Blue Oyster Cult Co-Founder Albert Bouchard Talks Re-Imaginos & Cowbell on 'Don't Fear The Reaper'
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
For Canada's The Metal Voice Jimmy Kay and Giles Lavery recently spoke with Blue Oyster Cult Co-Founder, composer and drummer Albert Bouchard.
Bouchard spoke about his new album Re-Imaginos, The Blue Oyster Cult legacy and Cowbells.
Re-Imaginos album is a updated version of the Blue Oyster Cult Imaginos album from 1988 which was originally meant to be a solo album by Albert Bouchard.
Re-Imaginos will be released November 6 2020 via Deko Entertainment
Watch full interview here
When did the original Imaginos writing sessions begin "Somewhere between 1973 to 1976 Sandy Pearlman (BOC Manager producer) started coming over to my apartment and we were working on both music and lyrics. I think at that point we did the songs "The Girl that loved me blind', 'Del Rio Song' and 'I am the one you warned me of'. Those were three we worked on then. The song Astronomy was started by Joe Bouchard brother) in 1973-74. Supposedly Sandy Pearlmean had the whole arc of the story prior and presented the band with those lyrics before the first Blue Oyster Cult record. When we got the name Blue Oyster Cult we already knew he got it from the song Blue Oyster Cult (from Imaginos story)."
When asked about the basic story of Imaginos "The basic story is it starts around the 19th century and there is a sea captain who is an explorer and he goes to the jungles of Mexico and discovers a mirror and he brings it back to Europe and when people look at this mirror they kind of go crazy a little bit, they get drunk on power and this end up resulting in the two World Wars that we know. "
When asked why he decided to re-do the original B.O.C. album Re-Imaginos "My motivation doing it the first time was I saw this as an opportunity to launch my solo career. Sandy Pearlman's suggestions about the making of the record was he wanted it more acoustically oriented, he wanted the arrangements to be more sparser and I fought him on that I said this has got to be a blockbuster, there is no single so we gotta make it as heavy as possible. And listening to it later was my disappointment not so much from the band or everyone else, they all did a good job. I think it was my fault for not recognizing that the best way to present the album was as a story, to really try to serve the story better than I did. At the time I was looking at it as a revenge on Blue Oyster Cult for kicking me out and for the band not doing it in the first place as the band was too busy chasing a hit. " "I look at Re-Imaginos as a kind of correction. I corrected the track listing. I gave credit to all the original guys who played on the Imaginos record, it wasn't B.O.C. It was other artists that I assembled to do it. One of the things I decided in the beginning if Re-Imaginos was that it was going to be acoustically oriented and focus
ed on acoustic instruments. I was not going to use any loops. I was going to play everything all the way through. For vocals everything was going to be as natural as possible. Sandy would say these songs should sound like nursery rhymes. I played all the drums on it but tried not to get too heavy on it. "
When asked the Blue Oyster Cult hit song 'Don't Fear the Reaper' written solely by Buck Dharma create any tensions in the band back in the day "Yes but not really. Don (Buck) is a pretty easy going guy he was not trying to be Napoleon or anything. What happened was the album sold so many copies (Agents of Fortune) and I wrote so many of the songs there was a kind of push back where they didn't want me to have so many songs on any of the other records."
When asked if there are plans to commemorate the upcoming 40 year anniversary Fire of Unknown Origin "I haven't heard of anything. "
When asked what he take away from working with the late producer Martin Birch on Cultösaurus Erectus and Fire of Unknown Origin "I was very happy with the way Cultösaurus Erectus came out . For the first time in my life I found the drums sounded the way they should have sounded, they always sounded wimpy to me in the past. Martin Birch really made the drums sound fantastic and he just cut to the chase there was no indecision. He was very decisive in what he asked us to do which was a nice change whereas Sandy Pearlman and Tom Werman as producers were indecisive. Martin Birch knew what he was going for. He went for it, he got it, it was great working with him. I learnt so much about producing and how to make a great record. And for Fire of Unknown Origin Martin Birch said I don't know if I want to do this album cause Eric and Don were not that excited. They were so disappointed with what happened before with the last album Cultösaurus Erectus I don't feel like I can get the energy to do it. And he said would you want to help me produce this record and I said sure, I said am I going to get credit and he said sure. I was there for every single bit of music you hear on that record. I was in the studio with Martin Birch. So when the album came out he said because of my contract I can't really give you credit and it might cause tension with the other guys, so I can't give you production credit. But that's all right, I got more out of it than he did."
When asked if he had embraced the cowbell pop culture thing "Of course and a lot of people don't know this but 6 months out of the year I do a blog called 'Most Cowbell' I have embraced it, it is fine. I like the Cowbell. The real producer who wanted the Cowbell on Don't Fear The Reaper ( on Agents of Fortune album) was David Lucas. On the SNL Skit they had producer Bruce Dickinson (Played by Christopher Walken), Dickinson connection was he just rearranged the song on the remaster later on but was not the original producer. Will Ferrall in the skit portrayed Gene Frenkle (fictitious character) however Eric Bloom in all our shows used to play the Cowbell. In the studio why David Lucas wanted me to do the Cowbell part on Don't Fear the Reaper I don't know? I think Eric Bloom was not in the room when he asked me to do it. During the recording I was like really? Cowbell? " When asked if he thought Don't Fear the Reaper was going to be a big hit at the time "In reality I'm Burning for you charted higher but did not have the longevity of Don't Fear The Reaper. I was just talking with Don when I was doing the video with the band a couple of weeks ago and he is like can you believe all this time later? Yes we knew we were going to have a hit but we never imagined it would still be popular so many decades after it's been out. " When asked about the backstory on the making of the song Godzilla "The backstory is that we were on the road and Patti Smith had put out a book of poetry in one of the poems she started going God- Zilla- God. So Don called her up and said Patti I want to write a song with you and call it Godzilla and she said oh that's a great idea but because of our schedules they could never get together so eventually Don just wrote it all by himself but it started with Patti Smith. Now I always thought it would be great to have this song in a Godzilla movie."
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