had a solo in "Godzilla" prior to the drum solo.
For a few years in the early 1980's (starting on the *Fire Of Unknown Origin* tour), BOC toured with a 20 foot high model of Godzilla. During the band's performance of the song with the same name, the beast's eyes would light up, his head turned from side to side, and smoke poured from his mouth.
Now that BOC plays mostly smaller venues, the 20 foot high Godzilla (they also used a 40 foot high model for a few shows) tours no more.
During Albert Bouchard's drum solo during "Godzilla", he wore a large Godzilla mask for part of the solo - he started doing this in 1978. After he left the band, Rick Downey continued this practice for a few shows.
For a few shows in the mid 1970's, Albert would put on a gas mask during the band's performance of "ME 262". According to Albert, it was obtained from an Army/Navy store. After tiring of wearing it one night, Albert threw the gas mask into the crowd.
In the early 1980's, when BOC performed "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars", Rick Downey received some "help" on percussion. Two roadies dressed as monks played on some additional tom-toms set up on either side of Rick's drums.
When Albert Bouchard was still in the band, part of BOC's concert performances consisted of 5-man guitar jams (one of Eric Bloom's ideas).
During the early-mid 1970's, the "Mark I" jam was performed as part of the song, "ME 262".
The "Mark II" and "Mark III" jams, performed prior to "Born To Be Wild", usually started with a bass solo by Joe Bouchard (after Albert left, the band performed "Born To Be Wild" immediately after the bass solo).
The "Mark II" jam, done after "This Ain't The Summer Of Love", was performed from 1976 until about 1979.
The "Mark III" jam, performed in the early 1980's, was based mostly on the song, "Golden Age Of Leather".
According to Albert Bouchard, BOC also worked up a 5 guitar version of "I Love The Night", but it was never played live.
When BOC performed "Born To Be Wild" (regularly up until about 1984), the song was high-lighted by Eric and Buck's "Texas Chainsaw guitar duel" (also one of Eric Bloom's ideas). This consisted of Buck and Eric placing the necks of their guitars together, raking the strings of one guitar over the strings of the other.
This would be repeated several times, usually to the accompaniment of strobe-lights. This practice was revived in 2001 during the song "ME-262". Also, Eric would drive his motorcycle on-stage from backstage at the beginning of the song. Obviously, this practice had to stop when BOC played at clubs.
Prior to the final portion of "Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll", Albert (later Eric) would shout "Rock And . . .", and the audience would respond with "Roll".
This would start slowly, and build in up in speed until the line between "Rock" and "Roll" was gone. The band would kick back in, ending with Buck trilling high up on the neck of his guitar.
He would then stop, spit (or pretend to) into his palms, crack his knuckles, and then individually crack the knuckles of the last 3 fingers on his left hand. He would then start the final instrumental segment of the song.
While the band jammed, Eric would stand by the drums, and "help" the drummer hit a few cymbals with a few drumsticks of his own (during the *Club Ninja* tour, Eric, often clad in martial arts attire, used a nunchaku to strike the cymbals).
In the early days of BOC, Eric (who often wore a cape in addition to all his leather gear) used to swing a small chain around on-stage, and strike various objects for effect. He often struck some of Albert's cymbals, which is probably how the rumors that BOC's drummer played his drums with chains got started.
According to Albert Bouchard, he also used to whip the mike-stand with the chain, but at one performance when he pulled the chain back, it pulled the mike into his face and gave him a bloody nose. Understandably, the chain was dropped from the shows.
At the end of a show, Buck would sometimes rip every string on his guitar, except the low E-string, and play the final chord (or, for Buck, note) of the song on the one remaining string.
Eric used to play a guitar shaped like the BOC logo. According to Bolle Gregmar, he still owns one, but doesn't tour with it as the risk of having this rare item stolen is too high. In 1999 or 2000, however, he was seen with a new Kronos guitar, custom-made for him by Harper Guitars.
BOC has, on occasion, performed some songs with different band members switching roles. For example, at a show in Boston in 1985, Joe Bouchard sang the first verse of "Joan Crawford".
Bolle Gregmar reports that they once started a show playing "Dr. Music" with Eric on drums, Albert on bass and Joe on guitar and lead vocal.
In BOC's early days, they used to cover (among other songs) The Rolling Stones' "It's Not Easy". According to Eric Bloom, "The hook of the tune live was a triple drum solo with Albert, Donald, and I all playing drums at the same time."
BOC was part of a rather significant event in the early history of the band, KISS. On 12/31/1973, noted as their "industry live debut", KISS opened at the New York City Academy of Music for Teenage Lust, Iggy and The Stooges, and BOC.
Interestingly, BOC apparently hauled a German oom-pah band from a neighboring restaurant (Luchow's) for part of their set.
The most notable moment of the night, however, happened when bassist Gene Simmons, famous for (among other things) breathing fire during a KISS performance, accidentally set his hair on fire during the show.
While not planned, the event no doubt helped to increase the mystique surrounding the make-up wearing rockers. Exactly two years later, on 12/31/1975, it was BOC who opened for KISS in New York (at Nassau Coliseum).
An interesting occurrence happened at a New Year's Eve show at the Academy of Music, NYC in 1974. During the encore Eric Bloom announced he was going to carry out his new year's resolution. He then proceeded to shave his beard off onstage with an electric razor.
Perhaps "New Year's Eve was the final barrier" (a line from the song, "Dominance And Submission").
Speaking of "Dominance And Submission", some fans noted that when BOC first performed both "Dominance And Submission" and "Astronomy" live, it was Albert, and not Eric, who sang them. This was prior to the recording of *Secret Treaties*, where Albert sang "Dominance And Submission", but not "Astronomy".
According to Albert Bouchard, he sang both songs live prior to the recording of *Secret Treaties*, and planned to do the same on the record. He did "Dominance And Submission", which he thought came out great, but tried "Astronomy" numerous times, getting worse each time.
Eric tried to sing it, and did it perfectly in one take. Although Joe may have taken a crack at singing the verses as well, Eric apparently sang it the best, so he did it for the record and subsequent live shows.
Albert also indicates that he stopped singing "Dominance And Submission" live because he found it difficult to sing it while playing drums at the time.
At a show in the fall of 1985 at The Channel in Boston, MA, Eric Bloom turned out to be somewhat of a prophet. At one point during the set, he asked the Boston crowd, "How 'bout the Red Sox and the Mets in the World Series next year?" (He also added, "I hate the Yankees, man, they suck." -- something every Boston fan loves to hear)
As events would turn out, the Red Sox and the Mets played each other in the 1986 World Series. Unfortunately for Boston fans (but fortunately, no doubt, for Eric Bloom), the Mets beat the Red Sox in 7 games.
In the summer of 1995, BOC began adding an acoustic portion to their sets. Buck and Allen played acoustic guitar for these numbers. To date, the songs that have been part of this set are "In Thee" and "The Great Sun Jester".
"She's As Beautiful As A Foot" was also planned to be used, but never added to the set. "The Great Sun Jester" was only played a few times as part of this set, but "In Thee" has remained in most of BOC's setlists since 1995.
By the way, for those who don't know, the music played just prior to BOC starting their set (at least for the past several years) is the end titles from the soundtrack to the movie *Blade Runner* by Vangelis.
While BOC's commercial success is limited compared to many artists, they have had a number of albums and singles that have made the music industry's top-selling charts. While currently unconfirmed, it is believed that every BOC album prior to *The Revolution By Night* has gone at least gold (at least 500,000 units sold), with a few going platinum (at least 1 million units sold).
The following chart indicates, by BOC album, the length of time it (or its respective singles) spent on the U.S. charts, the album's (or single's) peak position, and if the album went gold or platinum.
|Album (single)||# of weeks||Peak||Notes||Gold/Platinum|
|Blue Oyster Cult||8||172|
|Tyranny And Mutation||13||122|
|On Your Feet Or On Your Knees||13||22||Gold|
|Agents Of Fortune||35||29||(U.K. - 26)||Platinum|
|45: (Don't Fear) The Reaper||20||12||(U.K. - 16)|
|Some Enchanted Evening||12||44||(U.K. Top 20)||Platinum|
|45: In Thee||4||74|
|Cultosaurus Erectus||16||34||(U.K. - 12)|
|Fire Of Unknown Origin||31||24||Gold|
|45: Burnin' For You||14||40||(for 3 weeks)|
|Extraterrestrial Live||19||29||(U.K. - 95)|
|The Revolution By Night||16||93|
|45: Shooting Shark||3||83|
|45: Dancin' In The Ruins||10||9||(for 3 weeks)|
The song "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" (from *Fire Of Unknown Origin*) appears in the movie "Heavy Metal".
According to Albert Bouchard, BOC was originally approached to do 5-7 songs for the soundtrack (with Elmer Bernstein doing the rest).
According to "Morning Final #14", the songs "Vengeance (The Pact)" and "Don't Turn Your Back" were written following the script of the movie, with "Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver" also being inspired by the movie, but not directly from the script.
These four songs were submitted for consideration for the movie soundtrack. Ironically, "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars", not specifically inspired by the movie, was chosen to be on the soundtrack.
It is also believed that the song "Sole Survivor" was inspired by the movie, although not directly from the script.
"Vengeance (The Pact)" was originally titled "Taarna's Theme" - the song lyrics are taken from the last story in the movie (with Taarna, the warrior woman who rides the giant bird).
The apparent reason for the song not being used is that it told the 17-minute (in the movie) story in 5 minutes. The soundtrack was finally officially released on CD in 1995, and an updated version of the movie was released in 1996.
On 4/11/1997, the "Buck Dharma Band" (Buck on guitar and vocals, Danny Miranda on bass, John Miceli on drums, and Sandy Roeser on vocals) performed a benefit concert in Atlanta, GA for Ricky Browning, a child with an inoperable brain tumor. Ricky went through 4 months of extensive chemotherapy and was being treated by Hospice Atlanta (a place traditionally reserved for children who are expected to not survive), and was very near death on multiple occasions.
However, Ricky used visualization techniques of his hero, the Japanese monster "Godzilla", to fight his illness (Ricky would pretend that Godzilla was in his head fighting the tumor). Ricky has astounded doctors as his tumor, once the size of a lemon, had all but disappeared.
Unfortunately for Ricky and his family, huge medical bills have been incurred for his various treatments (Ricky has no health insurance and he outlived his emergency Medicaid benefits).
BOC fan (and friend of Buck's wife, Sandy Roeser) Chuck Saden, learned of Ricky's situation and fascination with Godzilla, and told Buck Dharma, also a fan of Godzilla (and author of the BOC song, "Godzilla"). Buck then agreed to do a benefit concert to raise money for Ricky.
Saden sent Ricky some recordings of both "Godzilla" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (a song which Ricky says taught him a lesson, and that because of it, he was no longer afraid of dying).
The Buck Dharma Band came down to Atlanta a day early, and participated in a special fund-raising dinner, and signed autographs. Earlier in the day, Buck met Ricky for the first time as part of television and radio publicity for the show, and Buck sang some acoustic versions of his songs.
The concert was a wild success (see the section in the FAQ on "other BOC songs" for a complete setlist from the performance), and even turned out to be incredibly therapeutic for Ricky.
Earlier in the evening, Ricky had had to be taken out of the venue by EMTs due to exhaustion. However, when he heard the band playing "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", Ricky jumped up before the EMT could sit him back down, ran into the venue and was clapping and rocking to the music. Ricky even helped play the drums when the band played the next song, "Godzilla".
It was truly fitting that Ricky would participate in the song about his hero, who helped him overcome his affliction. Sometime after this concert, Ricky had a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, and it showed no evidence of his tumor. Unfortunately, Ricky's tumor did return, and he passed away in 1998.
Spearheaded by BOC sound master George Geranios, the concert was professionally recorded, as well as being extensively videotaped. A very special video titled *Miracles DO Happen, Take One*, which contains information about Ricky's story and footage from this concert, is now available from the Rose Legacy Corporation. They can be obtained by mailing $19.95, plus $3.00 shipping and handling (make checks payable to the Rose Legacy Corp.) to:
The Rose Legacy Corp., P.O. Box 543856, Chicago, IL 60654-0856
Proceeds from the sale of the video will go to the Browning family, and donations will be used to distribute free videos to various causes. This is more than a concert video - it is a film of hope and inspiration, and Ricky himself hopes that it will help other sick kids get better.
Prior to this special concert, a very limited edition Buck Dharma t-shirt was produced for the concert. The black t-shirt, with a Buck Dharma logo on the front and a Buck Dharma promotional picture on the back, is still available for $20.00 (plus $3.00 shipping) from the above address (shipping is free if you order a video as well) -- specify size (L, XL, or XXL). A CD containing tracks from the concert is planned be made available for purchase in the future.
NOTE: Much of what appears in this section is based on fan observations and interpretations, unless a bandmember is specifically identified. And, even then, the band members have often said that much of what they write is subject to the listener's interpretation. If your interpretation of a song is different from what is printed here, that does not necessarily make it wrong.
Altamont, which is referred to in the song, "Transmaniacon MC" (the "MC" standing for "motorcycle club"), refers to a festival in 1970 at Altamont (a racetrack in California). The festival was supposed to be another Woodstock. The Rolling Stones were the main act, and they controversially hired the Hells Angels as security.
Apparently The Stones had used the British Hell's Angels as security in the past, and assumed that the California Hell's Angels would be the same. There was mayhem during the Stones' set, and the Angels stabbed one member of the audience to death (right in front of a camera), although the stabbed man was apparently holding a gun.
Either during this incident, or right afterwards, The Stones played the song, "Sympathy For The Devil". The incident is documented in the concert movie, "Gimme Shelter". In typically overblown style, journalists have dubbed that show "the night rock-n-roll lost its innocence."
The "Transmaniacon MC", according to Al Bouchard, are a mythical group that Sandy Pearlman invented called "the Los Maniacos Bus Boy Club" which was supposed to conjure up a picture of insane Mexican waiters that have a musical group.
According to Buck Dharma, "(Then Came The) Last Days Of May" is the true story of three collegiate drug dealers who went to Tucson to score for the fall semester. They were ripped off and shot.
While two of the guys died, the other survived to testify against the perpetrators, who were two young men from a notorious wealthy local family. They apparently served about ten years in prison before being released.
There are a few books with the words, "Stairway To The Stars" in the title. One is a book ("Stairway To The Stars: The Story of The World's Largest Observatory") about the Mauna Kea observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Another ("Stairway to the Stars: Achievement Program") was written by the Assembly of God as part of its ministry to women. Another ("Stairway to the Stars : Colorado's Argentine Central Railway") is about a railway in Colorado.
The song, "Stairway To The Stars", however, does not appear to have inspired any of these, or have been inspired by them (especially since they were published after the song was on a BOC album).
According to Joe Bouchard, "Screams" was written to describe his impressions and emotions when he first moved to New York to be in the band. Joe grew up in a small town, and driving into New York from Long Island at night was quite a new experience for him.
Also, Joe says that the song "Morning Final" is based on a true story of a murder that happened at a subway stop at the corner of 23rd Street in New York City. Joe used to go to a deli that was near there, and he was a bit disturbed by the fact that a murder took place there.
In an old interview with *Creem* magazine, Eric Bloom says that "O.D.'d On Life Itself" is basically a song inspired when Sandy saw some girl who was "totally out of it, a real asshole; she'd O.D.'d on life".
According to Buck Dharma, "Harvester Of Eyes" is about former U.S. Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas. The following is from Compuserve's American Academic Encyclopedia: Abe Fortas, b. Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 1910, d. Apr. 5, 1982, was a prominent Washington, D. C., attorney and presidential advisor when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965.
Johnson's subsequent nomination of Fortas as chief justice was blocked by Senate foes of his activist stand on civil liberties, and the nomination was caught up in a clash between the executive and legislative branches.
In 1969, following charges of questionable ethics and conflict of interest, Fortas resigned from the Court. His arguments in GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT (1962) established the right of the poor to legal counsel.
What's all that got to do with "Harvester Of Eyes"? Not much. However, it was Fortas' senate nomination hearings which inspired Richard Meltzer to write the song's lyrics. When Fortas' avoidance of service in World War II was questioned, he responded that he had ocular tuberculosis -- which inspired the lyric, "I'm the eye-man of TV, with my ocular TB".
The BOC Fanclub newsletter "Morning Final" (issue #12), provides insight into the meaning of several songs on *Secret Treaties*. "Harvester of Eyes" and "ME-262" have already been mentioned.
The song, "Dominance And Submission" is the true story of an automobile ride taken with Suzy and her brother ("Charles the grinning boy"), in which some unexpected sexual actions were suggested.
"Morning Final #12" does not say who was put "in the backseat" and taken "for a ride".
"Astronomy" refers to Suzy, who at the time was very experimental and sexually aware. The song has its roots in a lesbian encounter, and the reaction to it.
The line, "when prophecy fails, the falling notion" in the song, "E.T.I." may have been inspired by the classic psychology text, "When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World", by Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schacter (3 men - possibly to which the lyrics refer?).
Presumably when this book came out, it was published under aliases, but the science world soon discovered the identities of the authors. The men were then criticized as frauds, and accused of writing the book only for financial reward. On report about them dubbed them "Agents of Fortune".
The line "three men in black said, 'Don't report this . . .", also in "E.T.I." may have been inspired by the "The Men In Black Report" by Kurt Glemser (Galaxy Press).
The book discusses UFO sightings and Men in Black (usually 3), that would visit UFO witnesses, warning them not to divulge what they had seen. The name "Balthazar", mentioned in "E.T.I." is the name of one of the three kings/wise-men/astrologers in the Bible who visited Jesus Christ soon after his birth -- the other two were named Melchor and Kaspar.
Perhaps "E.T.I." is suggesting that Jesus Christ was brought to earth, or at least visited by, aliens. On the other side of the life of Christ, the Bible discusses Jesus' "ascension", where he is taken up to heaven in front of some of his disciples. The use of the word "ascension" in "E.T.I." may suggest that the ascension was some sort of alien abduction (Jesus rising into the sky, surrounded by a beam of light).
"Balthazar" may also refer to the character in "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. Balthazar is the name of the servant who tells Romeo that Juliet has died ("the awful truth"?).
While this doesn't fit with the UFO/Jesus interpretation, it is interesting since on *Agents of Fortune*, the song "E.T.I." follows "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", where we are told "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity".
Other UFO references to UFO lore in the song "E.T.I." are provided by Dan Clore. "Daylight disk" comes from the classification system proposed by J. Allen Hynek in his 1974 work, *The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry*. It refers to a flying saucer seen during the day. "Fairy rings" refers to rings of underground fungus that make the grass very green above them.
It also refers to a large circular fungus that kills the grass above it, leaving a big white circle. These are often identified as traces of UFO landings. "Tower beds" are a reference to UFO landing apparatus (Stonehenge is theorized by some to be a tower bed). Finally, "Dead leaves always give up motion" may refer to the term "dead leaf motion" or "falling leaf motion" of UFOs -- a pattern of descent, going back and forth and pausing.
There is a real book titled, *The King in Yellow* (referred to in the song, "Extra Terrestrial Intelligence"), written by Robert W. Chambers, published in 1895. The book is believed to be out of print, with its last known publication being possibly in the late 1970's.
It is a collection of short stories, several of which mention an imaginary book (play) titled "The King in Yellow". Like various tomes mentioned in Lovecraft, this (non-existent) play has detrimental effects on the sanity of readers. From *The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction* (by John Clute and Peter Nicholls):
"The eponymous 'King in Yellow' is not a person, but a verse play in book form, which... drives its readers to despair, madness and even suicide. Of the four *King in Yellow* tales in the book, 'The Repairer of Reputations' is of particular interest, being set in 1920, after a war, in a USA that has legalized suicide."
The book, *The King in Yellow* also contains a story titled, "The Street of The Four Winds". It is not clear whether or not this inspired the reference to the four winds bar in the song, "Astronomy". However, the song does not appear connected with the story in any other way.
As for "The Queen in Red" (the other half of that line from "ETI"), this may refer to "The Red Queen" from Lewis Carroll's "Alice Through The Looking Glass" (a sequel to "Alice In Wonderland").
In the story, the Red Queen is a chess piece and is forced to run continuously but never actually moves because everything else in the landscape is also running, and so keeps pace with her. Based on this story, evolutionary biologist L. Van Valen proposed "The Red Queen Principle", which states that for an evolutionalry system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain it's relative fitness.
The line "24th of May" in the song, "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini" refers to both Albert Bouchard's and Bob Dylan's birthday. On the occasion of his 25th birthday, Patti Smith gave Albert the lyrics to this song, which she presumably wrote about a true incident involving her and Bob Dylan.
Coincidentally, that day is also the birthday of England's Queen Victoria, which is referred to in the Rush song, "Lakeside Park" -- "Everyone would gather on the twenty fourth of May, Sitting in the sand to watch the fireworks display".
It is a popular misconception that the song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is about suicide. The line "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity" refers to William Shakespeare's characters Romeo and Juliet, who were young lovers that had each committed suicide. The song tells a woman not to fear death (in the first 2 verses), and then tells that she does die with no fear (in the 3rd verse).
Opinions as to the true meaning of this song are mixed -- some believe that it merely advocates not to fear the coming of death as it is part of the cycles of nature ("Seasons don't fear the reaper, nor do the wind and the sun and the rain"), while others (including anti-rock zealots) claim that BOC is advocating suicide
Editor's Comment: Yeah, and in "Godzilla" BOC is advocating that a big radioactive dinosaur stomp all over Tokyo too. Albert Bouchard says that he heard Buck say many times that the song was not about suicide, but merely about not fearing death.
Finally, Bolle Gregmar says that Buck actually wrote the lyrics to "The Reaper" during a time when he thought he was dying, and the lyrics were Buck's way of saying that we shouldn't waste our time worrying about dying because it is inevitable.
The song, "Godzilla" refers to the Americanized name of the Japanese movie monster, "Gojira". Gojira (the name is a portmanteau from "gorilla" and "Kujira", meaning "whale") is a dinosaur which was released from millions of years of hibernation by atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean.
The beast became mutated by the radiation, to the point where he is now radioactive (able to project this radioactivity via his breath). The original Godzilla movie was released in Japan in 1954, less than a decade after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan.
While Godzilla was originally an evil being, he became somewhat of a folk hero in Japan, starring in over 15 movies, becoming a friend to humanity after about the 4th one (in more recent movies, since about 1984, Godzilla has gone back to being more of a "bad guy").
According to Bolle Gregmar, BOC had to pay royalties to Toho, the filmmaker of the Godzilla movies, to use the name on the song. Sony/TriStar pictures released a new version of this film in May of 1998. Despite the pleas of BOC fans worldwide, neither BOC nor their song "Godzilla" appeared on the movie's soundtrack.
According to Bruce Abbott, the song, "Golden Age Of Leather" refers to a group in a motorcycle club reaching a practical endpoint to that lifestyle. Having achieved their "golden age", the bikers make a suicide pact rather than age gracefully, "in this day of flaccid plumage".
The initials "R.U.R." from the song, "R. U. Ready 2 Rock" were a tribute to the K. Capek play, "Rossum's Universal Robots". This play is cited as having the first appearance of the term "robot" in science fiction literature.
Several BOC songs refer to vampires. "Nosferatu" is a re-working of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". In the original silent version of Nosferatu, the captain's log can be seen to include the lines "Rats in the hold. My crew is dead. I fear the plague", and the line "Only a woman can break his spell, pure in heart who will offer her blood" - these lines are used in the song.
Other BOC songs which refer to vampires include "Screams", "Wings Wetted Down", "Morning Final", "Moon Crazy", and "Light Years Of Love". Looks like Joe Bouchard was really into vampires...
Buck also wrote a song, "I Love The Night", tells the tale of a man's meeting with a female vampire - while the lyrics are always subject to interpretation, the third verse of this song (omitted from the album) makes the song's meaning more clear. Finally, according to Eric Bloom, his "After Dark" is sort of his sequel to "I Love The Night".
The line "Jim says some destinies should not be delivered", in the song "In Thee" refers to Jim Carroll. As previously mentioned, Jim Carroll and Allen Lanier collaborated on several songs, including the song "Day And Night", which appeared on Carroll's *Catholic Boy* album. The song contains the line "Some destinies, they should not be delivered".
The line "Aces and eights are the fate that you drew", in the song "I Am The Storm" refers to the "dead man's hand" of a pair of aces and eights in poker. It is known as this as it is the hand that Wild Bill Hickok was rumored to be holding when he was killed.
According to the liner notes in the compilation CD set, *Workshop Of The Telescopes*, the song "Dr. Music" is a tongue-in-cheek look at S+M (sadism and masochism).
The song, "The Vigil" is about some friends of the band who are UFO-watchers. The line "27 faces, with their eyes turned to the sky" may refer to the VLA (Very Large Array), a set of 27 radio telescopes (there actually is a 28th, but it only gets used as a backup if one of the 27 fails). The site, located in New Mexico (near Socorro), was completed right about the time *Mirrors* was released.
The title of the album *Cultosaurus Erectus* is believed to have been inspired by the Charlie Mingus album *Pithecanthropus Erectus*. Further, BOC may have also been making a reference to the fact that some heavy metal bands that had been around for a few years by that time were being referred to as "dinosaur bands".
The song "Hungry Boys", originally titled, "Hungry Boys In Brooklyn", is about drug addiction.
The song "Deadline" is based on the true story of an old acquaintance of the band, who was murdered in 197
Phil was apparently pressuring this guy to pay back a gambling debt, and the guy ended up shooting him. Phil King is also mentioned in the song, "Hot Rails to Hell" (in the lyric, "The King did not know").
Allen once described Phil King (also known as Phil Friedman) as a "big dude in a cheap vinyl leather jacket, two-tone blue '64 Lincoln Continental, wore a Fu Manchu mustache, combing his hair at all times, he had a perfect Shaft hairdo, chrome shades he never took off, wore 'em to bed..." Soon after BOC's first album was released, Phil was able to convince a New York DJ to play "Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll" on the radio.
The song "Divine Wind", originally entitled "Ayatollah", was written by BOC as sort of an "Anti-Iran" song. During the time the song came out, Iran had been holding U.S. citizens hostage for many months.
The lyric, "If he really thinks we're the devil, then let's send him to hell" refers to the Ayatollah Khomeni calling the U.S. "The Great Satan". When BOC performed this song in concert, roadie Joe Lauro, wearing an Ayatollah mask, played guitar on stage with the band.
The song "Lips In The Hills" may refer to an incident in July of 1947 known as "The Roswell Incident". Supposedly, a UFO crashed in the hills in or near Roswell, New Mexico, although this was denied/covered-up by the U.S. Air Force (originally saying it was a weather balloon).
Many people in the area at the time supposedly saw/heard strange things going on right before the crash. The USAF recently released a report on the incident, revealing that the "UFO" was part of a secret government program, known as Project Mogul, to spy on the Soviet Union's nuclear weapon development.
High-altitude balloons were equipped with special sensors and radar reflectors to detect atomic testing, but the project was canceled, with the balloons being allowed to fall back to earth. It is likely that flying saucer enthusiasts will remain skeptical of the USAF's report.
While this interpretation may be valid, Eric Bloom once told some BOC fans that the original concept of "Lips In The Hills" was about breast feeding.
The song "The Marshall Plan" details the story of a teenager who loses his girlfriend at a rock concert to the band, and, inspired by the experience, becomes a rock star himself. The song's title no doubt comes from the U.S. economic aid program for the reconstruction of post-WWII Europe of the same name.
This program was intended in part to improve U.S. relations with Europe, however in some cases, some of the countries remained apathetic (or even hostile) towards the U.S. Similarly, while "Johnny" becomes a rock star in part to win back his girl, "still he reaches out, but Suzy's disappeared."
Of course, it is likely that the title is a play on words where Marshall refers to amplifiers of the same name. Thus, Johnny's plan ("I ain't playin' no surf music - I'm gonna play some heavy music - I'm gonna play bad - I'm gonna play loud") to win Suzy back no doubt requires the use of lots of Marshall amplifiers.
According to the "SF-References-In-Music List" (copyright by Rich Kulawiec), the song "Monsters" is about a small group of people who escape a ravaged Earth but wind up battling each other over one of the women. An article in the British magazine *NME* referred to the song as being about "gang bangs and piracy in hyperspace".
Also according to the *NME* article, the song "Unknown Tongue" is a true story about a girl that David Roter (co-author of the song) used to know. Apparently a nice Catholic girl, she had a fetish for cutting her big toe with a razor and drinking some of her blood. Of course, in the BOC song, the girl cuts her palm, not her toe.
The lyrics to the song, "Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver" were inspired by the 1977 book, *The Iron Sun: Crossing The Universe Through Black Holes*, by Adrian Berry. Several of the lyrics to the first verse are derived from chapter titles of the book.
The chapters to Part One (Through the Black Hole) are titled as follows:
Part Two (The Iron Sun) begins with (1) The Arm of Orion.
The song, "Joan Crawford" refers to the famous actress of the same name. The deceased Crawford's daughter, Christina, wrote a book, which later became a movie, titled, "Mommie Dearest".
The book/movie paints a rather unflattering picture of the actress as an abusive mother. The song refers to Joan coming back from the grave to haunt Christina.
Inspiration for some of the lyrics to the song, "Burnin' For You" may have come from Jack Kerouac's book, *On The Road*. There is a poem on page 255 that goes like this:
Home in Missoula
Home in Truckee
Home in Opelousas
Ain't no home for me
Home in old Medora
Home in Wounded Knee
Home in Ogallala
Home I'll never be
Speaking of Jack Kerouac, it is interesting to note that he once wrote a book titled, *The Dharma Bums*. It is not known whether or not this was Sandy Pearlman's inspiration for the name, "Buck Dharma".
The song, "Your Loving Heart" on Buck Dharma's 1982 solo album *Flat Out* tells the story of a person who is dying because he needs a new heart, and a "young woman" who loves him (presumably his wife) gets into a car accident (presumably suicide) and her heart is used to save him.
Twelve years later, something strikingly similar happened in real life. The Associated Press reported of a real-life occurrence of such a scenario (August, 1994):
"ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- A 58 year old man who had been waiting four years for a heart transplant finally got one -- from his own daughter, who was killed in a car wreck. Chester Szuber received the heart Monday from his 22-year-old daughter, Patti, officials at William Beaumont Hospital said Thursday. She was killed in a traffic accident a week ago in Knoxville, Tenn."
Editor's Note: I am not trying to in any way imply that Patti Szuber's car accident was a suicide.
The song "Anwar's Theme" on *Flat Out* is in tribute to Anwar al-Sadat, the former leader of Egypt. Buck Dharma has stated that Sadat was one of the people he had admired the most.
A co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to make peace with Israel, Sadat was assassinated in 1981. The bridge in the middle of the song represents Sadat's assassination - Sadat died at the hands of fundamentalists assassins during a military review celebrating the 1973 Suez crossing.
In Morning Final #14, John Shirley provided some insight as to the meaning of his lyrics which BOC used for songs (the 2 songs from *Bad Channels* plus 8 songs from *Heaven Forbid*):
NOTE: See the following link on the official BOC website for more information about references to BOC on television:
In the movie, "Fast Times At Ridgemont High", one of the characters is approached by a kid looking for concert tickets. He asks him if he has any BOC tickets.
A line in the movie, "Alien 3" was probably inspired by BOC. In the movie, the character named Dillon has the following line: "Do you want to be on your feet, or on your knees?"
BOC received two references in the 1999 film, "Detroit Rock City". In one scene, where some kids are riding in a car on their way to Detroit, the comment is made that in 1973 KISS opened for BOC, and that the very next year, to the day, BOC opened for KISS. In actuality, it was 2 years to the day that this happened, and not the very next year.
In another scene, in a convenience store, someone threatens to steal KISS tickets from a little kid. The kid summons his older brother, who is very large. As the older brother comes down the aisle, the camera zooms on his footsteps, and BOC's "Godzilla" plays.
Whether or not this is at all directly related to BOC's song, "Debbie Denise" is not known, but it is rather interesting none-the-less. According to the credits for the films *Forrest Gump* and *Contact*, the name of the Visual Effects Producer was "Debbie Denise". Perhaps her parents were BOC fans...
In the 1992 film, "Singles", Matt Dillon plays a member of a grunge band called Citizen Dick. On his refrigerator is a handbill or small poster, showing Citizen Dick opening for Blue Oyster Cult.
In John Carpenter's 1987 movie, "Prince of Darkness", there is a scene with the BOC symbol. It is used as a satanic symbol and appears on the flesh of a possessed person. John Carpenter was also responsible for the previously-mentioned movie, "Halloween", in which "(Don't Fear) The Reaper is played.
The song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" has appeared in several movies, including "Spirit of '76", "Halloween", "The Stand", and "The Stoned Age" (which also features "Burnin' For You" - see more in the next paragraph).
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was also used in 1995 in the season premier of the ABC television show, "Charlie Grace."
In the 1996 movie, "The Frighteners", a cover of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper) is performed by The Mutton Birds, and in the 1996 movie "Scream", an acoustic cover of the song is played by the band Gus.
Some version of the song, possibly the one which appears on the "Guitar's Practicing Musicians Volume III", is used in the movie, "The Executioners Song".
The heavy use of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" prompted *Entertainment Weekly* magazine (February 7th 1997) to refer to it as the "most terrifying song in a miniseries or movie".
In addition, the title of the song was referred to in the movie, "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" -- after beating Death at Battleship and Twister, one of the film's protagonists says, "I can't believe we beat Death", to which his partner responded, "Don't Fear The Reaper".
What could almost be described as a BOC video, the movie, "The Stoned Age", contains lots of references to BOC. The movie (released in the early to mid 1990's), which might be considered rather funny or rather stupid, depending on your point of view, sort of pays homage to sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the 1970's.
The lead character, a youth named Joe, is a big BOC fan, who rides around with his buddy Hubbs in search of the ultimate good time. Joe, who had been hit by BOC's lasers during a performance of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (a "pussy song" according to Hubbs), has been having visions of a giant "gnarly eyeball".
During the film, Joe and Hubbs basically spend their time getting wasted, and trying to pick-up girls to party with. Aside from about a minute's worth of live footage of BOC playing "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (when Joe is hit by the lasers), there are lots of BOC references in the film.
The car driven by Joe and Hubbs, named "The Blue Torpedo", has a big BOC logo on the hood. One of the girls wears a BOC tour shirt with the *Tyranny And Mutation" cover on it.
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is played a few times, as well as "Burnin' For You". The use of "Burnin' For You" is erroneous for the time depicted in the movie (mid to late 1970's, when BOC used lasers in concert) as this song came out in 1981.
Bolle Gregmar, Melne Murphy, and The Museum of Cult are mentioned in the credits, as Bolle served as the BOC advisor.
Finally, Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma have a cameo appearance as bootleg t-shirt salesmen in the trailer after the credits roll.
The versions of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "Burnin' For You" used in the movie are the versions off of *Cult Classic* (no doubt to avoid legal issues with Columbia, although CBS records is credited as providing the BOC concert footage).
Finally, video production specialist and BOC fan, Daryl Maxwell, created a digital "video" for the band's song, "Divine Wind". As previously mentioned, the song was originally written as a reaction to a situation in Iran where U.S. citizens were taken hostage.
In the wake of terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, many BOC fans felt the song was very applicable once again. This video was assembled from news footage, and is a compelling and emotional reflection on America's new Day of Infamy.
The video currently can be found online at:
NOTE: See the following link on the official BOC website for more information about references to BOC on television:
The song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" has been referenced numerous times in television and video. In an episode of the animated cartoon, "The Simpsons", Homer Simpson is quoted as saying "O.K. Homer, Don't Fear The Reaper" before attempting some death-defying stunt.
In 1997, a professional wrestler known as "The Coroner" in the National Professional Wrestling Association uses "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" as his theme song.
In 1998, on the TV game show "Jeopardy" (aired 2/3/1998), an answer in the "Double Jeopardy" round (for $800) read: "In 1976, Blue Oyster Cult advised 'Don't Fear' him..."
A children's show, "Big Bad Beetle Borgs" used the song title as the title of one of their episodes.
Finally, in his 1985 video "The Compleat Al", "Weird Al" Yankovic has a sketch where he plays "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" backwards and hears the following message in some silly voice with weird science fiction noises (possibly using a theremin) in the background: "Hello, we the ancient astronauts would like to thank everyone for making this record possible. Thank you thank you thank you, we really appreciate it, thanks guys..."
Editor's note: this was a joke for the video - you won't actually hear these sounds if try this yourself.
Another reference to BOC was made in an episode of the animated cartoon "The Simpsons". Homer is talking to his friends in a bar about dying. His friends begin discussing obtaining his body parts after he dies, to which he replies, "Hey! Quit harvesting me with your eyes!"
In the fall of 2001, BOC was heavily referenced in the season premier of "The Simpsons".
In the episode, Homer appears in court because Bart has stolen a car. The judge asked Homer why he hadn't driven Bart all the way to school. Homer said because he had dropped Bart off to chase down a local radio station van to win a contest. "For $40?" the judge asks, at which point Homer pulls a round Kronos symbol necklace out of his collar and says, "And this Blue Oyster Cult medallion . . . cool."
Then Homer says, "Your Honor, if I could just sing a little bit of 'Don't Fear The Reaper'", at which point the judge cuts him off by responding, "I'm familiar with BOC" Finally, the opening strains of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" are played over the closing credits.
The premier episode for the second season of HBO's *Spawn* series contains a possible BOC reference. The character Violator, the demon guardian of Spawn says to him, "This world ain't about trust, its about Dominance and Submission, its about power!"
In 1999, the Showtime television channel showed the 1998 Tri-Star release of the movie *Godzilla*. The announcer quoted a line from BOC's song "Godzilla" during an advertisement for the moview by saying, "History shows again and again, how nature points out the folly of man... Godzilla".
An episode of the cartoon series "Duckman" contained a BOC reference. Duckman is seen reminiscing about his days in high school in 1976. In the scene, he spray-paints "Blue Oyster Cult Rocks" on his principal's car.
In an episode of the show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (show #910 - "The Final Sacrifice"), a character says, "My God! It's a cult!", to which another character replies, "Yes, and they worship blue oysters."
In another episode (titled "SoulTaker"), a character is about to kiss the character soultaker. When the kiss is interrupted, someone makes the comment, "Don't tongue the Reaper".
In an episode of the Canadian comedy show, "This Hour has 22 Minutes", there was a skit where they were spoofing another Canadian show called "Da Vinci's Inquest".
During a portion of the skit, they called "Da Vinci's Request", Da Vinci calls a radio station requesting "Don't Fear The Reaper by the Blue Oyster Cult".
In June of 1999, a reference to BOC was made on the television show, "That 70s Show". The character of Hyde considered moving to New York to start a punk band that would be "the soundtrack to the revolution". The character of Eric responded, "Last week you said Blue Oyster Cult was the soundtrack to the revolution."
Also, the 1999 Halloween episode of the show opened with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" playing in the background.
In a 1999 episode of the television show, "First Wave" (shown on the Science Fiction channel), BOC's "Burnin' For You" was used as background music.
A 1999 episode of the telvision show "Angel" (a spin-off of the show, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer") appeared to have a few obscure BOC references. A villain in the show was named "Meltzer", who was described as "Damaged".
Also a "gnarly floating eyeball" was seen in the show - a possible reference to the film with numerous BOC references, "The Stoned Age".
In a 1999 episode of the television game show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionare", BOC was one of the answers in the question, "What band did Paul McCartney form after the Beatles?" Obviously, "Blue Oyster Cult" was one of the incorrect choices.
BOC was parodied by the television show "Saturday Night Live" in early 2000. The skit made to look like an episode of the VH1 show, "Behind The Music", and the subject was BOC's recording of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
Guest host Christopher Walken played "super producer" Bruce Dickenson, and SNL cast members portray members of BOC (note: there were some definite likenesses of Buck, Eric, Joe, and Albert - although the "Eric" character was named "Gene", the "Buck" character was named "Eric", the person who looked like Albert was playing guitar, the person who looked like Joe was much larger than Joe, and the drummer was referred to as "Bobby" - the name of BOC's current drummer).
The skit revolved around the band attempting to record the song, with the producer wanting "more cowbell" in the song - much to the distraction of all the band (with the exception of the "Eric" character, who was playing the cowbell).
As a "response" to this skit, BOC had stage tech Tommy Skriver join them onstage at several shows after the skit aired, playing a cowbell during "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
In an episode of what is believed to be from the television show, "Friday The 13th, The Series", there was a serial killer that removed the eyes of his victims. His name was "The Harvester" - no doubt a reference to the BOC song, "Harvester Of Eyes".
There exists a science-fiction novel, titled, *Transmaniacon* (published 1979 by Kensington Pub. Corp., ISBN: 0890834172), written by John Shirley (who is writing some lyrics for the band these days). The following description was provided by Ken Alexander to BOC-L:
Description: this is a post-apocalypse science fiction novel, containing a huge amount of references from early Blue Oyster Cult albums. References include the Transmaniacon Motorcycle Club, Dominance and Submission, the BOC symbol, "not talking about the light up above, I'm talking about the hellfire down below", the light that never warms, Lucifer, Career of Evil, and many more.
Our too-powerful (anti?) hero travels between cities in what is left of the USA, with an eventual goal of destroying the impenetrable barrier that now surrounds it. Strange cults, cities of dolphins, beasts of burden that are giant genetically-engineered human hands, a 700-year-old Luciferage Rofocale...
Copyright page: To The Blue Oyster Cult & Patti Smith & Leslie Fielder & Aleister Crowley & not necessarily in that "Order."
In addition, the following is in the novel: The "Cult of Dis" (Diz?). A "password" to gain access to a certain place is "We're pain, we're steel, we're a plot of knives" (part of the lyrics to BOC's "Transmaniacon MC").
The symbol of "The Order" was shown -- it is the BOC symbol (referenced as "the ancient Greeks' mathematical symbol of Chaos"). During the climactic moment in the novel, one of the main character is listening to BOC's "Career Of Evil".
John Shirley's 1980 novel, *City Come a Walkin'* has several BOC references. The story is set in San Francisco in the year 2008. References are made to "reds and wine" (from BOC's "Before The Kiss, A Redcap"), "Tenderloin District" (from BOC's "Tenderloin"), a sign which blinked "from yellow to red" (from BOC's "E.T.I." - editor's comment: I know, this one is stretching it a bit).
A band called "First Tongue" is described in the story -- they wore robes of red and black and silver, the lead singer had a burn-scar brand of "The Sign, the cabalistic sign for chaos, the cross whose base becomes a scythe". The band, who's performance included a laser light show, was also described as "the only remaining successful occultist rock band, a genre begun almost three decades before by the Blue Oyster Cult".
Finally, the stories character "City" is described as having short dark curly hair, standing 5 feet 7 inches tall, and wearing mirrored sunglasses -- did John Shirley have Eric Bloom in mind when he described City?
John Shirley (who also performed in a punk group called "Sado Nation") has written a number of other books, some of which may contain veiled references to BOC. John Shirley has indicated that his 1997 novel "Silicon Embrace" contains many BOC references.
His books *Shock Rock* and *Black Butterflies* contain a story titled "Flaming Telepaths". His book *Eclipse* describes a scene where a mad guitarist is playing BOC's "Transmaniacon M.C." from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France; while it is being reduced to rubble by evil forces.
A more complete John Shirley bibliography can be seen at his website (listed in the "BOC On The Web" section of this FAQ).
BOC and Brain Surgeons lyricist Richard Meltzer has written a book titled, *Aesthetics of Rock*. There are some references to the Soft White Underbelly in the book. Included in the book is a picture the band.
As previously mentioned, Richard Meltzer wrote a novel titled *The Night (Alone)* which contains the poem, "Hansel & Gretel" (a version of which was recorded on the Brain Surgeons album, *Trepanation*).
In this book, there is presumably also a section which is based on Buck's 1972 wedding where Meltzer got drunk and "misbehaved". Les Braunstein and Patti Smith were also in attendance. Les presumably kept bringing Meltzer drinks, aggravating his condition.
This book also contains a poem entitled "Friends And Neighbors", which appears to be an early version of the lyrics to the BOC song, "Veins". A reading of this poem by Meltzer can be seen on the video, *Rhymes With Seltzer: Richard Meltzer Reads Some Stuff*.
BOC is referenced several times in Richard Meltzer's book, *A Whore Just Like the Rest: The Music Writings of Richard Meltzer*. This book, a collection of many of his writings over the years, contains a number of derrogatory references to the band.
It is obvious that Richard Meltzer has some hard feelings toward the band, feeling that he was not treated fairly by some of the band members or their management in the 1970's.
Johnny Green, former road manager for the Clash (who were managed for a time by Sandy Pearlman) wrote a book called *A Riot Of Our Own*. There is a description in the book of the Clash going to see BOC at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, and the wife of a member of BOC's entourage became involved in a food fight.
Horror novelist Stephen King has used references to BOC in some of his works. As previously mentioned, some of the lyrics to "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" were quoted in his novel, "The Stand".
The lyrics were actually mis-quoted -- the line "Come on baby" appeared in the novel as "Come on Mary". In the DVD release of the mini-series adaptation of "The Stand", Stephen King comments indicates that "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was inspirational in his writing of the story.
Also, there are two references to the BOC song, "Tattoo Vampire" in the Stephen King/Peter Straub novel, "The Talisman". Chapter 29 contains the sentence: "From the room above came regular thumps and an occasional drift of music Jack finally recognized as a record by Blue Oyster Cult.", Chapter 30 contains the sentence: "From the floor above, Jack now dimly heard the thud thud thud of a bass pattern, and then again recognized it as being from a record by Blue Oyster Cult.", and Chapter 31 contains the sentence: "The screaming heavy metal of Blue Oyster Cult's 'Tattoo Vampire' was gone."
The BOC song, "Astronomy", may have been the inspiration for part of one of Karl Edward Wagner's works. One of the chapters of his "Kane" series has a chapter titled "On the Origin of Storms". "Origin of storms" is a line from BOC's "Astronomy".
A book, "The Album Cover Album", lists BOC's *Secret Treaties* on page 81.
Tom De Haven's book, *New Jersey Lunch*, contains a scene featuring a group of individuals wearing black t-shirts with rock bands, including BOC.
Comedian Dennis Miller's book contains the following quote: "These days, by the time a story is actually made into a movie, it has been passed around like a goatskin flask at a Blue Oyster Cult concert."
NOTE: See the following link on the official BOC website for more information about references to BOC on television:
A comic book titled "The Sandman" (written by Neil Gaiman), contains a character called 'The Corinthian', which may possibly be based on the song, "Harvester Of Eyes".
He is of medium build (well built), has white hair, and wears sunglasses to hide the fact that his eyes are actually small mouths which he uses to eat out people's eyes with ("right in front to the back of your skull").
The name "Corinthian" probably refers to Greek story of Oedipus, who was from the ancient Greek city of Corinth. In his life, Oedipus accidentally killed his father, unwittingly married his mother, and later in life blinded himself by gouging his own eyes.
Neil Gaiman (with Terry Pratchett) has also written a novel, "Good Omens", which contains two BOC references. The plot contains a freeway junction which has, through careful manipulation by a demon, been developed to act as a huge unholy rune which does something very bad when empowered.
This seems to fit with lyrics in the song, "Shadow Of California". A more direct reference appears when the character "Big Ted" looks at "The Fourth Horseman" and says, "Ere, I seen you before. You was on the cover of that Blue Oyster Cult album."
References to Blue Oyster Cult songs are sprinkled throughout the "Xenogenesis: Day of the Demons" storyline in Marvel's "The Defenders" comic.
The issues are Vol.1, 58-60 dated April, May and June 1978. The story is by David Anthony Kraft and the first comic in the trilogy is "Dedicated to Eric Bloom and BOC!" (the third comic in the trilogy is dedicated to "The Long Island Oysters").
The issues are titled Agents of Fortune", "Tyranny and Mutation", and "The Revenge of Vera Gemini!". In the comics, a former Reaper of Souls, the Defenders (Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat and the Hulk), and Dr. Strange fight to stop the cult of the Harvester of Eyes, an Agent of Fortune, and Vera Gemini from releasing demons upon the Earth.
The Agent of Fortune steals an "omniscient amulet" called the "Eye of Agamotto" that can be used to breach the barrier between the "demon dimension" and the Earth.
More detail would give too much away, but the Cult boys themselves even appear in a few frames of issue #60, playing a "game of Dominance and Submission" with Vera Gemini.
Editor's Note: Special thanks go out to Mark Mitchum for researching and providing this reference. Andy Gilham also points out that David Kraft had earlier written a Deathlok story in Marvel Spotlight #33, titled "(Don't Fear) the Reaper".
The story also co-stars Devil-Slayer from Defenders 58-60, but otherwise has no other BOC connection.
Another comic book reference to BOC can be found in a Batman comic book mini-series, which originally appeared in "Detective Comics", issues 575-578 (titled "Batman: Year Two" and "Batman: Full Circle").
This series featured a villain called "The Reaper". The first issue was called "Fear The Reaper", and was also the character's catch-phrase. The character's costume had a red and black color scheme. The series originally appeared in "Detective Comics", issues 575-578.
BOC was also mentioned in an issue of Marvel Super Action. This was a title that reprinted old issues of Captain America. On page one, Nick Fury enters the room, and Cap exclaims "Nick Fury!" Fury responds, "Who were you expecting, the Blue Oyster Cult?"
In the original issue in the 1960's, Fury said "Who were you expecting, the Lovin' Spoonful?"
A popular Italian comic series called "Dylan Dog" contains a BOC reference in one of their 1989 comics. In the episode "Grand Guignol", one of the characters is wearing a BOC t-shirt.
The Japanese comic book, "Battle Angel Alita" by Yukito Kishiro (published in approximately 1994 in Japan by Shueisha Inc.) contains a few BOC references. The main character (a cyborg named Alita) is rescued in the beginning by a cyber doctor "harvesting eyes" from cyborg corpses.
One character called Zapan (who first appeared in the second issue) has the BOC symbol on his head. Another character (who first appeared in issue 4-1) is named "Desty Nova" (similar to "Desdinova"), with a servant named Buzzardo.
According to another source, in issue 8-6, Desty gives Alita a new body, and it's called the Imaginos.
A 1999 issue of the comic book "Knights of the Dinner Table" is titled "Don't Fear the Reaper". A related comic "Knights of the Dinner Table Illustrated" shows a character armed with a scythe screaming, "Forget the song, it's time to fear the reaper!"
In one of the 1995 issues of "Sports Illustrated For Kids", the comic "Hedley Case" contains a BOC reference. One of the characters in the strip is seen playing a guitar.
There are lyrics floating in the air behind him, blaring from the speakers of a stereo. These lyrics, from the song "Before The Kiss, A Redcap" appear: "Outside on the turnpike they've got this new hit tune..." (and in the next square) "The thrills become as cheap as gas and gas as cheap as thrills..."
The 1996 or 1997 DC comic book, "Challengers of the Unknown #3", contains a few BOC lyrical references. In the book, the Challengers are confronted by a human being who has become a gateway to another dimension who screams lyrics and titles to BOC songs.
Page 2: "--have to LISTEN, I SAW the TRANSMANIACON! The WORKSHOP OF THE TELESCOPES! SEVEN SCREAMING DIZ-BUSTERS! Don't you understand? BEFORE the KISS, a redcap! A REDCAP!"
Page 15-17: "...by SILVERFISH IMPERETRIX, whose uncorrupted [sic] eye sees through the charms of DOCTORS and their WIVES! I am become a THRESHOLD for him WHO LURKS in HELLISH GLARE and INFERENCE! THE HARVESTER OF EYES! Writings appear on the WALL. Curtains part and landscapes FALL where DUSTERS [sic] DUST becomes the sale and LUCIFER the LIGHT! EXPERIMENTS that FAILED too many times! TRANSFORMATIONS that were TOO HARD TO FIND! TYRANNY and MUTATION!"
The second issue of DC Comics' "The Creeper" (January 1998) contains a few BOC references. In the story, "Shadow In The Mirror", on page 2, a person utters the following lines: "...Now c'mon Harlan. It ain't all that bad. Th' Transmaniacon's nothin t'be afraid of..."
"...that ol' Harvester Of Eyes, now he plays a mean trumpet, no foolin'."
"You go and tell my friend Harlan he shouldn't oughtta worry about all that Tyranny And Mutation."
The two previous comic references were both written by Len Kaminski, and according to him, these references are related. The person uttering the lines in "The Creeper" story is actually talking across dimensions to the character (Harlan Clooney) in "The Challengers" comic.
According to Eric Bloom, there is a 1998 comic, "Lost Heroes", drawn by Rob Prior (artist for the cover of BOC's *Heaven Forbid*), which features various actors drawn into the plot.
Starting with issue #1 (the second in the series), Eric Bloom is drawn in as an "agent of fortune" (a member of the FBI) by the name of Fred. His character continues for several issues. One fan points out that one of Fred's FBI partners, a man named "Interface", bears a passing resemblence to Buck Dharma.
In the June 2000 issue of the Avengers (#29), a Central American town has been transformed into a pre-Conquest city through magic. The heroes infiltrate the city in disguise: "Good thing we found these robes -- we'd be pretty conspicuous in costume." "Yeah, instead of looking like the High Priests of the Blue Oyster Cult."
There exists a "live import" CD recording of the band, The Smashing Pumpkins, titled *Tribute To BOC*. The CD's recording was made on February 9th, 1991 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The recording contains mostly songs written by the Smashing Pumpkins, but includes a cover of BOC's "Godzilla".
In addition a Smashing Pumpkins show in Hoboken, New Jersey on February 8th, 1991 also contained a cover of "Godzilla", and this performance is captured on two Smashing Pumpkins "live import" recordings - *Man Of Light* and *Retrospective*.
The Japanese band, Shonen Knife, has a song titled "Blue Oyster Cult" (it is not a cover of the BOC tune of the same name) on their 1991 release, *712*. While the song itself has nothing to do with BOC (it is a song about food poisoning), the album's cover has some BOC (Kronos) symbols on it.
Radio Birdman, and Australian group active in the late 1970's (and recently reformed) held BOC as one of their influences. Aside from covering "Transmaniacon MC" and "Career Of Evil" in concert, they made a few references to BOC over the years.
The title of their first album was *Radios Appear* (a line from the BOC song "Dominance And Submission"). Their song, "Do The Pop" included the lyric "On your feet/Or on your knees, now".
Their song, "Hand of Law", contains the lyric "And the light/That never, never warms" (a line from BOC's "Astronomy"). Radio Birdman's leader Deniz Tek also wrote several BOC references into his songs.
He wrote a song, "Why Tell Me", which included the lyric, "Went out in the desert night/To the Four Winds Bar and Grill" (the Four Winds Bar being mentioned in BOC's "Astronomy"). A similar reference appears in his song "Dozen On Ice", which contains the line, "Got a dozen on ice, in the back room at the Four Winds Bar."
Also, his song "Hand Of Law" contains the line, "the light that never, never warms", yet another reference to BOC's "Astronomy".
Finally, his song "My Wall" contains the line, "And Susie still wants to know where winds come from". Thanks to Andy Gilham for this information.
The Norwegian band, Turbonegro, has an album titled *Never Is Forever*. According to the band, it is a tribute to BOC. No other information is currently known about this release.
On the fIREHOSE cover of BOC's "The Red And The Black" (which appears on their *Live Totem Pole EP*), just as the song begins, one of the bandmembers can be heard to say, "This is for Eric Bloom".
The Swedish band, The Nomads, recorded at least two singles under the alternate name of "The Screaming Dizbusters" (an obvious reference to BOC's song "7 Screaming Diz-Busters). One was a cover of BOC's "This Ain't The Summer Of Love". The other, "The Next Big Thing", was not, however it had some sleeve notes that were a direct reference to BOC:
"THE NEXUS OF THE CRISIS AND THE ORIGIN OF STORMS. 'THE SCREAMING DIZBUSTERS - A DARK DEEP BRITTLE EXPERIMENT INVOLVING DUSTER'S DUST. THE HARVESTER OF EYES AND THE MISTRESS OF THE SALMON SALT RAN INTO THE BABY ICE DOG AT THE FOUR WINDS BAR. JUST ONE DEAL...THAT'S ALL IT TOOK...AFTERALL, MIDNIGHT WAS THE BARRIER BACK IN '63. WATCH OUT! THE ONE THEY CALL THE PROPHET - COVERS ON HIS EYES. TOO MUCH REVOLUTION? THIS IS JUST A HOBBY FOR THESE GUYS - NUTHIN' Y'HEAR!? - A HOBBY!!' PRODUCED BY ARTHUR COMICS FOR TRANSMANIACON M.C. IN THE WORKSHOP OF THE TELESCOPES...SLEEVE BY CHARLES, THE GRINNING BOY FOR THERE GOES TOKYO STUDIOS. FOR ANDY, RICHARD, SCOTT, RICH and ROSS without whom... not forgetting ERIC BLOOM & BUCK DHARMA. Those were the days..."
As previously mentioned, the Minutemen's song, "Tour Spiel" was written as a tribute to BOC. Some of the lyrical references include: "I dreamed I was E. Bloom but I woke up Joe Bouchard in some town out on the road", "With patent leather boots on (just like Richard told me), another hack on the Spectres tour", and "Richard Meltzer gave me a hard time".
On the Dictators song "Two Tub Man" (which appears on their 1975 album, *Go Girl Crazy*), there are some spoken words which include: "Dig the boozers down there - there ain't no... You can bring on... Hay Stack Balloon, Eric Bloom... I don't care who you bring here daddy-o..."
On Motorhead's *Bastards* album, there is a track titled "On Your Feet or On Your Knees. In addition, the inner sleeve photos on the album *Motorhead* show a *Secret Treaties* poster. Finally, Motorhead uses an umlaut over the first 'o' in their logo.
The triple live CD by the Hoodoo Gurus, *Bite The Bullet* contains the following name in the credits: "The Screaming Diz-Buster - Ron Peno" Ron is the singer for the band Died Pretty. The Diz-Buster mention is presumed to be in reference to his large penis.
Interviews with Metallica in the early 1990's indicated that their song "Harvester Of Sorrows" is a tribute to BOC's "Harvester Of Eyes". Further, they have also stated that they were concerned with doing justice to BOC's "Astronomy" when they covered it on their *Garage, Inc.* album.
Former Dream Syndicate guitarist Karl Precoda, who wrote the song "Wings Of Mercury", which BOC played in concert in 1985 and 1986 started a band by the name of "Last Days of May". They released an album with the same title.
One of the tracks on that release was entitled, "Sand, Sea, And Space". One might speculate that this title was inspired by Buck's "Wind, Weather, And Storm".
While not an explicit reference to BOC, many people have pointed out that the main riff to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" bears a striking resemblance to the main riff of BOC's "Godzilla".
A Styx fan reported that at a Styx concert in Japan, two members of the band were criss-crossing their guitar necks under strobe lights. This was one of the highlights of BOC's shows in the 1970's and early 1980's.
The organist at New York's Madison Square Garden may be a BOC fan. Often during New York Rangers' hockey games, "Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll" can be heard.
The September 1999 issue of "PC Computing" magazine has a discussion (on page 135) of software related to "Godzilla". The software is a download manager called "GoZilla". Included in the discussion is the headline, "Oh, No! There goes Tokyo."
In a 1999 issue of the U.K. magazine "The Guitar Magazine", BOC's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was voted number 16 in their "Riff of the Millenium" poll.
In the January 2000 issue of the computer magazine "MacAddict", a possible reference to BOC was made. In the "shutdown" section, a fake correction to a previous issue had the line "what we meant to say was that Joan Crawford has risen from the grave and we're all very afraid."
In 1992, at the 50th annual Hugo Awards (awards given out in the field of Science Fiction) the bases for the trophies being given out were a starfield design, upon which contained a constellation tracing out the BOC symbol. The bases were designed by Phil Tortorici, who is big fan of the group, and apparently no one questioned him about it when he supplied the bases for the trophies.
In their coverage of the World Championships of Soccer in the late 1990's, Sweden's tabloid papers made a BOC reference in referring to one of the games. The game was between Brazil and Denmark, which Brazil won 3 to 2. One of Denmark's players, Marc Rieper has a few chances to tie the game before time ran out, but failed. The next day, a headline read: "Don't Fear The Rieper".
Speaking of sports and BOC, in the spring of 1998, the Houston Astros baseball team had a pitcher named Billy Wagner. On at least two occasions, when his name was announced to the Houston crowd, BOC's "Burnin' For You" was played. Presumably, Billy has a "burnin'" fastball...
In 1999, some fans spotted the use of "Buck's Boogie" by Fox TV during their coverage of NHL hockey. Specifically, the music was used as background to a clip of NHL highlights called "Classic Clips". Also, during the 1999 Stanley Cup finals between Buffalo and Dallas, "ME 262" could be heard during one stoppage of play.
In 1995, some folks on BOC-L spotted a BOC reference in a Mercedes-Benz commercial. The commercial asked the viewer if they remembered various dreams they once had (saying, "You were gonna..."), implying that you could achieve your dream of owning a Mercedes.
The last "dream" mentioned was: "You were gonna learn bar chords, and jam with Blue Oyster Cult." Mercedes-Benz did get permission from the band to use their name in the ad. Eric Bloom reports, "What did we get for it?
Well, I can't really say, but if you see a guy with a beard and sunglasses on the Long Island Expressway driving a new C220..." On a somewhat related note, Deborah Frost of the Brain Surgeons reported that in 1998, a car program on Irish TV used the Brain Surgeons song, "Most Romantic Place In the World" as background for the ultimate Mercedes test drive.
The guitar solo section of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was used in a television advertisement in 2000 by the online securities company Web Street Securities. As the muisc plays, two boys are showned bicycling away from an unseen danger during a lightning storm.
In May of 2000, a television advertisement for the Indianapolis 500 auto race featured BOC's version of "Born To Be Wild" as background music.
BOC was also used for magazine advertisements for Ampex tape back in 1979 and 1980. Under a picture of the band, the advertisement reads: "Blue Oyster Cult dazzles rock fans everywhere with a spectacular laser light show. They don't compromise on quality on tour or in the studio. That's why the Cult's hit albums are mastered on Ampex Grand Master recording tape."
BOC was mentioned in a 1999 advertisement for the Loopmaster portable CD player. The March 1999 issue of *Maxim* magazine contained the ad, which included the following words: "With 11 colors to choose from, you can attach your player to your favorite band - green for Greenday, blue for Blue Oyster Cult..."
There are at least 2 instances of BOC being on billboards. In 1977, a billboard at the entrance to Long Island showed the artwork for *Spectres* with the words, "Welcome to Long Island - Home of Blue Oyster Cult".
In 1998, a billboard in Michigan for a classic rock station showed a picture of Dr. Jack Kevorkian (known for assisting terminally-ill people with their suicides) with the words, "Don't Fear The Reaper", with "Blue Oyster Cult" written below it in smaller letters.
BOC also supplied music for a CD-ROM game called "Ripper". The *Cult Classic* version of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is used. Also, one of the puzzles in the game involves arranging tarot cards which have the following words: "sun, fear, wind, reaper, seasons rain". Newsday reported the following prior to its release:
"THE 19TH Century's most famous serial killer, London's Jack the Ripper, resurfaces in New York in the year 2040, in Take 2 Interactive's 'Ripper.' The four-disc first-person cinematic adventure, two years and $2.5 million in the making, features two hours of state-of-the-art video, a sound track by Blue Oyster Cult (which includes their 'Don't Fear The Reaper') and four endings.
As a reporter tracking the killer, the player interacts with a cast of 30, headed by Christopher Walken, Karen Allen, Ossie Davis, Jimmy Walker, Burgess Meredith and Tahnee Welch. Due Feb. 1 for the PC, March 1 for Sony Playstation, April-May for Macintosh."
Editor's notes: The dates listed are for 1996. The only BOC music in the game is "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
Fans of the computer adventure game "DOOM" can access a scene inspired heavily by BOC. Known as the "BOC DOOM - Level 2 Site", it contains segments of BOC songs for sound effects, cover art on the walls of a maze (which is in the shape of the BOC symbol), and also some live concert footage. It can be found at the following URL on the World Wide Web:
Another computer adventure game with a BOC tie-in is called "Harvester". On the back of the game's box are several scenes from the game. One of them shows a guy walking through a room full of eyes. This appears to be a reference to BOC's song, "Harvester Of Eyes".
Speaking of computer games, the November 1998 issue of *Computer Gaming World* has an ad for the game "Blood II, The Chosen". The BOC symbol can be seen in the background of the ad.
Tracking down all known covers of BOC tunes is probably an impossible task. Several people have given me information on band's covering BOC, although some of the bands may be local acts that most of us have never heard of. Some of the covers were never recorded, while others may exist on demo tapes only.
For the most part, I have tried to include only covers by artists that have actually recorded the cover on one of their albums. I have used computer resources available to me to verify as many of these covers as possible, and where available, I have listed the recording on which the cover can be found.
Note: with the proliferation of compilation albums and box sets, these recordings might be found on multiple sources - the source listed is believed to be the original source, and no effort has been made to track down every available source).
The information is presented in the following format:
|Artist||"BOC Cover"||Recording Title|
|Lee Aaron||"Beat 'em Up"||*Call Of The Wild* (released before BOC's)|
|Agents Of Fortune||"Stairway To The Stars"|
"Burnin' For You"
O.D.'d On Life Itself"
"Lips In The Hills"
|Apollo 440||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*Millennium Fever*|
|Sebastian Bach||"Godzilla"||*Bring 'em Back Alive* (promo copy only)|
|Big Country||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*Ships* (CD single)|
|Bigod 20||"Dominance And Submission"||*One* (CD single)|
|The Boo Radleys||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"|
|Braindamage||"Flaming Telepaths"||*The Turning Point*|
|The Bridewell Taxis||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"|
|CHOP (Mike Watt project)||"I'm On The Lamb, But I Ain't No Sheep"|
"She's As Beautiful As A Foot"
|Current '93||"This Ain't the Summer of Love"||*Swastikas For Noddy*|
|Dragstrip||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (instrumental)||*Reaction Time*|
|Fighting Gravity||"Godzilla"||*No Stopping, No Standing*|
|fIREHOSE||"The Red And The Black"||*Live Totem Pole EP*|
|Fu Manchu||"Godzilla" - single (10-inch vinyl)||*Eatin' Dust* (different version than single)|
|Goo Goo Dolls||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*Goo Goo Dolls*|
|Guitar Orchestra||"(Don't Fear) the Reaper"||*Interpretations*|
|Gumball||"She's as Beautiful As A Foot"||*Revolution On Ice*|
|Gus||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*"Scream" Movie Soundtrack*|
|Honeymoon Killers||"Godzilla"||*Let It Breed*|
|L7||"This Ain't The Summer Of Love"||*"I Know What You Did Last Summer" Movie Soundtrack*|
|Lizzy Borden||"This Ain't The Summer Of Love"||*Deal With The Devil*|
|Rose McDowall||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||single (U.K. 12" vinyl)|
|The Meatmen||"Hot Rails To Hell"||*Pope On A Rope*|
|The Meices||"Burnin' For You||*West X North-South* (Compilation/Box Set)|
|Metal Flake Mother||"Godzilla" (live)|
|The Minutemen||"The Red And The Black"||*3 Way Tie (For Last)*|
|The Minutemen||"The Red And The Black" (live)||*Tour Spiel* (7" EP)|
|The Mutton Birds||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*"The Frighteners" Movie Soundtrack*|
|The Panther Moderns||"See You In Black"||*Red Star* (John Shirley's band released their own version, with different music, before BOC's *Heaven Forbid*)|
|Radio Birdman||"Transmaniacon MC"||*Surfing At 2JJJ* (bootleg)|
|Radio Birdman||"Career Of Evil"||*Rock'n'Roll War* (bootleg credits the song to "Bouchard/Smith - Blue Oyster Cult)|
|Radio Birdman||"Career Of Evil"||*Murder City Nights* (bootleg - the track is mislabeled "Career Beatle"); "ME-262", "Before The Kiss", and "Dominance And Submission" have also been covered live - unknown whether or not recorded versions exist|
|Rattlebone||"Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll"|
|The Riverboys||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"|
|David Roter||"Joan Crawford"||*Bambo*|
|David Roter||"Unknown Tongue"||*Bambo*|
|Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*Don't Fear The Reaper* (EP)|
|Screaming Dizbusters (The Nomads)||"This Ain't The Summer Of Love"||single|
|The Screaming Tribesmen||"The Red And The Black"|
|The Sinners||"Dominance and Submission"||*Ten Year Jubilee* (EP)|
|Smashing Pumpkins||"Godzilla" (live)||*Tribute to BOC* (bootleg CD)|
|Patti Smith||"Fire Of Unknown Origin" (her original poem, with instrumental accompaniment), formerly released as a b-side to the single "Frederick" and on a 3-song EP, it was later included as a bonus track on the CD re-release of her *Wave* album|
|Superfuzz||"Godzilla"||*Godzilla* (CD - 3 different versions)|
|Thanatos||"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||*665 - The Neighbor of the Beast*|
|Thunderpuss 2000||"Godzilla"||single (4 dance remix versions)|
|Tommyknockers||"ME-262" and/or "Career Of Evil"|
|Too Hip For The Room||"Don't Fear The Reaper/Burnin' For You" medley||*All-Time Greatest Hips* (See below) / *Don't Fear The Remake*|
|Bonnie Tyler||"Goin' Through The Motions"||*Faster Than the Speed of Light*|
|UV's||"This Ain't the Summer of Love"||U.K. magazine *Bucketfull Of Brains (#26)* flexidisc|
|Mike Watt||"Dominance And Submission"||*E-Ticket Ride* and *Piss Bottle Man* (singles)|
|Helen Wheels||"Tattoo Vampire"||*Archetype*|
|White Flag/Tesco Vee||"Hot Rails To Hell"||*Wild Kingdom*|
|White Flag/Tesco Vee||"Hot Rails To Hell" (live)||*Feeding Frenzy*|
|World of Pooh||"Dominance and Submission"||*Not All That Terrifies Harms* (compilation)|
Also, the magazine *Forced Exposure* published a fake review of a non-existent BOC tribute album. The review appears in issue #18 (Spring 1994).
The fake album is called "Then Came The Last Days Of May", and presumably features the following artists and BOC covers:
Note: Again, this album does not exist - the review is fake.
Speaking of BOC tribute albums, however, there now exists one. The acoustic trio Too Hip For The Room has recorded an album of BOC covers.
Entitled *Don't Fear The Remake*, this album contains musical contributions from Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma, and Danny Miranda of BOC, as well as contributions by BOC lyricist John Shirley, Buck Dharma's wife and brothers, Broadway Blotto, and several BOC fans. The cover is a hand-drawn parody of BOC's *Heaven Forbid* album cover.
The tracklist is given below, and noted where parts of BOC songs are "hidden" within other songs:
Editor's Note: This CD sounds very little like BOC as the band is not trying to faithfully reproduce the songs the way BOC recorded them. These versions are very different from the originals - often humourous, and always interesting. Non-BOC fans might enjoy the music, but would not appreciate the subtleties and inside jokes that fill this CD. It is, however, highly recommended for any BOC fan.
The band also released, as an MP3 download, a "Christmas Medley" of 5 BOC songs with modified lyrics for the holidays:
More information can be found at Too Hip For The Room's website:
To obtain a copy of this release, write to: Too Hip For The Room, P.O. Box 1300, Bellmore, NY 11710
Or send e-mail inquiries to Zurna@aol.com
Finally, while not a "band" cover of a BOC song, a "Muzak" version of BOC's "I Love The Night" apparently exists.
In 1999 and 2000, several BOC fans confirmed hearing this instrumental version. Often referred to as "elevator music", "Muzak" (a name formed by combining "music" with "Kodak", the favorite high-tech company of the founder of Muzak), refers to instrumental versions of songs that are played, among other places, in department stores and dentist offics, or while people are placed "on hold" while on the telephone.
Those fans who have heard the Muzak version of "I Love The Night" were not sure if the version was a complete re-recording, or whether audio from the original version was used.
Science-Fiction writer and former Hawkwind member Michael Moorcock has collaborated with Eric Bloom on three BOC tunes: "The Great Sun Jester", "Black Blade", and "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars". The lyrics to these songs have been inspired by, or used in several of Moorcock's works.
"The Great Sun Jester" is mentioned in two of his novels: "The Fireclown" (a line from the song), and "The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming" (this latter has recently been included in a collection of Moorcock's stories under the title "Constant Fire" - the collection itself is called "Behold the Man and other stories").
Perhaps coincidental, but in "The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming" (titled "Messiah at the End of Time" in the U.S.), the character who appears claiming to be the Fire Clown states one of his many names as Emmanuel Bloom (E. Bloom - co-author of "The Great Sun Jester"?).
The song "Black Blade" refers to Elric the albino king, featured prominently in several Moorcock stories (e.g. "Elric of Melnibone", "Stormbringer"). Elric was a melancholic individual who relied on a supernatural, but treacherous sword for his strength and vigor. The "Black Blade" is that sword, which rules its master, and eventually the universe.
The title of the song, "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" was used in Moorcock's "The Dragon in the Sword" (published in 1987) -- "We are the lost, we are the last, we are the unkind. We are the Warriors at the Edge of Time. We are the cold, the halt, the deaf, the blind. Fate's frozen forces, veterans of the psychic wars..." (from "The Dragon in the Sword", p.68.)
In addition, the line "we are veterans of a thousand psychic wars" appears in Moorcock's song "Standing On The Edge", which appeared on Hawkwind's 1975 concept album, *Warrior On The Edge Of Time*.
There is an interesting connection between two of the three BOC/Moorcock tunes. One of the lyrics in "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" refers to "the winds of limbo". "The Winds Of Limbo" was the alternative title of Moorcock's novel, "The Fireclown". As previously mentioned, "the fireclown" is mentioned in song "The Great Sun Jester".
In addition to the three songs mentioned, Michael Moorcock also wrote lyrics for a BOC song which eventually became "Feel The Thunder". Although the lyrics were not used, some form of them were eventually used in the song, "Sleep Of A Thousand Tears", which was released on Hawkwind's 1985 album, *Chronicle Of The Black Sword*.
Eric Bloom and Michael Moorcock once performed "Black Blade" and "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" together in 1987 at the Dungeons and Dragons convention, "Dragoncon '87".
Moorcock has also performed slightly different forms of the songs "Black Blade" and "The Great Sun Jester" as spoken-word pieces. "Black Blade" was performed in 1977 (3 years before appearing on *Cultosaurus Erectus*), and "The Great Sun Jester was performed with Hawkwind in the early 1980's.
The song, "You're Not The One (I Was Looking For)" (from *Mirrors*) contains the lyric, "All of the fancy ladies, oh they could talk, and talk", after which a few seconds of high-pitched "babbling" can be heard. The "babbling" is actually some spoken words speeded up -- by slowing down the section, a portion of the Lord's Prayer ("Our Father, who art in Heaven"), repeated over and over, can be clearly heard.
According to Bolle Gregmar, Tom Werman inserted a sped-up recording of the Lord's Prayer in the recording as a joke (this same sped-up clip was also used by Werman on Cheap Trick's 1978 album, *Heaven Tonight* -- on the song "How Are You", this same clip is played after singer Robin Zander sings "You talk too much, you even scare my friends").
The words are believed to be spoken by Tom Werman himself. Some anti-rock religious zealots have claimed that the spoken words are actually, "Furthermore, our father who art in heaven . . . Satan", however there is a loud thump where the word "Satan" is, and (in the editor's opinion, who once heard this as presented by some anti-rock religious zealots) can not be clearly made out.
On *Cultosaurus Erectus*, at the very end of the song, "Black Blade", as it is fading out, the "voice of the Black Blade" can be heard to say, "You poor fucking humans". This is in the overlap between the fadeout of the song and the explosions that kick off "Monsters" (the next track).
It may help to use headphones and turn the volume up as the song is fading out to hear this, but it's not necessary - once you know what to listen for, it's not too hard to pick it out. (WARNING - If you do use this method to hear this, make sure you turn it back down before the first notes of the next track, "Monsters" begins!).
This is not on the version of "Black Blade" on *Extraterrestrial Live* (which does not fade out).
On *Flat Out* (Buck Dharma's solo album), there is a "backwards" recording after one of the songs. Presumably this was done as a joke as during the time that the album was released (early 1980's), lots of rock groups were being accused by religious zealots that their lyrics contains satanic messages recorded backwards.
The actual recording is of two people playing ping pong, and discussing some things about the album (nothing satanic). The Fan Club lyric book titles this song Gnop Gnip (ping pong spelled backwards) and gives the following. You have to read it backwards though:
> kcehc dnuos a rof tsuj si siht wonk I tub ass yruoy kcik dluoc I
> cisum lavitsef mlif hu nevele lennahC
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In the early 1980's ("Cultosaurus Erectus" tour), BOC toured with Black Sabbath on a "Black and Blue" tour. The bands would alternate who would be the headliner depending the city in which they were performing.
A video was released of the concert on 10/17/1980 at Nassau Coliseum, New York. A Japanese version (complete with subtitles) is available through various video distributors (see *Goldmine* or *Discoveries* for video dealers - it's probably not available at your local video stores). The video switches back an forth between the two bands every 3-4 songs.
The video also contains a video of "The Marshall Plan" (studio version of the song), where a clean-shaven Eric Bloom plays the part of Johnny. According to Bolle Gregmar, the video is only available commercially on laserdisc. However, copies on video cassette can be found.
There is a video of the *Live 1976* performance (same title). It contains all the songs on the album, plus "E.T.I.". Actually, it was never intended as a "video", and was actually shot live at the Capital Center (Largo, Maryland) in 1976 and projected on large screens at the show (a common practice at the Capital Center - somewhat ahead of it's time in 1976).
Someone kept a copy of the footage, and turned it into a video. When BOC performed at the Capital Center again in 1978, again video on large screens was used, but the film was apparently not kept.
The sound quality of the video has been sharply criticized -- the "quality" is good, but it is very poorly mixed. This same poor mix appears on the *Live 1976* CD as well.
Sound quality aside, the video quality is quite good, and captures the band on its *Agents Of Fortune* tour, complete with lasers, individual solos, and a 5-man guitar jam. In 1998, this release was also released on DVD (digital videodisc).
While not an official video, many people made video copies of a broadcast of a BOC show on 10/9/1981 in Hollywood, Florida. The broadcast, which was part of the "Blue Jean Network", was simulcast on MTV and other TV stations, as well as several radio stations. Many of the songs at this show were used for the *Extraterrestrial Live* album.
Videos for the following songs have been made:
A version of "Godzilla" (live shots of the band, interspersed with clips from various Godzilla movies) may also exist.
A video for "Astronomy" (from *Imaginos*) was also made, but never released in the U.S.
In addition to the above videos, BOC made a promotional live video of 3 songs from *Mirrors* ("Mirrors", "In Thee", "The Great Sun Jester"), and a promotional live video of 4 songs ("R. U. Ready 2 Rock", "Godzilla", "Born To Be Wild", "(Don't Fear) The Reaper") from their 12/30/1977 show in Cobo Hall, Detroit Michigan.
Buck Dharma is also featured in the "Metal Head" video by Blotto, on which Buck also played the guitar solo).
Buck and Eric also appeared on the video *Stars* for the "Hear 'n Aid" project previously mentioned in the FAQ.
While The Brain Surgeons have not made any official videos, Brain Surgeon's guitarist Peter Bohovesky has a role in Alanis Morissette's video, "One Hand in my Pocket" as this guy in puppet outfit scaring a child.According to Deborah Frost, Peter makes puppets (life-size costumes, not hand puppets) for his mother's well known non-profit children's theater company, the Hudson Vagabond Players. A video producer was interested in using the puppet costumes for the video. However, they are difficult for the inexperienced to maneuver in, so Peter, who's familiar with the way they work, wore one for the video.
Albert and Joe Bouchard appear playing with David Roter's band in June of 1998. Albert plays drums and Joe plays keyboards. The video, which also features Pete Bohovesky, Jack Rigg, and others playing with David Roter, includes a performance of BOC's "Joan Crawford" (the lyrics were written by Roter). This video was previously available through Cellsum Records. See the section on contacting Albert Bouchard and Deborah Frost for more information.
As previously mentioned in the FAQ, a video was made containing footage of the 1997 Buck Dharma Band Ricky Browning Benefit. See the section in the FAQ on this event for more information (including ordering information).
In addition to videos, BOC has made several appearances on television over the years. BOC appeared on the *Merv Griffin Show*, mock-performing (actually, they were only lip-synching and pretending to perform to their recordings) "Burnin' For You" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
They later mock-performed the *Extraterrestrial Live* version of "Burnin' For You" on *The Uncle Floyd Show*. For *The Tomorrow Show*, BOC would play live versions of "Burnin' For You" and "Joan Crawford", interspersed with an interview of Buck and Eric.
BOC was one of two bands featured on *Search* news magazine segment on rock music and hearing loss, where Allen is shown taking a hearing test.
Allen and Joe are interviewed on the *Night Flight* show, and the (MTV-banned) "Joan Crawford" video was also shown.
BOC also appeared on two shows which discussed issues dealing with rock music and the Devil, *That Teen Show* (where Buck, Eric, and Allen were interviewed) and *Take Off* (where Eric was interviewed). Eric and Rick Downey are interviewed on the set by Martha Quinn (Martha would later star in the *Bad Channels* movie).
On the show *Fridays*, Allen performed on piano and keyboards for three songs with the Jim Carroll Band.
In 1991, BOC was on Rick Dee's *Into The Night* program on ABC, playing "Godzila" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".
Also, in 1988, Buck, Eric, and Jon Rogers appeared on the British edition of MTV for a 25-minute interview. They also debuted the "Astronomy" video on this show.
It is probably an impossible task to identify all of the various BOC collectibles that are out there. In addition, most of the collectibles were made during the 1970's and early 1980's, so many will be hard, if not impossible to find.
The three best sources for trying to find BOC collectibles are probably the fanclub, the internet, or dealers/collectors advertising in magazines such as *Goldmine*.
After collecting albums, live recordings, videos, and numerous t-shirts, one of the more popular BOC collectibles has been tour programs. There were a total of seven different tourbooks published: three in the U.S., three in the U.K., and one in Japan.
The first tourbook (14" x 11") was put out in 1977 in the U.S. for the *Spectres* tour.
For the 1978 U.K. tour (*Spectres*/*Some Enchanted Evening*), the same book was used, but was produced at a small size (10" x 8").
For BOC's 1979 tour of Japan (*Some Enchanted Evening*), a Japanese tourbook (14" x 10") was printed.
BOC also released a tourbook in the U.K. (10" x 9") in 1979 for the *Mirrors* tour.
For some reason, no U.S. tourbook for *Mirrors* was produced -- only a poster-magazine titled "Rockbill" which had a band biography, some pictures, and an order form for Satin tour jackets (another BOC collectible).
Tourbooks were also released in the U.S. in 1980 for the *Cultosaurus Erectus* tour (9" x 12") and in 1981 for the *Fire Of Unknown Origin* tour (11.75" x 11.75").
Finally, a tourbook for the 1986 *Club Ninja* tour (10" x 9") was produced, and the leftovers were later sold in the U.S.
Note: Much of the information on tour programs was provided by Melne Murphy of the BOC Fan Club, which appeared in an article in the fan club's newsletter, "Morning Final".
One other collectible for musicians who are BOC fans are songbooks. Warner Brothers Publications produced three BOC songbooks which included basic piano arrangements, guitar chords (no tablature), and lyrics.
The most interesting of the three was the *Anthology* book, released in 1978. The cover of the book was the *Some Enchanted Evening* cover, and it included all of the songs on *On Your Feet Or On Your Knees* (with the exception of "Buck's Boogie", "Maserati GT", and "Born To Be Wild"), *Some Enchanted Evening*, as well as "This Ain't The Summer Of Love".
Also released in 1978 was *Spectres/Agents Of Fortune*, which contained all the songs from those two albums. Interestingly enough, *Agents Of Fortune* came before *Spectres*, but the songbook lists all the songs from *Spectres* first.
The third book from Warner Brothers was for *Mirrors*, and was released in 1979. These three songbooks are long out of print.
According to Bolle Gregmar, Warner Brothers also released 3 BOC songs as sheet music:
Finally, the Hal Leonard Corporation recently released a songbook for *Cult Classic*. This book contains both musical notation and tablature for guitar for all the songs on *Cult Classic* -- even the guitar leads and solos.
Other BOC collectibles include (but are not limited to): badges, pendants, keychains, dice (pictures of a BOC keychain and BOC dice are printed on the two CDs which make up *Workshop Of The Telescopes*), stickers, baseball caps, visors, scarves, headbands, belt buckles, patches, pins, promo photos, cardboard standups, and guitar picks.
Finally, one might consider published articles about BOC as a collectible. Most articles on BOC, aside from local newspaper articles (usually coinciding with a BOC show), can be found in music magazines from the 1970's and 1980's. A good place to start would be magazines such as *Creem*, *Circus*, *Hit Parader*, *Rolling Stone*, and *Kerrang*.
In addition to various live recordings and interviews captured by fans on tape, there exists a set of recordings from the spring of 1981 to the summer of 1982 when Eric Bloom acted as a gues DJ, on WLIR-FM in New York.
The show was called "Every Wednesday Nite With Eric Bloom" with host Ben Manilla. The show was sometimes nicknamed "The Bozo Patrol", after a "Bozo Patrol Theme Song" which Eric and Ben created.