Martin Popoff - Agents Of Fortune: The Blue Oyster Cult Story - Book
Blue Öyster Cult… six gold and platinum U.S. albums… classic trax like “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Godzilla,” “Burnin’ for You,” “Astronomy” and “E.T.I.” Indeed, Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, Eric Bloom, Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard and Joe Bouchard comprised one of the great stadium acts of the ‘70s and ‘80s. BOC were heavy metal enough to duke it out with Kiss, Rush, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath, yet smart, funny, ironic and jaded enough to please the tough New York critics, of which more than a couple mingled within their ranks.
Agents of Fortune is not a biography as such, but a biography of the band’s albums, a canon of work I consider one of the finest in rock, and truly superlative on the lyrical front. Indeed, in radio, print and TV interviews, I’ve consistently called the band’s lyrics the best in the business, tied with those of Captain Beefheart and Pye Dubois (Max Webster, Kim Mitchell). And what’s more, it’s been well-documented that I consider this the most action-packed, intellectual and highly interesting of the band biographies I’ve penned. The guys are just really cool, creative and have killer stories.
The book examines the complicated early days of the band, graphically demonstrating the show biz sweat that goes into making an act an act. The majority of the book however is centered around the peerless intellectual quality of the songs, a quality made entertaining by the band’s psychotropic and ghoulish humor, and by its interest in all manner of conspiracy theories, cults, monsters, vampires, UFO tales, foul play, arcane spiritualism, alchemy, love lost and love buried, science fiction and science friction.
Along the way, I talked (in some cases numerous times) with Buck, Eric, Albert and Joe, along with drummer Bobby Rondinelli, legendary producer of the band Murray Krugman and BÖC expert Bolle Gregmar. For insight into the band’s fantastic lyrical world, I went right to the source, the penners of BÖC classics. Some of the best insights into creativity I’ve ever heard - through 1400 interviews an’ counting - came from Sandy Pearlman (also the band’s manager during the golden years), Richard Meltzer, Helen Wheels, David Roter and John Shirley, along with cover artists Greg Scott and Ioannis. Helen Wheels and David Roter are since deceased—these chats with them are among their last interviews.