Legendary BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Drummer ALBERT BOUCHARD Looks Back On 1980 Tour With BLACK SABBATH - "It Was Not Fun; I Loved Black Sabbath, But There Was A Lot Of Tension"
July 21, 2021, a week ago
Guesting on Full In Bloom, legendary Blue Öyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard looked back on the 1980 Blue Öyster Cult / Black Sabbath ttour (dubbed the Black And Blue tour), Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice, Elf, Prophets, The Dictators, Ross the Boss, Joey DeMaio, Manowar, and more.
On the the band's co-headlining tour with Black Sabbath
Bouchard: "It wasn't okay, it was not fun. I loved Black Sabbath, I idolized Ronnie Dio, but there was a lot of tension, maybe because Sandy (Pearlman / manager, producer) had talked them into a co-headlining thing where one day Blue Öyster Cult would headline, depending on the market. And one day, for instance, we played Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Now, as big as Black Sabbath were on Long Island, Blue Öyster Cult at that time was a bigger band on Long Island. It was justified. But when we played in the city, Madison Square Garden, they were the headliners. Now, what was happening every time was that when we were the headliners, they would come on late and play long - every time, and we would have to cut our set. I was like, by halfway through the tour, I said to Sandy, 'Why don't we just open every show? Just open the show, and they might be more friendly if we let them do that...' He said, 'No, that's what the promoters want.' So, that was the source of tension with those guys and I think that they tried to sabotage us when they would open by going out late and playing long.
But there was also an issue with Ronnie Dio, one of our roadies had made some remark that he took offense to. I'm told it was some 'short' remark, which is kind of odd because Ronnie Dio is the same size as me; we're all short, so I don't know why he would be offended or even why the roadie would say something. It seemed a little stupid, so we had to 'fire' the roadie. We didn't really fire him, we just took him off that tour. That was the first day, pulling all this crap.
And I got into some hassle with Tony, too. I was playing my guitar in my hotel room and he was next door, he was mad. It's like he's got a hot date, and I guess I was breaking the mood (laughs). I was playing Steely Dan songs, he couldn't handle it."
The three founding members of legendary New York hard rock/proto-punk rockers The Dictators - singer/bassist/songwriter Andy Shernoff, rhythm guitarist Scott Kempner, and lead guitarist/Manowar icon Ross the Boss - are back, with legendary Blue Öyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard on board. New single “God Damn New York” out now.
Called by critic John Dougan as "one of the finest and most influential proto-punk bands to walk the earth”, the Dictators are releasing their first new music in 20 years. The groups’ three founding members, Andy Shernoff, Ross Friedman and Scott Kempner are joined on drums by founding Blue Öyster Cult member Albert Bouchard, the man who played the infamous cowbell on ”Don’t Fear The Reaper”. The Dictators and the Blue Öyster Cult have known each other since the early days when they both shared the patronage of producer/manager Sandy Pearlman.
“Scott and I had lost touch with Ross but we were brought together by some Dictators business”, explains Andy. “Once it was settled, Ross suggested we play together again. It was literally the last thing on my mind, but Scott was enthusiastic, so I sat on it and eventually said ok and damn, I am so glad I did as it's kept me busy during the pandemic."
“I wrote ‘God Damn New York’ with my wife before we got married for a video that never got made. When I was presenting new song ideas to everybody, this one got a thumbs up. So I changed the key, re-wrote the lyrics to give it some Dictators swagger, and voila, the first new Dictators song in 20 years. It’s sort of a love/hate letter to New York City."
And the band’s next single, "Let's Get The Band Back Together", is released today (with a music video for the track below).
“My buddy Jesse Bates had a song called ‘Let’s Get The Band Back Together.’ I thought it was really clever and funny so I asked him if I could fool around with it and put my spin on it. He said go for it, so I made few changes and recorded it on my own a few years ago but it was just so perfect for the Dictators that we couldn’t resist.”
“For me, ‘Let’s Get the Band Back Together’ has the same exuberance and joy ‘Go Girl Crazy’ has!,” adds Ross.
Stream the song here.
Known for their sarcastic lyrics and aggressive sound, The Dictators released The Dictators Go Girl Crazy, in 1975 – a full year before The Ramones. Having played shows early on with the Stooges and New York Dolls, they became regulars at CBGB’s, while influencing bands around the world.
The Dictators released two more records (Manifest Destiny and Bloodbrothers) in the 70’s before breaking up. Ross went on to found heavy metal overlords Manowar, while Scott started roots rock pioneers The Del Lords. Andy worked as a producer and songwriter while also performing with Joey Ramone and The Fleshtones.
An early ‘80s get-together produced the classic live album Fuck ‘Em If They Can’t Take A Joke, and the band performed sporadically until 1995 when, realizing the extent of its fan base and influence, once again reformed full time. Numerous international tours culminated in 2001’s D.F.F.D., the band’s last studio album. After playing the final weekend of CBGB’s in 2006, they once again went their separate ways.
It took a worldwide pandemic to once again unite the band. After a socially distanced recording session, the band finished the new recordings by trading files over the internet. The first release is “God Damn New York” – a love/hate song to the band’s home town. The reunited Dictators’ second single release, “Let’s Get The Band Back Together”, had its debut on Little Steven’s Underground Garage Radio show on April 12. More music will come out later in 2021 and the band looks forward to touring in 2022!
“We have a song ready to be released in July and a special seasonal song about the holidays set up for December. We hope to record 4 more tracks in June and just keep on releasing cool new tunes and videos, until things are completely open.”