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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The reaper is around the corner but Blue Oyster Cult has no fear

Eric Bloom, left, and Buck Dharma are Blue Oyster Cult. The band will play Friday at the Spokane Tribe Casino.  (Courtesy)

Members of Blue Oyster Cult don’t fear the reaper.

“I’m 79 and I know the reaper is around the corner,” vocalist-guitarist Eric Bloom said while calling from Royal Oak, Michigan. “It’s on your mind when you live in a community with other seniors but there is no reason to be afraid of the reaper.”

Blue Oyster Cult embraces “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” since the haunting tune was the first of its songs that connected with the mainstream. The moody tune, which encapsulates the band’s combination of hard rock and psychedelia, is the band’s highest charting song. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, in 1976.

It was the start of a solid run for the band, which went on to sell 25 million albums thanks to such other hits as “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla” and “Take Me Away.”

“What a great career that is still happening,” Bloom said. “So much started with ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper.’ Because of that song, we jumped to headliner status and it’s just never gone away.”

“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” is literal. Vocalist-guitarist Buck Dharma wrote the song since he imagined an early death and his message was not to be afraid of dying.

“Buck was inspired,” Bloom said. “He wrote a great song, but we have a lot of good songs.”

However, the Blue Oyster Cult canon doesn’t impress the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame committee.

“The people who decide who goes into the Hall of Fame are out to lunch,” Bloom said. “First off, they should change the name of the Hall. Did you see who is nominated this year? Eric B. and Rakim. Is that rock and roll? Nothing against them, but how is Kansas not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? How is Foreigner not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

“I can’t worry about the Rock Hall of Fame. We’re just concerned with playing great shows. You know we’ve played a ton of them.”

If concerts are, if you will in baseball parlance, the equivalent of hits, then Blue Oyster Cult should be considered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Blue Oyster Cult, which will perform Friday at the Spokane Tribe Resort and Casino, has played more than 4,500 concerts, according to The Beach Boys, led by the relentless Mike Love, is at the top of the list for most concerts at more than 7,000.

“We love the road,” Bloom said. “We’ve played more than 1,000 shows than Cheap Trick, which says a lot. There’s nothing that makes us happier than playing live.”

A number of the Blue Oyster Cult shows were in Spokane and Bloom has fond memories of those concerts.

“I remember playing the Coliseum there, and what I’ll never forget is seeing the fans outside before the doors opened and the line to get in was endless,” Boom said. “We’ll keep coming back to Spokane, well, until we can’t.”

Only the grim reaper will prevent Blue Oyster Cult, which also includes bassist Danny Miranda, keyboardist Richie Castellano and drummer Jules Radino, from returning.

“When that happens, well, that’s the way it goes,” Bloom said. “But after we’re gone that song, ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper,’ will live on and so in that way we’ll never truly die.”