My Interview with Albert Bouchard

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 style?

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 Pearlman discovered.

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 reunion?

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 Surgeons"?

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?

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 stand for?

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.

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