PREVIEW: Blue Oyster Cult bring the classics to Capital Ex

It has to be noted that, in a number of respects, BLue Oyster Cult are a band that succeeded in spite of themselves.

The band’s very name was contentious from the start, with founding manager Sandy Pearlman naming them after a line in a poem he’d written — very hippy stuff, and not exactly a winning moniker, one might have thought. In fact, the band members wanted to drop it.

Wrong! Still… it was a mistake we all could have made, like that stock we were offered eight years ago and didn’t take, which every so often, in our dreams, morphs into a mansion on Ibiza, then disappears in a puff of smoke.

Blue Oyster Cult continues its 40th year of touring tonight on the Capital Ex mainstage. Showtime is 8:30 pm and admission is free with fair entry. Original co-vocalists Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma continue to front the BOC sound (and don’t even ask us to try and find an umlaut in this verdammt program.)

If you do the math, that puts the band’s origin back to 1971. In fact, BOC had a string of minor hits long before their big chart toppers, and were already an established concert headliner, touring across the U.S. before then, including a live LP that went gold.

They had top 30 hits with Don’t Fear the Reaper in 1976, then the crunchingly fun Gozilla in 1977. But one of their biggest hits, 1981’s Burning For You, was actually a Buck Dharma song that the singer/guitarist was going to put on a solo disc.

They also had a minor hit with the creepy “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”, which ended up in the movie Heavy Metal, along with the voices of numerous SCTV actors. Again, it was the only song of those submitted that wasn’t written for the film….but also the only one actually used.

All this seemingly accidental success, however, was always more about the band’s business sense or decision in the moment. Its music sense was rarely off in the heyday, which is why half the bands on the modern hard rock and metal scene count BOC among their influences.

And even with a handful of new members backing up the originators, they still rock — right now, the band is promoting the “yes” side in a campaign for a new NHL arena for the Islanders in their home of Nassau County, NY.