Red Löbster Cult

The band name in today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a cute play on Blue Öyster Cult (if you don’t know about Blue Öyster Cult, then the cartoon will be pretty much of a mystery to you):

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

A band of lobsters. They have an umlaut. They have cowbell.

It’s all an elaborate play on BÖC.

From Wikipedia

Blue Öyster Cult (often abbreviated BÖC or BOC) is an American rock band formed in Stony Brook, New York, in 1967, best known for the singles “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, “Burnin’ for You”, “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, and “Godzilla.”

Blue Öyster Cult was formed in 1967 as Soft White Underbelly in a communal house at Stony Brook University on Long Island when rock critic Sandy Pearlman overheard a jam session consisting of fellow Stony Brook classmate Donald “Buck” Dharma and his friends. Pearlman offered to become the band’s manager and creative partner, which the band agreed to. The band’s original lineup consisted of guitarist Dharma, drummer Albert Bouchard, keyboardist Allen Lanier, singers Jeff Kagel (aka Krishna Das) and Les Braunstein and bassist Andrew Winters. Pearlman wanted the group to be the American answer to Black Sabbath.

In October 1967, Soft White Underbelly made their debut performance as Steve Noonan’s backing band at the Stony Brook University Gymnasium, a gig booked by Pearlman. The band’s name came from Winston Churchill’s description of Italy as “the soft underbelly of the Axis.”

… The name “Blue Öyster Cult” came from a 1960s poem written by manager Sandy Pearlman. It was part of his “Imaginos” poetry, later used more extensively on their album Imaginos (1988). Pearlman had also come up with the band’s earlier name, “Soft White Underbelly”, from a phrase used by Winston Churchill in describing Italy during World War II. In Pearlman’s poetry, the “Blue Oyster Cult” was a group of aliens who had assembled secretly to guide Earth’s history. “Initially, the band was not happy with the name, but settled for it, and went to work preparing to record their first release…

… The addition of an umlaut was suggested by Allen Lanier, but rock critic Richard Meltzer claims to have suggested it just after Pearlman came up with the name, reportedly “because of the Wagnerian aspect of Metal”. Other bands later copied the practice of using umlauts or diacritic marks in their own band names, such as Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche and parodied by Spın̈al Tap.

.. Blue Öyster Cult have been influential to the realm of hard rock and heavy metal, leading them to being referred to as “the thinking man’s heavy metal band” due to their often cryptic lyrics, literate songwriting, and links to famous authors.

And on the specific song alluded to be “don’t fear the steamer” in the cartoon. From Wikipedia:


“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is a song by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult from the band’s 1976 album Agents of Fortune. The song, written and sung by lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, deals with eternal love and the inevitability of death. Dharma wrote the song while picturing an early death for himself.

Cowbell. Nothing in what I’ve said so far would prepare you for this, but it turns on a Saturday Night Live sketch. From Wikipedia:

“More Cowbell” is a comedy sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live on April 8, 2000. The sketch is presented as an episode of VH1’s documentary series Behind the Music that fictionalizes the recording of the song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer “The Bruce Dickinson”, and regular cast member Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch with playwright Donnell Campbell, as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, whose overzealous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson. The sketch also starred Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.

The sketch is often considered one of the greatest SNL sketches ever made

… As a result of its popularity, “more cowbell” became an American pop culture catchphrase.

You can view the SNL sketch here. The take-away quote: “I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.”

And on the cowbell itself, from Wikipedia:


The cowbell is an idiophone hand percussion instrument used in various styles of music including salsa and infrequently in popular music. It is named after the similar bell historically used by herdsmen to keep track of the whereabouts of cows.

In #1, you can see the cowbell being used by the gray (unsteamed — red lobsters have been cooked) lobster in the upper left-hand corner.

Finally, the steamer in #1. This would be a piece of cookware for steaming lobsters, crabs, and clams (or anything else). As in this steamer (pretty much what Ann Daingerfield and I had in Columbus OH) — from the Granite Ware company on Amazon, a 19-quart enamel-on-steel 2-tier clam and lobster steamer:


One Response to “Red Löbster Cult”

  1. Bill Stewart Says:

    My brother’s a Cult follower who has an insane record collection. I introduced him to BOC maybe 1976 and created a monster. Happy Belated!

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