An Interview with Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult

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Formed in Stony Brook, NY in 1967 Blue Oyster Cult is best known for hits like (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Godzilla, and Burnin’ for You. With over 25 million records sold to date they have established themselves as one of the most iconic bands of our time. I recently sat down with Buck Dharma to learn a little more about the October 9, 2020 release of their long-awaited album, The Symbol Remains available on CD/LP/Limited Edition Color LP/Digital.

What was it like growing up on Long Island when you did? How did your father being a jazz musician affect your love of music early on?

Long Island was great in the ’60’s. With the exception of the Vietnam war, and political assassinations, things were pretty good for young people and the country. My dad turned me on to a lot of his music, the big bands and the cool school jazz combos. I saw a few of those artists live, Chet Baker and Maynard Ferguson. Horn players made an impression on my lead guitar style. It’s funny my dad never really “got” rock and roll, although he got comfortable with contemporary pop music eventually.

Are there any moments from the course of your career that stand out most in your mind today?

It’s almost a blur but every rung of the career ladder was a thrill. I got to see much of the world I otherwise would not have. I met a lot of great people from all over. Musically, we did great performances in every place, from clubs to stadiums. Seeing England in the early ’70’s was great, it still had a lot of the vibe of Hard Day’s Night.

Why do you think some of your most popular songs have become timeless? How does it feel to see them still being enjoyed by fans of all ages?

I don’t know why the songs that have endured did so. I guess they resonate with the mass consciousness. I’m gratified that they did.

How have you evolved as a musician since your earliest days? Do you feel grateful to still be doing what you love?

Sure, as a musician, I appreciate melody more than ever, and sentiment. Yes, I’m happy to play and sing as long as I can do it well. When it’s time to stop, I will. 

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What advice would you offer the musicians of tomorrow?

Do what you love doing, no matter what it is. You have to work hard, so you might as well enjoy your job. Creating music, try and stand out from others. Make your own way.

What can fans expect from The Symbol Remains? What did you enjoy most about this album?

Symbol is BOC 2020. The 14 songs are wide ranging in style and sound. I’m proud of how good it sounds and how good the playing is.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

Surround yourself with people that want the best for you, and reciprocate.

What are your personal feelings on life and death and what comes after? How do you hope to be remembered when your time comes?

Luckily, I have recordings that will be my legacy. I’m good on that score. I would like to think there is more out there than meets our eyes. I will leave this world curious about what’s next. 

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Dear Readers: Since there’s no radio for new records from legacy artists, give The Symbol Remains a listen on YouTube or streaming services. I think you’ll like it.

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