Albert Bouchard, the original drummer for Blue Oyster Cult stopped by my site on it's 1
week anniversary, and he was kind enough to drop me a line. After
chatting with him back and forth via e-mail, I asked him if he would be
willing to do an interview for the site, and he agreed. Below is my
interview with him.
Brian: What made you decide to learn how to play the drums?
Albert: I first became fascinated with the drums and drumming when I was three and
I watched the Memorial day parade. My parents bought me a marching drum for
my birthday which had just passed. They took it away a few months later
when they caught me marching with it down the middle of the street with no
clothes on at 5AM!
Brian: What artists do you think influenced your drum playing and song writing
Albert: As for drums there are quite a few. My first were: Howie Johnson
(Ventures), Cozy Cole, Gene Krupa, Joe Morrello, and Ringo; then later:
Elvin Jones, Keith Moon, Billy Cobham. Non-drummers who also influenced my
playing were; John Cage, John Coltrane, Les Paul, Lester Flat & Earl
Scruggs, Eno and Peter Gabriel.
Songwriters who've influenced me are: Brian Wilson, Stephen Sondheim,
Jerome Kern, the Beatles plus much of the music I was exposed to early in
my life, Sousa, Gregorian Chant, Roman Catholic liturgical singing and the
gospel records my dad listened to, all inspire me to this day.
Brian: How did you guys come up with the name Blue Oyster Cult?
Albert: It was the name of a song Sandy Pearlman (BOC manager) had written and
when we couldn't decide between ourselves we let him name us and he used the
name of his song.
Brian: How did the greek symbol for Kronos become associated with the group?
Albert: That was invented by our first cover artist Bill Gawlik, who Sandy
Brian: In 1981, you left Blue Oyster Cult, what were your reasons for this?
Albert: I was asked to.
Brian: You temporarily rejoined BOC for a two week tour in California in 1985,
what were the reasons for this only being temporary and not a permament
Albert: It was made clear to me before I went on the tour that this was only
temporary. I guess it's more fun for them without me.
Brian: Later on you had another "not quite a reunion" with BOC for the
recording of "Imaginos." Could you please tell us a bit about what
happened in recording the album?
Albert: I still feel I was decieved. I had already recorded and mixed most of
the Imaginos album, as a solo project, when I ran out of money to finish it. I
had been trying out some different singers on it because the record company
didn't like my vocals. BOC said they wanted to use my tracks with their
vocals and it would be like a reunion of the original band. I was led to
believe that they wanted me to come back for the recording and tour with
them to support the album. After it was all done and about to come out they
said that was never the deal and that they were just trying to do me a
favor by "helping" me finish my record. I sued them and the record company
and we settled out of court.
Brian: Do you think there will ever be a reunion of all 5 original members of
BOC? Why or why not?
Albert: Life is funny. As long as all five of us are still alive I guess it's
possible but I'm not very hopeful. At the present I feel that my current
band "The Brain Surgeons" are way more happening than they are so why would
I want to go back with them?
Brian: Tell us about your new band.
Albert: The Brain Surgeons are a quintet also. Deborah Frost, former rock critic
extrordinaire, and I started the band in 1994. We had been writing songs
for over ten years and we decided to take our act to the public. On guitar
we have Peter Bohovesky, a Berkley School of Music drop-out, and Billy
Hilfiger, brother of Tom and Andy and veteran of Richie Stotts' King Flux,
Helen Wheels Band and Joe Bouchard's Cult Bros.. On bass we have total
greenhorn, David Hirschberg, who's a very close friend and probably the
best musician of us all. We all sing.
Our music is not dissimilar to BOC's but it doesn't sound dated. It also
doesn't sound like we're trying to imitate anyone or be contemporary
either. Hard rock with a quirky sense of humor and a slightly mysterious
edge, sound familiar?
Brian: I know that the Brain Surgeon Albums have been released on your own
label, Cellsum. Any prospects of the band signing with a major label?
Albert: Thaaaaaaaat's a possibility. There are a number of low friends in high
places that are interested but everybody's running scarred at the moment.
Brian: Imaginos was originaly supposed to be a trilogy of albums, have you
given any thought to continuing the trilogy with your new band, "Brain
Albert: That would only be possible if I reestablished my relationship with
Sandy Pearlman. He is no longer associated with BOC and I'm told he has a
desire to contact me. I've called him and left messages but we still havn't
talked since 1988.
Brian: What has your brother Joe been up to since he left the band?
Albert: Joe works for the Guitar Summer Workshop. He puts together method books for
them and has just finished one of his own. He also does occasional shows
with Billy and Andy, solo gigs, music lessons and is still working on
putting out an album of new material some time in the future.
Brian: What do you consider to be your favorite BOC album and song? why?
Albert: On Your Feet is probably my favorite album. It's the loosest. My
favorite song varies a lot. Some favorites are: Death Valley Nights, Career
of Evil, Quicklime Girl, Beautiful as a Foot, Nosferatu, I could go on........
Brian: What type of music do you listen to? Any artists in particular (other
than Brain Surgeons) that you enjoy?
Albert: Sure. How about Sonic Youth, Mike Watt, Geraldine Fibbers, Helmet, Alice
in Chains, Neil Young, etc. and a whole bunch of old stuff too numerous to
name (see influences above).
Brian: I noticed that your email name is "Albert T Bouchard." What does the T
Albert: I was named for my two grandfathers, Albert Bouchard and Thomas Ryan.
Brian: And Finally, any last words for all those net surfers reading this?
Albert: Support live music, even if you have to go to a smoky club to do it. Do
what you need to do to feed your soul. Be inspired! Peace.
Well that's it! I'd like to thank Al for being kind enought to subject
himself to my many e-mails and numerous questions. I encourage you all to go
check out the Brain Surgeons Home Page
and find out about his new band.