Blue Öyster Cult

ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Oyster Cult FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

This band were on the verge of their big breakthrough at the time of this concert. Mr. Barton was not as impressed with the opening band…
Read on!


Concert review from Hammersmith

By Geoff Barton

Support act Lemmy`s Motorhead played the second worst set I`ve ever seen. The only past concert I can think of that surpasses it, in terms of musical ineptitude, was of course the same band`s first gig some while back at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse.
Blue Oyster Cult`s long-awaited British debut at Hammersmith Odeon on Sunday couldn`t have been further removed: far from careless and clumsy, the US band turned in the slickest, most professional, most finely honed `metal set` I have ever seen.
The Cult are a five piece: three guitars (mainly), keyboards and drums. The front line is shared more or less equally between unassuming lead guitarist Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser and `stun` guitarist Eric Bloom.
Musically, they are excellent: overall, the concert made the band`s recent live album `On Your Feet Or On Your Knees` sound like a demo record.
All the Cult faves are there, and an enthusiastic audience knew it: `Od`d On Life Itself`, `Havester Of Eyes`. `Buck`s Boogie` (overlong, in retrospect, and featuring the only lowspot of the evening, a heavy handed drum solo) and the encore to end all encores – a triple dose of `Dominance And Submission`, `Hot Rails To Hell` and an awesome `Born To Be Wild`.
The effects were impeccable: flame shooting from Bloom`s fingertips, massed revolving strobes, diz-busting explosions and, during the five – count them, five – guitar showcase `ME 262`, enough dry ice smoke to make Bradford look like a Green Belt area.
To say that Blue Oyster Cult lived up to my expectations would not do them justice. To predict that, when they return to do more dates in November, they`ll have the country on its knees, would be no rash thing. Od`d on the Cult themselves.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Öyster Cult FROM SOUNDS, June 29, 1974

Mr. Makowski wasn`t too keen on B.Ö.Cs brand of heavy rock in 1974. Personally I find it a great album, but I can understand that it`s not to everyone`s taste.


Blue Oyster Cult: “Secret Treaties” (CBS 80103)

Record review by Pete Makowski

If Andy McKay is in search of Eddie Riff he might as well give up now – Blue Oyster Cult found him years ago. Yep, it`s the “The Nuremburg Rally`s Greatest Moments” from CBS`s answer to the SS… well, that`s if you take the Cult so seriously. Y`see they put this menacing image of being Gestapoids and play real evil music but I`ve heard stories that during warm ups they do numbers like “Hang On Sloopy” and that they`re old session pros. Well you can`t believe everything you hear, but this album makes me wonder how long this band are going to last. If they`re supposed to be America`s answer to Black Sabbath they might as well give up. It`s good meaty stuff but the overall effect is bland and uninspiring and this certainly doesn`t match up to standard of their first two releases. The best tracks are “Career Of Evil” and the rather odd “Flaming Telepaths”. I`m not really knocked out with the guitar playing provided by Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser and Eric Bloom. Other tracks on the album are “Subhuman”, “ME 262”, “Cagey Cretins”, “Harvester Of Eyes” and “Astronomy”. I still think that Britain`s got the stranglehold on heavy rock.


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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Oyster Cult FROM SOUNDS, March 3, 1973

The first of many Blue Oyster Cult albums got a “warm” welcome at Sounds. B.Ö.C didn`t let this stand in the way of fame and fortune and carried on to have a great career. By the way, I really don`t know why Mr. Hayman didn`t comment on the fantastic song title: “She’s as Beautiful as a Foot”. If ever there was a great song title….

Well, I`m off to Stockholm for a few days. Guess I will visit some record stores and otherwise have fun. See you around!


Album review:

Blue Oyster Cult
(CBS 64904)

By Martin Hayman

This is the much-vaunted American band composed, I believe, of rock and roll critics – and certainly championed by them as THE underground band. Its cult appeal has been carefully fostered, and if this is what happens when the men who write the reviews get behind the instruments, then I can only say: Back to your typewriters! It`s a dense, hard, riffy music without great finesse… but then finesse is not what punk-rock is about, I suppose. Lead guitarist Donald Roeser wails away over some powerful, churning rhythms from a thick, unsubtle rhythm section. There appear to be three guitarists and it all gets a bit overbearing at times, though really there are some nice touches – “Then Came The Last Days Of May” is based on a pleasing idea and when they tone it down, give each other some room, exploit the use of space a little, then the music becomes quite acceptable. “Redeemed” is nice, with more intelligent use of dynamics, but most of the rest is undistinguished, like trying to tell the difference between being hit on the head with a ten-pound hammer and a twenty-pound hammer – either way it gets to you. This album was recorded way back in October 1971, though it has only just been released by CBS, so I would imagine most of the people who wanted it would have it by now. I don`t want to give the impression that this is a rotten album – the playing never drops below competent, but it`s the competence of slightly outdated heavy-psychedelic rock or whatever, as indicated by the hippy-trippy name. Maybe it`s meant to be a bit of a joke, and as for the bit about the critics… actually they are probably all musicians doing the best they can, but there`s a score of British bands who have got albums out who can better this. Put it down to a White Elephant Craze.

Blue oyster

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Darryl Way (Curved Air), Sounds staff analyse David Bowie, Nazareth, Steve Marriott, Average White Band, Elton John, Geordie, Status Quo, Slade, Stackridge, Peter Gabriel, Mike Heron, Jesse Winchester, Thin Lizzy.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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A little while ago the number of visits to this blog passed 50,000. Thank you all for reading this and giving me motivation to continue to post these articles from long ago in a tribute to both artists and writers alike.
This blog is still a blog for the few, and what better way to celebrate than with an article that honours the cult that reads this blog with a band famous for attracting a cult of fans and even having the word “Cult” in their name?
Here`s to the next 50,000 visits!


Oysters swamped by unchained superlatives

The Blue Oyster Cult:
Agents Of Fortune

By Max Bell

I guess I`ll have to lay my cards down and say I always felt the Cult would produce a no-holds-barred stone masterwork befitting a band of individuals so obviously attuned to the spirit of the genre. “Agents Of Fortune” is the album in question.
After last summer`s European jaunt which resulted in previous advocates withdrawing their favours somewhat, much talk of lame stage act, failed evil aura – you remember – I waited apprehensively for the rebuttal from the East Coast`s only begotten sons of dizbuster acid rock into the here and now.
They are vindicated without apologies.
Perhaps the criticisms levelled at Pearlman`s troops was justified. I thought much of the sniping was at least constructive; so did they to the extent that at the second Hammersmith Odeon riot they`d removed the drum solo, cut the extraneous crowd-pleasing crap and concentrated on arching the hall with their battery of musical-cum lyrical genius.
It comes to mind that there are only a handful of bands merging the relevant influences of the last decade with the potential that increased sophistication in terms of instrumentation, volume, production mono makes feasible; on my turntable The Cult are more adept at keeping one clawed boot in the `60s while the other paw scrapes away at the dark core of today than any comparable outfit.
Their first monster set the scene and outlined the persona that “Tyranny And Mutation” turned into BOC`s thumbprint. The glove was down but there was no competition. “Secret Treaties” followed as `74`s sole legit H.M. classic (when another so called contender for the wreath dreams up a song as irresistibly mind boggling as “Dominance And Submission” come back and tell me).

The live album, which in retrospect is patchy, contained evidence at its best of the Cult`s manic soft white underbelly and their fearsome reputation as purveyors of the meanest, literally frightening dosage available in vinyl format.
With “Agents Of Fortune”, unbelievably, they transcend its predecessors. A solid blow to all those with wool in their ears sprouting off on the death knoll of rock `n` roll, either too unenlightened or culpably refusing to listen to the surfeit of superb music nestling under their noses in 1976.
The matter at hand. Without wishing to destroy your sense of discovery too much I`ll fill you in on the cover art work, something they always take care of with unequalled panache.
Out front a gent in evening dress card sharps four artefacts from the tarot pack that all bear on the inner material (recorded). Behind Lynn Curlee`s painting the spheres revolve, controlled by this ambiguous agent. I`ll leave the rest to your eager purchase and vivid imagination.
The harvest is immediately reaped on “This Ain`t The Summer Of Love”, which is the Cult recovering all angles in their changing moods of panic, cynicism and ultimate rock truth Eric Bloom handles the vocal with his customary nastiness: “Feeling easy on the outside, not so funny on the inside. Hear the sound pray for rain, `cos this is the night we ride. This ain`t the Garden of Eden, there ain`t no angels above, and things ain`t what they`re supposed to be, and this ain`t the summer of love.”
The song is distinctly moody – as in unpleasant. Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser stalks off on a mesmerising guitar volley the equal of any of his own previous creations. At just 2.20 minutes this would make one hell of a single – incongruous maybe, but heavy in the unadulterated sense of the word.

Finally Allan Lanier makes his singing debut with a solo composition I first heard at the four-track stage in a London hotel room late last autumn. To mark the occasion Columbia have spelt his name right on the cover.
The number, “True Confessions”, is presumably about strained relationships a la the boy and girl school, particularly with both Lanier and Patti Smith being on the road almost permanently. Can`t think why they`ve kept Lanier`s writing and singing talents under wraps for so long because this is a further addition to the Cult`s stream of self-contained vignettes – without actually bearing too much on the overall direction of the album.
The Brecker Brothers` searing saxes tear off the piano motif while the incomparable Bouchard rhythm section drips alongside.
Just why these boys are so patiently manufacturing to a standard far removed from normal excellence is amply indicated on “(Don`t Fear) The Reaper”, a Roeser classic that will stand against previous examples of inspiration such as “Astronomy” and “The Last Days Of May.” It`s the longest cut on the album of unusually short songs but although the melody is beautifully to the point of hummable the number is pure muscle; no fatty tissue.
Of all the acceptable heavy exponents the Cult seems more likely to uncover a chord structure of this magnificence, and only Dharma could sing it with the appropriate delicacy.
Under the hypnotic guitar line Albert Bouchard and Bloom weave a subtle percussive off beat that tantalises until the vocal creeps insiduously in. The second chorus begins: “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity,” the harmony accompanying is pure magic, just like Michael and The Messengers in fact.
Thereafter the Cult do not look back.


“E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” is outrageous. The Sandy Pearlman and Roeser team have here written chaos many times before and this kick in the face joins the ranks at the top. Synthesised voice guitar that destroys anything Joe Walsh or Jeff Beck have ever mangled out of said gadget, then the Rock King of the Finger Lakes spitting out the “Agents Of Fortune”, Balthazar, epic grande.
Lyrically it`s prime obscure Cult. Must be one of the Desdanova cycle that they`ve traced throughout their existance. Buck`s front line attack surpasses “Hot Rails” and the rhythm support is not to be tampered with.
Two points here. Firstly, I think “E.T.I.” may be one of BOC`S projected inclusions of the “Fire Of Unknown Origin/Mirror Of Illusion” project which Bouchard and Pearlman have been formulating as their coup de theatre. From what I heard last summer this will be an achievement on the level of Brian Wilson`s lost “Smile” tapes. Hope it doesn`t go the same way.
Secondly, this is the only song on the album composed by Pearlman. Whether this is politics or just the way it happened I don`t know. I do know that Pearlman and Cult are synonymous and that`s how they must keep it for maximum effect.
Conjecture aside, the lead break is severely demonic, a cities aflame blaze.
Both sides are arranged in total symnetry, two shortish songs build into the middle which in each case is the weightiest number lengthwise, then two more balanced finales arranged as penultimate movement and crescendo.

The block-buster on side one is Patti Smith`s and Albert Bouchard`s “The Revenge Of Vera Gemini.” Now Patti at the Roundhouse was a revelation, but I`ve always felt that “Career Of Evil” and “Baby Ice Dog” were the best things she ever wrote. And this joins them.
It`s a male/female dance duet and absolutely in the footsteps of James Douglas Morrison: “You are boned like a snake with the consciousness of a snake.”
If I could describe the effect this will have on you (which I can`t) then suffice to say it comes over like Shocking Blue locked in the next dimension. Ms. Smith even sings in tune, and for fans of her debut record there`s a clue as to her future: “No more horses, horses, we`re gonna swim like a fish”. Dharma peels off kerosene-doused licks and the ending resolves into deathly hush.
Side two opens with a couple of Bouchard and H. Robbins compositions, “Sinful Love” and “Tattoo Vampire” which are both archetypal fantasy domain Cult, totally bizarre, straightforward streamrolling lunacy. Keep a close friend near at all times, especially for “Tattoo Vampire” `cos it kicks off like a pack of skinned bats.
Quiet man of the band, Jo “The Bass” Bouchard, sings the medial cut, “Morning Final”, a murder on the subway with full grisly sound effects. Lanier`s organ and piano work is remiscent of early Ray Manzarek, a double-edged knife consistency so dense it`ll turn your emotions onto full tap.
This finishes with a hell bound train grinding to a screech upon which the doors open to reveal “Tenderloin”.

Now I expect The Cult to be different at all times but “Tenderloin” is a real departure. It`s another Allen Lanier ouvre. Bloom`s phrasing and the jazz blue note treatment is new ground: “I come to you in a blue, blue robe” and “I`m feeling hungry have another line” highlight Eric`s chilling delivery, the style I thought had reached fruition on “Secret Treaties” taken to a completely alternative conclusion. The keyboard on the third verse is masterful. On the other hand the closer, “Debbie Denise,” a Patti Smith poem from the “Witt” collection, is inexplicable. Bouchard produces a melodic melange so basically alien to the BOC image I`m not sure how they get away with it, but they do.
Getting down to the grits I`d call it a combination of Four Seasons counter part harmony rooted in the warm outerworld of vigilante tomboy Lesbian ballad with neo-Beach Boys bad vibration synthesisers to ice off the whole mixture. (Max!!!-Ed)
Bearing in mind that the lyrics are an adaption of a woman-to-woman situation, when you hear Albert sing “I’d  come here with my hair hanging down and she’d pin it up and softly smile. And I was rolling with my man” it becomes apparent that it takes these guys to carry off the near-maudlin and make it tasteful. The number is branded classic.
Listen, it`s no hyper-critical bullshit to say that “Agents Of Fortune” will elevate this band to the ranks reserved for the pioneers. BOC don`t plagiarise for their ideas but they have the mystique and menace peculiar to vintage American rockers. When all is said and done this is the Cult at their best. Buy it, turn it on loud and work it out. I haven`t come down yet.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Steely Dan, Helen Mirren, Rod Stewart, Sam Jones, Supercharge, Stevie Winwood and Stomu Yamashta, Average White Band, Dr. Hook.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Öyster Cult from New Musical Express, October 18, 1975

I like the writing style of Mr. Bell, making this an excellent report from the frontlines of the BOC tour with added interviews as a bonus. The band are still actively touring in a “tour that never ends” and I hope to get the chance to see them play in Norway at the start of August 2016. You either get it or you don`t with this band. I like them a lot! Enjoy reading the article!


The Triumph of Insanity

It seemed like something was rotten in the State of Georgia. Something that needed checking out. But relax, it`s OK. Violence, rock`n`roll and schizophrenia are reassuringly alive and well. And here`s Max Bell`s report from Klu Klux Klan Kuntry on the BLUE OYSTER CULT on the eve of their long-awaited British visit.

The last time I saw Sandy Pearlman he was sitting on the floor of an Atlanta hotel room having just guzzled several bags of takeaway ribs from Ma Hall`s Southern Fried porched diner. Maybe he ate himself to death, I don`t know, but he certainly wasn`t there in the morning; just a heap of charred and chewed bones plus a few fragments of tomato-stained meat smeared over the counterpane.
Pearlman likes eating. Buck Dharma says he likes it even more than the Blue Oyster Cult, which is where we come in.
Atlanta, Georgia is adopted Blue Oyster Cult territory, the home of Coca Cola, the city with the highest cancer rate in the U.S.; it`s also Ku Klux Klan Kuntry which fits in neatly with BOC`s underskin of Colonial influence nurtured from the dusty archives on Providence, Rhode Island and Lovecraft`s rotting manuscripts in Brown University.
The exclusively white, “snob”, end of Atlanta`s famed Peachtree Street boasts some of the finest English settlement buildings in the world on Colony Square. But despite this Anglo ambience, the standard conversation still consists of three questions: “How ya doin` today? Take care d`ya hear? Have a nice day y`all, okay?”
Such mechanical good manners make it tempting to answer with the inanities: “Rotten. Shan`t. Get lost.” But since a lot of people wear guns next to their smile badges, it`s easier to settle for a deft grunt.

However, enough of this. What we`re here for is to witness the heaviest band in the States (in terms of subject matter if not sound) at a time when it seems increasingly important to see them vindicate the championship belt of twilight insanity.
The Blue Oyster Cult have already cancelled three British tours (although now they`re due here in a few days` time) for no other apparent reason than that their live album was selling like hot cakes in the U.S. – 20 with a missile on Billboard and Pearlman predicts that the next album will break seven nationally.
Why should it be necessary to see them vindicate the championship belt? Because that live album was almost universally panned in America, often by their staunchest supporters. Someone, somewhere along the line had to be wrong and I wasn`t keen on the idea that it was me.
Critics who should know, Cognoscenti, Mike Saunders and Lester Bangs, both self-elected doyens of the heavy metal afterworld, were getting the knives nice and hot. The Cult had blown their bolt,, become stagnant tools in the hands of power-crazed Oberfüehrer Pearlman, and yes we would let these guys carry our girlfriends` satchels.
Too bad for a band with an umlaut and a reputation for coming on like a concrete fix in the afterglow of Hiroshima. It may be fine administering clever albums, but only cutting it live up there on stage gives the mystique any real credibility.

So I was worried. Georgia is a long bus ride if you`re gonna see your favourites go under in disgrace. On the eve of the BOC`s major European tour I was hoping for at least a sliver of solace, just so the folks back home wouldn`t end up thinking they`d wasted October`s beer money on reckless pursuits.
Well, someone was holding out. But it wasn`t the Cult. Because I saw with my very own eyes the most positive rebuke possible to any number of snide untruths.
Yes, the Cult won.
Yes, this is one of the most infallible live shows ever devised for getting an audience off by the shortest sensible route… in through the ears and out the soles of the feet.
Outside the Stones Who league, a particularly English syndrome anyhow, I cannot imagine any other band promoting such a spontaneous response as the one I saw at the end of aforesaid bus ride. Moreover, the above mentioned are forefathers of a movement that won`t last for ever, whereas BOC are aimed at a different generation.
The Cult`s formula works in the heat of the moment; there`s none of the expectancy that you get waiting for “My Generation” or “Brown Sugar” to come up because they don`t have hits as such. There are preferences, obviously, but the show is balanced destruction.
The proof was in the auditorium where 15,000 teen archers were blitzed, digested, devastated and all the other things BOC are presumed to inflict via their base metallic arsenal. Not since the arrival of General Sherman had the Peach State been so effectively turned over.

Forget all the cliches about cooking, boogie and “This is a track off our last album.” The Cult are simply dirty, explosive urban league operators out to dazzle and by the time they`ve finished everyone is on his feet, no-one is on his knees.
As a venue the Omni Sports Theatre is horrible, fine for baseball acoustics and not much else. At first the sound problems nullify any enjoyment in what`s going down on stage.
“Stairway To The Stars” implodes, a slow motion replay with the volume off. Sandy Pearlman paces around the console muttering blue murder while mixers mix furiously for a reasonable balance and the rest of us twiddle our thumbs.
During “Harvester Of Eyes” it`s apparent that the synthesiser opening fails to get much past Eric Bloom`s fingertips. Allan Lanier spits out his fag in disgust and gives the equipment a good boot. Wham. Must have worked, `cos the audience rise as one at the wave of aggression channelled off that stage.
Bloom, resplendent in jet black hari kari costume straps on his stun guitar… “Just last week I took a ride. So high on eyes I almost lost my way”… and Dharma escalates the solo into open mouths. The crowd are drained and elated, and this is the second number.
Pearlman stomps time on his right foot and smirks through the compulsory shades. His whole attention is fixed on watching the 24-hour adrenalin flow seeping off the platform and making sure it stays that way.

Now the juice is on and “Dominance And Submission” gets into some real Cult fantasy. Bloom strikes a neon leather Rodin pose and sings about that unfortunate car ride. The Bouchard brothers, Albert and Joe, notch onto a neat, sullen beat, buzzing the song to death throes with all the vicious love of a gang war chainfight in a Brooklyn car lot.
Of course the aura is a joke, no-one but an imbecile would build a lifestyle round this kind of sickness, but then only an imbecile could fail to respond to the invention.
A poisonous “Flaming Telepaths” manufactures equal overkill but half the kick is laughing with the Cult. They are tactless, no argument, but they are also extremely funny in a nasty kind of way. When Bloom reaches the line “And the joke`s on you” the stage darkens. A hideous answering chuckle reverberates through the entire hall and sparks cartwheel from his fingers.
The effects used throughout are surprisingly few; sparse but effective.
If you think you know what to expect from a rock `n` roll concert, think again. That was just the chaser. During “Cities On Flame” Bouchard takes lead vocal at an agonisingly slow melting pace, his voice resembling a berserk buzz-saw eating dinner.
The pocket version white-suited Dharma steps out for their re-tuned Yardbirds tribute, “Maserati GT,” once known as “I Ain`t Got You” and then slots straight into ten minutes of unbearable riff magic – “Buck`s Boogie” – which is all right by me because he may well be the best hard rock guitarist functioning today. He has none of Townshend`s athleticism or Jimmy Page`s flash frisson but he burns the hell out of every precise lick and he`s only five foot two.

Just as the audience is at breaking point the Cult all file off stage, leaving one spotlit Bouchard storming his kit for the original amusing drum solo. Albert laughs his head off as well he might because he looks ridiculous; leather hot pants, top hat, striped socks like a perverted Hamburg Scoutmaster indulging the dumbest stately battle on throbbing skins.
Once the Mutron synthesiser is turned on he really fools about, skimming rolls off the wall in some gruesome imitation of a sheet metal worker banging rivets into your head.
Just when the crescendo is at the level where the band left off they race back and kick into “ME 262″… “Hitler`s on the phone from Berlin, says I`m gonna make you a star.” The audience is delirious and the riot cops are nervous. Off goes the bomber warning, Lanier switches from keyboards to rhythm, and suddenly all five of them are in a line playing guitar. Five screaming dizbusters switched into the ultimate rock fantasy and the new definition of heavy metal.
Bloom slides over the piano Minnelli style, smoke engulfing the stage and flames jut into the pit setting fire to the lap of some unfortunate in the 20th row. The fire marshal races towards the exit but he can`t get there because Bloom is growling “See these English planes go burn” and they won`t let him through.
There`s more murky excitement generated in this one moment than we in Britain have seen from a visiting band in a long time. It makes “On Your Feet” look insipid. It`s irresistible.

Off stage, the Cult are the very antithesis of their projected heavy duty image. For starters there`s their height, or lack of it. Eric Bloom is potentially the toughest, punk stare and grounded air ace junk jacket. Actually, even he is friendly and small: “I often have to apologise to fans for not fulfilling my reputation. Sometimes I think we ought to bust a few heads and rape the chicks who hang around.”
It becomes obvious during the next two days that constant touring is wearing down the band considerably. After one publicity visit to a local record store where they have to sneer to order and autograph records menacingly, Bloom corners me on the way out to the car: “See how mundane all this bullshit is, doing the same thing day in, day out.”
Albert Bouchard is even more emphatic: “You just wouldn`t believe how bored I get playing the same songs every night. I want it to change all the time.”
All this puts my impressions badly out of synch. On the Sunday Cult share the bill with Uriah Heep in Knoxville, Tennessee, to a smaller crowd of 3,000 and it`s possible to ascertain traces of a group going through the motions.
After that gig we hold an interview in the hotel with a cavalcade of groupies frothing outside the door. Eric Bloom slumps down crossly:
“Got any Machiavellian questions? Would you guys like to kill your mother? The apocalypse is coming huh! That Lester Bangs is an asshole. He won`t talk to us anymore but if I ever see him again he`s gonna get outta my sight. Asshole.”

What`s eating Eric?
“Those critics who say we`re a tool of Pearlman and Murray Krugman. OK, they got us off the ground…” Cut to Albert Bouchard on the window sill “… and they channelled us towards heavy metal but we still come up with the ideas. We`ve never been their gimmick.”
But if Pearlman walked out now would the Cult continue, bearing in mind that he writes a fair percentage of the lyrics?
Joe Bouchard pours out his Christian Brothers brandy into a tooth mug and takes a stiff snort: “The opposite is Sandy`s big worry. A lot of our popularity has to do with the way we play live. He`s not as necessary as he was.”
Allan Lanier pitches in thoughtfully: “He was a useful exposure to influences, he had this energy… he found us when we were so poor we couldn`t afford to go to the beach. He opened certain doors and he was in the band. Then we didn`t say he was our manager. Now he`s definitely our manager but he`s not in the band. He works in an office and he just isn`t as exposed as before.”
The description of a bureaucratic Pearlman is pretty hard to take and only partially true. In addition to being their manager he also handles Handsome Dick Manitoba`s Dictators and is constantly looking for other creative outlets to vent his madness on.


If Murray Krugman hadn`t said no to The Tubes their names instead of Al Kooper`s would be on the credits. He`s very pissed off about that, I can tell you, though as far as Lanier`s concerned he can do what he likes: “More power to him. His riff is to walk in on raw potential and say `I can give you this, get you that.` Sure it`s a gimmick but so is everything else in rock.”
What`s the gimmick?
“That it`s a business. That we didn`t get to England because of the money… a lot of politics. Columbia wanted their own agency handling us to underwrite expenses.”
And then the Cult are doing so well in America that coming to Europe wasn`t a wise move until now. They have other reasons for wanting to do well here though. Lanier`s Henry James story of the yank who needs to put one over the culture superior renaissance elders over the pond is a real emotion to many thinking Americans:
“On a personal level it is very important to go and do great in England and France. The typical American ego of going back to the roots and impressing. Also it will be such a relief to play for an audience with a different programme of responses. We`re all agreed on that.”
And they are, even Joe Bouchard who so far has been the only one prepared to find some satisfaction in their Stateside mission.

Bloom has the strongest anti-viewpoint: “If we look bored that`s `cos we are bored. I often sleepwalk through a show, I know I`m gonna be good anyway.”
Joe interjects on cue: “I dunno, I kinda enjoyed Atlanta.” “Well, that was different. We hadn`t played there for two years. But Knoxville… what are we doing here? The place is dead, man.” Bouchard hastily: “But the kids are never disappointed. They can`t afford to be.”
Much of the enervation lies in not having produced a studio work since “Secret Treaties” from which to mould an act, hence the fact that there`s nothing new in the equation. They`re not too thrilled with the live album either, despite Pearlman`s assertion that it made “Live At Leeds” look like “weak tea.”
They say they`re fifty per cent satisfied with it, though Albert rates it less: “I`m really pissed off with it… didn`t even want to do it, but they committed us too early. After the last night I was so fed up with the engineers that I threw my guitar into the amp after “ME 262,” which is immature but that`s the way I felt.”
The violent atmosphere they`re supposed to promote is getting them down as well. Ask Eric:
“We all have our chains and mirrored ceiling of course, and swings in the living room.”
Albert: “Well, I do have an extensive comic collection.”

Lanier has the coherent answer: “Being on the road it`s hard to pull through with the image psycholitically (he hates flying for instance). I want calm homely surroundings, like watching Johnny Carson or playing Beach Boys` records. We`re all schizophrenic. I compare it with Brian Wilson. He couldn`t swim and was a lousy hot rod driver but it`s all a hallucination of repressions. America is so redolent with violent images.”
Bloom has another version: “Growing up in New York in `58 there were real hitters at school and I was a little guy. If I wore a leather jacket I got stepped on, now I can do all that without my mother stopping me.”
“Yeah, you`re a cheap snot.”
“OK, but I enjoy it, it`s fun.”
One of the reasons why they have to live up to something false is to do with their own refusal to give out lyric sheets, hence people often fail to understand the acute tongue in cheek content. The Cult don`t believe in the kamikaze Avengers trip themselves and certainly don`t foster it off the boards:
“How can we be our size and be serious about it? What do people get attached to about us? We`re not so into impaling the audience as Black Sabbath so you have to be funny unless you feel possessed by strange spirits. If you were serious you`d just become a massive ego out there.”

Lanier seems anxious to keep the star allure absent from his life:
“Do they think we`re all barbarians over there? Do those stories about Patty Hearst and Manson fascinate people in England?”
Bloom, who is Jewish, sticks his neck out and cuts in with a remark of his own which has nothing to do with the conversation:
“One of the problems is that so many rock writers are Jewish. We were banned from Circus magazine `cos the editor`s Jewish and thinks we`re all Nazis. Then Lester puts that we are all Jewish which is crap.”
Albert slides onto the floor with a loud guffaw:
“I`ll bet Abraham Lincoln was Jewish, he liked negroes and stuff. Yeah, Abe Lincoln.”
Two Southern Belles walk in and plonk themselves at Eric`s feet. I wonder how much the group can grow in terms of popularity? An unfortunate question:
“Well, we`re all past puberty.” Funny guy, eh, Dharma? “Sure I`m planning on it, but the business gets more disgusting the further you go into it. So many rock stars are divorced from real life.”
Lanier agrees that there is a particularly English class syndrome which involves rich rock stars buying mansions in the country and then giving reality the two fingers. He bats around the proposition that the biz is sleazy and in the grip of a definite middle class stranglehold:

“There`s no charm or inspiration left. When you begin you`re naive, y`know. The long haul is just, `Great, will my mum give me some cookies to take on the road?` But then I don`t agree with the people who say rock`n`roll is arrested adolescence and that one day you`ll grow up.
“There aren`t many live phenomena that people go out of their houses to see. Rock is one of the few, and also theatre `cos TV is so awful. But even so the old concept of downtown as a place for meeting in clubs is dead. We`re all stuck in front of television.”
On to new material, of which the Cult have plenty. At present there are two separate plans. I heard snippets from both. One is the new band album yet to be recorded but which should be mixed in England and released in February. This has the working title “Fire Of Unknown Origin” and includes three or four Patti Smith songs which were written with boyfriend Lanier.
The rough cuts I listened to were the title track, “True Confessions” (Patti singing harmonies), and a very heavy Dharma song, “Don`t Fear The Reaper.” They all sounded like something of a departure from usual Oysteroid style and they were all goodies without any softening up on subject matter:
“It`ll be bold, brave, sexy, very sensual, a lot more human than we`ve been before. `Secret Treaties` was a political dissertation but we won`t do any more pamphlets or broadsides. There`s still going to be a lot of good old death songs, though, `cos we like `em and there aren`t many things you can write interesting songs about. It`s hard to get politically involved with Ford in the White House.

“The album will have jagged edges and be like us, evolutionary of course. We will all lose two incisors and one toe.”
Pearlman and Albert Bouchard are working independently on another scheme called “The Soft Doctrines Of Imaginos” which continues in the vein of “Astronomy” and keeps the Lovecraft character Desdanova alive.
Numbers include: “Immaginos,” “I Am The One You Warned Me Of,” “When The Party`s Over,” “Siege And Investiture” and “Del Rio Song.” From initial hearing it sounds like it could be the first important concept album, a new horizon altogether.
“When The Party`s Over (Magna Of Illusion)” is wipeout. A song about a mirror endowed with destructive qualities and the influence to set countries at war, a tyranny and mutation magnum opus that ends with the advent of 1914. Originally the Cult weren`t prepared to tackle the idea. Bloom particularly because he has to cope with Pearlman`s lyrics which are all straight non-rhyming prose, but they`re being won over.
Maybe the biggest compliment you can pay this band is that they`re totally unlike anyone else when it comes to the execution of interesting themes: Lanier`s theory for that is highly tenable:
“We don`t want to be so much ominous as radically different. See, rock is getting very traditional. The 70`s are crazy. In the 60`s poverty was noble until people realised what they were paying for gasoline. Suddenly it isn`t romantic at all to be poor so the music is very conservative.

“You can`t be static though, that`s why we like the polarisation of those who like us or hate us, or just like one album and not the rest. We`d never put out a record similar to the others. We never have done, and we have presentation ideas that lead up to making the stage show appear to be a hallucination, as much like cinema as possible.
“How are we going to do in Europe though? I imagine there`ll be such a big push people will be sick of all the hype.”
Unlikely. There are enough of us over here who`ve waited too long for that to be true. Besides, any band who employs the touring legend “Blue Oyster Cult – On Tour For Ever” and has Nuremberg on the date list must be worth checking out. Then there`s such a hiatus in excitement that we need all the BOCs and Springsteens we can get.
Even as I write the tarmacs are being prepared for the arrival of the 1277 express so go and see for yourselves and let no-one tell you you should have been there. Because you should.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: The Who, Eric Clapton, The Tubes, David Bowie`s Mum, Thin Lizzy, Bert Jansch, Van McCoy, Budgie, Gerry Johnson.

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