Discord & Rhyme: An Album Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

022: Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties (1974)

“I remember one time we had to do an interview in the dressing room after a gig. ... The reporter walks into the dressing room, looks at us and says: ‘What’s going on here? Is this a set-up?’ I said: ‘What do you mean?’ And he says: ‘Well, you’re all reading books!’”

—Eric Bloom

Yeah, yeah, we know, I got a fever, yadda yadda. At this point, Blue Öyster Cult are probably best known for the 2000 Saturday Night Live sketch “More Cowbell,” where Christopher Walken repeatedly demands that the band play up the faint cowbell in their 1975 hit single “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” and we all had a good laugh. But the sketch barely scratches the surface of the fascinating, strange depths of BÖC’s music. The band started off as basically a vessel for the vision of rock critic Sandy Pearlman, who filled their lyrics with convoluted mythology and gave the band rock music’s very first decorative umlaut. And despite their goal of being “the American Black Sabbath,” BÖC didn’t really sound like any rock music of the time, to the point where Eric Bloom could call his rhythm guitar “stun guitar” and nobody would think to ask why. In this episode, Phil leads Dan, Mike, and Rich through Secret Treaties, the pinnacle of the band as a cohesive vision, featuring a lyrical cameo by Patti Smith and the story of a U.S. Supreme Court justice who steals people’s eyeballs. You know, like people do.

Miscellany

  • Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer both used to write for Crawdaddy, an influential New York-based magazine (before “zine” was a word, and then no longer a word) credited with bringing increasing critical attention to the study of rock music. You can read individual articles on Paste magazine’s website, and for some reason a Macintosh consulting services website has archived a bunch of issues from 1966-1968, so download them while you can.

  • Other examples of decorative metal umlauts include Motörhead, Queensrÿche, Mötley Crüe, Hüsker Dü, and Spın̈al Tap.

  • Dan mistakenly said “Searchin’ for Denise” when he meant “Searching’ for Celine.” Sorry, Celine.

  • That nifty music box leading into “Flaming Telepaths” turns out to be an excerpt from a waltz called “Waves of the Danube” by Ion Ivanovici.

  • The infamous Scott Stapp vs. 311 brawl happened in 2005. It started with someone throwing a wadded-up napkin and ended with Stapp in a cast.

  • Noted Blue Öyster Cult fan Stephen King used a few lines from “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” as an epigraph in The Stand. Other artists he used in that book include Country Joe and the Fish, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen.

Other links

Discord & Rhyme roll call

  • Phil Maddox (host)

  • Rich Bunnell (moderator)

  • Mike DeFabio

  • Dan Watkins

Secret Treaties tracklist

  1. Career of Evil

  2. Subhuman

  3. Dominance and Submission

  4. ME-262

  5. Cagey Cretins

  6. Harvester of Eyes

  7. Flaming Telepaths

  8. Astronomy

Other clips used

Blue Öyster Cult:

  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

  • Burnin’ for You

  • Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll

  • She’s as Beautiful as a Foot

  • 7 Screaming Diz-Busters

  • Blue Öyster Cult

  • Astronomy (Imaginos version)

  • Morning Final

  • Black Blade

Others:

  • Hugh Masekela - Grazing in the Grass

  • Metallica - Astronomy

  • Throbbing Gristle - Subhuman

  • The Ramones - We’re a Happy Family

  • Espers - Flaming Telepaths

  • Radio Birdman - Aloha Steve & Danno

Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip

Blue Öyster Cult:

  • Godzilla

  • The Revenge of Vera Gemini

  • Joan Crawford

  • Searchin’ for Celine

  • Teen Archer

  • Then Came the Last Days of May

Others:

  • Rockapella - Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

  • The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

  • Frank Zappa - I’m the Slime

  • The Beatles - Glass Onion

  • Iron Maiden - The Wicker Man

  • The Beatles - I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

  • Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

  • The Beatles - A Day in the Life

Secret Treaties personnel

  • Eric Bloom – vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards

  • Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser – lead guitar

  • Allen Lanier – keyboards, rhythm guitar, synthesizers, second lead guitar on track 11

  • Joe Bouchard – bass, vocals

  • Albert Bouchard – drums, vocals

  • Sandy Pearlman – production, lyrics (tracks 2-4, 7-8)

  • Murray Krugman – production

  • Tim Geelan, Jerry Smith – engineering

  • Lehman Yates, Lou Schlossberg – recording

  • Richard Meltzer – lyrics (tracks 5-6)

  • Patti Smith – lyrics (track 1)

Credits

“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:

  • Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste

  • The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...

  • Faith No More - Midlife Crisis

  • Herbie Hancock - Hornets

  • Kraftwerk - Autobahn

  • Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen

  • Blue Öyster Cult - Astronomy (this episode only)

You can buy or stream Secret Treaties and other albums by Blue Öyster Cult at the usual suspects such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon [affiliate link]. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news, updates, and other random stuff. Follow Phil @pamaddox, Rich @zonetrope, Dan @DanSWatkins, and Mike isn’t on Twitter - the neighbor’s cat chased him off. Thanks to Rich for editing and Mike for production, as well as explaining the agricultural origins of the cowbell. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.

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