Friday, August 16, 2013

Hot Rails To Hell

Well, Umlaut is at that age... actually I have been for awhile.. when the heroes of my youth are moving on to the next plane of existence regularly.  There have been too many to mention, but this year saw an original member of Slayer passing on in May.  This week saw the passing of Allen Lanier, a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult, whose first 8 albums are still sacred to me.   B.Ö.C. also headlined the first concert I ever attended...

[From the Umlaut Archives]

They were also the first band with an umlaut in their name to became part of my record collection.

Lanier and Patti Smith were a couple in the 70's as she was becoming the Punk Laurette of New York;  Patti even co-wrote some songs with B.Ö.C. including 'Career Of Evil.  Most people don't seem to know (or care) about B.Ö.C.'s connection with the 70's NYC Punk Scene.. but my mind is still blown away by that connection. Everyone is going to quote or play 'Don't Fear The Reaper' in honor of Lanier... but I'm going to play this song:

A decade (!) ago I started working at an audio production company in Marin County.  On my first day I was being introduced to the staff when we came to the office of the guy in charge of the Tech Department.  He was several years older than me and as we chatted I noticed that the wall behind his desk was covered with Blue Öyster Cult memorabilia and photos.  Needless to say, I became very distracted... Of course, we became friends and it turned out that he was originally from Long Island, New York and had known B.Ö.C. since their earliest days and was still friends with them.  Mind blowing.  I wish I was still in touch with that guy.

Anyway, Allen Lanier and his band will forever be associated with the Salad Days of my Music Geek existence.  B.Ö.C. are a band that changed my life with their dark and intelligent brand of Rock; Metallica even recorded a great cover version of their epic song 'Astronomy'.  I was fortunate to have seen B.Ö.C. around a half dozen times in the days before Iron Maiden and Motörhead sent me down another path in 1981... and their early music still completely resonates for me here in the 21st Century.

Rest in Peace Mr. Lanier... and also rest in peace the art of album cover design:

Maybe someday the version of 'Hot Rails To Hell' recorded by Wino with the Saviours will see the light of day... I hope.