“Digital stuff is valid and has a great musical tone… the day to replace tube amps is here”: 50 years on, Buck Dharma is proud of Blue Öyster Cult’s ride, but he isn't afraid to change things up from night to night

Buck Dharma performs onstage
(Image credit: Cheryl Peterson)

Be it through the eerie vibe of (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, the chugging proto-metal of Godzilla or the soaring AOR highs of Burnin’ for You, Donald Roeser – aka Buck Dharma – has reveled in eclecticism since the release of Blue Öyster Cult’s self-titled debut in 1972.

As a kid born in Queens, New York, who grew up in Smithtown, Long Island, Dharma couldn’t have dreamed he’d impact rock and metal through his songwriting and hare-brained gear choices. “Oh, absolutely not,” he tells Guitar World. “I thought we were fortunate just to get a record deal. But here I am, doing what I love and making records for the rest of my life.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.