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The nature of fandom today dictates a huge audience of Blue Öyster Cult "enthusiasts" who know them because of the hit "Don't Fear the Reaper." If you asked these same folks to name another BÖC song, they might - might - suggest "Burnin' for You" or "Godzilla," but then they'd turn back to "Reaper" because of the "cowbell" skit about the song on "Saturday Night Live."
On the other hand, there are plenty of far-more-invested BÖC People who were onto the band's brilliance from the first three albums - the Immortal Triumvirate of "Blue Öyster Cult," "Tyranny & Mutation" and "Secret Treaties," (the latter of which remains a masterpiece and one of the best hard rock albums ever made).
As for 69-year-old founding vocalist/stun guitarist Eric Bloom's view of the band's legacy, he's just happy to keep performing as part of an artistic venture that's survived almost a half-century.
"We're in an interesting genre," says the witty and amiable frontman by phone earlier this week before BÖC performs a Friday night show in the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den.
"There are probably a dozen bands in our position, which is to say we've done fairly well most of our careers but we're no longer cutting edge or current. We make a decent living and there's plenty of work out there and it's nice that there are still people who want to hear our music."
At this point, Bloom and lead guitarist/vocalist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser are the only original members still carrying on. Which is fine: the pair wrote the bulk of the material and have long been the band's iconic figures, and there's no end on the horizon.
"People are always asking when the last gig's going to be," Bloom laughs. "I can't tell them because we don't know. Buck and I have no plans to stop. We'd rather be out there. Getting up and out of the house is a good thing. We're linear musicians and we have side interests and we stay busy. People in my age group will tell you: sitting around doing nothing will kill you."
To see BÖC onstage and to hear the cross-section of material across the years is to marvel over how timeless they are. As primary innovators of the genre called "heavy metal," Blue Öyster Cult has always featured astonishing melodies and harmonies to go along with their flamethrower rock - and acts from Metallica and the Minutemen to Wilco and Smashing Pumpkins have spoken of BÖC's importance.
"You don't think you're influential as you're moving along," Bloom says. "It's only when you hear it in hindsight. It's been fun and, in my mind, we made it to the top of the B-list. For a lot of reasons, we never made it to A-list. But I wouldn't change much."
Blue Öyster Cult, 8 p.m. Friday, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den; free; 888-664-3426.