Bloo Oyster Cult

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Ott 7 2005, 2:06

Not too much music listening today. I got waylaid on a project, and now it's dark. I have a caffeine headache from this tiramisu shake (tsp. instant coffee, c. milk, 2 tbsp. yogurt, 2 tsp. protein powder, tbsp. sliced almonds and ice) that is like liquid crystal meth when combined with morning coffee. Got turned on to Julian Cope's Blue Oyster (no umlaut for me) Cult essay this morning by a blog. Julian Cope can write better than 100% of the Pfork staff, btw. Why is it that musicians like Cope and David Byrne can write so eloquently while many of us in the younger generation hide behind trope and artifice? From Cope's essay, I discovered this Lester Bangs krautrock piece for Creem that I didn't get a chance to delve into due to the unexpected work thing.

So I tried out Cope's BOC mix and was somewhat unimpressed. On first listen, it sounded typical of the early 70s blooze rock trend. They were supposed to be the answer to Black Sabbath from what I read. But they come off like 13th Floor Elevators mixed with some San Francisco bands and the MC5. I have to admit that the guitarists have some chops. Perhaps the answer to entering this world is to turn off the lights and burning one down with your favorite media player visualizations providing the visual accompaniment. Or placing the LP on your turntable while burning incense with the purple lava lamp.

What's more interesting to me is the backstory of how rock scribe Richard Meltzer, Sandy Pearlman and even rock icon Patti Smith were concocting all the lyrics for them (a la Roky Erickson). Most of the band didn't even understand what the Hell they were singing about. As Cope quotes Bangs: "It was only inevitable that groups like Blue Oyster Cult would come along, singing in jive chic about dehumanization while unconsciously fulfilling their own prophecy albeit muddled by performing as nothing more than robots whose buttons were pushed by their producers."

How they got from the early bluesy hippified sound to the radio-friendly tracks "Burning for You" and "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" is another good question.

In other news, my gym was playing some other old 70s radio hits yesterday. I still like a lot of those old songs. Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," Walter Egan's "Magnet and Steel," and the one I heard yesterday, Bob Welch's "Ebony Eyes." I need to keep those LPs in mind when I hit the Austin Record Convention in a couple weeks. The only problem with those LPs are that mixed in with the FM radio gold is the overproduced dross that surrounds them--what the punkers were reacting to. You can't skip tracks.

Had to stop the BOC for a while because it was aggravating my headache. Off to grab some Advil.

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