Blue Öyster Cult

1969-
Eric BloomGuitar, vocals1969-
Joe BouchardBass, vocals1969-1986
Albert BouchardDrums, vocals1969-1981
Rick DowneyDrums1981-1985
Jimmy WilcoxDrums1985-1987
Tommy ZvoncheckKeyboards1985-1987
Jon RogersBass1986-1995
Chuck BurgiDrums1991-1995
Allen LanierKeyboards, syntheseizers, guitars1969-
Donald "Buck Dharma" RoeserLead guitars1969-
Danny MirandaBass1995-2004
Bobby RondinelliDrums1997-2004
Richie CastellanoBass2004-
Jules RadinoDrums2004-
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • BOC has had over 15 members in its more then three-decade career. Their favorite band and biggest influence is Black Sabbath.
  • Former band names include: Soft White Underbelly, Stalk-Forrest Group, The Disciples, Travesty, and Oaxaca.
  • Patti Smith dated the band's keyboard player Allen Lanier for a while and contributed lyrics to five of the band's songs: "Baby Ice Dog," "Career of Evil," "The Revenge of Vera Gemini," "Debbie Denise" and "Shooting Shark."
  • Their logo is based upon the astrological symbol of the Greek god Kronos, known by the Romans as Saturn. Kronos/Saturn was the god of time and of the harvest and may have been the origin of the Grim Reaper figure. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ingar - Oslo, Norway
  • Roeser and Bouchard met at Clarkson College, but soon quit to pursue music.
  • Two people from the early rock magazine Crawdaddy would later be influential for BOC. Sandy Pearlman became a longtime producer and Richard Meltzer was a rock critic that would often co-write songs with the group.
  • The group has often collaborated with science fiction writers like Michael Moorcock and Eric Van Lustbader on writing songs.
  • Since leaving the group, Albert Bouchard has played with the Mamas & the Papas and the Spencer Davis Group. Joe Bouchard also played with the Spencer Davis Group.
  • Joe Bouchard is a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to playing bass and guitar, he is proficient on the trumpet and keyboards.
  • During some mid-1990s floods in the Midwest, Bloom organized an effort to get fresh drinking water to many of the victims.
  • When stadium rock concerts began in the '60s, sound broadcast and stage lighting were fairly crude compared to today's technology. As wattage output increased for both, the federal government became more interested in enforcing decibel limits and optical regulations for rock concerts. Blue Oyster Cult was one of the groups they were concerned about (this was documented in a Time magazine article). BOC's use of intense lasers, strobes, and flashbombs combined with high volume music often left concertgoers reeling. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Denver, CO
  • The name "Blue Oyster Cult" comes from the poetry of band manager Sandy Pearlman, a part of his "Imaginos" poetry, later used more extensively on the concept album sharing the poetry collection's name. In Pearlman's writing, the Blue Oyster Cult was a group of aliens secretly guiding Earth's history. Pearlman claimed that the name came to him when he saw Blue Point oysters on a menu.

    Pearlman also came up with the band's earlier name, "Soft White Underbelly," after a Winston Churchill quote describing Italy in World War II. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Long Island, NY
  • The band's name is properly rendered with an umlaut over the letter "o". This was one of the first bands to use the so-called "heavy-metal umlaut," a gimmick famously parodied by the fictional band "Spinal Tap," who placed the umlaut over a consonant. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - La Crosse, WI
  • The band has described their songs as "a Fantasy Distillation Of Reality."
  • Most of the band members were rather short in stature, generally about 5' 6".
  • They didn't print lyrics on their albums, making their rather complex songs even more difficult for listeners to understand. The band thought it was more interesting for fans to come up with their own ideas of what the words were.
  • Albert Bouchard and Joe Bouchard are brothers.
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Comments: 29

  • Kirth from Liverpool, United KingdomThe Disciples and Travesty are NOT former BOC names - they were two college bands - Clarkson College (Potsdam) - that included Donald Roeser and Albert Bouchard in late 65 , early 66 through to the early Summer 0f 67.

    The genesis of BOC, the Soft White Underbelly formed in late Summer 67 in Stonybrook.
  • Jomo from Boston, MaHey, Mark- Don't make definitive statements and YELL at other people that they're not only wrong but can't even interpret their own senses properly if you have no idea what you're talking about.
    1. Will Ferrell played Gene Frenkle, a fictional member of the band. (last shot of the sketch is Ferrell with cowbell "In memoriam- Gene Frenkle - 1950-2000" see it here: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/80a71ef8cb/more-cowbell)
    2. Just because they might play it live with a wood block does not mean they didn't use a cowbell in the original recording.
    3. A member of the band has stated, since the skit, that it was a cowbell wrapped in tape (hence the muffled sound. Plus it was mixed in very low) and added in after the fact by a producer: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46074-2005Jan28.html
    4. I've been a percussionist since before this song came out, and it always sounded like a cowbell to me.
    5. If you're going to insist to people that they're wrong- make sure you're right. Cya.
  • Mark from Joppa, MdHere are the facts. Anyone claiming differently is simply WRONG!
    1. Will Ferrell portrayed Eric Bloom playing the cowbell.
    2. There is no cowbell in Don't Fear the Reaper... the instrument is a wood block...USE YOUR EARS or go to a BOC show and USE YOUR EYES!
    3. Delete this entire debate from this bulletin board.
  • Luke from Dayton, OhBOC is one of my fav bands of all time, and yet they are VERY under rated
  • Paul from Warrenton, NcI love the song Cities on flame with rock and roll...it is definitely my favorite by BOC. I recently saw a dvd and Buck Dharma was smokin' on lead guitar. You guys rock and I hope you rock for many years to come. It's refreshing to see great rock bands instead of the new rap crap !!!
  • Lester from New York City, NyAfter BOC broke big, they played small clubs as 'Soft White Underbelly'. Saw them as 'SWU' at the Bottom Line. They did the most inceredible version of Godzilla (no drum break). My favorite BOC song is the live version of 'Veteran of Psychic Wars' on ExtraTerrestial Live
  • Adam from Weston, AustraliaThere name was derived from Pearlman's poems. They mention this on their website, and in basically anything realted to them, and that is why they made the entire Imaginos song story thing.
  • Jim from Spokane, WaIts Will Ferrell on CB. You folks all seem to have missed something truly great about this band. At one point during the height of their career, they set the world's record for loudest band. I saw a news report once on the keyboard player and they also talk about it there. His monitors were ungodly loud. I was wondering how he was hearing the interviewer's questions. And don't forget the great song "Godzilla". One of the best.
  • Ken from Dupont, PaEven the band themselves do not remember who actually played the cowbell on the original recording, but it has been narrowed down to either Eric Bloom or Al Bouchard. The 70's were some craaaazy times, man.
  • Ryan from Somers, NyIt should be noted that the explanation of the origin the bands name under "artistfacts" is incorrect. Blue Oyster Cult came together on Long Island in the late 60's. Many of the bands members were from an area called Blue Point. The others hailed from the area of Oyster Bay. The band merged the names and came up with Blue Oyster Cult.
    -Ryan, Somers, NY
  • Sam K from Fair Haven, VtOk you people need to be schooled obviously. I literally just watched the SNL skit and it was in fact Will Ferrell that played the cowbell guy and Christopher Walken played the manager. To be honest, I only registered to this website to post here so that nobody does this classic skit any more injustice.
  • Mike from Long Island, NyBuck Dharma should be credited at the top of this page as also supplying vocals, considering that he sang lead on BOC's better-known songs.
  • Cap'n Willy from Lake Point, UtWhere did the name "Blue Oyster Cult" come from?
  • Lindy from San Diego , CaOn the Saturday Night Live spoof of the cowbell, I thought that Eric Bloom was there. That man looked incredably like Eric.
  • Barry from GagetownA friend of mine gave me "On Your Feet or On Your Knees"LP in the 70's ... I wore it out ... Bought a new copy almost wore it out ... Bought the CD ... Can never wear it out !!!
  • Paul from Rothesay, New Brunswick , CanadaAnd who is this twit quoting Hamlet? The song does not advocate suicide. Buck, I'm sorry that you're still going through this after all these years!!
  • Stephen from Edgewater, FlI'm so tired of everyone talking about the stupid SNL skit. Why are you people even on this website? You make me want to vomit all over myself. Blue Oyster Cult is one of the most underrated bands ever and rank up there behind Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. Just pick up a copy of FIRE OF UNKOWN ORIGIN or any of their other albums.The whole band are great musicians.
  • Shawn from Hiddenite, NcWill Farrell plays Gene(Plays Cowbell)
    Chris Walken plays Bruce Dickenson(producer who says "I need more cowbell"}
  • John from Vancouver, CanadaI am sure that you are aware that the lyrics of "don't fear the reaper" is advocating suicide,I believe billy Idol's "white wedding" is a cryptic reference to murder suicide (debateable)I think that encouraging people to off themselves has questionable value since as hamlet proposed, you may not like where you find youreself after the act of self annihalation.many spiritual traditions condemn the custom and damn those who indulge to an eternal torment
  • Chris Labenne from Niles, Ohgotta have more cowbell...classic skit. props to christopher walken.
  • Wayne from Atlanta, GaThe dude with the cowbell is Gene Frenkle
  • Mark from Cincinnati, OhSome of you are wondering who played the cowbell on the Saturday Night Live parody of BOC's (Don't Fear) The Reaper. It is Will Farrel, if you need proof, go buy the SNL best of Will Farrel DVD, as the skit is in the volume 1 disk.
  • Legacy User from Electric LadylandGreat band. Don't Fear the Reaper is a great song, but I think their best is "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll." The intro riff is awesome! And in answer to Bruno from Brazil's question, the actor playing the cowbell guy was Will Ferrel. Christopher Walken was also there, he played Bruce Dickinson who was telling Ferrell to play the cowbell louder.
  • Willard from Pittsfield, Ildont fear the reaper is an outstanding classic
  • Bruce from Richmond, VaShot in the Dark,

    Did anyone out there attend the 1973 BOC Concert @ Delta College in Bay City/Saginaw Michigan?

    Out of the hundreds of concerts I've attended, That show is one of the most memorable. If you saw the show, email me @ rbbiggs@ragingbull.com
  • Joe from Bh, NjNo, it actually is Will Ferrell. I remember very clearly.
  • Cedric from Dublin, Irelandit's Christopher Walken who plays the cow bell in SNL... sorry
  • Saskia from Santa Cruz, CaWhat is the meaning of "Burnin' for you"
  • Bruno from Brazil, BrazilHey guys, do you know , who play the cow bell in Don`t fear the reaper??
    Because i see BOC in the Saturday Night Live , yesterday , so ...if you guys know who play the cow bell in Don`t Fear The reaper talk to me please, i just know his first name
    Its GENE and i wanna know the second name, ok?
    thanks, bye
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