# # Enforced Reminiscence

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Enforced Reminiscence

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a hell of a lot to reminisce about.

My youth was a dull and relatively uneventful series of non-starts and pathetic dreaming that led to little until far later but despite this, I can still look back on it and, with a little help, get a quick taste of something pretty good – and a great way for me to do this is through song.

If my life has one common thread, it’s the importance music plays in it.

Now, I’ve long realized myself to be a music slut, meaning that, given the right number of repetitions under the proper set of circumstances, and I’ll learn to like a song, no matter how heinous but, that being a given, doesn’t mean I downplay said influences – much to the contrary.

Which again brings me to the subject at hand:

Blue Öyster Cult

(not considered complete without the umlaut: two dots – over the “o” – a band with the questionable honor of being the first heavy metal group to use a gratuitous umlaut in their name)

The first time I heard of Blue Öyster Cult, my older brother was waving their newly released album “Cultosaurus Erectus” in my face and telling me how said beast was a once-upon-a-time, honest-to-goodness, real entity; the largest dinosaur there ever was – only recently discovered.

The story fascinated me but closer inspection of the album art revealed not only a spaceship of some sort zipping past the beast’s head but also solid, calcite-like columnar formations in the place of teeth which would have inhibited any form of consumption and actually make the beast look like it’s gumming a mouthful of honey. Say, waitaminute … !

Anyway, I saw the movie “Heavy Metal” and read portions of Michael Moorcock’s “Elric of Melnibone” series well before I ever really dug into the questionable, sonic conflation of “Cultosaurus Erectus”, which likely explains why I became so immersed so easily because, frankly, by the time I hit my twenties and despite a rather deep, if temporary, interest, BÖC was out of my life. I no longer had them – not even on cassette.

And yet …

Turn to page 32 years later: Our man has broken with his life of almost two decades and is hunting for that thread with which he used to tickle himself – tickle himself with purpose and possibility. Can it still be reached, this frayed and fraught fabric follicle?

One of his first thoughts is, as a tool, to turn the clock back on music, to throw out every album post “Swordfishtrombones”* and start over in an attempt to reconstruct the possibility of whom he might have become, as if I could somehow erase my mistakes through musical forbearance (* hah! – you’d better believe that badcraziness of an idea never reaches fruition – none of this cat’s music ever hit the dust bin, I just turned back a page or two … ).

Consequently, nothing but vinyl records are played in the new house that first month (a restriction built more on the fact that his cd collection has been boxed beyond retrieval for over two years, rather than a discipline of any kind) and, while shopping the local record store for more items in said medium, what does he stumble upon but a vinyl copy of “Tyranny and Mutation”.

Our mensch has long held that 90% of all bands put out their purest – if not their best – music within their first two to three albums, and BÖC is one of the band’s this observation is built upon – and here is BÖC’s second album on vinyl (as he’s never experienced it).

The record is marked $6.00.

He’s not heard it in any form for over 20 years.

He’s going through a forced midlife crisis …

Well, did he buy it? (you get one guess)

Anyway, I’ve spent the last month or so rolling in the vinyl reverberations of BÖC and I’m shocked that I’d managed to so completely forget them for this long: These Long Island boys can rock!

While I still hold that their initial output is their best (the eponymously titled “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Tyranny and Mutation”, and “Secret Treaties”) it’s hard to completely turn my back on albums like “Cultosaurus Erectus” and “Fire of Unknown Origin”, not to mention the countless albums I’ve decided I don’t need to ever sit through again (“Agents of Fortune”, “Spectres”, “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Mirrors”, “Extraterrestrial Live”, “The Revolution By Night”). Despite the cheeziness of that 70’s and 80’s sub-popular heavy metal sound I so reveled in during my highschool years – songs like “Godzilla” and “Tattoo Vampires” – the bizarre lyrics of the albums I have let back in are right up my alley: “couldn’t believe it when he bit into her face”, “I am fecal, lost to nothing”, “the heat from below can burn your eyes out” – come on! How can you not love these zany guys?

Finally, my rather muddled point isn’t that you should attempt to reconnect with some goony past fascination for the sheer fun of it (as much fun as that can be) as I have, so much as it is that there is likely some value in the you of the past that you’ve lost: some youthful dream, those fresh, hopeful thoughts, that ignorant, untrammeled optimism of the past – a past you may have not only sold out but totally forgotten.

Even if you’ve done well and are feeling accomplished, take an honest look back: is there nothing that those wide eyes of yore, when they meet yours, do not ask of the now you?

Perhaps you’re like me and O.D.’d on life itself -did you not once posses cities on flame with rock and roll?

Hey, I’m on the lamb but I aint no sheep …

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3 Responses to “Enforced Reminiscence”

  1. diablomonkey says:

    Again lifes parallels, just grabbed Mirrors. My search for
    “The Great Sun Jester” is finally at an end. I myself have looked back upon those exact same times with amusement and regret. I was way too damn quiet for my own good.

  2. Anthony says:

    I have spent the last couple of weekends trolling the hive mind for just such material. It was sparked by, of all things, an episode of “Family Guy”. The scene is a Meg fantasy of Tom Tucker coming out of a pool in jeans to the soundtrack of The Cars “Moving in Stereo”. The skull went “click, oh yeah”. and the search was on. Before I knew what was happening, I had the whole discography. Forth wit I reacquainted myself with my first true love, Candy-O, which is not complete without the shoo-be-doo intro.

    I’ve been a sucker for a red head ever since.

  3. cae says:

    The Cars are a group that’s not left my collection since my brother introduced me to them in the early 80’s. I don’t have much use for anything after their first two albums anymore – but those first two! Pure nostalgia, baby! “Shoo Be Do” and “Moving In Stereo”, particularly the latter, are personal faves. The Melvins do a good rendition of “Candy-O”, by the by …

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