Blue Oyster Cult may have been the most important American band in the infancy of heavy metal. Formed in New York in 1967, they were known as The Soft White Underbelly until 1971. The name was changed just in time for their eponymous 1972 debut album which contained the hit single “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll.” Through constant touring, BOC became one of the biggest concert draws of the 1970s. Their popularity would begin to wane in the mid ’80s, but not before they had left an indelible mark on the metal world with classics such as “Don’t Fear The Reaper” (hilariously spoofed in the SNL “more cowbell” sketch), “Godzilla,” “Burnin’ For You,” “Harvester of Eyes,” “Black Blade,” “E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence),” “Joan Crawford,” “Astronomy,” and many more, including today’s featured Massive Metal Monday track “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” which can be enjoyed below.
Despite the lack of a record deal, no new studio album since 2001 and the death of founding keyboardist Allen Lanier in 2013, BOC continue to tour to this day. Founding guitarists/singers Donald “Buck” Dharma and Eric Bloom are still front and center and the current lineup is a live force to be reckoned with. If you are ever presented the opportunity to catch them live, do it!
If you need further convincing, here is Blue Oyster Cult performing “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” live at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Hollywood, Florida on October 9, 1981. The original version of the song appears on BOC’s 1982 album Fire of Unknown Origin
This Massive Metal Monday is dedicated to the memory of Allen Lanier.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University of Ohio). It was called Massive Metal for the Masses, and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.