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Albert Bouchard photo by Alan Hess Albert Bouchard photo by Alan Hess


Albert Bouchard: “I want to see where it goes… expand ‘Imaginos’ beyond just the music.”

In our latest Cover Story, Albert Bouchard talks about completing the ‘Imaginos’ trilogy and his plans for the story…

Albert Bouchard press photo by Alan Hess



Albert Bouchard is best known as a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult, contributing to songwriting and lead vocals on some of the million-selling group’s greatest songs.

Earlier this year, Bouchard returned with Imaginos III – Mutant Reformation, an album that wraps up a trilogy of releases long wished for by fans of the group. Having shepherded the concept of Imaginos through its many incarnations over the years, the trilogy sees Bouchard translating his friend Sandy Pearlman’s visions into reality.

In our latest Cover Story, V13 sits down with Albert to talk about the trilogy, Sandy’s vision, and the future now the trilogy has reached its conclusion. The audio interview is also available on SoundCloud.

Albert, the final piece of the trilogy is out. How does it feel now that you’ve brought that loop to a close?

“It’s cathartic. It’s, it’s great. It’s fantastic.”

Did you ever think you’d see this day because the whole story is quite a long one?

“A long time ago, I did, and then I gave up on it. You know, especially after Sandy Pearlman died, I thought that I can’t do this. I would need his input. Then, as I started doing it, I would remember things that he had said and was okay. The other thing is that now he’s gone, it’s really up to me to bring my interpretation to it to make it authentic.

“Just as I was almost to the end of recording it, I received a suitcase full of Sandy’s writings. I don’t know, maybe 3-400 pages. I heard that there was such a thing, but I’d never seen it. Sandy’s cousin, Michelle, inherited all his property – he had a couple of houses. The first one sold right away, but the second one was a little problematical because somebody was living there, so she had to get them out, which took a few years.

“Before she sold it, she said, there’s all these papers in here. One of Sandy’s friends lived right close by, so she said to come and see if there’s anything you want. He saw all these papers brought him to me. I found that a lot of the things that I made up were actually in there so, maybe, subconsciously, it’s aligned with what he’s already written.”

The original album came out in 1988, there was the reworking of it in 2020, if I’ve got my dates, right and Sandy passed in 2016. During that period, did you talk about the recordings of the trilogy?

“Well, originally, the trilogy idea was right at the very beginning of after I left Blue Öyster Cult. Sandy said he was gonna get me a deal with Columbia, and we’re going to put out Imaginos. I’ve been trying to get their lawyers to call to do it, but they didn’t want to give a whole record to Sandy’s writings. They said they would do one or two songs, but not a whole record about it. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Do you want it to be your authentic self and have your, you know, Bruce Springsteen moment, then make your record?

“We started talking about the trilogy back then. I thought we both thought this was going to be a masterpiece, that this was going to be the best album that we ever made. Then, when it came out, we were pretty disappointed with how everything turned out, that the record company didn’t want to put it out as a solo thing. They didn’t they didn’t want to put it out. So, at that point, the idea of the trilogy was, as far as I was concerned, it was dead. It was like I had already been taken out of the loop. I had some ideas, and I thought, well, if they want a single let’s write a single, but that idea was intolerable to Sandy, he did not want to he thought that was just pandering, it would diminish the quality of the project, and he’s probably right.

“Anyway, so I forgot about doing the trilogy, but Sandy kept working on it. He was trying to make Imaginos into a video game. He was in talks with Activision, right around the time that Guitar Hero came out. I was all for it actually, I thought that would be great. Maybe that’s the avenue that we can present this idea, but that fell apart, and I think, towards the end, Sandy felt like his life as an entertainer or creator, that was over, so he just worked as a professor.

“I thought we both thought this was going to be a masterpiece, that this was going to be the best album that we ever made. Then, when it came out, we were pretty disappointed how everything turned out…”

He continues:

“So that was what he was doing, and then he had the accident. I went to visit him in the hospital after he woke up after he came out of his coma, and one of the things I said to Sandy was that he had to get better because I wanted to make the trilogy, let’s finish the story. He couldn’t speak. He could move one of the fingers on his left hand. I said, move your finger if you understand and he did so I knew that he was hearing me. I don’t know how much he understood of it, but it seemed like he was in favour of it. I thought maybe it’s gonna get better as he seems to be able to communicate. Sadly, that did not happen, and it was that way four or five months later. At that point, I was starting to think it was over. Then, in 2019, I started getting all these emails asking was I ever going to finish the trilogy. Are you ever going to put out your version of Imaginos instead of the Blue Oyster version?

“I started thinking about what Sandy said and some of the arguments that we had when we were doing the original thing, and what if I did it the way he wanted it? How would that come out? So I did Re-Imaginos more like he said sometime in the middle of Colombia, not wanting to put them out. He said that maybe we should put out an all-acoustic album or children’s folk songs, you know? I said no because, at the time, we spent all this money, we got this band that’s going to play with me so, selfishly, I did not want to do that.

“In 2020, I’d already started doing it. I think by November 2019, I started recording with a little group that had three other people. The four of us started recording demos for a new record, and I thought I’d go into the studio. I asked if they wanted to do Imaginos, they were really in favour of it, and I was very surprised at how well it was received. Then, people were asking if I was going to do the other two elements. Let’s see what this one does. I put out a lot of solo records.

“I put out, I think, seven or eight Brain Surgeon records, maybe even more, I can’t remember. I did three records as Blue Coupe, and I also did three solo records. Of all those records, maybe fifteen or sixteen records, none of them had made a profit. Well, they broke even eventually. I’d sell like 200 copies or something. They printed up like 2000 copies and sold them out within a couple of months and I was on the charts at 97. You know, I never made the chart for solo artists before, so that was mind-blowing. It was at that point I had to do all three.”

V13 Cover Story - Issue 046 - Albert Bouchard

V13 Cover Story – Issue 046 – Albert Bouchard

I was going to ask what was the moment where you thought you couldn’t just leave it and you’ve got to finish it?

“When I saw the Billboard charts, I saw the original Imaginos didn’t even make the charts, and this list better than the Blue Oyster version, which is, to my mind, that’s just mind-boggling.

How did that make you feel, considering what went on with the original record?

“It made me feel great, you know?”

You worked on the idea for a while, and now you’ve finished it, how close is it to Sandy’s original vision?

“I think it’s very close, especially reading all of the stuff that he wrote about it. I thought I was making it all up, but there’s a certain point that it fits right in with what he was talking about, and that was quite gratifying.”

On the whole inspiration behind the story, did you share that passion with the subjects of HP Lovecraft and people like that?

“I always loved that as a child; I love sci-fi. As a very young child that moved around a lot, I lived in several different houses in the little town that I grew up in I moved with my family to Greece, and we lived in Greece for a year. We came back to New York, and we lived in Rochester, New York, for a while, and then we then we lived at the cottage over here on the border for a year. Finally, we went back to the town that I grew up in and were reunited with all my friends. I couldn’t read, that was the problem of the school. I’ve been to five German schools by the time I got to the second grade. I couldn’t read, and I was eight years old, so my parents were very concerned that there was something wrong with me or whatever. I somehow discovered Sci-Fi so I could read because I was interested in it.”

“Sci-Fi seemed cool. It seemed like it was not ordinary, it was not boring. It was exciting the idea of going into outer space and going travelling to other, not just countries, but planets, you know? It just was fascinating…”

What was it about sci-fi that floated your boat?

“I didn’t know it seemed cool. It seemed like it was not ordinary; it was not boring. It was exciting the idea of going into outer space and going travelling to other, not just countries, but planets, you know? It just was fascinating. I think I did get a little bit of the Wanderlust bug, especially when I went to Greece and saw how it was so different from when I was growing up in upstate New York. I always felt like we didn’t have very much money. My parents always worried about money.

“Before we went to Greece, we lived with my grandmother; most of my friends had their own house, and we didn’t like my friends over because it was my grandmother’s house. I thought we were poor, then I went to Greece and realised we’re not poor at all. There’s a lot of poverty there. I think it’s better now but, at that time, it was crazy. None of my friends had shoes. They didn’t have shoes.”

Albert Bouchard ‘Imaginos III’ Album Artwork

Albert Bouchard ‘Imaginos III’ Album Artwork

It’s incredible the things you take for almost take for granted, then you go somewhere abroad, somewhere different, and things like that just blow your mind…

“What bothers me right now is the immigration situation in New York, and in the United States. The population is getting older and older. The workforce is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking and yet people are still saying don’t let them in, don’t let them in, you know, build a big wall because they’re going to destroy our way of life. They’re the ones that are still driving the gas guzzlers and destroying the environment. If people had just a little bit of vision, they would realise that they’re acting against their self-interest. We need these younger people to keep the workforce going. It’s the same thing is going on over there in Europe. The population is getting older and older, we need these younger people, we need these big families to come in and support us.”

That’s a whole conversation about that we could spend days talking about. One of the things you mentioned was the vision. What’s your vision for the project going forward?

“We’re turning my attention to the comic book. We have the benefit of all of Sandy’s writing, so there’s plenty of material to draw upon for this new thing. I think it’s going to be a great, great thing. I’m working with this artist who did the cover for the comic book. She found that there was that there was this person named David Fincher who’s the director of Seven, Fight Club, Gone Girl, and a bunch of other movies. He did a 12-page treatment for the Imaginos movie, so now that we’ve got renewed interest in it, I think I want to approach him again and see if we can get something, if not a movie, which maybe expands Imaginos beyond just the music.”

You mentioned a video game. Is that something you have in mind?

“So Sandy was talking to people at Activision. I have the correspondence, so I know who to contact and to tell them we’re renewing this whole thing. We’ve got a comic book. We’ve got one album worth, and we have the other two that are in development.”

Considering this is a project that could go anywhere. Is it challenging to find anybody who shares not only your vision but Sandy’s as well? It feels like this is not the case.

“Well, Sandy did a lot of the work, and if we hadn’t found these papers, I wouldn’t know who he was talking to. It’s much easier to see who he’d contacted and reach out to, like David Fincher, for example. This is just stuff that’s happening in the last couple of weeks so hot off the press.”

In your mind, what’s next in the pipeline for you?

“I have a bunch of musical things. I’m going on tour with The Dictators in Spain. I’m also recording an acoustic record with a French group called Knucklehead. Then I might do another Dictators tour. We did a tour supporting The Damned, and that was a blast. I have some other things as well. I have a crazy idea to record some Imaginos songs with some musicians in New Orleans, like Dixieland versions… with a washboard and the trombone.”

Just to wrap up, going back to the correspondence with people, now the album’s coming out and the trilogies completed, do you have a message for those people?

Imaginos is coming. It’s not going away…”

For more information on the trilogy, head over to Albert’s official website.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.