It's '70s September, and we're rocking out with one of the all-time "dark metal" classics--the über-famous, über-controversial, ümlaut-loving Blue Oyster cult and their signature hit, "Don't Fear the Reaper." Rolling Stone's Song of the Year for 1976 gives us plenty to chew on, especially with BOC's Joe Bouchard to walk us through some history, including:
- Ghost stories, seances and haunted hotels
- The Barry Manilows of Heavy Metal
- The Genesis of the Ümlaut in rock
- Being covered by Metallica
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Did you see my theory? I posted a theory last night. I got to show Wayne's World to Oh yeah. My boys, For the first time it would be about podcasting. Yeah. And specifically I think it's pretty close. It would be about us. Yeah. I think we are pretty much we're, I could be Garth, we're the Wayne and Garth Yeah.
Of Podcasting Wing. That movie is almost, there's almost nonstop music in that movie. There are very few moments in that movie where there's not found music underneath some kind of like rock music under, under playing. You know what I mean? Haven't listened that closely to that, but I'll check that out.
I just had never noticed, I've always loved the soundtrack. And, and then there's stuff that's in the movie that's not on the soundtrack, You know what I mean? Yeah. But there is, it's just so full of music. Mm-hmm. , which is of course why I love it, You know, and it's about music and it's about rock and rolling guitars and blah, blah, blah.
But, and then it's got that whole Alice Cooper. Oh. Connected concert and scene with him Backstage. Not Worthy. Yeah. And my, So my kids and one of their, one of their friends was over last night, watched it with us and and they were like, Is this where that started? The whole we're not worthy thing.
Like, I've seen that so much. Is this the first thing do that? I was like, Oh yeah, this is like, that would be so neat for a younger crew to see that for the first time. It's funny, it's funny to see like what would that be like us watching for the first time? That'd be like us watching. I don't know that there are movies of that, but like some old comedy with like the earliest Mel Brooks comedy.
You know what I mean? Something like that. Or like a Monty Python thing. Maybe even. Yeah, maybe, Yeah. Maybe Money. Python. Us watching us, which I remember watching it in eighth grade and just being like, this is a new form of entertainment that I was not aware of. Yeah. You know or dude, I'll tell you this is not similar at all, but the first time y'all showed me The Godfather at Jason's, Yeah.
When we ate spaghetti and watched it, that was like, Jason's like, I I, you'll never forget your first time. What he, And I remember that like, every time I watch that movie, I think about that time. Yeah. When I watched it for the first time. I that truthfully, like The Godfather is one of those movies that I went, I'm not gonna like this.
I don't like mafia movies. You know what I mean? I'm like, I don't, I didn't like Casino, you know? Good fellas. I didn't like, Good Fell. I didn't even like what's the other one with Patino? Scarface. I didn't like Scarface. I'm like, I'm not gonna care about this. I don't care about mob movies. You know what I mean?
And then you watch it and you go, This is not a mob movie. It's a family movie. It's a family movie in a mob setting. Yeah. You know? Absolutely. And it's like, it's got such heart and depth to it, you know? It's crazy to think about. It's like, Yeah. Like Godfather's a whole other thing. Yeah. Man. It was, I, it wasn't even on my radar.
It wasn't like, I did not wanna watch it. I just, I was like, I hear people talk about it, but what's the hype? Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then I freaking fell in love with Yeah, it's so good. All three of those. I even like the third one. I'm crazy about the third one. I know a lot of people are down on the third one, but I, I did it now.
I watched the, recently the redone Verve version of the third, like, what is it called? The, the COPA Restoration? No, that's not what it is. It's, Oh, it's got a different name. It's called Coda, The death of Michael Corleone and instead of Godfather three. And it wasn't different enough to make me raise an eyebrow.
You know, there wasn't anything like, I saw some of what they did, but I was like, okay, whatever. I mean, still Godfather three still rock and roll to me. You know, there's so many things from the first one, like so many moments. It's not just the one moment, it's not just the. Funny getting shot up moment.
It's not the, the last scene where the, there's so many. Yeah. It's not, it's not the horse head in the bed. Yeah. That's what I thought the whole movie was gonna be, is like the fish, you know, sleeping with the fishes and the horse head and the bed. You know, it's like, okay, whatever. But you, you find then the impact that those moments like signify, you know what I mean?
Yeah. Like the, the, especially the horse head, like this wasn't just a thing. It's like, Oh, I, I get why this means something. Yeah. You know? Anyway, this has been the great movie podcast, episode one. We'll put that on Patreon. There you go. You know the horse head thing, I think you might have told me this, that the, he, he thought there was gonna be a, they were gonna add it in later.
Do you know that? Oh, no. Yeah, he's like, Well, they told him, they're like, We're just gonna add it in later. Like, just act like there's this horse head in the bed. Like, when you roll over, just freak out. And he rolled over and it was real. Oh. And so that's his real reaction. Oh my gosh. And was, was it a real horse?
It's a legit, like a legit horse head. Oh man. And so he just like freaked out. I mean, I would too would, I thought that was good. His reaction is priceless. Yeah. And there's this scene, I don't know if you've ever seen it, but there was a scene, obviously in the early two thousands, it had to have been on King of Queens with Kevin James.
Yeah. Earlier Rey where, you know, his, it was her dad, I guess, that was played by Jerry Stiller and he lived with him. You know, Jerry, Jerry Stiller, Frank Costanza's dad, you know, or Frank Castanza. And there was a scene in which he, I think he went to bed with a bowl of soup while he was eating soup. And he wakes up and the soup is all over him.
Like just like that scene and the Godfather. And he's like rolling down the covers and you know, it's so funny. That's good. But it's Jerry Stiller instead. You know, it's just a whole other level. Got it. Funny. All right, here we go. Turn up the radio and sing all along. It's time for another great song. This is the Great Song Podcast.
Season's. Greetings, and welcome once again to the Great Song. Podcast. I'm Rob Alley. I am J.P Motor. And we're here to celebrate the greatest songs in modern music history. We're gonna tell you what makes 'em awesome, why we think they're awesome, and why you're awesome too. Awesomeness. We're gonna tell you what makes them great, why we think they're awesome, and why you should too.
J.P, how you doing today? Man? Man. I am doing fantastic, or as Rob would like to say, I'm doing awesome. There you go. Lots of awesomeness you wouldn't today. Guys, we hope you thoroughly enjoyed eighties month as a good way to kickstart season 10. And if you didn't like it, if you're like, Man, that eighties is way too modern for me, shove it.
I'm looking for something just a little bit older. Yeah, let's drop it back a decade as we're going. Seventies in September. Yes. All seventies in September. Yes, we are, Y'all know, we love these themes. Months, theme months and how we're starting it. Well, let's just say I've got a fever. There you go, . And the only prescription is more cowbell.
We're spending the day with Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult discussing their massive hit. Don't fear the Reaper. A little burning for you and his newest project, American rocker. But for now, Rob Kick what we're playing. This is Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.
I love this.
Yeah, buddy. That makes me immediately feel like I'm in a room full. Black light posters, you know what I mean? It's like It's funny because one of the things I've always thought about this song is one of the really cool things about it is you think Blue Oyster Cult, you think Heavy Metal, right?
There's like, that name just symbolizes Yeah. And it's like Blue Oyster Cult, you know what I mean? Yeah. And, and, and we, we talk about this some with Joe in the interview. Like, you know, we are raised, you can't listen to Blue Oyster. They were evil. You know what I mean? Anything that says Colton is don't.
Yeah. It says Colton the name. I mean, my gosh. And the Mlo and the Mlo and the fearing of the Reaper and the take of the hands. None of that is allowed, you know? But Darma, I mean, come on. But like you, it's like, it's chill, you know? Yeah. It's like such a good vibe. Absolutely. And it's not about what they were afraid.
It was about, it's just, you know, all the things. That's one of my favorite things about this song though, is that it's like, this is like a heavy band. And this was kind of a change of sound for them that was a little more commercial, but You know, it's just so chill. Absolutely. It's not what you expect when you first put it on.
You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. , you're expecting like, and it's like, Oh man, come on, let's just, let's just groove with this. That's right. You know, Don't fear the Reaper dude. That is, Don't fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. From the 1976 album Agents of Fortune, it was written by Donald Roser, AKA Buck Dharma.
And we're gonna talk, like you said, with founding basis, Joe Bouchard. And it's gonna be a good time. Lots of good stories to be had. Don't fear. The Reaper went to number 12 on the US billboard, Hot 100 number seven on the US cash box chart. Number seven in Canada, Number 17 in Ireland, number 16 in the uk.
And that's really it. It's not a like worldwide smash. Like some of the songs that we cover where they go top five or 10 or 20, or even 40 in a bunch of other countries. That's the places where this charted like, you know iconic song here and a couple other spots, but not really a bonafide hit anywhere else, which is pretty unusual I think.
Yeah. In fact, the Ireland and UK charts didn't even happen until two years after the initial release of the song, when the extended album version was released. The original edit didn't chart at all in Ireland, in the uk and the original edit just cuts out the middle section with the guitar solo and the like, really heavy, you know, rifts in the middle.
But the, they later rereleased the album version and it, and it charted, you know, top 20 in Ireland in the uk, which goes to show you if you want to chart, throw a guitar solo in, man, at least in the seventies, right? You. Don't fear the Reaper is number 4 49 on the updated 2021 edition of the Rolling Stone.
500 greatest songs of all time. List 29. No, no, no. It's number 4 49. 4 49. Okay. 4 49 on the 500 greatest songs of all time list. Just above it is Tyrone by Erica Badu. Okay. A long time. Erica. Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I can't, I don't think I can do bad do maybe when I was younger. And just below it is Powder Finger by Neil Young.
Okay. And Crazy Horse. It was Rolling Stone's Song of the Year in 1976. Wow. That's pretty impressive. And it was included in the 2009 list by The Guardian called 1000 Songs. Everyone must. And, you know, I love a good list. So here are a thousand songs. No, I'm just kidding. I don't have that list. number 1000, the longest episode in the history of the show, 9 94.
If nothing else, you will know this song from its legendary appearance on Saturday Night Live, in which will Ferrell plays cowbell to the annoyance of the lead, singer and producer. Christopher Walken just keeps encouraging him to go broader and bigger with it. Chris Dickson. Let's let's hear a little bit, little bit of that clip.
Starting at probably the climax. Can I just say one thing? Hey baby, just say it. I'm staring here staring at Rock Legend Bruce Dickinson. The cock and a walk. Baby and the Bruce Dickinson wants more cow. We should probably give him more cowbell. Say Baby and Bobby, you are right and being selfish. But the last time I checked, we don't have a whole lot of songs that feature the cowbell.
I gotta have more cowbell, baby. Give myself a disservice. And every member of this band, if I didn't perform the hell out this, guess what? I gotta fever and he only prescription is more cowbell. Thank you, Bruce. Well thank you. If I just leave and maybe I'll come back later. We can lay down the cow baby gene.
Wait, Chris Parnell delivers this so perfectly. Why don't you lay down that cow right now with us together?
Do you mean that Eric? Oh yeah. She speaks for all of us. Thank you babies. Before we're done here, y'all be wearing gold plated diapers. What does that mean? Never question Bruce thickens. Okay. And then they go on. Everything's all good. They're rocking out with cowbell. It's great. So the irony though of that sketch, if you, if you remember how that sketch is kind of laid.
they start to track the song and you know, he's playing the cowbell and the, and the lead singer who they don't call, they don't call him Buck in this thing, but it would be, you know, Buck in real life is kind of a like, is this a little much? Is this, you know, And so they stop the track and then they go again cuz he, cuz Bruce Dickinson keeps saying he wants more cow.
and they do it again. They do it a third time and then they eventually do it a fourth time. The irony of that sketch further immortalizing this song is the foundations of this song, including the guitar solo in the middle, were recorded in a single take. Not just one take, but the first take. Wow.
There was only one take of the bulk of this song, and then there were a few, you know, vocals and some, a few other things were overdubbed later, but the most of what you hear in this song was done very first shot. And like famously, the, the engineer when they got done went, That's it. It's the magical groove.
Like, we hit, we hit it, we did it. We don't need to do it again. You know, which never happened. Yeah. And especially now, forget it, you know what I mean? Like, first of all, you don't even do one section without stopping and going back and redo it. Yeah, exactly. So yeah, I mean truly. So that of course got me thinking about, I wanted to know about some other songs that were done.
Either completely in one take on the first take. Okay. Or, or that very important parts of them were done on the first take. Yeah. So here's a few. This is a, a list. I won't go through all 15 of them, but some pretty significant songs on this list. This is from Ranker. This is 15 classic songs that were recorded in one take.
Alright, let's start with the Beatles. Twist and shout. Okay. It let's see. They had recorded nine other songs earlier in the. And they wanted, they put twist and shout last because George Martin wanted some grit in Lyn's voice on it. And so even then they weren't sure. It says how much juice he had left in the tank.
They powered through in one take and tried to second, but Lyn's voice was so shot. So the band decided to, to, wow, let that one take be the one. And that's it. And they don't do one takes on anything legendary. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So they did one take on on twist and shout. How about, how will I Know by Whitney Houston?
Holy cow. How Will I Know wasn't the first single off of Whitney Houston's debut album, but it's the most memorable song off the album. It was definitely memorable for songwriters and our friends, George Merrill and Shannon Rubbak, AKA boy Meets Girl. The pair was tapped to write the song for Janet Jackson.
I think they told us that in the interview, but when she passed on it, the song made its way to Whitney Houston for herself title debut. Everyone who heard Houston's first vocal take on the song knew something special was brewing. Additional b backing tracks were recorded separately, but that first lead vocal track stayed in the final mix.
That's awesome. How about that? How about Lou? Lou by the Kingsman. Okay, another classic one. Take. Far. Just kidding. Yes. It says there was only ever one recording of this song, which is why there are numerous errors ranging from mistimed vocals to the f-word in the background from when the drummer brought to Sticks Mid recording
This is a real surprise. How about Lose Yourself by m and m? Why from the eight Mile soundtrack? Incredible song, it says m and m's Performance. An eight Mile shocked a lot of people who dismissed him as a one trick artist. The film showed the range he had as an actor and rapper, and it also produced one of his most successful singles and Lose Yourself.
M and m wrote the song Between Takes on the set of the movie and didn't have much time to record between his responsibilities on set. Wow. He said he was able to record each verse in a single take during his lunch breaks while filming. Holy cow. Let's see a few more. Hail Mary Tupac Sister Ray by the Velvet Underground.
House of the Rising Sun by the Animals. That's a long song. That is a long song. And it was their first take. They had started playing it while opening for Chuck Barry on tour. And they begged their producer to let them record a single version and they were allegedly able to put it all together on the first take because how they had fine tuned it on tour.
They had just done it. They played a lot. Yeah. A few more. How about, Come On Field, The Noise by Quiet Riot. Oh, right. Which did you know is a cover? No, I didn't. They did not write Come On Field. The Noise. It was originally they were the first ones to spell it that way though. Surely. Right? I have no idea.
But yeah, cover from a, from a 70 song from the band's slate. And I didn't know that they didn't wanna do it apparently, but, so they were like, we we're gonna do one, you know, one take. That's it. The producer wanted do it. Still pays the, they didn't wanna do. That's crazy. And so it says, despite the fact that the band started from the wrong part of the song and even left out a verse, the song still worked and ended up their breakthrough billboard single.
That's awesome. This is a cool one. I was, wasn't really aware of this song, but there's song by Funkadelic called Maggot Brain that is the title track to the album Maggot Brain. And it's basically an instrumental, it's got a little kind of a spoken word at the front. And then it's just a really long solo and it's a really soulful, you know, really like emotional solo.
It was all done in a single take. Miles Davis is kind of blue which is Landmark album. Yeah. And the entire album, No Way. Entire album. Yeah. That was recorded in a series of single takes. That's awesome. As part of Davis's Jazz experimentation. Why did I say experimentation like that? Eggs, I sounded like I said it like I was trying to make an egg pun, you know what I mean?
His eggs experimentation. In the fifties, he pushed his ensemble to work in the modal style where the background is simple, blah, blah, blah, blah. Davis worked at, worked up basic compositions for the players to serve as a framework on the recording, but the improv on each track was pure inspiration from the first take.
Rapper's delight, Sugarhill game. That's awesome. Body Snatchers by Radiohead. Elvis Presley. That's all right, Mama. Monster Mash by Bobby Boris picket. The graveyards. The Moser Lou. How about Betty Davis? Size by Kevin Cars. Horns. Single. Take, Raspy. Raspy as vocals ever. I think on a hit song, maybe like Tom Waits might have had raspy or vocals on something, but he doesn't have any, not hits like that, like Betty Davis size as a hit.
You know what I mean? That is shocking that she was able to do that in one take. Is like she, I mean, she literally sang it like she. Laryngitis. You know, like she's smoking into the mic . She's like, Ask me some camels. Everything. Everything you hear in that song is filtered through a cigarette. That's she's holding it in between her mouth and the microphone.
She's sang that through her neck voice box. Cause they had to,
Oh man. That's probably offensive to some. Sorry. No, that's, that's all in good. You know, I can't, it'll never, I don't think the technology will ever be good enough where you won't wanna laugh at somebody who uses one of those voice box. It's just a fact. That's right. It's just a fact. There's like, you know, it, no matter how much they improve the sound, it's always gonna be.
Amusing, I'm sorry, is always gonna be music. There's, there's to hear voice coming from somebody's throat. JC Penney's in the Cleveland Mall that we would go by and i'd, I would pay extra to have my stuff gift wrapped just to have her say, Oh my gosh. Anyway, I'm not gonna do it. Yeah, I am . You wanna bow on top?
The answer is yes. Every time anyway. Yeah, it's good. Anyway, let's We're not making fun. We're having fun. We're having fun. And she we're remembering fun. That's right. We're remembering fun. Why don't we, should we go ahead and meet the band? Let's meet the guys. Blue Oyster Cult. Hey, let's meet the, It's to meet the mama.
Let's meet the,
we're gonna meet the band that played on Don't Fear The Reaper. Eric Bloom on guitar and backing vocals is referenced as Rob mentioned in the skit. As Chris Parnell plays the part of Eric on that his vocal idols. James Brown and Ronnie James Dio. Let's Rob
ho dive. Yeah. You've been down too long in the mid Nazi, almost becoming of me. Gotta get this part in everybody. Right? You can see his strength, but never gets old. Never. Never gets old. Never. Every reference is is so loved. That might be our first one of season 10. I can't remember. I think it is. He worked at Sam Ash in 1960.
And that is important for two reasons. That's how he linked up with Buck Dharma. Okay. A neat story of a photo he put up of his band between the WHO and the Rolling Stones on the posters, and that's how Buck found him. But number two, fact, who knew Sam Ash has been around that long? Yeah. 68. That's crazy.
Yeah. Go, go. Sam Ash. That was probably like the first, like Sam Ashe's music story. You know what I mean? Yeah. Like his name was Sam as he had one store. Yeah. And then he blew up. I don't know the history of Sam Ash. Maybe next time we'll get Mr. Sam as on. There you go. He's a big reader, loves science fiction.
And when you look at him, you're like, Okay, that makes sense. That guy should like science fiction on guitar and lead vocals. Donald Buck dma. I think it's pronounced Rosser. Rosser, Okay. I, I don't know. I could be wrong. It's r o e s e r. Yeah. He played accordion for the longest time, Not accordion, on the longest time.
Not the Billy Gel song, that's acapella. But he played accordion for a long time, then got into rock and became a drummer, but broke his wrist playing basketball. So he picked up a guitar and liked it best. Okay. In 1985, he participated in a project called. N aid here. Like hearing aid, Like hearing aid, but with an N in the middle.
Okay. Here. And aid Here. And aid, which was a charity record of metal organized by none under that. Ronnie James deal. Ro that's
the, It's good stuff. We never make it past this place. Wow. No. Who knew about them? Shiny diamonds coming for you. Here we, let's see what they Rob with you. Okay. That's all light. It's so funny because of this little, this little in joke that we, this running joke on our podcast. My kids know all the words to holy dive.
That's awesome. They know it. Note for note like for them, my boys know. Holy diver. Note for note. We do. We don't ever, we don't ever get past the tiger. Yeah. . That's good stuff. He played a Gibson SG mainly and a Steinberg and Steinberger guitars. Those are the head stockless guitars. Yeah. Great looking guitars.
Now he plays a Kiel, which I wasn't familiar with, so I, I definitely had to look it up. He plays a Vader six and the Vader one. Best new guitar at Nam in 2015. It looks like rock. It looks like a BC rich warlock without the headstock. That's kind of chopped up a little bit. Okay. I kinda like it. Could never play it in church, but I love that guitar BC Rich Warlock.
If you don't know that by name, it looks like equal. It looks like what Blue Oyster Cult would play. Yes. Yeah, exactly. It looks like you took like a regular shaped guitar with its curves and gave it like rheumatoid arthritis and it like if you've seen, if you've seen the newest season of Stranger Things, no spoilers here, but it looks, if you have seen the new season of Stranger Things, it looks like something that would've come out of that, Right.
Of one of the victims of Season four Stranger Things. That's. On keyboards and a little bit of guitar, a Lanier. He actually lived with Patty Smith through the seventies. Cool. And did, did stuff on her projects actually, because The Night, I love that song. Yeah. That's on Easter album and he plays keys on Space Monkey.
That's a neat song on that album. He died in 2013 of C O P D complications on drums. Albert Bouchard, who is who we talked about a little bit earlier, drums, percussion, cowbell stuff with Mike Wa, which is a great name for musician by the way. Mike Wat Yeah. Of the Minutemen and Fire Hose formed Blue Coop with his brother Joe, who he will mention below and interview with.
And it, they also had Alice Cooper's base player, Dennis Dunaway on that project. Michael and Randy Brecker on Horns. Their contribution appears only on the extended album track. Yeah. And was edited out of the released single. Yeah. They did stuff with everybody from James Brown to Eric Clapton.
They played on the August album, which for you, EC fans is the one that has it's in the way that you use it, which I love that song. So they're the horn section and they are like, side note, they're like jazz giants, legends, like Yeah. Legends. They've, they've got I put a little bit about them too.
So like Randy Brecker was founding member of Blood, Sweat and Tears. And they're jazz and funk credits, I mean are just Impossible from Zappa Clapped and Quincy Jones. They played with huge names in like every genre. Yeah. You know what I. Well, I mean he just named three genres right there. Yeah, that was pretty awesome.
On backing vocals, some keyboards and some percussion. And one other thing, a guy by the name of David Lucas, he wrote the at and t jingle, Reach Out and Touch someone. There you go. And the Pepsi Catch the Spirit Pepsi, he wrote those jingles huge in the eighties, but his greatest contribution to the world music was suggesting the cowbell for this.
There you go. Song that's, so that's his greatest. He was also the producer on this track. We'll get to in a second. And then on base Joe, who we'll talk with here in a little bit, that. Don't forget Joe. Okay. I've got a few sort of listening notes here and a little bit of music theory to talk about.
Okay. First of all, listening notes, you can't, and this is just because of Saturday Night Live. If nothing else, you can't not hear the cowbell, right, Which is portrayed in the SNL sketch as being played by a fictional player named Gene Frankel . And they do like a little obituary thing at the end. Don't blow it.
Force Jean . In reality, it was played by Albert Bouchard, the band's drummer who covered the bell in Gafe tape and hit it with a temp mallet that has like cotton on the ends. Just kind of soften the sound and mellow it out. It's not real Tingy Tingy. No, they, But they fix that at the beginning rather than like trying to EQ it out in post by him using a mallet and a taped up cowbell.
And actually, depending on who you ask, stories do vary because Producer David Lucas says it was him that played it. Mm-hmm. And Eric Bloom has also said that he played it. Yeah. So it's, it's interesting. The producer in the Sketch, by the way, is named Bruce Dickinson, but as I said, the songs producer was David Lucas.
Bruce Dickinson is real. But he was credited as the producer of a reissue of this album that came out later. And I think the SNL. People when they were putting together the sketch, saw that name and used it as Christopher Walken's character. It sounds better than David Lucas in his sketch. Yeah. Ruth Dickinson.
Yeah. It has some weight Walk baby. I'm the . Okay. The middle section on the album version with the guitar solo is beautifully out of nowhere in the most seventies rock Yeah. Way. You know what I mean? It literally changes keys, changes vibes all together. And, and, and then straight back to the original, like chill vibe.
Let's take a listen to it.
you can lightly hear the horns in there doubling that.
This is awesome.
He's gonna end up holding this G, which is kind of what connects them back to the original key.
Right? That's, So let's break down what's happening. Organized chaos. Organized chaos. Let's, let's break that down. Okay. So it's theory wise, if you're thinking a minor, it's a minor G f G for most of the song that's the verses the chorus just go fg a minor. And there's occasionally an E in there, but It's simple.
You can get lost in it. It's kind of trippy, you know what I mean? But the, we were talking about this a minute ago. You said the guitar drives the song mm-hmm. , And I said, I'm gonna get more granular than that. Yeah. To me, I'm gonna say the open G stringing is really the unsung hero of this song. It's that ringing note that drives the rhythm and creates the, like haunting sound.
So, So can you sing it in the riff? Yeah. So it's bababababa, it's that
like, that note and, and that note played open. It's an open G and you can hear it. It keeps ringing even when they're changing. That's what you're threat position. Mm-hmm. . And it's that note that I think gives the.
It's that right. To me, I think that's what keeps it and that open g has a way of ringing in a way that is ever so slightly out of tune or chorusy sounding, especially when you throw some delay on, you know what I mean? And even some effects. I think that is what is really the sound of the song to me is that open G string.
Okay, let's go back to that solo section for just a second because suddenly we've been an a minor, the whole song suddenly we're an F minor for no discernible reason. Okay, So this opening riff. Of the, of the middle section,
that's a minor cord and we're gonna go here.
That's an F minor cord followed by a G seven cord with, with seven F bottom in it. Yeah. So that's a fgb fgb you're hearing.
So let's break down this. Now they're going, it's still the cord wise it's F minor G seven. Okay. But the riff is going on an F minor cord. One two flat 3 9 1.
And then a G major cord. 1, 3, 5, flat nine, one. No gross. Okay, that sounds like that shouldn't have worked well. So what it is, the, the flat nine works because it's a it's an extension of, it's a kind of a natural extension of a G seven cord. Okay. So you would go 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Okay. You know what I mean?
It gives it that real classical fugue sound if you think of like the, the way that diminished sound. Okay. Is what, is what it ends up giving it. Okay. So here's that one more time. So,
Really interesting. And then you've got the sweet solo on top of it. Good job. Thank you. Few more listening notes. It's what they keep me around for around here. Let's see. I love, I I, no, I triple love the sound of the snare on this song. Yeah. And if you're listening on headphones, you can really hear some serious slap delay on the drums, especially on the snare and the high hat when it's sort of exposed there in that middle section.
It's like bouncing all over the place. Yeah. But I love the snare of this song. It's, it pops, but it's still mellow sounding like you can hear the kind of compression on it, but you but it, but it still sounds mellow. The, like, they're not banging away on the drums on this song. Yeah. Except for middle section excluded, you know?
I love the low harmony on the verses, like it's, it gives me like a meat puppets vibe. And I love thinking of this as like a prototype for that. But let's listen, cuz normally you're thinking, especially if you're thinking of heavy rock, You know, heavy rock vocals tend to go, How high can we do this?
Yeah. You know what I mean? Listen to how low these, these vocal harmonies are on the, on the Verve
that's low. That's, let's see if we're in any, that's that's a low C, so that's E D C B C. That's really low. That's not James Brown and Ronnie James Deo Vocal Idol era. No, exactly. That would be yes. Of the spectrum. I did look up what they instrumentally played and used on to play that riff. Okay. And what he's singing through.
The riff was recorded with a crewman, Gibson, E seven E s 1 75 guitar run through a Music Man four 10 combo a. And dharma's vocals were captured with a telecon E 47 too. 40 47. That's a classic. That's a classic studio microphone. Yeah. Like I said, for me, the thing that really makes this song shine is how mellow most of it is.
I said it's what Will Smith might call a soft subtle mix in, in the song summertime. You know, it's so chill. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. There you go. Don't try to fix it. You can go back. You do the low vocal harmony of that on. Don't try to fix it. , don't, don't try to fix it. There we go. . It's like the song is not.
The song is up Tempo. Yeah. This is a fast song, right? It duh duh duh. That's probably, it doesn't feel like that. It's 120 beats. At least. At least you're just using the cow bale to kind of set the tempo. Yeah. Right? Yes. But it's, but it's But it's chill. Yeah. Their vocals make it chill, but it's not a ball.
You know what I mean? It's a, it's a chill fast song. And it's just like, Dude, don't fear death. You know? Let's groove and skydive and raise babies and start a plant collective, whatever, whatever. Plant Collective. A little more about the song. Buck wrote the song after being di diagnosed within irregular heartbeat.
He said, It's imagining you can survive death in terms of your spirit. Your spirit will prevail. So it's about him like getting some bad health news, but deciding like, I'm not gonna fear death. You know what I mean? I'm gonna like, you know, live like you were dying as Tim McGraw might. It's really a positive song though.
A lot of people have mistakenly said it's encouraging suicide. That was like the big controversy over the song is like, don't fear the reap or let's do this, let's, you know, whatever. I don't wanna make, make light of suicide, but like, you know so that was the like con that was the reason we weren't allowed to listen to this.
Right. But it's really about living life. Well, in light of the fact that we all know that we will die, right? Yeah. Make the most of the time that you have. It's the inspiration according to Steven King, for his classic novel to stand. Okay? And it's quoted at the beginning of the. Although apparently, I don't know if this is the same in every edition, but apparently it's misquoted.
It says Mary instead of Baby, Baby. And I don't know if Mary is a character in the stand. I don't read . I'm not generally well educated. Dropped outta college. He's No Eric Bloom with the reading. No. No, Absolutely not. I haven't even seen the mini series. There's too mini series based off the stand.
I haven't seen either one, so I don't know if there's a Mary or not. I don't know. Rob doesn't even like to stand. I don't even
That is the truest thing that's ever been said on this podcast. Like, it hurt to the core, but dog on if it's not true. It's featured in tons of films and video games, particularly in horror movies. Horror movies like to play a little Don't Fear The Reaper you know, in a good chase scene in Halloween. Something like that. I gotta Stop The Genius. Okay. All right, let's do it. Let's do it. Stop the genius. Stop the genius.
Stop the genius. It's time to stuff the genius. Jump and take your part. I say your part. So we're gonna play name this band whose name has a color in it. Oh, Oyster cold. So 10 songs. If you'll put a timer on your phone, go for 80%. If you put a timer on your phone, 10 songs, you gotta get at least 8 45 seconds.
That gives you a little less than five seconds of song. Okay? I hope I am cheering for you if you get stuck pass. So give a little countdown. All right. One minute. 45 seconds. 45 seconds. Let's do 45 seconds. Let's just challenge him. So there's 10. Okay. And these are bands. Which color band? The name of the band, Color, and the name of the band.
All right. Here we, And go.
Well, I'm already stuck. Skip Pink Floyd. Blacks.
Red White Stripes. Do you have? Green Day is fun. It's smoke on the water. It's, it's purple. Purple. Deep purple. Deep purple. Geez. Maroon Five White snake.
Is that brown band, Brown band? Oh no, I don't Thinking Gary Glitter. That's glitter's not a color. You go back to the top one. Oh, that's the black keys. Ah, that's the black keys. The one that stopped you at the beginning. That's the red hot chili peppers. Dang. Oh man. I could have picked a different one. What Chili Pepper song is that?
Now listen what I say, do not know. It's, I've never heard this song. Oh, it's a biggie. You don't know this one from Stadium aad. You don't. It's great. Anyway, sorry I picked a bad chili pepper song, but a You did eight. I did eight's, My 80 percent's right there. That was fun. I'm hanging in here to recap. Red hot Chili peppers.
Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, White Stripes, Green Day. How many times did I say? Purple? Purple. Purple. Purple. Purple, purple. Deep purple. Maroon Five White snake. That, that brown band, that one was funny to me. And the Black Keys man. So, good job. I need more black keys in my life. I really like 'em. I just don't listen to That's how For You by the Black Keys baby.
I'm Hoing for you. You see the, the promotion the Black Keys did for their new tour where they said they're gonna spread some of their drummers, grandmother's ashes in every city. No, it's really funny. Go find it on Instagram if you're listening. It, they, they've done several, like really funny, sort of quirky promos and one of 'em was that they were gonna spread her ashes a little bit in every city They stop in.
One of my most impressive moments that I was super. Pleased with my wife noticing a rock star as she saw Dan in the airport. Oh. And she was like, That's Dan, I'm wanna go over real quick. And was like gone. I was like, Dan, what? And then I go over there and, and she got, she met him, signed, I think signed her plane ticket.
Really? Yeah. So that was kind of fun. That's a pretty solid pickup at an airport. Yeah. Like to be able to pick them out of a crowd. And I, and he was by himself out Jean Simmons. He and, well he looks kind of average. Yeah. That's what like he's very average looking. Yeah. Just looks like a dude. Looks like a guy.
There's a guy. So, Good job Kayla on that. Wow. Yeah, this has been it's been fun, but we ain't done yet. No, we're about hang out with Joe guys. Yeah, exactly. We're gonna hang out with Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult. We're gonna talk about all the things we're gonna talk about being perceived as evil.
We're gonna talk about just all the, all the kinds of all the things you want. We're gonna talk about Ls we're gonna talk about American rocker. Yeah. This new project my way is the highway. Yeah. So let's do that right now. But first, stop, whatever you're doing. I don't care if you're about to, if you're at rock climbing and you're listening to us while you rock climb, first of all, congratulations on being awesome and in shape.
A lot of, a lot of standing in that, lot of standing. Finger strength for the rock climbers. Use one of those strong fingers to scroll down to your phone on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and give us a follow over at Great Song Podcast. Join the Facebook group, great songs and great people who love them greatly.
And if you wanna go the extra mile, if you wanna reach the top of that mountain, so to speak, and be just an absolute next level bud of the show. You can be a email@example.com slash Great. Song Podcast. Just go to Patreon. You can look up the Great Song Podcast, it's P A T R E O N. And if you decide to support us at any level, first of all, you'll get all our eternal gratitude.
Second of all, you'll get stuff like bonus shows, early releases, stuff you can't get anywhere else by being a subscriber on Patreon. So if you wanna do that, go to patreon.com/ Great. Song Podcast. Yeah, let's go talk to Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult, and we'll be back to tuck you in at the end.
This is the Great Song Podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, as promised, we are here with Joe Bouchard American Rocker founder founding member of Blue Oyster Cult. And kind enough to spend a few minutes with us here today on the Great Song Podcast. Joe, thanks so much for joining us. Hey, it's great to be here, man.
We are so excited. And as we, as we speak with you, it's actually release day for you. So mm-hmm. , congratulations on that. Tell us a little bit about, I'm excited. Tell us a little bit about the new record. Was there a a specific vision for this one? Or, or tell us everything about it? Well, you know, I didn't have a plan at, at first, you know, you could say that this is my pandemic record.
Okay. When, you know, I put out a record during the pandemic, but it already had been written before. So this one was completely written and conceived and recorded during the pandemic. So it was great to have that extra time. Everybody's schedules cleared out. No gigs to go to, right? No, no, no. Filling up the car with, with gear
No, no, no. Just me and, and my guitars back there, you know. Yeah. Plug 'em in, make 'em work, you know, make 'em work. Their pay for their their room and board. Right. . Right. Make 'em earn it. Great. Yeah. Gotta, they gotta earn it. So, No, I had a lot of fun doing this and I hope that the fun, it reflects in the grooves, you know.
Sure. Yeah. And we've only heard, we've only heard to this point the lead single, but I really enjoy it. No, I haven't. Oh, you've listened through it? Yeah, I, I oh, I spent, just came out like midnight last night and they, they pressed the go button, jumped in and loved I obviously the master control.
Right. Dude, I stayed up just cuz I wanted to be prepped to talk about it and wrote some notes. Oh. I love My Way is the Highway, which is the, you know, the new, the big single that was the Madoff coming in at second, at second number seven. I'm like, nice. Nice tribute there. Great sounding, good production.
The thick guitars nice mix of vocals. I feel like it's an anthem that's only two minutes and 45 seconds long. I didn't even know that was possible. How you can do an anthem in two minutes and 45 seconds. Less than three minutes. No. Yeah, I don't know that one. Just I don't know. I had, I'd been thinking about doing a song about I, you know, I watched the old Route 66 TV shows.
It's, yeah, it's way before your time, way before your time. But when I was your age or younger when I was a young lad, I thought that was the coolest thing. These guys would be hopping in their, their convertible and, you know, taking off down the road, all these adventures and so I had this riff that was based around around that idea.
And then I just started playing the riff. One day. I had the right groove on the drums and, and the song. And once I hit that chorus, I, my way is the highway. Ooh, okay. You know, that's, you know, it sounds kind of familiar, but then I, you do a search and you say, Well, there's not, there's a, there were a couple of country songs that had.
Theme, but I've never really heard a rock song with that particular theme. And so I went with it and it just seemed to fall into place. You know, It's, it's great. I I love that you said if you're looking for something that's dark and depressing, you aren't gonna like this album . It's so full of positivity.
I like it. I can make a few people smile. I'm a happy camper. You know, its great. Love out a thin air about meeting your life partner. Tell the story about Offseason Hotel and the Oh, that's a good one. Weekend setting sounds like a movie. This is a great story. Tell this one. Yeah. Well back, back in the back in the sixties, I was the band leader in a resort hotel.
We did a, you know, six nights a week, four hours a night, nine to one, nine to one. And so we did everything, you know, and, and it was great, you know, in this environment cuz I was just 18, I turned 18 that summer. And and We played there all summer. And so you had that big party at the end of the summer, Labor Day weekend big, you know, Oh, it's, it's fantastic.
The week after Labor Day is like, Oh, it's empty. It's like ghosts. It's like, you know, So the staff at this hotel, all our friends, they go down to Florida and do the whole thing again with the summer crowd, you know, their, their winter job, I say. And yeah, cuz this was up in thousand islands of resort area of New York state.
And so that was, that was always a, I wanted to write a song about that. And then about 30 years later, I get a call from my brother, You want to go to Florida to play a gig in a hotel? And it's for the Ghostbusters . You remember the, remember the Ghostbusters TV show? Absolutely. Absolutely. They had a, I used to watch it all the time, loved it.
loved it, loved those guys. And so they had this convention in Florida, in this old, old wooden hotel. You supposedly haunted hotel. And it was a huge crowd there, you know, And they had UFOs specialist who was our friend, Peterik Robbins, who wrote, wrote a couple books on UFOs. He was one of the speakers.
And Linda Blair from The Exorcist was one of the speakers. It was wild. So we're sitting in the bar and there's all these TV monitors. I say, What the heck are all these TV monitors doing in the bar? Cuz it was just dark, you know, There wasn't, wasn't much going on. And somebody came over and said they're having a ghost hunt up in the attic.
Do you wanna go ? I said, Sure. It's midnight. It's midnight. You know, we'd replayed our set and, and so they give us night vision goggles and they give us these listening devices, you know, And so we went up the attic of this old hotel and they're saying, you know, in these you know, places that, you know, it's been here for a hundred years and it's, you know, it's kind of creeks a little bit, you know?
And now, now we're gonna have to be real quiet. Make sure, so the ghosts will come out, you know, And the woman that was directing this tour says, You hear that? And we're all listening. And it was like,
yes. And, and she's, I think I see something. I think there was somebody who did a seance there. Oh my God. It was crazy. For two hours. Well, I didn't personally see a ghost. I tried. I I would, I tried not looking for them. But you were intentionally trying to find them . I guess that's what happens. They only show up when you're not looking right.
So I got these two stories and I said, Hey, you know, and I got the title off season hotel. Yeah, yeah. That would make a good. And, and so I, you know, it, it, it, it. Just that one, that one I worked on. That one took a lot of work to get it done. And I got John Jordans to play some beautiful flamenco guitar on that one.
Yeah. He also plays on in the Golden Age too, right? Oh, yeah. And, and is solo in the Golden Age, dude. So good. Spectacular. For our listeners that don't know, John Jordans a great session guy from Nashville, I met him a few years ago. He played with Orlando Show that I went to, Super most notable. I might've been there, I might've been.
Oh yeah. City Winery was a good one. No, it wasn't City Winery, but it was was a big charity thing that we did there. Yeah. He most notable went to he casters and Desert Rose, so yeah, he's awesome. And Elton John Elton, he played with Elton John for half a dozen years. Yep. And, and so I met him in Iraq.
Oh, wow. It was, it was Orleans and John Json Jimi. Jamison from Survivor talking about him. Yeah, Skip Martin from Cool. The Gang. So I got to play the bass, like cool. It was like, what, what is this? This is crazy. And Alex Ledgerwood from Santana and the, and the, and the Orleans band was the core band with Charlie Morgan.
And maybe, you know, Charlie, He does a lot of sessions. I think he lives in, in Nashville. So anyway, I, I, my brother, the instigator , you know, he says, You gotta put a cowbell on it. Okay, yeah, we'll do that. And then he says, Why don't you get your friend John json to play a couple of solos? And these songs are, you know, you, you're playing a lot of guitar all through the whole album, but, you know, maybe he needs something a little special over the top.
And, and I said, John, I mean, he's a busy guy. He's a, he got works in four bands at the same time, you know, plays with Chris Homan of the Birds amazing trio that they have with Herd Peterson. And you know, he's just a tremendous guy. So he whips out the guitar, puts a couple of tracks down, Whoa, blows my mind, you know.
So yeah, he's on in the golden Age and he's also on the, the off season hotel. Just the icing on the cake. You mentioned you are a multi-instrumentalist you know, you play a lot of stuff on your own records. You played several things you know, even with Blue Oyster Cult, you weren't just bass, you did some other things Yeah.
Occasionally. Yeah. Talk a little bit about that element of your, of your style and maybe even how, you know, being a bass player informs how you play other instruments. Yeah. Yeah. Or how I play other instruments informs my bass playing exa. Yeah, sure. I, I I was a piano major in college. Okay. I, I, I wanted to be a guitar major, but there was no place to study guitar back in the sixties.
No kidding. So, you know, I was a trumpet player in high school. So I, I went to my trumpet teacher. I said, I'm gonna study music in college. You think I could be a trumpet major? And he said, I've heard you play . You know, he is grading his teeth and he says, Go talk to your singing teacher. You know, So I had this great chorus director and great guy, and I said, I said, Mr.
Connors, I wanna go to college and be a singing major. And he said, Well, I've heard you sing and , why don't you go talk to your piano teacher? So my piano teacher was Sister George. She's an 80 year old nun. Okay. And I went to see Sister George and Sister George. Oh, you can do anything you wanna do . Yeah.
And little did I know how hard it was gonna be. It was really, I, I worked, worked my butt off, you know, senior year of high school just so I could get into a college, you know, when I really wanted to study guitar. Right. And Guitar was not a, a sanctioned instrument in those days. So I got through the audition and spent four years studying intense classical music, you know, but I was still, was playing gigs on the weekends, you know, had I, you know, I played in soul soul bands, I played in jazz bands, I played in rock bands, I played in fraternity, you know, animal house bands was great, you know.
So the last thing I did in college, the last two years, I, I played bass in college and my actually, actually as time was turning my, my I had a guitar teacher by that time, and I played in his band as his bass. So he taught me a lot. He was, he's really, really you know, I was playing all the sort of commercial baselines mm-hmm.
you know, for all the pop hits at the, in the day, you know, And so that, that led up to being able to you know, handle the job of being bass player in this weird band called Blue Oyster to come. So, Well, let's, let's talk about, let's talk a little bit about Blue Oyster Cult. First thing I have to ask as J.P and I were both brought up in pretty strictly religious homes,
And so, like, at the time when we were little, like Blue Oyster Cult was a no-no, just on the name alone. The name and like Oh, the name alone. Yeah. Burn those records. That's right. And so, you know, I know you guys faced, you know, probably more than your share of backlash. Oh my God. Just based on that. Yeah. Is there any, are, are there particular memories of specific boycots or situations that people got upset about that come to mind that you would like to share as just a funny recollection?
You know, not as bad as you would think. Okay. But we did have people handing out leaflets, you know, the end is near Sure. You know, repent. Yeah. You know, or my, or my pastor says that this band is evil. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Is the personification of evil. No, that's right. We weren't, I mean, we just like regular guys, you know, we just.
you know, we liked play music. We didn't mind being weird Uhhuh, you know, we didn't wanna be a commercial band, you know, we didn't wanna be the Berry Manalow of every medal . There's a good name, The Berry Manos of every manal. That's your tagline. Like the Eagles of Death man, you know? Yes, exactly. So you guys were fine with, with Sister George, maybe being a little upset by the name.
Yeah. . That was okay. I, I, it was hard telling it to my, my, my relatives, you know, because we had a meeting, we couldn't decide on a name, and we had a meeting and we kept, it was just, the arguments were like insane. And we had to practice for the album. We had to record an album. So we said to our manager, we locked them in a room.
We, our two managers, Sandy and Murray, we locked him in a room, said, Don't come outta that room until you have the name. And five minutes later they came out and they said, We got it. It's gonna be Blue Oyster Cult. We go, Oh. But then Sandy said, you know, I, I, they told the record company and the record company was kind of happy about it.
I don't know why. Well, people in advertising like to have something that they can, you know, really dig, you know, that wasn't, you know, Billy Joel, Right. Or Berryman Low . Yeah. Or you know, who else, or, Well, even Bob Dylan, you know? Sure. It was on Birds and Bob Dylan were on Columbia. You know, It worked out. It worked out.
It, it's a, a distinguished name, you know, instantly, Recallable, instantly memorable for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And you guys were the sort of originators, the progenitors of the use of the the little, you know, in, in heavy music. And that became really a thing for heavy bands and metal bands. Yeah. Monte Crew wanted to project a certain image, you know?
Is that a crew with a boom Loud or Exactly. Or Motorhead with a o Loud. Yeah, we were first. Yeah. I don't know. And, and even then, over the, you know, they thought we were from Germany, I think, I think they thought we were a German band, you know? Yeah. So there was you. See, we looked at it kind like Pink Floyd.
You know, Pink Floyd just kind of mysterious band. You don't know. What do they look like? I don't know. You know, they, they, they're weird, you know? They have this weird, so he was very happy about, it wasn't till later when we started pulling the reins back and say, Oh no, I'm Sandy. We gotta put our picture on these thing
You know, you can't gotta use our real names, right? Yeah. You gotta use our real names on the album. Did they try and did anybody try and push you guys to use stage names? Oh yeah. Well, Buck Dah got stage. Yeah. Joke. He does like that. That's Buddy Punisher. I'll remember that. The so we, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk a little bit about don't fear the Reaper.
So I've heard I, two things I gotta ask in regards to that. Sure. Obviously Albert playing the Cal Bell part and David Lou Lucas suggested, I heard you say Albert thought he was crazy for that. And Yeah, I heard that the rhythm section parts were done in one take on a four track. Is that true? Probably.
I think by that time it was 24 track. Okay. Okay. But it was all done. It was all done in one take. Wow. Wow. And all five of us played live. Yeah. Yeah. He added some more guitars later, and of course, the vocals were added later. I think it was all instrument we just played. We'd, we'd practiced a lot. Yeah.
You know, I knew that we had a, a probably the best chance of, of having a hit record with that. So you felt it right away? Oh, I felt it. Yeah. Even, even when Donald brought the cassette and we'd, we'd bring around these boom boxes on the road and he'd put the cassette in. We'd be listening the boombox, and there was, Oh, that's a good song.
And then Reaper would come on. Wow. Oh, well that blows minds. You know, we took it, we took the boom boxes over to Europe and even the, the record company over there, they would send out their, you know, the people that the artist liaisons or, you know, and they would go and, and we would, we'd have a party after the show and they'd be listening to the boombox and they.
Wow. , you know, like, whoa. So yeah, it had that, that, that power to make an impression. Make a big impression. Yeah. It was a combination of Donald making a love song, but still being able to keep that weirdness. Right. You know, that weird, weird thing. And people to this day is, can, I don't know, you know, you know, we're just, we're just lucky.
You know, We have that song. Well, that, that, that whole album's great. Agents of Fortune album. My favorite song that's Not Don't For the Reaper or Burning For You, is on that album, My favorite Blue Oyster Coat song. And you wrote it Morning, Final. I love it. Yeah. So many different parts and so many cool licks.
So also from that album, so another one, I, I, I really enjoyed writing that. I think I remember I had this old white piano in my garage. And I had a little studio built on the far side of the garage, you know, so I could practice and, and yeah, I I really worked on that. It more than I more than had on any other song up until that point.
And yeah, demo was pretty good. I've, I've heard some demo versions of that, that. Sound almost as good as the finished version . And then I think, I think it also conceptually fit with Yeah. You know, that sort of New York attitude, you know, that kind of, you know, it was a, it was a rough time in New York.
Those in those days, you know, there was a lot of crime. You know, people talk about crime today, but there was, it was scary . It was scary. And so, you know, the subway, you know, it's, it's kind of a true story. Picked up the newspaper, saw the, the headline and the thing, and, you know, Subway murder, and, and then I found out it was a hundred feet from the door of the, the apartment I was staying.
Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah. It was like, it was like right there, . And I said, Wait a minute, you know, I'm a kid from a little town and I grew up on a farm, you know, none of this weirdness happens. You know, So I guess they, and, and they produced it really well. I played the piano. Oh, I didn't know that. I didn't know you did the piano part.
I played the piano on that. I was really sick that day, so I, I ended up over, up in another piano. There's two pianos, and then Allen who usually plays the piano. Mm-hmm. played the bass on it. Okay. And he, he really, he really nailed the base part. So yeah, he's bringing that up with Patty Smith. I mean, that guy's, he's great.
Yeah. Yeah. Played on the Clash. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm interested in, in that sort of studio dynamic where you go, Okay, on this song, why don't you play piano? And you played bass, Like, is that because were you guys tracking together at that point too? And so it was decided, Okay, Joe's gonna play. We were all the, everybody was there, you know I don't remember if Eric played on the track, but he might have.
And I guess, and it was great to hear Allen play bass. It gave, gave it kinda like a freshness. Yeah. You know, everybody plays bass a little bit different, you know? Yeah. So but he, he could easily, you know, pick up the bass and play a really nice baseline and well, I think if a, I don't, I can't remember whose idea that was.
If he, if he was around to hear your new project, I think he'd be pleased. So. Well, that's great. That's, Yeah, I think he'd be good. That's great. Yeah. I'd love to know if you think, you know, I always like to ask artists who are, you know, part of these iconic groups like Blue Oyster Cult who have inspired so many other groups, you know where you kind of, where do you hear the inspiration of Blue Oyster Cult in more modern bands or who, you know, who's kind of carrying that torch now?
Well, the ghost, there's a band called Ghost that gets from Sweden and supposedly they're big. You know, they, they do carry on some of that, of course. Metallica of course. Yeah. Yeah. They covered one of our songs, actually. They covered two. They, they did, they did a cover of Eric Blooms song Veteran of the Psychic Wars.
Mm-hmm. . It was done in a live show. It's, it's too bad it wasn't on one of their albums. Yeah. But but, you know that was a big, that changed my life. Yeah. Because I, I co-wrote this song. Yeah. I had heard, and you know, I was into the internet in the early days and I had heard a rumor that Metallica was gonna cover a Blue Oyster Culted song.
And I said, Oh, it'll probably be somebody else's, or it'll be the usual. Right. Usual, you know, maybe Reaper or something like that. And No, it was astronomy. Astronomy, yeah. And all of a sudden I, I was. Well, that's kind of cool, . And next thing I know, I quit my day job. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, I quit my day job because wait a minute, I'm gonna be, I a Metallica record.
I gotta write, I gotta write more songs. I can't, you know? And and then I got the cassette. In my post box and I'm riding around in my Dotson and I put the cassette in. I can, I can really remember this driving, driving back from the post office and I put the cassette in my car and I can't believe it. I can't believe it.
It sounded so good. I still got there. I still got that cassette somewhere here. I'm gonna have to have this if it sounds as good as it in my memory, you know? Right. Yeah. But yeah, that really did sound great. And and you know, they were, when, when we were really in the, you know, having, having hits and playing the big stadiums, they were, you know, basically in high school.
Yeah. So, you know, the kind of music that you listen to in high school sticks with you. Yep. So they, they, they did a huge favor with the, you know, Yeah. Recording that song and, They're good guys. You've been kind, We'll try to not take too much more of your time, but there's a few things we wanna touch on real quick need.
There's a few parts of these where we just kind of gush over things that we really like about the artist, so I'm gonna do that for you. Sure. Sure, go ahead. I saw you and your brother play Don't Further reaper at the Kate with Joan Levy Hepburn. I saw the video. Oh yeah, Yeah. I actually like the drum percussion list approach on that.
Sounds great. And y'all sound great vocally on that. Well thanks. Thanks so much. It's so good. It screams from the first Blue Oyster Cold album you also wrote in sang lead on it's called the, Some people call it the Black and White album, but really embracing the psychedelic rock sound. I love it.
Great riffs, great baselines underneath. I I heard someone say that y'all set out to kind of be the answer to Black Sabbath at the time. Yeah, a bit. You know once we, I didn't, The first week that I joined the band, our manager, Sandy Pearlman, said, You gotta come and see this band, the plane in Staten Island in this theater.
It was Black Sabbath. It was, you know, I think we got there late, so we didn't see the beginning, but I do remember the end. I remember you know, Ironman and War Pigs and course you know paranoid, you know, so that, you know, and Sandy was saying, this is gonna be the next big thing, you know, this is, this is, is gonna be the next big thing, but event.
So we'd certainly thought about that in the beginning. I just thought that was good. I knew Yeah. And, and I knew the sort of dark intervals. You put it together, a song like Screams. Yeah. You know, you use those. Yeah. The, the flattened fits the devils The devils interval. That's right. The trione. Yeah.
You ain't, you ain't going 1, 4, 5 only on that. That doesn't No, no, no, no, no, no. No. Slow blues here. Yeah. . So and, and they had a, that had a tempo change in it too. That was, that was weird. That was great, man. So we, we, we embraced the weird, Well, back in those days, everybody embraced the weird. Yeah. Why not?
And you kind of carried that over into your solo work a little bit on Jukebox In my Head album. I, I listened through that with two versions of Dark Boat with all the instrumental sections with the space. So, dude, that's a, you could definitely hear. That you carried that along with you, even into some of your Yeah.
To your, so, Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, I, I started doing solo albums, I think because my brother was doing some indie, you know, releases, and I said, Well, if he can do it, I can do it.
you know, that old brotherly competition. That's right. Go. So so I, you know, and I'm glad you brought up Dark Book because it's, it's a brilliant song, you know, And I, as much as I thought, well, I'll try to try to do something different, I wanted to do something more acoustic. And there's a lot of acoustic guitars than that.
There's just a lot of everything in that. There's lots of politic of everything. A lot of times I, I'll think, Well, I don't really want, I wanna stay away from Blue Oyster Cult. And then of course it ends up, it's the stuff that I grew up with, you knows, you can't hide it. It's reformative, it's stuff that I was a part of, you know, it's, you can't, you can't avoid it, you know?
So Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Yeah. Well, yeah. Well, thanks. Yeah. We got one question that we ask everybody. So you're on, you're on, let's say you're on tour and let's say you're going either, you know, with Blue Oyster Cult or doing some solo stuff or whatever, and you go into a gas station. What is your gas station snack?
Food of choice. And while you're thinking of it, I'll give you mine. When I was growing up, my mom would say, You could have any candy bar you want. And I get a three Muske Tears bar cuz it's the most ounces. Oh. What is your gas station? Hershey. Hershey with almonds. There you go. Somebody else Hershey with almonds.
With the almonds, Yeah. Somebody else said that exact answer was it? I know Warren Hains said Hershey Bar, but nobody, I don't know if anybody said by the almonds With Almond Ray Stevens. Oh, it was, I think it was Ray Stevens. That's random. Good company I'm in. Good company. There's nothing more Bl Oyster Cult than Ray Stevens
That's good. This has been fun. I hope you've had a, had a good time. Great time. It's great, great, great talking to you. I appreciate you digging into the music and Ray Stevens with peanut butter crackers. I was wrong. You're right, you're right. It's, We'll think of it though. Yeah. Listen, we wish you the best with the new album and we thank you so much for joining us for a few minutes today, Punisher.
Thank you. Show the punish. Punish. Let's keep it weird. Thanks Joe. Have a great day, man. Okay, you too tears. Thanks. This is the Great Song Podcast. And that was Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult. What a fun thing. This has been to kick off seventies September here on the Great Song Podcast. Don't Fear The Reaper is a song that I just never thought I would get to listen to.
I never thought I would get to love and enjoy this song because I was always supposed to be scared of it. But you know what? I'm not afraid of it anymore. , I've, He doesn't fear it. I don't fear it. I've taken the hand of the Reaper. He doesn't, Don't fear the Reaper. I don't. That's right. Don't fear, Don't fear the Reer.
Don't fear, don't fear the re if there's one thing to take away from this podcast, it's don't fear, don't fear the reer, you know, and that G-string. That's right. Seasons Don't fear, don't fear the Reaper. And, and you know, all those things. So I can't think of the rest of 'em are off the top of my head.
But all those other things that don't fear, that don't fear the reaper. Now, If somebody's afraid of listening to this episode of the podcast, we might need to tell them, Don't fear. Don't fear. Don't fear the Reaper. That's right. If that was the subtitle, if we called this title, if we called the episode, Don't Fear, Don't Fear the Reaper.
Yeah. We would have to tell someone. Yeah. Don't fear. Don't fear. Don't Fear the Reaper. Yes. Yeah, exactly. And when you say it like that, it almost comes across like a lyric, Like it sounds like another song. It does. Maybe we should write, maybe we should write a song about how this song is okay to listen to and call it.
Don't fear. Don't Fear the Reaper. Right? Yeah. That's good. And the chorus can just be us. Don't fear. Don't fear. Don't fear the Reaper. Let's, let's work on, let's think about it. I feel a shenanigan coming on. You know what I'm saying? I think that, think that's, that's brewing. Yeah. And let's sing it in the stylings of James Earl Jones, so that it's comforting.
James Earl Jones. You do? James Earl Jones. No, and I'll do Ronnie James Deo. Okay. Together The duet of the century. I thought you meant now, like I'll do. That's it. We'll do it. All right. 70 September and season 10. Roll on next week with another great song. Until then, I'm Rob. I'm J.P. You'll listen to some music.