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Bringing the 'Reaper'

Blue Oyster Cult promises hits to fans at Hagerstown concert

Blue Oyster Cult promises hits to fans at Hagerstown concert

September 28, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

Dust off those cowbells.

The rock band Blue Oyster Cult is performing Friday at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.

Loop caught up with BOC's lead singer, Eric Bloom, for a telephone interview between gigs. Thirty years ago today, BOC released "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," the band's hit single spurred to further fame by a "Saturday Night Live" skit that spoofed the song in 2000 and introduced the phrase "more cowbell." The skit featured Christopher Walken as the cowbell-demanding producer and Will Ferrell as the cowbell player during a recording session for "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." The skit became a cult sensation. (By the way, there is a cowbell used in the song and BOC loved the sketch and was, at one point, selling T-shirts that featured the phrase, says the band's manager Steve Schenck.)

While there are no plans for new music, Bloom did mention the band's plans to re-release the albums "Spectres" and "Some Enchanted Evening," a live recording of a 1978 concert. The albums will include nine previously unreleased "bonus" tracks - four on "Spectres" and five on "Some Enchanted Evening," which will be packaged with a concert DVD.

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"It's the stuff that was never finished, the 11th song on the 10-track album kind of stuff," Bloom says.

Schenck says the albums could be released as early as next year.

Just don't expect BOC to leak any of those songs at the Hagerstown show, Bloom says. "Sometimes with new songs we'd throw a few trial balloons out there (to see how the crowd liked it), but that's just for a new song," he says. "This stuff is 25 years old."

The only given, Bloom says, is that the band will play "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "Burnin' for You." There also will be the standard extended jams, highlighting Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's guitar skills.

But that's about the only thing fans will know coming into the show, Bloom says.

"Our show is different every night. I personally write out the set list about 15 minutes before every show," he says. "We come prepared to play 40, 50 songs. But in an actual show we might play 12 to 16."

Good luck trying to guess which ones they'll play, Bloom says. But concertgoers can bank on at least one change in BOC's live show - fewer stage effects than for past shows.

"Do you know how old we are?" Bloom says. "Do you know the average age of the group's original members is 60?"

As for what's next, it's touring as usual for BOC. There's an inside joke, the band's manager says, that the band never stopped touring since the group formed in 1972.

In the meantime, some of the band's members have their own side endeavors.

Bloom's latest online project involves selling BOC-themed guitars airbrushed by artist Dan Lawrence. Before mentioning the price, it must be noted that owners of such a guitar will receive it hand-delivered by Bloom at a BOC concert of his or her choice - right after Bloom has played the song depicted on the guitar and has signed it. You'll also get him to pose for photos with you and the guitar.

The base price for an Eric Bloom Guitar is $4,000. He only sells six a year. "We already have some on back order for next year," Bloom says.

As for an album with new stuff, there isn't going to be one.

For now, anyway.

"If there was a sniff from a record company we would definitely give them plenty to hear," Bloom says.




If you go ...



WHAT: Blue Oyster Cult concert

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: All tickets are $45.

MORE: For tickets, go to www.mdtheatre.org or call 301-790-2000.

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