Blue Oyster Cult Rejected Albert Bouchard’s Money-Sharing Idea
Former drummer Albert Bouchard says he made more money in Blue Oyster Cult's peak years because his bandmates rejected a suggestion that they share songwriting credits equally.
Although he didn’t create their signature track “[Don’t Fear] the Reaper,” Bouchard was the group’s leading writer during his tenure from 1967 to 1981. He co-wrote seven of the 10 tracks on their debut, and six of eight songs on the 1973 follow up, Tyranny and Mutation. Blue Oyster Cult's breakthrough album, 1976's platinum-selling Agents of Fortune, featured five more tracks co-authored by Bouchard.
“When I was writing all these songs, I was like, 'Guys, we shouldn't be arguing about whose song and who did what, and all of this other stuff. Let's just do it like the Doors and split everything equally,’” he told Mitch Lafon on Rock Talk. “And I was the only one that wanted to do that. And as the main songwriter, you would think that they would be for it! But then, all of a sudden, it seemed like that they were more out for themselves than out for the group. And I thought that was a bad thing.”
In light of changes in the music industry, Bouchard argues that his suggestion should become the standard.
“Anybody who plays on a record should get part of that writing credit,” he asserted. “I worked for many years with this guy Mark Barkan, who had 60 Top 40 hits in the '50s and '60s. He wrote for Elvis [Presley] and all these people, and he would get furious when I would suggest that. He’s like, ‘No! Just because somebody played on it they can't get credit for writing it!’”
But Bouchard notes that sticking with individualized writing credits resulted in a significant imbalance among bandmate incomes. “I would say, ‘Well, I just got a check for $40,000' and they’d go, ‘Oh man, I got a check for $400.’”
Watch Albert Bouchard's Interview With Mitch Lafon