Blue Oyster Cult History - page 3

Stalk Forrest Group 1969-1970

With Eric’s influence, the band began to go down a slightly different musical path--leaving behind the more psychedelic/San Francisco sound, and gravitating toward a more rock & roll approach. This, along with the fact that the SWU name had “been around” and had received bad press after a particularly disasterous and embarrassing gig, it was decided that the band needed a new name. They were dubbed the “Stalk-Forrest Group,” and in February of 1970, headed out to California to record their new record at Elektra’s studios in Los Angeles. It was for the Stalk-Forrest Group that Pearlman created stage names for each band member, which were immediately rejected, with one notable exception: “Buck Dharma.”

Upon completion of the sessions, the band returned to New York, but a series of missteps caused Elektra to become frustrated with the band, and they decided to cut their losses and terminated their contract.

During this time, it had become apparant that Andy Winters wasn’t serious about the band, and he was fired. That’s when Joe Bouchard got the call from his brother, asking him to join the band. Joe had been studying music at Ithaca College, and had often travelled down to the city to watch his brother play with the boys. He also on occasion brought his trumpet and sat in with the band on gigs. When Joe arrived on scene, the band was languishing, barely making enough money to get by. Joe took charge, and began to get the band gigs, which not only brought in survival rations, but also fine-tuned the band’s ensemble playing.

A turning point came when the band was asked to play a “swinger’s party” at a closed summer camp. At that show, the band impressed a party-goer named David Lucas, who approached the band and offered them the use of his 8-track jingle studio to record demos. They recorded two sets of demos. The first yielded nothing, but the second got them in the door. Pearlman’s acquaintance Murray Krugman worked for Columbia, and the two of them managed to get the band an audition with Columbia president, Clive Davis. The band played in a small conference room at the CBS building in New York. Davis was suitably impressed, and awarded a contract to the band.

It was at this time that the band was named, by Sandy Pearlman, “Blue Oyster Cult.” (The umlaut being added later by Allen Lanier). Initially, the band was not happy with the name, but settled for it, and went to work preparing to record their first release at David Lucas’ studio.