Sometimes I think I worry too much. Although I love the fact that Blue Öyster Cult (BÖC) is coming to town to play a free concert on Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2011 at 6:00 p.m., should they really be performing in the lounge at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa, Arizona? This is the same day that the casino is promoting Labor Day specials for Bingo. Stereotypes exist for a reason. Do we want the average casino patron to be exposed to Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper?” Might this be too foreboding? I wonder that if the band plays their song “ME 262,” from their classic 1974 album Secret Treaties, will many in the buffet line brag that they “shot down some of those aircraft in the Big War” and then experience some type of flashback?
Mention the name Blue Öyster Cult to most people and they will either say “who?” or “more cowbell.” Some may recognize their songs “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” “Burnin’ For You,” or “Godzilla.” Yet BÖC has sold over twenty four million albums worldwide since the release of their first album, the self-titled album Blue Öyster Cult in 1972. Like many popular bands of the 1970’s and 1980’s, few people know that BÖC continued releasing studio albums past 1989, their last being 2001’s Curse of the Hidden Mirror.
Only two members that comprised Blue Öyster Cult in its heyday are currently on tour with the group, founder/key songwriter/singer/guitar god, Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and lead vocalist/songwriter/rhythm guitarist/keyboardist, Eric Bloom. They are joined by guitarist/keyboardist Richie Castellano, drummer Jules Radino and former Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, and VH1 “Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp” counselor, bass player Rudy Sarzo.
With the word “Cult” in their name, (the name Blue Öyster Cult was suggested by their manager, Sandy Pearlman from a poem he had written in 1960 and which formed the basis of their 1988 release Imaginos), their hook-and-cross “Kronos” logo which appeared on every album cover and lyrics such as “I’m living for giving the devil his due,” from “Burnin’ For You,” there were many who dismissed the band as heavy metal Satan worshipers. Looking past those that would argue that all heavy metal bands are Satan worshipers, Blue Öyster Cult, although having songs rife with many dark, ambiguous and fantastical lyrics, was not a Satanist band (although the publicity was good for a few thousand record sales). Many of BÖC’s lyrics border on tongue in cheek and for every heavy metal song that is found on a BÖC album, there is a corresponding one of haunting harmonies, keyboards and softness such as “Shooting Shark” or “Astronomy.”
Still, with a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, BÖC might very well pull the keno players down. I worry about these things. Burnout Labor Day, burn out Labor Night. I can’t see no reason to put up a fight. I’m burnin’ to see Blue Öyster Cult.
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