Blue Oyster Cult playing favorites, recording new music

Blue Oyster Cult has been busy going through the archives and adding to them.

A 2016 concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album, “Agents of Fortune,” where the group played the record in its entirety will be released Friday for the first time on vinyl, CD and Blu-ray.

A 2014 concert recorded at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park was released in January along with the long out-of-print 1994 studio album “Classic Cult.”

“Since last fall we’ve been getting these tapes and discs in order,” vocalist and guitar player Eric Bloom said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “It’s quite a chore getting it all organized, redone, remixed, remastered.

“Management decided to go back and look at what’s available. Some of these were broadcast, used at the time and then reverted back to our ownership after a period of time.”

Even bigger news for fans of the band — original members Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, guitar and vocals; Richie Castellano, guitar and keyboard; Jules Radino, drums; and Danny Miranda, bass — is that BOC will release its first studio album in 19 years before 2020 is over.

“We’re just about finished with it,” Bloom said. “It should be out around the second week of September. We’re handing it in in six, seven weeks and then it takes a while to get the track list, and master it and do all of the things on the technical side.”

The band recorded 14 new songs, although Bloom isn’t sure all of them will make it onto the still-untitled release. And for a band that first entered the recording studio more than 50 years ago as the Soft White Underbelly, the members of BOC are taking a contemporary approach to the new album.

“Because of the technology, I’ve been recording in my own house, using the internet to put song on the master hard drive,” Bloom said. “We’re lucky to have Richie Castellano, who is a master of this kind of thing … The process is very modern for a geezer like me.”

BOC probably won’t play any of the new songs when it performs Sunday at downtown Warren’s Robins Theatre. Bloom said they’ll add some of those songs to the set closer to the album’s release.

There are the hits fans can expect to hear every night — “Godzilla,” “Burnin’ for You,” “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” — but Bloom said the band likes to play some deeper cuts, especially for theater gigs like The Robins, where they are playing for an audience that bought a ticket specifically to see the band.

“That’s the kind we like the best — actual fans coming out to see us,” Bloom said. “Obviously, if we’re doing some casino, where the first five rows are all high rollers, I might make more of a safer setlist, but we like playing the deep tracks.

“I write the setlist about a half hour before we go on, and I might call an audible (during the show) depending on the mood of the crowd.”

BOC maintains a busy touring schedule and has played well over 100 shows over the years in Ohio, which Bloom called “the heart of hard rock.”

Bloom still loves performing, even if he’s not a fan of all the time the band members spend in airports. He’s even less of a fan now with concerns over the coronavirus.

“Am I taking my vitamins? Hell yes. Am I taking stuff to wipe down the seats on the plane and the fold-down tray? Yes. I’m doing everything I can think of.”


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