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Blue Öyster Cult's Buck Dharma Says Metallica's Cover Of 'Astronomy' Gave B.O.C. Credibility w/ Younger Generation

Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice recently interviewed Buck Dharma singer/ guitarist of Blue Oyster Cult. In the chat Dharma talks about the bands new re-imaged album 'Ghost stories' as well as he looks back at, the film 'Heavy metal', producer Martin Birch, Metallica cover of Astronomy and more.

Photo of Buck Dharma by Scott Braun-Braun NY

BOC new album 'Ghost Stories will be released April 12, 2024 on Frontiers Music s.r.l. pre order here

Watch full interview here

When asked about re-imaging the legacy tracks for the new album Ghost Stories

"Blue Oyster Cult historically didn't record a lot of extra material that didn't fit on a vinyl LP which you know had a runtime of about 40 minutes maximum. If CDs had been around at the time all these songs would have gone on the CD but they were fallow. Most of the source material were pre-production recordings done by our live sound mixer George Geranios. A lot of them are eight track analog, some were direct to stereo. But some of the source tapes had deteriorated as the tape formulations of that time were famous for and had to be resurrected or in some cases re-recorded. Frontiers music was clamoring for some more product; we just  had  the three night Sony Hall  live performances of the first three records and  bonus tracks with original drummer Albert Bouchard  on the stage too. So they (Frontiers) wanted more stuff. So we got  A.I. to  de-mix a stereo recording and it (AI) lets you have more control over the individual elements; the drums, the bass and the vocals specifically guitars are a little harder to uh yeah extract. It gives you a little more individual control as if you were dealing with a multi-track  sound."

When asked if Ghost Stories will be the last album by Blue Oyster Cult

"As far as promises, it's the last one but you know in reality I don't know perhaps there'll be more stuff. If we stop recording we might get Restless."

Photo by Scott Braun

When asked how many tour dates they did last year

"Last year we did about 30 and we're going to do less this year. We may want a tour again but uh I'm thinking I'd like to just not tour for a while so we'll see how that goes. As long as I can play and sing I'll probably want to be out there  somewhere. But as far as the the grind of of making a living at it,  I don't have to, So we'll see what happens."

When asked about the connection between B.O.C. and Heavy Metal

 "I think the term was coined right about the time that we got started. We admired Black Sabbath and I think  when we were starting we were casting about for an image. We were the Soft White Underbelly (band) before Blue Oyster Cult and I always thought of the Underbelly as the last of the East Coast psychedelic bands.  We were sort of a jam band  more than a metal band. Certainly what metal has become is nothing like what B.O.C. is of course."

Photo Sandra Roeser

Pre-Order 'Ghost Stories' HERE

When asked if his big hits he wrote and sang (Don't fear the reaper, Godzilla, I'm burning for you) caused friction within BOC over the years

 "It's just the way it worked once the Reaper was a hit the whole band wanted to write hits. I think that actually was not the best strategy for the band but you can't blame everybody for wanting the Hits and The Record Company certainly wanted hits. So we became a lot more pop oriented I think  in response to having a pop hit."

When asked if the were any plans to re-release the Black and Blue Live concert (Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult 1980)

"I don't know who has the rights but we don't. I had heard that  Ozzy and his Camp didn't want that out although  Ozzy is not on that it's Ronnie Dio but who's ever suppressing that it is not us."

When asked about working with producer Martin Birch on BOC's Cultösaurus Erectus and Fire of Unknown Origin

"I feel very affectionate toward Martin and I'm sad he's gone. He taught  me how to record at home. He was just a great guy. He engineered and produced and he didn't have a heavy hand as a producer but if he thought something was important  he would stand up for it. So I think the coherence of his records are basically his doing. "

When asked about Metallica covering BOC's Astronomy

"It gave us some credibility with the younger generation. We were very flattered when they did it. It's nice to get some recognition like that. I love all the covers of our songs that people do and there are a lot of them out there."

When asked if BOC will ever live down the cowbell?

 "No the cowbell is like a ball and chain around Blue Oyster Cult's ankle (laughs)."

In a thrilling partnership with Frontiers Music, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT is set to captivate fans with a collection of reimagined and newly completed songs that span from 1978-2016. These musical treasures, long considered 'lost gems' by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT enthusiasts, were originally recorded between 1978 and 1983, except for one track from 2016, "If I Fell." Also included is the only known studio recording of their concert classic “Kick Out the Jams” (MC5 cover). Some of the material is from sessions workshopping material for an album, some is from performance rehearsals. All were recorded once in the hopes that someday they'd see the light of day.

George Geranios, the band's original audio engineer and an integral part of the band's golden years, co-produced the original 1978-83 recordings along with BÖC. All were originally recorded on reel-to-reel analog tape. They were later transferred to digital audio, which is when modern AI and magical musical talents met and the collection of vintage multi-track recordings was de-mixed, re-mixed, and produced by Steve Schenck and Richie Castellano to become 'Ghost Stories.'

Ghost Stories Track List

1) Late Night Street Fight

2) Cherry

3) So Supernatural

4) We Gotta Get Out of This Place

5) Soul Jive

6) Gun

7) Shot in the Dark

8) The Only Thing

9) Kick Out the Jams

10) Money Machine

11) Don't Come Running To Me

12) If I Fell

Band Members & Credits:

Eric Bloom - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

Albert Bouchard - Drums, Vocals

Joe Bouchard - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals

Allen Lanier - Guitar, Keyboards

Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser - Guitar, Vocals

Rick Downey – Drums (on 3 and 11)

Richie Castellano - Additional Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

“If I Fell” was Recorded on April 18, 2016, at Red Studios, Hollywood, CA

Eric Bloom - Vocals

Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser - Guitar, Vocals

Richie Castellano - Guitar, Vocals

Kasim Sulton - Vocals

Jules Radino - Percussion

Original recordings Produced by George Geranios and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT except,

“If I Fell” Produced by Steve Schenck and Richie Castellano

De-mixed, Re-mixed and Produced by Steve Schenck & Richie Castellano

Engineered by Richie Castellano

“Gun” and “Money Machine” overdubs recorded by Joe Bouchard

Digital Transfers by George Geranios

Mastered by Sam Stauff at Mercy College Studio, Dobbs Ferry, NY


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