Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cities On Flame With Rock N Roll

Thanx to a link in a post from Homercat's Good Rockin Tonight, I am inspired to bring thee music from the band that brought you more cowbell...

Blue Oyster Cult formed on Long Island in the late 60's and hit their stride with Buck Dharma joining by the early 70s... emerging from Long Island's suburban heavy acid rock scene that also spawned Vanilla Fudge, The Good Rats,Leslie West's Mountain, Eddie Money's high school act The Grapes of Wrath, Billy Joel's early metal band Attila and DUST ( which featured Gene Simmon's guitar tutor Richie Wise and the future Marky Ramone).

It was a fertile scene for working class teenage rebels tired of tract housing and looking for escape. The boys had a vivid imagination, and their pal Richard Meltzer who wrote for an influential rock zine called Crawdaddy,introduced them to a fellow student and contributor at Stony Brook College named Sandy Pearlman.

Pearlman coined the fledgling act Soft White Underbelly, and began getting them gigs opening for The Grateful Dead, and a showcase before Elektra' Records' Jac Holzman. Elektra signed the band in 1969 and then promptly dropped the act with it's unstable lineup. In an effort to escape any lingering bad press, Pearlman now dubbed them Blue Oyster Cult as they got a new lease on life with Columbia Records circa 1970.

Their debut album finally hit the racks in 1972, and the lead off single was Cities On Flame ...

here it is some 30 years later

Blue Oyster Cult - Cities On Flame ( Live 2002 in Chicago ).

The Rush for Life Over the Randolph Street Bridge, 1871



This track also coincidentally comes off a recently released live DVD recorded in a city famous for it's fire, on The Navy Pier in Chicago...


The Navy Pier in Chicago was was a relic of the 1920's that fell into disrepair by the early 1970's. It was used occasionally for Chicago Fest from 77-82 and reopened with fanfare in 1989 with a 15,000 seat amphitheater known as Skyline Stage open May - Sept... incidentally the Navy Pier had long been a great spot for outdoor summer concerts in that town, I recall seeing cool vids of Cheap Trick as well as Blondie ( w/ newbies Duran Duran opening) shot live there when I was a kid in the 1980s...

Navy Pier


click for hi rez Navy Pier pic

Now Back to My BOC Rant



...

Blue Oyster CultBlue Oyster CultBlue Oyster CultBlue Oyster CultBlue Oyster Cult


They earned their keep on the road throughout many long tours, finding a way to combine showmanship into the act in order to keep up with headlining acts they were supporting like Alice Cooper and Slade. Imagine spending yer New Years Eve 1973 into '74 catching B.O.C with Kiss and Iggy & The Stooges at the Academy of Music in NYC.

They still play 80 - 90 dates a year just like the old days, albeit at smaller venues with the name Tavern, Casino or Fairgrounds in the title instead of Bowl, Arena or Coliseum as in their heyday...

more BOC here, including a video excerpt ... and a great U.K tribute site here

B.O.C was of course huge in the 70s & 80s, I remember their Black & Blue Tour with Black Sabbath was the stoner event of the year 1980 when I was in Jr High...

Pearlman went on to help manage 415 Records and become producer of The Clash's Give Em Enough Rope LP, as well as LP's by The Dictators, Dream Syndicate and World Entertainment War.


Of course BOC & Pearlman are now known to a new generation as the "More Cowbell" guys from the Will Ferrell & Christopher Walken skit on SNL from April 2000. Ironically the cowbell on the track really was an afterthought of producer Sandy Pearlman, who got the bassist's brother to add it after the song was already recorded. According to former bassist Joe Bouchard his bro "Albert thought he was crazy," Bouchard told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press in 2000. "But he put all this tape around a cowbell and played it. It really pulled the track together."

try out this Cowbell heavy mash up remix if that's yer thang...

SNL Oyster Cult - More Cowbell ( Coventry Mix w/ Christopher Walken)

Aside from the Don't Fear The Reaper bit, it's also got a featured lick from fellow Long Islander band Mountain's Mississippi Queen, plus tasty licks from Joe Walsh, Nazareth and others for a big greasy comedy 70's rock n roll travelogue...

Now, Clint Ruin of Foetus & Lydia Lunch once covered that same tune to it's own end, and I imagine instead of cowbell, they'd have preferred a human skull or something equally gothy... why the mp3 itself it's hosted from Phish.com I have no idea, but this is a creepy 80's visionary cover version for shizzle...

Foetus - Don't Fear The Reaper



and because that was so cool & we are well into the chill of fall, and just 40 or so shopping daze til X-Me$

Here's B.O.C's main man Buck Dharma with his wife Sandy doing

the wintery classic Baby It's Cold Outside

Buck & Sandy Dharma - Baby It's Cold Outside

if yer a real glutton for punishment , check out Buck's personal site, where he webcasts his own personal show ala The Osbornes, except it's like home movies, with psuedo Lucy & Ricky of the Catskills comedy family webcast production values...

Here's Blue Oyster Cult'ds fairly big 1983 radio track, one that got them onto MYV and kept them going strong for a bit longer...

BOC - Burnin For You



anyhow

gotta go... speaking of classic crusty rawk shtick, I be headed out to see The Naysayers




rawk on...

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54


"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

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