ERIC BLOOM (BLUE ÖYSTER CULT): “I Don’t Think There’s Any Definite Ending Of Anything”

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (Live at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K., October 23, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

‘On Tour Forever’ so they say and in BÖC’s case that certainly applies as they have now been on the road for over 50 years and show no signs of stopping. Mick Burgess called up Eric Bloom to talk about their sole appearance in the UK this year, headlining the Stonedead Festival in Newark, along with news of the first release of a trio of live albums recorded in New York last year to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

On 26th August you are over in the UK to headline the Stonedead Festival in Newark. You must be looking forward to that?

I’m very much looking forward to playing in the UK again. It’s always been a great place for us to play and we always get a really good reception when we go over there.

Is this your only UK show this year?

This will be our only show in the UK this year. After the Stonedead Festival we have a day off then we go over to Ljubljana for a show and from there we go back to The States.

Last time we spoke you talked about touring a little less now. Do you think looking ahead you’ll just play festivals in Europe and maybe a select run of shows here and there?

There’s really no answer to that. We’ll take what comes. We’re not really looking for work but we’ll look at what comes our way and do what we’d like to do. Buck and I are senior and if work comes along that we’d like to do, we’ll take it. We don’t really want to do a ton of work. We both have grandchildren and we’d rather spend time with them than do 200 shows in a year.

Could this be your last show in the UK?

I don’t think there’s any definite ending of anything. If good gigs appeal to us, we’ll play them.

Do you approach a show differently when it is a festival show compared to when it’s part of a headlining tour?

I write the setlist an hour before the show. It depends on how long we get. If we get 90 minutes to play I try to jam in deep tracks and the songs people are hoping to hear us play. If it’s like an all ages show at a state fair where people are eating pop corn, where they didn’t pay to see us play but we were an adjunct to going to the fair, then we’d not really play the deep tracks. I’d imagine at the Stonedead Festival people are paying to see us play so I might try to put in some deep tracks as there’ll be more hardcore fans there.

This may well be the first outdoor festival in the UK since you did the Monsters of Rock festival at Donnington in 1981. It’s probably safe to say that wasn’t one of your favourite shows of your career?

I remember it very well. We had a guest spot with AC/DC and the sound was absolutely terrible. Our soundman basically told us to get off. Fortunately we have done many better shows before and after that. It was just one of those days.

Fortunately 42 years on and there’s been a lot of great shows since then including your recent tour with Deep Purple. How did those shows go?

We loved playing with Deep Purple. We are good friends with them. I’m just sorry that Steve Morse isn’t able to play with them anymore. I often went to the soundchecks early to watch Don Airey play as he’s a terrific player and I get on very well with him.

You also slipped in a couple of headlining shows including one at Newcastle City Hall. It must have been nice to return there for the first time in 33 years?

We really like touring the UK as they have some great old venues there that everybody has played over the years. The City Hall is a great place and we actually recorded a couple of songs that ended up on our live album Some Enchanted Evening.

You seemed on fire that night playing more songs than usual and playing songs such as “Flaming Telepaths” and “Joan Crawford” that you hadn’t played in the UK probably since the ’80s and that was the only night you played them. Was that one of those shows where everything just seemed to click into place?

Sometimes we get some time during a soundcheck so we have time to go over some stuff and throw it into the show which is what happened in Newcastle. I think that was the only show on the tour where we played a few of those songs. It’s just the way it worked out.

You’ve recently re-signed to Frontiers. You must be pleased with how they handled your latest studio album The Symbol Remains and the series of live albums they put out?

They have been doing a good job and have promoted us well. They did a good job on the artwork too and want to keep putting stuff out from us. Their aesthetic seems to be bands of our genre so I think we’ve found a good home. We did three nights in New York last Fall and we’ve just finished mixing and editing the first night which is to be released later this year.

Such was the overwhelming positive reviews for The Symbol Remains have Frontiers been encouraging you to start working on a follow up yet?

That’s a question for our manager.

Blue Öyster Cult headline the Stonedead Festival at Newark Showground, Nottinghamshire on 26th August along with Black Star Riders, Therapy, The Answer, King King and more.

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Interview and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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