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Blue Oyster Cult Founders Clarify Who Played the Cowbell on The Classic 'Don't Fear The Reaper' Song


For The Metal Voice, Kenny Kessel was on location at St-Paul's Church in South Salem, New York where the famous Blue Oyster Cult Album Live album cover was taken (On your Feet or on your knees) and interviewed Blue Oyster Cult co-founders brothers Albert and Joe Bouchard.


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The two founding members talk about the backstory behind the live album , Cowbells, their time in Blue Oyster Cult and their work post Blue Oyster Cult.


When the two were asked who really played the Cowbells in the studio on the BOC classic 'Don't fear the Reaper' Bassist Songwriter Joe Bouchard replied, "this is the guy who actually played the Cowbell in the studio (pointing to Albert), there have been a lot of rumours over the years, that maybe it wasn't Albert."


Drummer Songwriter Albert Bouchard explained," David Lucas (Producer of the album Agents of Fortune) played Cowbell on the song Tenderloin (not Don't Fear the Reaper) he came in (the studio) and played it (Tenderloin) when nobody was there. Then I came in the next day and told me what he did and I said Dave, that's great, again this is before we put the cowbell on Reaper. "


Albert explained further that the confusion in the whole matter was David Lucas confused the two songs thinking he played cowbell on Don't Fear The Reaper but it was on Tenderloin. Albert said it was him who played cowbell on the classic Blue Oyster Cult song Don't Fear The Reaper.


On Your Feet or on Your Knees is the first live album by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released by Columbia Records on February 27, 1975. The album features three songs from each of the band's first three studio albums, two covers ("I Ain't Got You", albeit with modified lyrics, and "Born to Be Wild"), and one ("Buck's Boogie") original instrumental that remains a staple of the band's live shows to this day. The 12 songs include performances at the Academy of Music in New York City, the Paramount Theatre in Portland, the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, the Show Palace in Phoenix, the Long Beach Arena, the P.N.E. Coliseum in Vancouver and the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey, though it is not clear which songs came from which venues and on what dates.

The album reached No. 22 on the Billboard 200, in so doing becoming the band's highest-charting album in the United States

Interview Credits include

Doug Abdelnour photos and videos

Joe Bouchard photos

Joan Levy Hepburn photos

Stephen C King Warden St Paul's Chapel

Father Mike Watson for setting everything up for us


In 1981, Albert Bouchard left Blue Öyster Cult. He began to work on an intended solo album that would become the Imaginos (1988) released under the BÖC name. Albert Bouchard released in 6 November 2020 titled Re Imaginos, amongst countless other projects.

Joe Bouchard is a co-founder of the world-famous band BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. In the 70s and 80s he played, sang, recorded and wrote songs with BÖC for Columbia Records. He retired from Blue Öyster Cult in 1986 and released many solo albums and projects post BOC.

"Astronomy" is a song by rock band Blue Öyster Cult written by the Bouchard Brothers and Sandy Pearlman. It was first released on their 1974 album Secret Treaties. Their second live album, Some Enchanted Evening, included a version with an extended guitar solo and a third version was included on the Imaginos album. It was also re-recorded for the band's Cult Classic collection in connection with the TV miniseries of Stephen King's The Stand. Most recently Metallica did a cover of the song for their 1998 Garage Inc. album.


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