Blue Oyster Cult History - page 8

Blue Öyster Cult 1982-1985

With Buck working on his solo album, and Albert’s prolific pen absent, and an album contracturally due Columbia, the band recorded yet another live record, the double-LP “Extra Terrestrial Live.” Only 4 years after their last live outing, and with many of the songs appearing on the two previously released live records, it appeared that the band was merely buying time while it went through its growing pains.

Albert, in the meantime, devoted himself to writing and recording Sandy Pearlman’s late ’60s song cycle, “Imaginos.” Gathering his long list of New York musical friends and associates, he spent the next 5-plus years working on what he hoped would be his debut solo album.

Also at this time, Buck’s solo album, “Flat Out,” was released on Portrait records. Although the album garnered, in general, good reviews, little was done to promote it. Some fans were taken aback by the pop bent of the album, expecting something heavier from the lead guitarist of BÖC. Sales were disappointing, although the record really showcases the overall scope of Buck’s talents. Buck did not do any solo performances to support the record, although BÖC incorporated two of the songs in its live show for a very few East Coast performances.

BÖC was soon back in the studio to record their next record, and this time Bruce Fairbairn was brought on board as producer. In 1984 “Revölution by Night” was released. Although the band was satisfied with the work, it wasn’t as successful as “Fire of Unknown Origin,” and the single, “Shooting Shark” only reached #83 on the charts.

The mid ’80s were a very unstable time for the band. After the Revölution tour, Rick Downey decided to leave the band, and in 1985 the band found themselves with dates to play but no drummer. As it happened, they called upon Albert, who rejoined the band for a two week tour of California. Things did not go well, the old differences came back, and the reunion of original members was over when the tour was.

Shortly after this, Allen Lanier quit the band as well, although his leaving turned out to be a temporary sabbatical. In the meantime, with both the drum and keyboard positions vacant, and a new album in the future, the remaining members hired Jimmy Wilcox and Tommy Zvonchek and with them finished the “Club Ninja” album. “Club Ninja”’s main flaw was the use of outside songwriters for almost 50% the album. The unstable times contributed to the lack of material from the band, although the songs that the band did have, for the most part, were very good. “Perfect Water,” with a lyric by Jim Carroll is a standout, but songs by Bob Halligan, Jr., a formula songwriter with songs placed on a plethora of generic “heavy” bands of the time were an earsore. “Club Ninja” is one of the least favored BÖC records, by both the band and fans.