Lester Bangs, graced with an audience one night at his house on Brown Street in Birmingham, proceeded to play Raw Power and Tyranny & Mutation over and over. Bob Mulrooney, aka Bootsey X, who would become one of Detroit’s most prolific musical Men About Town, was working at a college radio station in 1974 and headed over to Lester’s after obtaining an obscure Velvet Underground tape from a NY collector with instructions to give a copy to Bangs.
“Dave Marsh lived there and so did Ben Edmonds,” Mulrooney said. “I went there with a couple friends. I wasn't even a drinker at the time, and Lester's hands were shaking. It was the early evening, but he was shaking when we met, and he goes, ‘let's go get some beer.’ I said, ‘whatever,’ so we got loaded. We put on the tapes for a minute and Lester goes, fuck this shit, let's put on Raw Power. So we played Raw Power like, over and over and over, for hours. Only that and Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny & Mutation. Lester, his whole room was all albums, you couldn't even sit on the floor, and he had these huge speakers but only one of them worked.”
Yea, the second BOC album was part of that trio of greatness the band produced in the 70s, starting with the self-titled first one and ending at Secret Treaties. Like so many New York-area bands, BOC pounded Detroit, playing anywhere and everywhere, from the Michigan Palace to Pine Knob. The band always had this futuristic trip going, and was among the first bands to use lasers in its light shows, run by a trippy dude they affectionately called Larry Laser.
For Tyranny, it was possible to send a letter to an address provided to obtain the lyrics. This was before the days that every corporation sought to track everyone, and I can only imagine there was a mailing list angle. I sent for the lyrics and was never contacted by the Cult people again. I did get the lyrics, which are presented here. I dig the early 70s IBM printout, back when those crazy punch cards were the epitome of progress. Better yet, though, I got to read along to “OD’d on Life Itself.”