January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
This tape is the first of some exceptions I’ll probably make along the way: as you may see from the picture this is an original cassette although not an average one. It was part of an Italian booklet-series-cum-tape called “Rock – Storia e musica” published in the early 80ies (here‘s a complete collection on sale on E-Bay): the booklets sometimes were hastily assembled, and with hindsight one may realise that the informations were sometimes inaccurate. Also the style in which these short biographies are written is funnily rethorical and overblown: it looks like in those times music journalist still had to prove that rock music was something “important”. Nonetheless this series was very popular back then as it provided lots of useful informations in a time when even sorting out an album discography (not to mention the singles) could have required a lot of research. Also, each booklet, dedicated to a single artist or band, came with a sampler or even a full album. My uncle passed on to me an almost complete collection when I was thirteen or so, and it was as if I found a goldmine!
I didn’t know anything abouth Blue Öyster Cult, but being into heavy metal I immediatly sniffed something when I saw the picture on the cover of the booklet and read titles such as Black Blade, Hot Rails To Hell and Dominance and Submission. At that time I was also reading The Stand, which quoted (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, this way turning this tape into a perfect soundtrack for the book. And this is how it started…
As sometimes happenes, you develope a certain fondness, a weird unexplicable attraction for a particular band, even if you never exactly fall for it. In my case this happened for BÖC: slowly along the years I ended up owning five or six vinyls all bought at second hand stores or thrifts markets at ridicolous prices: it looked like everybody got rid of their albums. Yeah, they are a dinosaur band now and their last records suck, and I also know that BÖC are regarded as one of the uncoolest band ever, but at the cost of sounding like Homer Simpson defending Grand Funk Railroad (I wanted to link a YouTube video, but they’re all gone: thanks.) I have to say that frankly this seems unfair to me.
Here’s a few informations in no particular order that should be enough to tempt you into listening to BÖC.
They have some marvellous sci-fi lyrics written by writer Micheal Moorcock; if you do like Motorpsycho you must know that they entitled thei 2010 album Heavy Metal Fruit quoting a BÖC song, meaning they like BÖC too; their guitarist “Buck Dharma” was Patti Smith‘s lover; they featured in one of the funniest Saturday Night Live skit ever; if you’re into great guitar solos and great riffs BÖC are good for you. Last but not least the proof of them being a great band is in the pudding of their live records, which by the way are often better then their studio albums in terms of production and sheer energy: try listening Side A of this tape! All the tracks here are taken from their double album Extraterrestrial Live, which features some of their best songs ever such as E.T.I, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Godzilla and Dominance And Submission. Here’s another reason to like BÖC: this live version of Godzilla features silliest attempt at censoring I ever heard. While introducing the song, singer Eric Bloom shouts “Holy shit, it’s Godzilla!” but an incredibly clumsy “ding dong” sound covers the horrific scatological word providing the listener with a most precious and savourable “whathefuck-moment”.
I almost forgot: BÖC have an incredibly cool logo! I like it even more than the band or the songs themselves! In fact it’s engraved or painted on every single guitar or guitar case I own and even on my car. To this day I still couldn’t find a good BÖC t-shirt though, but the quest goes on.