Blue Oyster Cult co-founder Albert Bouchard looked back on the unexpected reaction of his then-girlfriend when he first played her a demo of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”
Written by lead guitarist Buck Dharma – real name Donald Roeser – the 1976 song became the band’s signature track, and in a recent interview with Rock History Music, available below, Bouchard said he knew early on that it was going to be a hit.
“Donald called me up on the phone and he said, ‘Hey, man, I got this riff, I think it’s terrific,’” the drummer said. “And he played it for me and I’m like, ‘Yeah, hey, that’s good. What else does it do?’ He’s like, ‘No, no, it just goes over and over the same thing.’ I said, ‘Really?’ He says, ‘You’ll see, you’ll see. I’m making a demo right now, I’ll bring it on the plane.’ So we’re flying to Seattle and he gave it to me, and I put it on, and I’m like, ‘Whoa! This is a hit! This is a hit! Oh my god, we have a hit!’”
But his excitement wasn’t initially shared when he met his girlfriend in Seattle. “I played it for her, and she heard it, she started crying. I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ She goes, ‘Are you breaking up with me?’ And I’m like, ‘No, no, babe. I didn’t write this, Don Roeser wrote it’.” That changed the situation. “And she’s like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s beautiful.’ I’m like, ‘Yep, yep, it is, it is a beautiful song’.”
Despite being part of his life for over four decades now, Bouchard reported: “People ask me if there’s a song that you ever get sick of playing, and I would have to say whatever song it is, it’s not ‘The Reaper.’ I love playing that song every time I played it. I’ve never not loved playing it.”
Listen to Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’
Albert Bouchard on ‘Rock History Music’
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