BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (Live at The Carling Academy, Newcastle, U.K., July 21, 2006)
Photo: Mick Burgess

As Blue Öyster Cult crisscrossed a sun-drenched UK during an 11-date tour in record breaking temperatures, Buck Dharma (Lead guitar/vocals) and Eric Bloom (guitar/vocals) took time out for an exclusive chat with Metal Express Radio.

You’re back over in England for your first shows since your mini-tour in 2004, and you’re going to be covering some ground over the course of the tour … Wolverhampton to Glasgow and back down to Southampton is pretty heavy going?

Buck: When the tours are booked a lot of it has to do with the availability of the halls. We go where the halls are available so travel never makes sense to us!

Eric: Our manager closes his eyes and throws a dart at a map of England and we go where the dart lands.

As a band, you have played regularly in the UK over the years when many American acts have passed by. Do you feel a strong affinity for the UK audiences?

Buck: I love England and have always done so since Please Please Me by The Beatles… it’s a wonderful place to come to and we have a great audience here. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to see The Beatles play, but I did once see a tribute band called 1964 and they were just great.

Eric: We haven’t actually come to the UK for a long time. We came over in 2002 for a full tour for the first time since 1989, but before that we’d played only a couple of one-off shows in London. Then we came here again a few times since then, but as long as people want to see us we’ll keep coming back.

How have the shows been going so far?

Buck: They’ve been going really great and the crowds have been up for it and have already taken to the new guys in the band.

Eric: They’ve been excellent. We’re selling out most places and getting a good reaction. I can always tell when the audience is on our side when I go “Cities on Flame” and they yell back “With Rock and Roll”!

Do you enjoy playing outdoor shows?

Eric: Oh, sure, they’re fine, but we get there an hour before the show and leave half an hour after we finish, so we don’t get to see much of the other acts.

You are playing in Newcastle tonight. You must have played in just about every venue in the city over the years, but tonight is your first in the Academy.

Buck: We haven’t seen that venue yet, but we’re looking forward to checking it out when we go up for the sound check soon. We’ve got some good memories of some great nights in Newcastle.

Part of the Some Enchanted Evening album was recorded in the City Hall. What are your memories of that night?

Eric: Yes that’s right. I remember the City Hall well. In fact, back in the ’70s one of our crew saved the place from burning down. There was a fire on the ceiling and one of our crew went up a ladder and put it out. When the fire crew arrived, they said he saved the place. It even made the newspapers the next day!

Was “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” your tribute to the Animals?

Eric: Yeah, sure. We loved The Animals and it was our way of showing our appreciation to the City where they came from.

BOC have built their reputation on the back of hard work and extensive touring. How many shows are you getting through a year these days?

Buck: We play between 60 to 80 shows per year. We’re doing more this year than last … it keeps us busy.

Do you think a lot of new bands no longer have this work ethic and this consequently effects their long-term development?

Buck: I think a lot of bands these days expect instant success without putting the work into it. MTV and the like allows bands to be seen by millions without having to treck across the world, and while it has it’s place, I don’t think you can replace the experience you get by playing live.

One of the great things about BOC is the unpredictability of the set. How many songs have you rehearsed for this tour?

Eric: Well, I write the setlist about 10 minutes before we go on. I sometimes take the guys by surprise at what comes next in the show. We have a lot of hardcore fans that come to every show, especially over here, so I try to keep them happy by throwing them a curve ball every once in a while and they go “I haven’t heard that in like nine years”! I think we have rehearsed a total of 40 songs for the tour, so we’ll pick the set list from those.

Does Eric still call the shots about what’s coming next?

Buck: Eric kind of decides on what to play, but he knows what we do well and he changes things around if he thinks a certain song will work well, or maybe drop one that doesn’t fit well into the set that night, but it does keep it interesting for us.

It must make it tricky for the other band members not knowing what’s coming next, or does it keep it interesting?

Eric: There’s a lot of bands out there and one I can think of who we tour with quite often, and I won’t name names, who had one hit in the 60s and another later on in the 60s, and they’ve been playing off those 2 hits since then, and their show is the same every time we see them, and I’m talking about seeing them 5 or 6 times every year for 10 years and their show is no different. That would drive me nuts, I don’t know how you could be in a band like that!

Buck: We rehearse a bunch of songs for a tour and pick from that pool so we make sure that we can play all of those songs well — whichever ones are picked to play.

How do you go about picking the songs for the whole tour? Do you all chip in with suggestions?

Eric: Well to tell you the truth, I’m the one who kicks everyone’s ass to turn up to rehearsals. I look over the back catalogue and see what we haven’t played in a long time, and what would be good for us to play. There’s some that we don’t play as they don’t come across well … that’s why they have fallen by the wayside. There’s only really 20 songs that we can play all the time that I know everyone will enjoy, but to reach back and play something we haven’t played in 20 years, maybe there’s a reason we haven’t played it in 20 years, maybe it’s not that good! To be honest with you, not every song that we’ve done is that great! Two years ago we re-learned “Quicklime Girl,” and we played it for a few weeks. The hardcore fans loved it, but the general audience had question marks over their heads and it was like “I don’t know that one!” So, who do you play for, the 25 people who come to every show or the 400 or so people who are there to hear “Burnin’ For You?” It’s good to throw in an obscure one every now and then, but we need to keep the set good, it has a certain flow. I write the setlist just before the show, but if I feel it’s not going as planned, then I’ll have a turn around and throw something different in and change it.

Are there songs that someone particularly wants to play, but have been overruled by the others?

Buck: Not really, I think we’re all pretty agreeable at what’s in the set.

Eric: Here’s something I get asked all the time. Do you ever get sick and tired of playing “Don’t Fear The Reaper?” My answer to that is that I still like to play the song and if a journalist has asked me I say to them, how would you like it if every time you wrote an article and you walked outside your house and you had people applauding? Most will say that it’s never happened to them. Imagine if you were applauded every night? You’d still enjoy it. We play it every night and sometimes if we do two shows in a day, we play it twice a night so that’s about 80 times a year, but we still do enjoy it.

Pretty much every time the band has managed to pull a real nugget from the bag for each tour; either it’s “Shooting Shark” or “Golden Age of Leather,” or something else … do you have any surprises for this tour?

Buck: We’ve got some in there that we haven’t played in years, but I won’t spoil it for anyone. You can take a look at the Web site later to see what songs we’ve been playing on other nights.

Eric: If you seen any of the set lists from the previous shows, you’ll see that we have rehearsed around 40 songs for this tour and we’ll pick from this. We’ve played “I Love The Night” twice this week, but unfortunately Allen is sick and he’s at the emergency room at the moment. If he makes it, there’s a chance we’ll play that one … if he doesn’t make it then we can’t play it. I won’t give anything else away though, you’ll have to see the show.

Since you were last over in England, there’s been a couple of changes with Bobby doing his thing with The Lizards and Danny off with Queen. Did it come as a surprise when they moved on?

Eric: Well, Danny quit with no notice, but Bobby gave us a month’s notice. The new guys we got in everyone loves already. They are fairly young guys too, one of them’s 33 and the other is 26. I call it the Blue Öyster Cult youth movement! Another thing I’d have to say is that added up they’re still not as old as I am! Jules is a great drummer, and Ritchie is a multi-talented singer/songwriter. He’s won songwriting competitions, and he’s also a shredding lead guitar player too. He plays in his own Power Pop band back home. His father owns a music store and his uncle and his father have a band together. In fact, his father was in the Chambers Brothers, so he’s been around music all of his life.

Buck: Bobby got a good offer from The Lizards and it’s something he’s enjoyed doing. With Danny, he had a great opportunity to tour with Queen and Paul Rodgers and he took it, he just sort of left just like that.

Bobby seems to have nothing but great things to say about his time in the band, so you obviously got on well together.

Eric: I see Bobby all the time, we’re good friends. He was our drummer for 8 years and he gave us plenty of notice, and I understand that when you get a better opportunity you’ve got to move along.

How did you go about recruiting Ritchie Castellano (bass) and Jules Radino (drums)?

Eric: Danny told us he was quitting basically with no notice, and we had gigs like 3 days later. So we were trying to think who we could get, otherwise we’d have to blow out a weekend worth of gigs. Ritchie had done the sound for us, he’s got two degrees, a Bachelors Degree and a Masters degree in audio engineering. Our Tour Manager and soundman, Woody, is a family friend of Ritchie’s family and Woody had to go away and do something else a while back, so we got Ritchie in to do the sound and he did the whole tour of Germany with Uriah Heep, so I got friendly with Ritchie on the tour bus … it turned out that we were both gamers, game fanatics. We also bonded when the third Lord of the Rings movie came out, and he was bummed out that he couldn’t watch it in the States with his mates, and I said lets call ahead to Stuttgart to see if there’s anywhere showing it, and sure enough there was a movie theatre 2 blocks from the hotel showing it in English, and we were the only ones who cared about it, so we went to see it together. When we got back to The States, Woody was back with us again and Ritchie was back with his band, and I checked him out and his band was playing the Abbey Road and Revolver albums by the Beatles in their entirety, and Ritchie was singing and playing lead guitar. When Danny quit, I thought I’d call him. It was like a Wednesday and I called him and asked if he could play bass and he said he could. So, I asked if he’d like to take a chance and play with us at the weekend and he was like “Who is this?” I said it was me and he was saying “You want ME to play in Blue Öyster Cult? I’ll learn everything, I won’t make any mistakes!” We had to be flexible with what he could learn in 3 days, but he knew everything, we didn’t even rehearse as Buck lives over in Florida. He came on cold and he played perfect. After a couple of songs, I knew he had it and began to relax. I mean he’d seen the tour so he knew the show, but he learned it perfectly and it was great.

What about Jules?

Eric: With Jules we did a drummer audition and had about 6 drummers come down and we liked him best. We had the guy from John Entwistle’s band, Steve Luongo, come down, but I called Chuck Burgi, who’d been our drummer in the past and he suggested a guy who came down who was excellent, but we liked Jules a little bit more. I also called John Miceli, another of our old drummers, who is now Meatloaf’s drummer, and he suggested Jules, so I called everyone I knew and asked their opinion, so we got Jules in the band.

How have they fit in?

Buck: They’re great, everyone loves them. They’re so enthusiastic and they’ve given us a renewed energy and I think that has reflected in our performances. They’ve given us a big boost.

With Ritchie beng a lead guitar player, what’s the chances of reprising your 5-guitar attack?

Buck: I don’t think we’ll see that again just yet!

Eric: Well Jules doesn’t play the guitar and we have enough shit on our hands without having to teach someone to play guitar!

Did you ever consider asking the Bouchard brothers to rejoin?

Eric: No! There was a time when we needed a drummer and Albert came back for a run in the early 80s, but nothing changed, so we didn’t ask him again.

Buck: No, I don’t think so, it’s time to move on from that. It didn’t work out the first time ’round, so it’s not going to work now.

Eric, you’ve just launched your own series of customised guitars. Can you talk about this?

Eric: We did 6 guitars in total and each of them was one of a kind. They took a total of 10 months to make and they are all hand painted … it’s painstaking. Each guitar has unique artwork hand painted by Philippe Renaudin showing an interpretation of a BOC song. There’s one with “Godzilla,” “The Reaper,” “The Harvester of Eyes,” an ME262, the “Black Blade,” and one for “See You In Black”. They’ve all sold out now. In fact, we delivered the last one personally at the show in Southampton earlier this week.

You actually hand-delivered the guitars to buyers at a BOC show of their choice and played it during the show. That’s a pretty cool concert souvenier.

Eric: They are indeed. And they play really well too. They are a playable collectable! There was no advertising for them other than on my own Web site, and they all went pretty quickly. My new Web site is going well too and gets quite a few hits.

As these have now all sold out, when are you planning Phase 2?

Eric: That’s currently in the making, but I haven’t really thought about what artwork to do yet … I’m pretty open to ideas. What I’m actually doing is that people are getting in touch with me with their own ideas, so maybe they’ll dictate what I do next.

If you want to buy one of these unique items how much would it cost?

Eric: I’m not sure what it costs in English money, but they cost $4000.

It looks as though the next batch of remasters are in the pipeline with Spectres and Some Enchanted Evening due for release soon. When can fans expect these to be out?

Eric: Those should be coming out around The Fall, and there might be a video bonus with that, but I’m not sure. There is some stuff from the archives that’ll be on there. I have heard it, but I can’t remember what it is, but there’s a few live things and stuff you’ve never heard before.

Buck: We’ve got some pretty interesting stuff lying around the archives. There’s something called “Please Hold” with Allen on the vocals, “M for Murder” with Eric singing, and I sing on “Night Flyer.”

Have you ever considered a DVD containing the promo videos for the likes of “Joan Crawford”, “Astronomy” and the like, or perhaps footage of some of your 70s shows?

Buck: Sony have the rights for those and they just have no interest in putting any of that stuff out, so we’re not likely to see it, certainly not in the near future anyway. It’s all up to them.

As a band, BOC are pretty unique, you don’t sound like anyone else. What do you attribute this to?

Eric: Well, I think that’s true, but I’d have to be in the audience to answer that properly, I can’t really answer those types of questions.

Buck: It’s probably a lot to do with my voice and Eric’s voice being so different, it just gives us that something that’s different to everyone else, and other than that, we just like to try and write and play good songs.

Back in the early days you were compared to Black Sabbath. Did this irritate you or were you flattered bearing in mind you actually sound nothing like them?

Eric: Maybe one song perhaps, “Cities on Flame,” as Albert ripped off that lick, but as for our other material, that’s not true. I’ve never thought we were a Metal band at all.

It was a good 6-7 years before you hit the commercial big-time with Agents Of Fortune. Was there a point before it’s release where you thought you’d missed your chance, especially bearing in mind the strength of the Secret Treaties album?

Eric: You know we were doing quite well just on album cuts. We were getting a lot of airplay and there was a very good buzz about us. The first album was voted as album of the year in a lot of magazines. We were doing about 15-20% better each year with no hits. By the 4th year, we were doing fine and it certainly helped having a hit single.

Buck: Each album did better than the previous one and we kept building on what we had done before. By the time we came to release Agents of Fortune, we were already doing pretty well, but that album really did break big for us.

Record labels these days wouldn’t give a band that chance to develop these days, would they?

Eric: Things are different now ‘cos in those days album orientated radio was king and now it’s all about hits.

Buck: It’s a shame really because if a band or an artist doesn’t have a hit straight away the label will drop them and go and look for another act, so you don’t get bands developing in the same way as we did.

Having a huge hit single is something most bands dream of, but do you feel that “The Reaper” has become a millstone around your neck, or is it something you are still proud of?

Eric: No, it launched us from headlining arenas to headlining coliseums.

Having the big selling album brings its own problems. Did you feel under pressure to match the success of Agents of Fortune with Spectres?

Eric: It put a bit of extra pressure on us to come up with a follow-up and we didn’t really follow up that well between 1976 to 1981 until “Burnin’ For You” was a hit. Some people prefer Spectres to Agents of Fortune though, it’s in the ear of the beholder.

You co-wrote “Going Through The Motions” with Ian Hunter. Was he a big influence on you as a writer?

Eric: Yeah, but that wasn’t a hit. He actually came over to my house to hang out and I said why don’t we try to write something. I had a musical idea and he had an idea for a lyric and we went into my basement where I had a little four-track studio and just banged it out in my basement one day. He was a good friend and we used to tour together with Mott The Hoople.

Were you disappointed when “Godzilla” wasn’t on the soundtrack of the feature film?

Buck: That should’ve been on there. I was angry really. We heard that the Director wanted to get away from any sense of the original film, not that our song was in the original film, but it was that that inspired us. I still hold a grudge!

Eric: Yes I was. They knew about the song, they just didn’t want to use it. My idea was, if they were cool about it, when Godzilla first walks through New York, they could have some Hip Hop guy with a radio on his shoulder playing a couple of bars of it, then STOMP! They weren’t interested literally, the song was put right under their nose and they just weren’t interested. That’s why the movie was no good because they wouldn’t use the song!

Mirrors was once described by Eric as only useful as an ashtray. In hindsight, do you still hold this view or have you mellowed towards it?

Eric: That’s because I didn’t get on with Tom Werman and he almost refused to let me play on the record but there was some good songs on there in hindsight.

You answered the critics in fine style with Cultosaurus Erectus. What was it like working with Martin Birch?

Buck: He was great and we had some wonderful times with him. He was quite a hard taskmaster, but a lot of fun to work with too. He worked with us on the follow up, Fire Of Unknown Origin — he really knew his stuff.

Eric: Martin’s a great guy, a terrific person. He knew his business and I was glad to work with him.

Do you think that Sandy Pearlman exerted too much influence over you in the early days?

Buck: Oh, yes. He basically created the band. I never thought about being a professional guitarist until I met Sandy — put it that way. I just thought I’d play clubs and other people’s songs. At that point in time, I never really thought about writing songs and doing it professionally, you know, so I owe it to Sandy.

Eric: We were directionless in the beginning and he set us on track. I give him all the credit in the world.

By the time Revolution By Night came out, there had been the first change within the band. How did the band change when drummer Albert Bouchard left?

Buck: We’d known each other about 8 years at that point, but I’ve not really got anything to say on that matter! You know The Beatles were only together for six years or something, so we did pretty well to last that long before we had a change.

Eric: After Albert left, Rick Downey came in right away to play the Castle Donnington show and we just continued with our new drummer.

Was the Donnington show as bad as has been said?

Eric: Well AC/DC sandbagged our sound, and our soundman at the time spoke to us on the talk back and said we might as well leave the stage as no-one could hear what we were playing. For some reason, they saw some political reason for it ‘cos we didn’t give them all the lights when they opened for us in America, which is normal. To this day, I don’t know what the reason was, but they saw some slight in that. I don’t think it was the band, it was probably some tour manager or something.

Imaginos was a project in the making right back to the early days of the band. Why did you wait until 1988 to release it?

Eric: Man, that would take an hour to tell that story. It’s too long a story.

Buck: After Albert left the band, Sandy convinced Columbia Records, which is now Sony, to record Imaginos with Albert as musical director, and it was going to be Albert’s solo record and Sandy’s masterpiece … even though the band recorded several of the songs that were included in the Imaginos collection piecemeal. They worked on the project for something like 4 years, and spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it, and when it was all done the record label didn’t like it and wouldn’t release it. After the Club Ninja album, when the band took a bit of a hiatus, Sandy contacted Eric and I and asked if we’d like to sing and play some guitar on the album and finish it and put it out as Blue Öyster Cult. We did it basically as a favor to him, as we were part of the original vision. Imaginos is not our record, it’s a Sandy Pearlman record, and there’s a lot of studio players on there and some famous guys like Joe Satriani.

Were you in the studio when they laid down their parts?

Buck: Not only was I not there, but there was probably like a 4-year gap between the recording of the parts.

It’s a popular concept these days to play a complete album live from start to finish. Have you considered doing this with Imaginos?

Buck: I’d have to be very well paid to do that and I don’t know if anyone’s going to give me the money!

Eric: Only if someone held a gun to my head! If someone made an offer I couldn’t refuse then I’d go along with it, but otherwise I don’t think so.

The album seems to be very popular with the fans.

Buck: It didn’t sell very well, but the fans seem to like it, but they know how we feel about it and don’t really expect us to play it live.

Can you summarise the storyline in a couple of paragraphs?

Buck: I think it’s Sandy’s version of history. There’s factual information in there and fanciful information. I think it’s a great story, but I don’t really think I’m qualified to talk about it, you’d be better off asking Sandy, but he’ll probably take about 2 hours explaining it.

Eric: Yeah, your right, you’d be better off asking Pearlman, it’s his brainchild.

It sounds like a perfect idea for a book or film. Has this ever been talked about?

Buck: Yeah, it does, I mean Sandy is pretty good at promoting these things. I know he tried for years to make a computer game based on the Imaginos stories, but I don’t know how far he got, but you’re right, it would make a great film.

Do you still see Sandy?

Buck: I haven’t seen him in years. The last I’d heard was that he was at McGill University in Toronto; he’s doing some teaching there as he still is an academic of sorts.

Eric: I hardly ever hear from him these days.

Talking of books, you’ve co-written songs with a number of great writers, such as Michael Moorcock (Veteran of the Psychic Wars) and Eric Van Lustbader (Shadow Warrior). How did you get involved with them?

Buck: Eric contacted Moorcock ‘cos he was a fan of his and he was surprised that he was prepared to collaborate. It was great for us to do that. I’ve also written a Jim Carroll lyric and a Patti Smith lyric. We’ve always felt pretty lucky at having some quality literary input into our songs. We’ve also written with people like Aldo Nova who wrote the music for “Take Me Away” on The Revolution By Night album. Aldo was managed by Sandy for a little while, that’s how we met him and he toured with us. He’s writing with Celine Dion now, that’s a pretty good gig, get a song on her album and he’ll be able to retire!

Eric: We already settled on the name Club Ninja for the album, and I’d just finished reading a book by Von Lustbader called Ninja, and it turned out he used to work at Columbia Records as a publicist, so I said I bet he could write us some lyrics. So he called me up and he said bring me the track so he could hear the music we had. I drove up to his house in Long Island and played him the music and 2 days later I received a fax with the lyrics and then I put the melody on it.

What were you up to in the 10 years or so between Imaginos and Heaven Forbid?

Buck: When Sony dropped us, there wasn’t a lot of interest in signing Blue Öyster Cult. We were definitely below the pop radar, where we remain, not that I care, it’s not really what we are about. I’ve no illusions at selling millions of albums. Any recording we do is for posterity, a historical record.

Eric: We simply didn’t have a deal. After Imaginos, Sony dropped us, but we still played a few shows here and there.

Has the internet helped to generate interest in the band again?

Eric: It certainly helps. People know where we are, what we’re doing. Melne, who runs our Web site, does a great job. It was vital for you as a viable band to come back with a strong album. How did you feel just prior to the release of Heaven Forbid, bearing in mind the dramatic changes to the music scene over the preceding decade?

Buck: Definitely! I think that’s a strong record and I stand by it. It’s certainly as strong as anything we’ve ever done.

“Live For Me” was such a standout track on the album with such a positive message. How do you feel about it?

Buck: The sentiment still gets to me. It makes my hair stand on end just to talk about it. It’s a great song.

BOC have become synonymous with impressive artwork for their album covers. How involved are you in the process of developing your album artwork?

Buck: The Curse of the Hidden Mirror cover evolved over time, and that was done by a guy called Ioannis. We sort of said that we liked that bit and that bit and it changed to what it eventually became. That was a good cover, which is just as well, because the Heaven Forbid cover was a disaster! That was art by committee and it was awful.

You are also noted for your mystical and vivid lyrics. A while back the fan club issued The Complete Lyric Book. Have you considered issuing an official anthology of your work or perhaps a biography of the band?

Buck: I don’t know really as there’s not much commercial potential in any of that stuff. We’d probably do it just out of love if we did do it!

Talking of a labor of love, a while back you put out the Buck Dharma Archive Series. That must have been a lot of fun putting that together?

Buck: It was and it was a lot of hard work too. I had to bake the tapes, as you may know that much of the magnetic tape made in the 80s has degraded and you need to bake them to be able to work with them. Fortunately, I was able to recover a lot of material and put out the Archive Series.

What are your thoughts on looking back over a career spanning nearly 35 years?

Buck: It’s surprising that it worked out. I didn’t expect to be in a Rock band for more than about 5 years, even when we were making records. I thought bands do a couple of records then go away ! I think if I hadn’t continued with the band, I would have gone into engineering and production, as I like that a lot and I’m good at it.

Have you ever felt like producing other bands?

Buck: What I know and stylistically is not really what’s selling at the moment. I mean I do listen to a little Gangsta Rap now and then, but most of the stuff I like is about 8 to 10 years old. Current Rap doesn’t really grab me, but I just listened to a Kanye West album that I kind of liked. I think he’s very musical, so that was good.

It’s now been over 5 years since Curse of the Hidden Mirror came out. Where are you in terms of new material?

Buck: I’ve got some songs, yeah! We’ve just had one rehearsal with the new guys and we’re batting around new stuff. It’s possible that something will come out as a result, but I’m not sure of the venue of the release. I wouldn’t hold your breath just yet, though.

Eric: Ritchie and I have started writing together, as he lives pretty close to me. Buck lives miles away, in Florida. I’m based in new York, about an hour from Ritchie’s house, so we’ve started the process.

What are you plans for the coming years, and what are you hoping to achieve?

Buck: We’ll tour, as we see the virtue of doing it, and I imagine some day we’ll stop, but at the moment I’m still enjoying it and I still play great, and I’m singing better than ever, and I’ll do it until I can no longer do it, and I’ll be embarrassed, probably that day is a long way off!

Eric: Let’s take things one year at a time and finish this year first. We’re booked right up to January, so we’ll take it as it comes.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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